Ep49: Grace Petrie on connection and communion

Ep49: Grace Petrie on connection and communion

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A folk singer, songwriter and activist from Leicester, UK, Grace Petrie has been writing, recording and touring relentlessly for more than ten years. Her unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered, have won over audiences everywhere, across the alternative, folk, political and comedy scenes.

Through all of this, Grace has quietly become one of the most respected songwriters working in the UK today.

Grace’s new album “Connectivity” is out on 4th October 2021 and is available to buy now.



In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the unique communion and connection between a performer and their audience at a live show
  • how political burnout led to the more personal themes on new album “Connectivity”
  • how genres can help and hinder artists
  • choosing your own truth on the internet
  • trying to create boundaries online – how even a fan can ruin your day
  • giving yourself the freedom to write about subjects that matter to you now

Things to do next:

+ Buy Grace’s new album “Connectivity” now
+ Sign up to her mailing list to stay in touch (at the bottom of this page)
+ Get tickets to see Grace on tour around the UK
+ Follow Grace on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram






This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep48: Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari) on wielding music as a tool of unity

Ep48: Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari) on wielding music as a tool of unity

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Rou Reynolds is a vocalist, songwriter, composer, author and award-winning producer, best known for fronting Enter Shikari. Formed in 1999, the band are known for making outspoken, genre-spanning music accompanied by explosive live shows.

Sixth album “Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible” came out in April 2020, and has recently been followed up with “Moratorium (Broadcasts From The Interruption)”, a collection of beautiful reinterpretations of songs from the latest studio album plus some extra treats.

Rou recently won Best Production award at the Heavy Music Awards 2021 for his work on “Nothing Is True…”, and his latest book “A Treatise on Possibility: Perspectives on Humanity Hereafter” was published by Faber Music in July.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • pre-album writing anxiety and ways to get started on new projects
  • exploring subjects matter from songs in a more expansive way
  • the reality of being a supposed “Myspace band” – social media platforms as part of a larger puzzle
  • music making as mountain climbing: tough and lonely at times – but exhilarating, too
  • mindfulness and meditation as tools for a better understanding of ourselves
  • the importance of a decent chair when you’re someone who sits in one all day long

Things to do next:

+ Buy music, books and merch direct from the band’s store.
+ Get tickets for Enter Shikari’s upcoming tour
+ Follow Rou on Twitter
+ Follow Enter Shikari on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram






This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep47: Miki Berenyi (Piroshka / Lush) on celebrating a breadth of voices in music

Ep47: Miki Berenyi (Piroshka / Lush) on celebrating a breadth of voices in music

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Content warning: this is a very (joyfully) sweary episode so probably not best listened to in the presence of kids. Don’t @ me, Dad!



Miki Berenyi is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who first became known in the late ’80s and ’90s as a member of Lush, and currently makes music in Piroshka.

Lush released four excellent albums, parted ways in tragic circumstances in 1998, reformed briefly in 2015 and then called it a day.

Piroshka emerged in 2018, four individuals with distinct musical identities but also overlapping histories – Miki on vocals and guitar, Justin Welch of Elastica on drums, Mick Conroy of Modern English on bass and Moose McKillop on guitar.

After debut album “Brickbat” explored social and political divisions by way of what MOJO described as “Forceful, driving garage songs and dream-pop epics”2021’s new album “Love Drips And Gathers” follows a more introspective line – the ties that bind us, as lovers, parents, children and friends – to a suitably subtler, more ethereal sound, whilst still revelling in energy and drama.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how Miki was a huge inspiration for teenage wannabe-musician me
  • what it’s like for her starting a new band after 20 years out of the music world
  • how creative work *is* work…but that’s okay
  • escaping the cartoon image of “Miki from Lush”
  • our shared future in chilblain rock

Things to do next:

+ Get your copy of “Love Drips And Gathers”
+ Get tickets for Piroshka on tour around the UK
+ Follow Miki on Twitter
+ Follow Piroshka on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep46: Ginger Wildheart on creating a you-sized shape in the world of music

Ep46: Ginger Wildheart on creating a you-sized shape in the world of music

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Ginger Wildheart has been busy releasing music since the late 1980’s: as the leader of British rock band The Wildhearts, as a solo artist and as a member of numerous side projects and collaborations. Ever keen to find new ways to embrace his special relationship with supporters of his music, over the years he’s experimented with release methods outside the record label model including crowdfunding triple album 555% and running fan subscription club “the Ginger Associated Secret Society” or G-A-S-S.

