Wow. Hugest thanks to the Night Vale team for picking my song. What an honour!
I wrote and recorded “Black Car” alone in my home studio The Launchpad in September 2020. It’s a song about love and death, guilt and gratitude, taking time to figure out what’s most important, feeling desperately sad and isolated and grieving the loss of so many.
I don’t know what other bands “Black Car” sounds like, or have any clever phrases lined up to entreat you to click “play”. This is an honest, melancholy song about a universal experience that will be discussed in the history books of the future, guitars and synths centred around a heady electronic heartbeat, with a reverent Kurt Vonnegut reference (“loving echoes”) in the middle.
Answering your questions on how I make things work as an independent musician, music producer and YouTuber in 2022, how I write lyrics, who I’d like to cover my songs and who my dream collab would be (spoiler: Massive Attack / The Prodigy / UNKLE!).
Thanks for such great questions! Head to Barnsdale Wood, Rutland Water to see these gorgeous bluebells for yourself.
Solitude is good for you – some would say it’s essential. I’ve been craving time alone lately, but got into the habit of spending all my days in the house over the pandemic. Join me on my first ever solo hike – around beautiful Cheddar Gorge – as I face two fears: filming in public and flying my DJI Mini 2 drone!
In January 2022, one of my musical heroes invited me to contribute vocals to two of his new songs, and this video includes some glamorous behind the scenes shots of self-shooting some footage for his brand new music video.
Here’s to giving ourselves permission to do our own thing!
I was never invited to work in the music industry, so have had to find ways of overcoming my inner critic and giving myself permission to create my music, videos, podcast series and blog posts as an independent producer, songwriter and filmmaker.
“Sometimes people ask me what it’s like to work in the music industry, and, genuinely, that question baffles me. No-one ever asked me to come and work in the music industry, no-one hired me, or promoted my work, or paid me for my time. I don’t have any contact with the people who work there, I don’t know how it operates, really, and I’m pretty sure they’re unaware that I also work there, if indeed I do. It’s kind of like I just showed up at someone’s office, sat down at a desk and started doing stuff. No-one’s kicked me out yet, but I don’t get holiday and the boss always forgets to call me in for my annual review.
The great thing about all this, is that I get to make whatever I want – and so really it’s about giving yourself permission to make music, or paint, or draw, or whatever the thing is that you’re driven to create. I started writing songs seriously in 2005, and my main mission in life since then has been to increase the time per week that I’m able to make things. And for that, I don’t need anybody’s permission but my own. And nor do you.”
I started playing the ukulele in 2008 after reading about George Harrison’s great love for the instrument, and have written many sad songs on it since. On a recent trip to Portugal I decided to find out about the precursor to the ukulele we know and love – the cavaquinho.
Recorded in East London in summer 2011 and released on my own label My Big Sister Recordings the following year, this album was generously funded by music fans via my first Pledge Music campaign. I was able to spend 33 days in the studio (double what I could afford for my debut “Disarm”) and realise my dreams of creating a deeper, more layered album.
Recorded just around the corner from the Hackney riots, London’s crackling tension is echoed within the 15 songs, but if love is a battlefield this album is a peaceful protest: honest and vulnerable, yet steely and sure of itself, all melancholy romance and wide-eyed hope for the future. It’s about collisions – analogue with digital, war with peace and technology with nature.