Luke Twyman, aka Neverest Songs, seemed to come out of nowhere with the release of the wonderful Small Voyages last year on Unlabel, yet he's actually been recording in his home studio since 2005. In a few weeks time he'll release his debut, double A-side single 'Paper Trumpets/Softly, Quite Softly, Quite Softly through Tea At Yours and we caught up with him to talk about film composition, the new single and playing live.
Your debut album seemed to come out of nowhere when it was released last year. How do you feel about the record now that it's been around a while? I’m really pleased with it. I spent a lot of time on it and I didn’t want to be afraid of making a relatively long album as a debut. I’m glad I resisted the temptation of putting out a smaller release first, although obviously it does mean there was no real build up. There are some things I’d do quite differently now, I think that’s normal. It’s fairly subtle, but by all accounts it’s one that becomes more rewarding with time, I’m happy for it to have less of an initial impact if instead it has some life span. You’re about to release your new single ‘Paper Trumpets’. Could you talk us through the track? Sure, it’s two tracks actually, which I’m releasing as a 7”. A double A-side if you like… although I always think it’s a shame there’s a need for a special term just to say that one half of your 7” isn’t filler! It’s very much two tracks that belong together and released for the format. ‘Paper Trumpets’ is a slow dreamy waltz, about childhood imagination. ‘Softly, Quite Softly, Quite Softly’ is a purely brass and vocal arrangement. This is the first time I’d written for brass, and we recorded it at the Union Chapel. I’m excited about doing more of this sort of thing. Do you have plans to follow it with an album? I’m working on another album currently. At the moment I’m not sure how far off that will be but I’m writing and recording a lot, trying to decide where I want it to go. I’m not in a hurry really. In December and January I went through a period where I forced myself to record at least one song sketch every day, to try and quickly throw up some contrasting ideas, but I think ultimately giving it some time is the best I can do.
Have you played many shows? I assume it must be a difficult process to arrange? Yeah I’ve played a lot of shows, since 2005 I think. Initially live it was always just guitar and vocals. Then I had a cellist for a while, and since then it’s opened up with interchangeable live members. In the last few years it seems to have developed so that I do live shows in seasons, I’ll have a spell concentrating on playing live, then a spell focusing on recording. This also means I get a chance to change things around, if there’s something that I’m not happy with in the live sound or set-list. Lately it has become more difficult, in part because many of the songs now are either piano based or something else not so easy to re-create live. I have started to wonder if down the line I’ll end up not worrying about live shows and concentrating fully on recording… but I’m not making that decision just yet. You've also done a score for a film ('All That Glitters'). How was that? Did you have to approach it differently from what you're used to? It was great, it was tough and not something I had any previous experience in, but great to do because of that. It was certainly a very different approach, which meant that I got to play with a few ideas and sounds I wouldn’t normally use, the end result being a largely theremin led score, kind of dark and dream-like for the most part. Any plans for doing more film based projects? No specific plans as yet but I would definitely like to work on some more projects in film or similar if the right sort of thing comes along. We mentioned a few different reference points in our review of your album but who would you consider as being an influence on your music? I always find it quite difficult mentioning artists because some of the ones that have inspired me to make music most of all, are very distant from what I actually do. Some more noticeable influences might be: Björk, Yann Tiersen, My Bloody Valentine, traditional folk and old stories, Philip Glass, lots of pop from my childhood. Schubert. Lastly, what else do you have planned for 2011? On March 19 I’m doing an audio-visual set at ICA in London, it’s not really Neverest Songs, or any dedicated side-project, just a one-off combining live performance with computer generated soundscapes and visuals. In April I plan to resume regular live shows. Beyond that I’ve not really mapped out much for the rest of the year, but perhaps a trip back to New York at some point to record new piano songs.