Pre-order The Wildhearts’ 10th studio album “21st Century Love Songs” now – out on 3rd September 2021.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • why Ginger would rather be a member of Sparks than a bigger but vastly inferior band
  • songwriting as a service
  • the beauty and resonance of the direct to fan relationship
  • the life-changing power of a song
  • why learning what not to do is more valuable than learning what’s awesome
  • what about the music industry? – predictions for a more sustainable, less bloated future

Things to do next:

+ Pre-order The Wildhearts’ 10th studio album “21st Century Love Songs”
+ Book tickets for their September tour here
+ Explore Ginger’s solo work here and The Wildhearts here
+ Follow Ginger on Twitter





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep45: Mary Spender on finding a smarter route to a full-time music career and building a huge fanbase on YouTube

Ep45: Mary Spender on finding a smarter route to a full-time music career and building a huge fanbase on YouTube

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Combining her sultry voice and electric guitar to create rock songs infused with blues and soul, Mary Spender’s songwriting showcases her virtuosic style of guitar playing as well as her wide vocal range.

Mary has amassed over 46 million hits on her YouTube channel, with nearly half a million subscribers watching her weekly videos, predominantly targeted towards guitarists and singer/songwriters.

She also offers online courses in Ableton Live (with producer Rachel K Collier) and Fingerstyle Guitar for Beginners on her website maryspender.com.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • finding a smarter way to grow your audience as a musician – opting out of the traditional singer-songwriter slog to make a full-time job of being a guitar nerd
  • what it takes to go from zero to half a million YouTube subscribers
  • how finishing John Mayer’s song for him led to a surprise package in the post
  • negative online comments – finding empathy for those who love to hate you on the internet

Things to do next:

+ Visit Mary’s website for her music, videos, courses and Patreon
+ Subscribe to her YouTube channel here
+ Find Mary on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep44: Ken Stringfellow (The Posies / R.E.M. / Big Star) on saying “yes”

Ep44: Ken Stringfellow (The Posies / R.E.M. / Big Star) on saying “yes”

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A fixture on the music landscape, indie and otherwise, since the debut of his band The Posies in 1988, Ken Stringfellow has over a quarter century of experience as a performer, composer, producer, arranger, programmer and more.

In addition to his 8 albums with The Posies and 4 solo albums, Ken spent a decade touring and recording with R.E.M.; he was also involved in the rebirth of Memphis cult band Big Star, playing with Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens from the band’s first reunion shows in 1993 until Chilton’s death in 2010.

Ken has played onstage or in studio with such artists as Neil Young, the Afghan Whigs, Mercury Rev, Thom Yorke, John Paul Jones, Patti Smith, Wilco, Robyn Hitchcock, Ringo Starr, Damien Jurado, Nada Surf, Brendan Benson, Mudhoney, the Long Winters…a very long list indeed. In fact, Ken has appeared on over 300 albums (totaling 9 million sales), and performed in 96 countries.

** The Posies play their first livestreamed gig this Saturday 24th July 2021 – watch live or at any time over the following 24 hours. GET TICKETS. **

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • putting in the work – how to be a super productive musician
  • the importance of treating everyone the same in the studio, regardless of fame or experience
  • going viral in the late 1980’s, and how The Posies’ outsider status in the ’90s Seattle scene has led to longevity for the band
  • how sharing a stage with your musical heroes gives you no choice but to level up

Things to do next:

+ Follow Ken on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and why not book him to work on your music?
+ Follow The Posies on Twitter and Instagram.
+ Listen to “For The Ashes” (The Posies), “Find Yourself Alone” (Ken Stringfellow) and “Not Today” (from Ken Stringfellow Imagines Puleo).





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep43: Lou Barlow (Sebadoh / Dinosaur Jr / The Folk Implosion) on building a body of work…however the fuck he wants to

Ep43: Lou Barlow (Sebadoh / Dinosaur Jr / The Folk Implosion) on building a body of work…however the fuck he wants to

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A founding member of the groups Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion, Lou Barlow is credited with helping to pioneer the lo-fi style of rock music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His stunning fourth solo album “Reason To Live” is out now.

After decades on the road and the never-ending hustle of life as an artist, Barlow has tapped into a new confidence in the chaos. In 2021, the concept of balance feels particularly intimidating. Now more than ever, it’s clear life isn’t just leveling out a pair of responsibilities. Instead, we’re chasing after a flock of different ideals with a butterfly net. On “Reason to Live”, he has come to an understanding of that swirl rather than trying to contain it.

After albums with Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., Folk Implosion, and under his own name, listeners may have felt they knew the construction of a Barlow song, even that they knew Barlow himself. “People have this vision of me as this heartbroken, depressed guy, but this record feels so true to who I am, to this rich life I now have full of people I love,” he says. “The songs culminated over the last five years to show that music has returned to its central comforting role in my life. Now I’m home.”

