Sverige. Fluke. Landslide. London singer-songwriter Tanya Auclair's music exists in a forest of signposts and fractals, where atoms hum and fizz like planets in skewed orbit. Following her Fluke and Origami EPs, Auclair has enlisted a trove of synths and the help of Micachu's 'spiral armed' drummer Marc Pell.

Her songs now ping between Squamish, Rwanda and deep space. Recent single 'Jupiter + Venus' resonates amongst some dark energy - intuitive songwriting coupled with beguiling explorations in syncopation and odd harmonies that hang suspended like weightless jewels. Auclair will soon release her third EP, Semaphore, via DIY London label Kit Records.

We caught up with Tanya to chat about signs in music, recent collaborations and the the evolution of her sound.

Hey Tanya, how's your day going?

Buoyant - because it started with a swim.

We love your single, 'Jupiter + Venus', were you thinking in celestial terms when you wrote it?

I'd been following the conjunction of 'Jupiter + Venus' for a week, where they enter a kind of planetary tango, and seem to be dancing past each other when they're really millions of kilometres apart. The idea really touched me. We had some really nice synths in the studio I was very smitten with at the time too, so the conditions were ripe for hours of going cosmic.

Before Semaphore came Origami - are these just neat monikers, or is there some kind of concept progression going on?

Not one that was intentional. But when you look hard enough you can find patterns everywhere. Thrum was a journey, Origami was about making, and Semaphore is about communication. I like the EP format for allowing me to explore sounds and ideas in a really focused way then move on. But as a rule the spark point when I write usually comes from a sound rather than the meaning. With the latest EP, the title and theme came together at the very end, from a story my Dad told me from his childhood in Squamish, Canada.

His Dad was testing his semaphore skills for a sea scout exam. The image of them talking with flags was a moment that stuck with me... that conversation can be so direct and unambiguous... that we talk with our bodies and through symbols all the time... that music is full of symbols, codes and movement... that the power of musical or sonic expression is so direct and physical. Then I realised that these ideas around communication and connection were permeating all the songs I had written.

Can you tell us a little about your recent Radio 3 session?

It was part of a series Late Junction do where they bring together artists to write a bunch of new work together in a day. They invited me to collaborate with Brandt Brauer Frick on one of these sessions. We had a whole day in Maida Vale's Studio 3 and decided we would improvise everything and see what came out. It was a bonkers and intense process, and I had no idea how it sounded. All your senses are so heightened and you're thinking moment to moment, afterwards it feels like you come out of a fugue state, we absolutely loved it.

Tanya Auclair
Tanya Auclair
Tanya Auclair

I feel visualisations are important for your music, have you enjoyed working together with Kit Records artist Sarah Tanat-Jones?

Sarah and I connected over lots of things but especially a love of colour and '60s book cover art, as well as the idea of crafting something a bit special as a format for the EP. For the physical copies of Semaphore, she's created this beautiful booklet containing artwork for each song.

You performed solo for several years, how was the transition from that to leading your own band?

It's fun and hard work - suddenly it's you to the power of 4. It's freed me up to feel it all more and communicate in different ways. I love the dynamic you get between everyone on stage, the sensations in your voice box of singing in harmony with other people, feeling the drums and bass go through you, the directness and energy loop you can make with the crowd.

Which other artists do you find particularly inspiring at the moment?

Anna Meredith, Owen Pallett, Karen Gwyer, Juana Molina, Colin Stetson, The Knife.

And what does the future hold?

Learning how to speak semaphore! The video for my single 'Mersea Mersea Me' is out soon, then the EP launch party on September 24th. After that me and the band go on the road.


Kit Records are throwing a party for the Semaphore launch at Power Lunches in Dalston on Sept 24th. You can also pre-order Semaphore here.