You’re currently on tour supporting Ed Sheeran – how’s it going?
‘The tour’s going great so far! It’s been interesting – it’s not the kind of crowd that I’m used to playing to. It’s a very big change but it’s been a good challenge. I think the vast majority of the crowd would rather I was Rizzle Kicks or someone like that, but they’ve all been really respectful and responsive.
What’s Ed like?
‘Ed is an absolute legend. He’s an absolute sweetheart of a bloke and even if you’re not into pop music you’ve got to admit that he’s great to watch. Ed’s not only on the top of his game but he’s completely and utterly down to earth – he’s spent a lot of this tour babysitting my daughter and playing Lego with her!
Who have been the best crowd on the tour so far?
‘Well, Newport in Wales was just pin-drop silence so that was pretty great. Bournemouth was great too – it’s a massive venue but the crowd were brilliant, they really made it feel like an intimate gig.
You released your Melrose EP this year – what’s your favourite track from it?
‘Hmm… I’d probably say Be the Song. I don’t really have a favourite but that’s probably the one that I play the most live.
Let’s talk writing – do you normally write the music or the lyrics first?
‘Well, for Be the Song I was doing a residency in a bar in Greenwich where I just went and improvised the set – you know, not playing any real songs! So during one of those shows the music for Be the Song arrived and then I wrote the lyrics a couple of weeks later. It kinda varies though – sometimes I just get a lyric or a chorus pop into my head and I just go from there.
Any plans for another album?
‘Yes – it’ll be out early next year and it’s pretty much recorded. I’ve got an album’s worth of material that I’ve got recorded and finished. I went to a studio owned by the guitarist from The Villagers in August and laid down around fifteen songs, but I’ve got about four or five more songs that I’ve written that I want to get on there. For me albums are like a stamp in time and I think that I’ve got a couple of unrecorded songs that would mark this time for me better than some of the others, so if I get a chance to rerecord them I will.
Who are your biggest influences, both as a songwriter and a guitarist?
‘Wow. You know what… I don’t think I could pin it down to any one person… I suppose I like the melting pot idea, like America in the 1950’s where blues merged with Irish music and country music to make a whole new sound. I’ve always liked that melting pot idea, so I’ve never really had a single major influence.
You use a lot of alternate tunings – do you feel that the songs would sound the same in standard tuning?
‘Well, unless you’re a MAJORLY good player I don’t think you can really get the same sounds as you can with different tunings – I don’t remember what the chord is, I just remember if it sounds good or not, so I suppose that it makes a pretty major difference to the sound.
Which song do you wish you’d written?
‘There are a lot of songs I wish I’d written or songs that I’d have been extremely proud of – A Case of You by Joni Mitchell? That’s the first one that springs to mind… Wonderful Remark by Van Morrison is a killer tune, Tom Waits’ The House Where Nobody Lives and anything from Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks are all favourites of mine too.
Describe yourself in three words?
‘Not Always Present.