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • letting go of self-criticism and comparison to focus on creating a body of work
  • making albums at home – how combining digital tools with cassette tape recordings makes for something unique
  • the quest for an undeniably beautiful song
  • the self-inflicted anguish of releasing music into the world

Things to do next:

+ Wrap your ears around Lou’s new album “Reason To Live”
+ Listen to “Certain Dance Circumstance” (Lou Barlow) and “Waltzin With Your Ego” and “Someone You Love” (The Folk Implosion)
+ Subscribe to Lou’s YouTube channel, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep42: Shingai (Noisettes) on finding creative freedom through generosity

Ep42: Shingai (Noisettes) on finding creative freedom through generosity

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Content warning: two brief mentions of suicide, in the context of having lost friends.


Shingai is the legendary front woman and bassist from the Noisettes. Dubbed “The new afrofuturist pop goddess” by Rolling Stone, her debut solo album “Too Bold” was released in October 2020 and marks a new chapter of her journey. This sonic odyssey through an effervescent soundscape fearlessly infused with a soulful yet spontaneous spirit is the sound inspired by Shingai’s London, Bantu and Zimbabwean heritage.

Leading from the heart, “Too Bold” transports us to a higher vision of the future while acknowledging what it will take for us to get there. The album treads many paths and themes about rising above perplexing times, being resilient, standing your ground and confronting the struggle – an invitation to keep the optimist alive within us and try to be better in every way.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • making music that’s a movement, too
  • the importance of creativity in a happy household, and how music helped Shingai navigate a childhood packed with grief
  • stepping off the major label conveyor belt and making music against the odds as an independent artist with integrity
  • the detrimental effect of social media and influencer culture on everyday creativity

Things to do next:

+ Listen to Shingai’s latest album “Too Bold” on Bandcamp or via her website
+ Follow Shingai on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
+ Listen to Noisettes’ back catalogue





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep41: Juliana Hatfield on drawing without looking

Ep41: Juliana Hatfield on drawing without looking

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Transcript to follow soon.


Attention Engineer is back after a short break and, in keeping with my continuing quest towards a life of digital minimalism and mindful productivity, will now be beaming into your ears fortnightly. Visit this page if you’d like to find out about the other things I’m going to be making and sharing alongside this show…


Juliana Hatfield is an artist whose work has been part of my record collection for as long as I can remember, encouraging and inspiring me to share my innermost thoughts and record my own music. In 2018, I was beyond delighted to be invited to support The Juliana Hatfield Three in London and Bristol, and it was a huge treat to get to speak to Juliana for this episode.

Juliana Hatfield is a musician and songwriter who has been releasing excellent albums since 1987, first with Blake Babies, then The Lemonheads, then solo. I first heard Juliana’s work via The Juliana Hatfield Three, whose 1993 album “Become What You Are” spawned two hit singles, “My Sister” and “Spin The Bottle”, which was used in the film Reality Bites.

Alongside seventeen solo albums, Juliana’s extensive back catalogue also includes work under the name Juliana’s Pony, and collaborations with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf (under the name Minor Alps) and Paul Westerberg of The Replacements (under the name The I Don’t Cares). She’s also worked with Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Tanya Donelly, Exene Cervenka and John Doe. She even had a part in a Christmas episode of My So-Called Life…

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • writing about the truth, rejecting society’s expectations and demonstrating alternative ways of living
  • finding creative freedom in limitations
  • sensitivity as a superpower
  • home recording – Juliana’s tough transition from analogue to digital recording, and how her new album “Blood” is her most misanthropic yet

Things to do next:

+ Grab your copy of Juliana’s brilliant new album “Blood” here (or wherever you get your music)
+ Visit her website for information on upcoming live streams, back catalogue and art work for sale





This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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Ep40: Laura Kidd (Penfriend) quizzed by Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) on “Exotic Monsters” and always going deeper…

Ep40: Laura Kidd (Penfriend) quizzed by Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) on “Exotic Monsters” and always going deeper…

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How to listen

Press play below OR click for links to
listen/subscribe on your preferred platform.

Transcript to follow soon.


Welcome to a very special episode of the podcast, where my friend Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff turns the tables on me and steals the host microphone to quiz me on my new album “Exotic Monsters”!


[Content warning: as always, some friendly swearing.]



In this conversation, we discuss:

  • being a doing person – how completing little projects gives me energy
  • the role of letter writing in my life from childhood to now
  • taking the time to get things right in your work, so they won’t haunt you forever
  • facing up to your ghosts, and finding new freedom through music

The three pieces of my own work I recommended are:




This podcast is powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

+ Sponsor a future episode here.

Get your copy of my new album “Exotic Monsters” right here.

+ Get two free songs immediately when you sign up for thoughtful letters about art and music.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo


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