Foto-© Cá it Fahey
Man kann ja über die vielleicht häufig negativen Auswirkungen von Spotify & Co auf die Musikindustrie und die Gehörgewohnheiten der Nutzer denken, was man will – aber dank Algorithmus und auch redaktioneller Arbeit der Streaming-Dienste entdeckt man doch auch immer wieder Acts und Bands, die man ansonsten wahrscheinlich niemals auf dem Schirm gehabt hätte. Eine unserer Entdeckungen der letzten Jahre war die irische Newcomerin Sorcha Richardson, die mit verschiedenen Singles auf Playlisten immer wieder kleine Ohrwürmer in unsere Köpfe setzte. Somit ist nun die Freude umso größer, erscheint doch diese Woche endlich das Debütalbum First Prize Bravery der Dubliner Songwriterin. Wir haben tief gekramt und das Internet durchforstet, daraufhin einen ganzen Sack Fragen gen Dublin geschickt, nur um euch nun diesen Rohdiamanten ausgiebig vorstellen zu können! Sorcha Richardson in unserem Interview!
What is your first memory of a contact with music? And when did you start to play music?
When I was around 3 I remember finding a tape in my house that had Joe Le Taxi by Vanessa Paradis on it and I used to sit by the tape player and play that on repeat. I also remember having a fisher price toy voice recorder and when I was really young I used to record songs to tape on that.
I properly started playing music when I was around 7 when my granddad gave me an old keyboard he was getting rid of. I think I started learning the violin around the same time but I gave that up after a while and started playing guitar instead.
When did you write your first song and what was the impulse for you to write it? Do you still remember a line of it – if so, what was it?
The first song I remember writing was one that I recorded on that fisher price toy recorder. It was about planets haha. I think I was 4. I found the tape years later and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. There was a line about Pluto being too cold for giraffes.
I made a band with some friends when I was like 10 and we wrote a song called “She only wants you for your money” which I remember every word to. It went
She only wants you for your money
She doesn’t wanna call you honey
She says she thinks you’re really cool
But she really wants you for your swimming pool
It was a hit.
How would you describe your music and which influences do you have?
I guess its alternative singer/songwriter music that’s very lyrically and narrative driven. Some of my biggest influences at the moment are artists like Julia Jacklin and Big Thief and Sharon Van Etten.
How did you make the way out of the practice space to sign a label deal? Which were the steps and how does the time feel for you looking backwards?
Its felt like a very gradual thing. I’ve never been very eager to sign with a label, because I think there’s so much you can do by yourself these days, and above everything, I like having creative control. But once I made this album, it felt like the right time to bring some extra people on board who understood my goals and vision for it and would be able to support that in a way that I wouldn’t be able to do on my own.
I always just wanted to get better at songwriting, so that’s the thing I focus on more than anything else. And I think if you put your energy into improving your craft then labels will come knocking.
How important was it for you moving in a very young age to Brooklyn to study creative writing? Did you at that time already have to aim to become a professional musician?
Moving to New York when I was 18 had such a huge effect on me as a person and as a musician. Almost every aspect of my life changed over night and then I spent some very formative years there. I definitely wanted to be a professional musician at that time but I didn’t have the confidence to really go after it then. I toyed with a few other career prospects for a while – journalism, working at a label – but nothing was ever as fulfilling as writing music.
During that time you were still a drummer, right? When did you then pick up the other instruments and start singing too? Were there certain events that encouraged you for starting to sing for yourself?
Yeah, I’ve played drums since I was 10 and I growing up I only ever wanted to be a drummer. I wrote songs but I was never the one singing them. Sometimes I’d write a song and the singer in whatever band I was in at the time would sing it. Most of the songs I wrote just went unheard for years because I didn’t think I was a good enough singer to sing them. But it felt weird givng them to somebody else.
So when I moved to New York, I was living in a college dorm and didn’t have any space for a drum kit so that’s when I started playing guitar more and trying to record demos in my room. I think the anonymity of being in a New York where nobody knew gave me a lot of freedom to start singing and fail in front of strangers.
A long time you did simple release songs, like Ruin Your Night, Lost or Can’t We Pretend – was it just practice for you at that time or why weren’t you thinking about making an album during that time?
I decided not to make an album at that time, and just write as much as I could, and release my favourite songs that I made. I loved doing that for a while because I felt a huge sense of freedom to just make music without too many rules. I didn’t feel ready to make an album at that time. And I very glad that I waited until now.
We read that when you moved back home and wrote the album opener Honey you had the feeling that it’s time and that you would have an album in you – could you describe the importance of this song and how it felt different to before, when writing the song?
Sometimes something as simple as changing the instrument that you’re writing on can really unlock a different kind of creativity. There’s a piano at my parents’ house in Dublin, and honey was the first song that I had written on piano in a long time.
