FEATURE

The Rosie Taylor Project
Interview

We caught up with Jonny Davies, the singer with Alt-Folk band The Rosie Taylor project for a quick chat in the lead up to the new album Twin beds.

Thanks for agreeing to do this interview, I guess the best place to start is can you tell us about the new album?

Twin Beds, as we have called it, is our sophomore effort. It's a mid-length album, but that's not to say a sensible cut. It's honest and that's often not an easy take.

So how many tracks did you have to work with and how many have made the album?

It is comprised of 11 tracks. We demoed a handful more, Dear Whiskey for example which you can download for free from our blog. The same is true of the song The Wedding which was a late omission; it had a somewhat awkward structure which was at odds with the shape and movement of the record as a whole. Coherence was important to us certainly.

Did making the album more coherent and trying to give it more structured approach slow the release, or did you just not want to rush the follow up?

The album was in fact written in a year and we went into the studio at the end of 2009 so around a year and a half after the release of This City Draws Maps. The delays occurred for reasons perhaps not worth going into here. It's true we wanted to be measured with it and take some time but we never imagined it would be a 2012 release.

Any significance to the title?

It's called Twin Beds, though a more accurate title may be the 'space of tension that separates the twin beds'. The title track on the album is also the opening track and it loops the line "we were two heartbeats lonely as we could be, in perfect company". This sentiment runs through a lot of the tracks in so much as instilling a sense of anticipation and portraying situations not fully defined.

What was it like to be working with Richard Formby (Wildbeasts, Herman Dune) again?

We were again privileged to be working with Richard, who is a gifted, patient producer and a real gentleman. When we went back in the studio 'Two Dancers' had been released a month prior. It was fantastic to see that record given due credit with the Mercury nomination, both for Richard and for Wild Beasts; there are not enough superlatives for either of them.

Your last single was picking up a bit a radio play with Huw Stevens in particular taking a shine to it, how does it feel to have some one like that taking an interest?

It was incredible really, we self released the single 'Sleep' with all the anxiety of waking up having been dormant for two years. We believed in that song wholeheartedly but sometimes a gentle nod is appreciated and we were pleased it came from Huw.

You also directed the last video yourself, how did that come about?

We're fortunate that our drummer Shakey is a filmmaker who has previously shot music videos for the likes of Pulled Apart by Horses. I have an unhealthy obsession with film and Shakey is patient enough to let me hang out with him when he is with a camera. The video is inspired by the work of Patrick Keiller and Abbas Kiarostami, two filmmakers that work in a documentary style and blow up seemingly small everyday moments to cinematic proportions. It pairs well I think with songwriting where often music elevates a thought that might otherwise have been confined to a page in a journal.

Is that how you go about song writing? Do you see it as an extension of your own ‘journal’ based thoughts?

Yes I do. The events will not be in sequence and they may be cut and glued from a handful of moments but I will have witnessed much of what I am singing about and a song is, I find, the most natural way for me to keep a record of the thoughts that subsequently arise.

Are there any lyrics you've written that you have been particularly fond of? I like your line "there's no defeat like a kiss from an ex lovers lips".

I do like Matt Beringer's (The national) writing a lot. I think he reaches a good balance of description and insight. 'Baby We'll Be Fine' on their album Alligator is pretty much perfect with lines like “all night I lay on my pillow and pray for my boss to stop me in hallway, lay my head on his shoulder and say son, I've been hearing good things'. It's good right?Is it hard to decide when a song is complete, do you look back over things and think ‘maybe I shouldn't of written that’ or do you just try and take it straight to the studio?

Ha, it's midday now and I'm not sure I made the right choice at breakfast.

Are there any influences on your writing outside of music?

A lot of inspiration comes from books and cinema as I think is quite typical with songwriting. Some take a narrative structure like in a novel where others make use of film techniques such as flashbacks or montage. Most films I take to heart are supported by a strong screenplay and I think likewise good songwriting is often informed by literature and related arts.

You said you self released the single, what happened with Bad Sneakers? I see the new album is being released through Oddbox?

We still work with Bad Sneakers though they took the decision to focus their energies on other aspects of the music industry, management for example. There is certainly no underestimating the support and resource they have given us over the years. It was they in fact who gave the album to the good folk at Oddbox.

Do you have plans to tour this album? You've been off the touring scene for a little while now.

We have plans to play some shows in February, that's regrettably all I can say at this stage but i'm sure we'll play these songs sometime soon.

You've supported and been supported by some great acts, any favourites?

Midlake was a special support slot. We hadn't played ten shows and we were followed by Andrew Bird and guys who were touring Trials of Van Occupanther. I could hardly recall my own name on stage, it was surreal and wonderful.
A couple years back we headlined a show at the Brudenell social club in Leeds. In support was a band called Flowe. They had dreamy harmonies and a just sweet enough guitar sound. They've since disbanded but singer Paul Thomas Saunders released a sensational ep last year and I guess an album is to follow. He has a voice that peaks and cracks in all the right places.

Do you feel your music is best experienced live or do you feel you come across better on record?

I don't know if I can comment on how we come across but both live and on record I feel part of an intimate experience. I would like as many people as possible to come to live shows of course but I appreciate there is merit to having a record soundtrack whatever it is your doing wherever it may be and I think our music lends itself to that.

Are there any other Rosie Taylor related projects we should be looking out for?

No, one is enough.

What does the rest of the year hold for Rosie Taylor Project?

The plan for the year is a pragmatic one, the album is released 13th February and we'll see where that takes us. In the meantime we'll continue with writing new songs and grab any opportunities that come our way!

Phill

The Rosie Taylor Project
Twin Beds

Released: 12th Feb 2012

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