Interview by Chontalle Musson
Q: I’ve been re-playing the beautifully shot video for the single ‘Wintergreen’. I’ve never really thought of my privilege as a sighted person when it comes to enjoying music. What inspired the idea to have Emma translate the song into sign language for the music video?
A: Yes, we feel the same way about that privilege. Sometimes you take for granted all the things you have in life and we think it’s good to step back and re-evaluate everything often. We’ve known Emma for a while now and have seen the amazing work she’s done to make music more inclusive. When we wrote Wintergreen we knew we wanted to make a dance video because that adds a dimension that would make the feel of the song accessible to everyone, not just a hearing audience, and Emma take that another step. Emma ran with the idea when we approached her, and crafted it into this beautiful, flowing story that captures the essence of the song perfectly. That clip is a testament to Emma as an artist, she’s truly incredible – works so fast and with such intelligence and passion.
Q: I read on your website that Jake says he has a hard time putting your music into a specific genre. Do you think it’s important in this day and age to be able to label each artist/band with a genre, or do you think boxing artists is a thing of the past?
A: What a world that would be, no labels, no genres, just music! Unfortunately that’s not quite the world we live in. People want everything in boxes, to make it easier to access: if they understand it, it goes in that box, if not, it goes in that one. The end result, a lot of the time, is musicians being afraid to do what actually comes naturally to them because they’re afraid of what critics will say. It’s ridiculous, but it’s true. On the new album we’re playing music that feels genuine and exciting to us, as musicians. We’re really tried on this record not to get hung up on genres and boxes. It feels good to play live, and we wrote it so it’s as true an expression of what we do creatively as anything that’s come before, so we’re just calling it music!
Q: What is the general process of songwriting; both musically and lyrically like for you while the three of you lived in separate countries? I can’t imagine it was the simplest of the tasks especially with the time differences.
A: We’re thankful for the internet – sharing ideas at the click of a button, it’s freaking crazy. That being said, only a small portion of the album was written while we were apart – tiny riffs and lyrical ideas – the bulk of the album was written while we were all occupying the same space. We’re lucky to be able to write on the road so the vast majority comes when we’re travelling around the world together. We took all those ideas and nuggets and put them together during a writing retreat at Jakes cottage, then we built on all those ideas with Gordie in Nashville.
Q: Yours To Break was produced by the award winning Gordie Sampson. What was it like collaborating with them; and did it differ from your previous albums?
A: It was a similar vibe to the last record we did with Gordie, but we knew a little more what to expect so we were more pumped than nervous heading into the studio. We stayed there too, while working, so it’s a fantastic experience to just be able to completely immerse in the experience – a real gift and a luxury, I know. I think on this one we took the collaboration a step further and really dug into not only the songs, but the tunes as well. We wanted to incorporate our love of various types of dance music into everything. Gordie shines in a lot of scenarios and this was definitely one of them. He’s a master in many different types of music, and made us feel really comfortable expanding our sound, knowing at the base of it the need that we have as a band to be able to replicate the album live. It requires all of our limbs but we’ve managed it, it’s good exercise for the brain.
Q: A personal favourite of mine is Power To Move; I love how the radio-static sounds are intertwined into the music. Is there any deeper meaning to that, or just that it sounds so good!
A: It’s a favourite of mine as well. It doesn’t have any deep meaning but it touches on science and meditation, two things that we love to talk about and explore/experience as a band. The set name was also a contender for the album name – we liked the drive of it.
Q: What advice would you give to artists such as yourselves coming up in the folk scene who are wanting to release their music and collaborate with other artists?
A: Get out and tour! It’s fun and it still is the best way to spread your music. Streaming services are the new norm and shouldn’t be dismissed, but there’s still no substitute for people seeing what you do in a live format and good ol’ word of mouth – plus, isn’t that why we all make music? To communicate and exchange with people? It’s also how you build true fans and an amazinf way to become inspired to continue the writing process!
Q: When enjoying the new album what’s the number on thing you hope listeners take away?
A: We hope it’s an inclusive album – something that feels like it belongs to anyone. We hope that people put it on and feel better at the end then they did at the beginning. We want nothing more than to inspire hope and happiness. That’s why we play music, that’s why we tour as much as we do. Music is a lifter and a unifier and in a world that’s becoming more polarized, we need common experiences of love and hope and joy more than ever.
Q: Lastly, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! and all best with the release of the album and we can’t wait to see y’all down in New Zealand in March/April 2020!
A: Thanks so much for the thoughtful questions! We hope to see your smiling faces at a show down the road 🙂 Lots of love.
Don’t forget to pick up a ticket to see The East Pointers in a town near you in 2020!
WHEN & WHERE
Monday, 23rd March – Tuning Fork, Auckland
Tuesday, 24th March – TSB Showplace Theatre Royal, New Plymouth
Thursday, 26th March – Haumoana Hall, Hastings
Friday, 27th March – Globe Theatre, Palmerston North
Saturday, 28th March – TBC, Wellington
Sunday, 29th March – TBC, Wellington
Thursday, 1st April – The Mussel Inn, Onekaka
Thursday, 2nd April – Theatre Royal, Nelson
Friday, 3rd April – Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch