GW: So how’s the tour going so far?
It’s been good, it’s been really fun. The turnout has been better than last time – each time we do it, it seems to be better. It’s been good. Last time we did almost a month-long tour with Ray Lamontagne all through the UK so we were here and pretty much everywhere we’re going this time. But it was posh theatres, now we’re down here in the cellar!
GW: What do you think of the British music scene?
I’m not really that up on it. There are some people I know personally, like there’s a group called Sian Alice Group that I like a lot. I feel there’s a really young scene here that I really don’t know a lot about. I like Amy Winehouse though!
GW: Do you think it’s difficult for serious female solo artists to get recognition?
I think right now there’s a flurry of female singer-songwriters, it seems like they’re getting a lot of play now. I mean, there are so many! In the states there are all these girls on iPod commercials and Mac commercials and then they shoot to the top of the charts. I’ve never really listened to a lot of women singers though.
GW: Who did you listen to, growing up, that influenced you?
I guess the big ones are Bob Dylan and then the Clash, the Jam, My Bloody Valentine, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. I hear My Bloody Valentine are getting back together!
GW: You got your big break by sending your demo to Bob Dylan’s management – did you ever think that would get you where you are today?
Yeah, well I didn’t actually do it; I’d never be able to do that! My booking agent sent it, but I didn’t know they were doing it. I just got a phone call from my manager, saying “ok…sit down….”. I was pretty shocked! I definitely did not feel worthy of that. I just played one show with him too, as I don’t have a record out in the States so there’s no point touring really.
GW: Is there a record on the way for the States?
Well the record that just came out here will come out there, but we’re going to let it ride here and tour first. We’re going to move out here in May and we’ll be out here for about 6 months and then go back to the States. It’s an odd way to do it but this guy Nat Cramp has a label, Sonic Cathedral – he contacted me and wanted to put out a single, so he put Something For You out here and then brought me out to play some shows and support it. Things just sort of took off from there. Plus I think doing music here just feels a lot better than doing it in the States. People are a lot more excited here about music. In the States everybody’s really cranky and jaded. Here they still believe in it, they’re still hopeful.
GW: On your album you worked with Ethan Johns of Kings of Leon fame – how much influence did he have on the sound?
Well he’s such a master in the studio that all the sounds he got were completely down to him…and Luther (Russell) who co-produced it. He definitely has a great ear for arrangement and played a lot of the instruments like drums and guitar so he had a lot of influence on it.
GW: Do you think bands like KOL and yourself are bringing the indie/folk/rock a bit more exposure?
Well there are a lot of different kinds of it, you know? There’s Joanna Newsom who’s doing her folk kind of thing, but I guess I never thought of my music as folky. Sometimes I do say it’s folk because I don’t know what else to say but I don’t really think it is. I never really listened to that much folk outside of Dylan. I think there are just a lot of folk singer-songwriters, which is good because people don’t put as much time into their lyrics as they should. Everyone thinks they can have a band now. Myspace has made things insane, everyone has a band! I guess it’s great for people to get their stuff out there though.
GW: I read that you started playing guitar to impress a guy, but what made you take up music as a career at a difficult age to break into such a youth-obsessed industry?
Well because when I started doing it, it just felt really natural, and felt like something I should be doing. It brought me so much joy to have something to do at home rather than laying in my bed! I was so excited when I started playing and the songs started happening immediately. It was great, I could be happy being alone, then people started asking me to sing on their records and once I got into a studio for the first time I though “oh, it’s nice in here!” Somebody gave Ethan our demos and when he wanted to produce it I thought “why not!”
GW: So are you less excited now?
No, no, I’m very excited about it. I just feel very grateful to be able to be doing this. It’s an amazing thing. Every day that I don’t have to wait tables is a total blessing, so I’m very happy and grateful for what’s happening right now.