London songwriter Annie Eve has been winning plenty of plaudits in recent months, and this summer earned a first appearance at Glastonbory. To make the release of her debut album Sunday 91 Joseph Merriman caught up with Annie to find out what inspires her.
JM: Annie, the first few songs you put into the ether were solo projects. Now, on record, you play with a band. Was the transition a difficult one?
Annie: I feel it was an organic transition, one that developed over time. So it wasn’t hard to accept a bigger sound because I wanted it. It was difficult however, to find the right fit.
JM: You’ve just released Sunday 91. Are there any running themes throughout the album?
Annie: I think in terms of a theme, the most cohesive elements you’ll find will be regarding the sound. Sonically, the songs are coloured and moulded with similar ideas of landscape and colour. Material-wise though, the record isn’t about one thing, or one person… It’s a collective of songs that have come from me, and grown with me. Some of them newer than others.
JM: You’ve stated Bob Dylan and Bon Iver as musicians you admire – would you describe your music as folk or has it shifted towards a different niche in your eyes?
Annie: I still prioritise lyrics. If a song is honest and has a certain poetry behind it, then I believe it would work with the simplest of instrumental structures. The tracks have their own landscapes now, they have a body of sound to go with their story. What that does to the niche, is up to listener I suppose.
JM: Do you write the accompaniments or do they come together as you and the band play?
Annie: Usually there’ll be a fairly strong idea of what I want for the track, and the more we play it, that picture may become more vivid. We toy with ideas occasionally.
JM: Do you have a favourite place you like to compose?
Annie: I like to write when it’s very peaceful, and I like the dark. Anywhere that feels safe, and calm, is best to write. My room was that for a long time, but it gets harder because I’m away often.
JM: Has the album production taught you anything new about what you can do musically?
Annie: Yeah, for sure. I spent a lot of time experimenting with what the guitar can do and how you can build with different sounds. Even with my voice too, we used different outputs to build a warped universe of sound. I surprised myself even, endurance wise. We were never short of ideas.
JM: Are there any new sounds or instruments you’ve now found you’d like to work more with?
Annie: I’d really to work with the Gibson L6 again, it’s a beautiful instrument. Since being in the studio I’ve found myself mildly infatuated with FX pedals. I invested in a ‘Memory Boy’ and recently got a ‘Dr Scientist’.
JM: You’ve played Glastonbury this year, how was it for you?
Annie: Glastonbury is the dream man, it’s a milestone for any musician. Us playing; it was a massive achievement and being there to play not just to listen was really satisfying. I found the experience incredible humbling.
JM: Were there any acts that particularly impressed you?
Annie: Warpaint. And I got to see my mates’ band Findlay and they always impress me.
JM: Are there any artists you’d like to work with?
Annie: Yeah, for sure, there are many artists I admire and would be honoured to jam with. Bon Iver, Warpaint, Half Moon Run, Patti Smith.. Deftones.. Honestly any of my favourite bands. I don’t feel like genre should restrict a musician.
JM: Do you have a dream venue you’d like to play?
Annie: Not really off the top of my head. I would really just love to explore the world and play many places. I’m desperate to play Seattle, Chicago, Portland, and the general west coast.
JM: Are there any people you write your songs for in particular?
Annie: Writing for me is innate. I might write as a result of something, or someone.. But I don’t think I’ve written something for anybody. I think if I ever did, I’d be too embarrassed to tell them anyway.