Rhiannon Mair will launch her new EP “Those Days Are Gone” at a show in St. Peters on The Waterfront in Ipswich on November 27th. We caught up with her for a chat recently.
The EP launch has been put back is that correct?
Yes, it has, the release is going to be on the 27th of November now.
Lets assume that I’ve just arrived in East Anglia from another world, tell me about Rhiannon Mair’s music and how it got to be where it is today.
My music – oh gosh, yeah, OK. I kind of started writing songs when I was sixteen but I didn’t actually build up the courage to start performing them until I was about twenty, twenty one when I moved to London. I was at a drum school, I decided to form a band, but instead of drumming I decided to play guitar and sing. So I started playing some songs that I had written with the band – the band were called Just Like Little People. We gigged around London for the next few years. Then I got to about twenty five and I decided that I kind of wanted to have a go at playing on my own. I just wanted to see what it was like, I made a decision that I just wanted to do music so I stopped working.
Was that scary to go out on your own?
Yeah, it was a little bit actually. At the time it was quite a big decision because I’d been in London for about five years and I had a lot of friends there, I’d built a life for myself. Leaving that, coming back to Suffolk to live with my parents again. It was a decision that I though… if I don’t do it now I’ll never do it, so I decided to bite the bullet and move back to Suffolk. Shortly after I released my album “It Goes Like This” and ever since then it has been gigging and playing and writing more songs.
Is gigging here is Suffolk different from London?
Yeah, I think so. I think it varies. I think it is harder to get people to your gigs in London from my experience because there is so much going on in London all the time, you have to drag people to come and see you play. Also it is very hard to find, for an acoustic singer songwriter, venues where you can play where people will actually watch you and listen to your music. There are a lot of places where it is very noisy and you end up playing to people who have just finished work and are in the pub drinking. I’m not saying that it is not like that out in Suffolk as well but it does seem to be a little more… I don’t know… different.
Your first album was launched with the help of Purge Crowd Funding, how important was that to getting your music out there?
I think it was pretty important actually. When I first launched the project on Purge I didn’t really have any kind of a following or a fan base at all and so a few people stumble across my pledge page and pledged and those people are still supporting me now and I have definitely gained a few followers through Pledge – it was really good and very important, I guess it gave me my start in music.
Am I right in thinking you come from a musical family?
I do – well, my Mum is musical, she has been playing in bands for as long as I can remember really. I used to go to a lot of gigs when I was a kid. She has released a couple of albums herself over in the States. So I’ve always been around music and got dragged along with my brothers and sisters to folk festivals when we were kids. Music has always been apart of my upbringing.
A really off the wall question – what was your first ever song and what made you write it?
That’s actually quite a good question. I know the first ever song I wrote…. it was a song called “Little People”, me and my family were on holiday in France and we kept driving down these roads and we say these little figures on the side of the road that looked like children and we didn’t know what they were. We kinda assumed that they were maybe where there has been an accident, where people have been knocked over or whatever and that’s what I wrote this song about. That might sound a bit strange but that’s where my inspiration came from.
I saw you describe yourself as a “tech head” somewhere, is that correct?
Yeah. I am a little bit… well, very much so! I studied music technology and I recorded my first album at home in the bedroom and I have been very lucky my parents have helped me set up a little mini home studio setup so I do do a lot of that and I really enjoy it actually.
Do you find that being a techie gets in the way of the performing artist?
Yes, it definitely can do, which is why this time around I went to a studio to record this EP because I wanted someone else to do all the technical and engineering side and I just wanted to focus on performance and delivering a good performance. I could have recorded it myself but I didn’t want to get caught up in that technical side of things and I wanted to try something different. But it is hard to take yourself away and just concentrate on performing.
Describe to me your new EP in a sentence.
Oh… Oh no, describe it in a SENTENCE? (Long pause…) How do I describe it? Well, its defiantly got a bit more balls to it! It packs a bit more punch than the last record – yeah, its more punchy, whacky and a bit more upbeat really. And I fell its a bit more ‘me’.
And the title, Those Days Are Gone, where does that come from?
That comes from one of the tracks on the EP which is going to be a single. Which is going to be released shortly actually.
Do you have a favourite venue?
I’ve got a few favourite venues. Every venue is different and sometimes I’ve played the same venue a few times and had very different gigs there. One I love playing is The Angel in Woodbridge, it is one of my favourite little pubs and the owners there are just really lovely. It’s just like playing in your own living room.
Have you got a venue that you have yet to play but would like to play?
Oh gosh – a venue that I’d like to play? I do, I have a venue on my bucket list which might be a bit of a far stretch off but The Royal Albert Hall is one of the venues I’d like to play. Crazier things have happened – if no one laughs at your dreams they are not big enough!
The quirky GrapevineLive question now – name five things you couldn’t live without!
Five things I could not live without. OK – my guitar… what else, what sort of things, things in general like wine?
You can say whatever you want.
OK, wonderful. Definitely my guitar, my family, yeah – wine, I’d find it very hard to get through life without wine, what else? My bed, I like my bed… how many things was that, four? And my friends. Pretty boring answers I expect.
Actually quite a nice collection. Now, the solo singer songwriter scene is very crowded, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
That’s a big question. I can only speak from experience. Just go out and play and gig. Then when you think you have gigged enough or you have gigged loads, gig some more, and then some more. Play Open Mic nights and say yes to a lot of opportunities, anything that comes your way.
And what better way to round off our interview than with the video of that single from the EP…