Jimmy Donaghy caught up with the Indie-folk star to chat about artistic freedom, and why it’s never too late to figure things out for yourself.
Your first album was recorded largely by yourself on no budget, and the new album has the funding of a big label, how did that affect the writing process for you?
It was different, but it wasn’t like they threw the whole kitchen sink at us. It was still very modest but it was in a proper recording studio. It was mainly just me and the producer locked in for a couple of weeks making a record together, I did all the demos and arrangements at home so a lot of work was done beforehand and we just went in and recorded them properly.
So could you still do whatever you wanted artistically with the album?
No one tells me what my music should be like! I made the music I wanted to make. Sometimes the label would send their opinions which could be frustrating, but normally it’s because they’re trying to help and they want you to do well. Sometimes there’s a conflict with what you want to do and what people will like, which is a weird place to be in, but everything on the record was written and arranged by me.
There’s a companion album to the new record where you talk about how you wrote some of the songs, can you talk about why you did that?
I was disappointed that there was no funding for filming us making the album in the studio, and the story of how I wrote the songs wasn’t getting told. Especially since some of the new songs are more pop, maybe people would think they were co-written. I played most parts myself and wrote everything so I was proud of that. I don’t really like talking about what songs are about, but I wanted it to be a sort of “making-of”.
You mentioned in an interview that you wanted to do a video for one of the songs and you weren’t allowed to. Can you talk about that?
When someone’s funding you it can limit what you can do, I’m sure there are labels that let the artists do whatever they want but I just wasn’t allowed to do some things. There are songs I probably wouldn’t have put in the album, like ‘Like An Arrow’ which I wrote last, but the album wasn’t going to get released if it didn’t have a song that was radio-friendly, but at that point I just wanted it out so I just thought “I’ll write this song and hopefully it works”.
Lastly, any advice for students?
What I’ve learnt is that a lot of my friends had no idea what they wanted to do until they were in their late twenties. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re eighteen to decide what you’re going to do with your life, and don’t stick with decisions that make you miserable. My happiest friends are the ones who’ve ditched jobs they hated and found ones they loved. I had a friend in radio who left to become a chocolate maker. If you don’t know what you want to do, try lots of different things. I didn’t even know you could be a chocolate maker. There’s more than 25 jobs, there’s thousands.