I had only just decided that I wanted to make an album, but just making that decision gave me a huge sense of freedom to write song to be part of a bigger sonic world, rather than just songs that would be good as stand-alone singles. I wanted to write in a way that I hadn’t before. When I wrote Honey I had a confidence about making the album that I didn’t have before.
Could you tell us a bit about the production process of your record First Prize Bravery? How and with who was it done, what was the best, what the worst moment during production and whats the most told anecdote from that time?
I made the album with Alex Casnoff. Most of it was done between LA and Dublin and Alex produced every song. He recruited some of his friends from various LA bands to play on the album and we made an effort to record the band live as much as possible.
The process of making music always seems so easy once you’re over the finish line. I forget how many days we spent running in circles and feeling frustrated. The process of making the album with Alex was really one of the happiest times of my life and I feel so lucky that I got to do it with him.
Alex produced most of my singles that I’ve released over the past couple years. One day last year I was at his house showing him demos and we decided to go for lunch near his house. When we walked into the café, Ruin Your Night was playing on the speakers, which is the first song that ever made together. It was so surreal and the two of us couldn’t stop laughing when we were trying to order. It felt like a very good omen for the album.
Why did you decide to not take any of your singles onto the record?
I went back and forth about this so much, up until the day we were mastering the album. Ultimately I realized that putting old songs on the album would mean that I’d have to leave new songs off it. And even though I love those singles, it felt like the album would be compromised, creatively, if I included them.
Red Lion is one of your favorites of the record – how was it done, is there a story behind it and when did you come up with it?
I wrote that song in LA last year. My friend Kathryn had just quit her job and flew out to LA and rented a little house up in the silverlake hills. We spent every day for 2 weeks sitting out on the deck of the house; I had headphones on and was writing songs, Kathryn was writing for a project she was working on and our other friend Kerry, who is an artist, would spend the day painting. Then at night we’d wander down to the local bar, Red Lion Tavern, and then some nights we’d wander back up to the house in the and play music through the night.
I loved those weeks so much and wrote a lot of the album sitting out on that deck, so I just wanted to try and capture it in a song, because it felt like a time in my life that I would want to remember.
We have the feeling that your sound on all your songs is very specific and recognizable – were you always sure about how you wanted your songs to sound, which influences did you have or how did you evolve it in time?
By the time I went into making the album I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted it to be, and once Alex came on board he kind of just pushed everything one or two steps further. I think we’ve found a really good way of working together and meeting him in 2016 was probably one of the most pivotal points for me.
In which situations do you usually write the lyrics for your songs and is there a special surrounding / atmosphere / time of day that you work best in?
I write a lot at in my bedroom at night, because I just find it easier to write when it feels like the rest of the world is asleep. But other than that, I write lyrics all the time, in the notes section of my phone.
You’re one of the hottest Irish newcomers at the moment – which other newcomer bands/artists would you suggest to give a listen to?
I’m a big fan of Dijon and Adam Melchor. Some of my favourite new Irish acts are PowPig, Just Mustard, Pillow Queens.
How would you describe the Irish music scene?
I love the Irish music scene right now. I think we have an amazing sense of community and I always feel very supported by the other artists in the scene right now.
With digital streams getting more and more important and albums as a format getting more non-relevant – you as a musician, who released singles for a long time and now moving forward with your debut record, what relevance / role does an album have nowadays for musicians?
I think they’re hugely important. I love listening to albums start to finish. It gives you an opportunity to create more 360 world and a present a more fully formed vision that you invite somebody into for half an hour rather than 3 minutes. Even on my album there are songs that I think work as chapters to each other.
We saw you at Reeperbahn Festival in September – with the record coming up, are there plans for returning to Germany on tour? Any news you can already share with us?
Reeperbahn was so much fun. I loved those shows. I’m hoping to make it back to Germany in the New Year. I’ll keep you posted.
Whats next on your schedule?
I go on tour with Honeyblood in the UK this week. Then I play Mirrors festival in London. I have a music video on the way and another single before the album comes out on Nov 8. So there’s a lot going on at the minute but its’ very exciting.
What should we know and what shouldn’t we know about Sorcha Richardson?
Me and my bass player Joe do a great karaoke version of You’re The One that I Want from Grease.
Maybe you shouldn’t know that I’m thinking of making that the last song we listen to on tour before we go on stage?
What are you doing when you’re not doing music?
Hanging out by the coast or at my friends’ house watching movies
What was the last record you brought?
Electric Dream by Otherkin
What did you learn in 2019?
How to play the concertina (kind of…)
Which song makes you dance every time?
One night by Mura Masa & Charli XCX
How would your Bedroomdisco look like?
Like a mess from the night before