Wednesday, February 15, 2023

INTERVIEW | 'The Physical Properties of a Vinyl Record Are Important to Me' - Kate Ellis Chats Vinyl Release of Album 'Spirals', Vinyl Launch, Music Videos and More!


A new year, a new vinyl record for the collection as the wonderful Kate Ellis is releasing her critically acclaimed sophomore 2022 album Spirals on the format in a few weeks.

Accompanied by a launch show at The Green Note on February 27th, the fantastic album comes with an extra track, which was also recorded during the same sessions with producer John Reynolds. Kate has also released a radio edit of 'Other Side of the Street' too, and has other dates this month lined up too.

Kate took some time ahead of the release to talk about the vinyl and more!

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You’re releasing Spirals on vinyl, with a show set for the end of February to celebrate the release. We love vinyl here at Tour Bus Tunes…is it safe to say you’re a collector too?

We have a LOT of vinyl in the house, particularly thanks to my partner Andy. I’ve also got some prized records from my dad that really influenced me. (I actually made some short videos about 'My Dad’s Records' which you can find on my YouTube). I love that they are old and were loved by him. The physical properties of a vinyl record as an object are very special and important to me.

It’s not your first show at the wonderful Green Note, nor is it your first launch gig there either. What is it, for you, that makes you keep coming back? What makes it such a special venue?

The Green Note is one of my favourite venues in London. Immy and Risa who run it are so supportive of the Americana/folk/roots community. I love playing in warm, intimate spaces like this and the Green Note has also got a lovely old-world vibe. The food is wonderful and – an all-important detail – the sound guy is always great!

The vinyl comes with an unreleased bonus track. Was it always the intention, one way or the other, to put this song eventually out there? Was it saved, always destined for the vinyl version of the album?

We adored the way the track came out and were planning to put it on the album originally but John the producer felt strongly that because it was so well-known as a song it might pull focus from my original material which he felt was wrong. So we decided to release it as a single down the line. Then because the vinyl production process took so long (vinyl plants were very affected by Covid and Brexit, etc) we decided it would make a great bonus track on a vinyl record on the anniversary of the original release. With Spirals already established as the original ten-track album, it makes the vinyl release even more special by adding 'Hurt' as a bonus track.

You worked with John Reynolds on the album. What did he bring to the album? What did you come out of the sessions with after working with him?

The collaboration with producer John Reynolds (who’s worked with the likes of Sinéad O’Connor and Indigo Girls) on my album Spirals was an amazing experience. He is a super-talented artist in his own right and has such an emotional feel for the music and skill in the craft of production. I was in awe watching him work his magic in the studio. He also creates a really supportive environment for experimentation, which I appreciated greatly. I was able to contribute musical ideas for instruments that I don't typically play, simply by following my instincts. This collaboration taught me the power of trusting my instincts in music and how impactful it can be.

Our recording process was interrupted by the 2020 lockdown, but in hindsight, this pause allowed us to reflect and refine the music. When we resumed, we completed the remaining tracks with a clearer vision and the end result was even better. John’s artistic vision was integral to the success of the album and I'm so proud of what we accomplished together.

I love that for the video for ‘Other Side of the Street’ you focussed on a different side of London, away from the busy, bustling scenes that we’re typically presented with. When it came to locations for the shoot, how involved were you with choosing? And with the video premise overall?

We all wanted to capture the light-hearted, pop appeal of this song and felt that a journey through a mix of colourful, urban and leafy streets of London would fit perfectly. I was the main location scout which I thoroughly enjoyed! The idea for the video came from a conversation about the simple but fun idea of the camera filming from the “other side of the street.” Even though the lyrics are sad, the song has an upbeat, happy feel – I love how the locations in the video celebrate the beauty of our city while the camera keeps its distance expressing the loneliness in the lyrics.

I personally love a good music video and find that a good video sticks with you. What are some of your favorite videos?

Yes, me too – that’s why I put a lot of work into mine to try and make them really bring out the best in the song. I think sometimes a great music video can help us remember the artist and song more than just hearing the track on radio or in a playlist.

Three of my all-time favs:

'Nothing Compares To You' by Sinead O’Connor – the simplicity of the camera moving slowly closer and that teardrop!

'Hurt' by Johnny Cash – an incredible moving, poignant video for a truly incredible version of the song. And it turned out to be his obituary as Johnny died seven months after it was filmed.

'Subterranean Homesick Blues' by Bob Dylan – with the iconic and much-imitated cascading cue cards. The simplest and the best!

Musically, what does 2023 hold for you?

Well we released the 'Other Side Of The Street (Radio Edit)' single at the start of the year along with the new video that you mentioned, and I’m currently working on the launch of the Spirals vinyl and 'Hurt' single and video.

Apart from that, I’m looking forward to continuing the ARC tour (Americana, Roots, Country) with my musical buddies My Girl The River and Anna Howie (our next gig is Feb 18th at Forest Arts in Hampshire.) We all love each other’s songs and enjoy harmonising on them, singing a few covers together and generally having a blast.

I’m also looking forward to more of my own shows (including the vinyl launch at the Green Note on Feb 27th), continuing to share songs from Spirals and my first album Carve Me Out, as well as maybe trying out some new ones! Also starting some home demos of new songs for a future release – although I tend to take these things quite slowly!

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Spirals is released on vinyl March 3rd, and available to stream now.

For all things Kate Ellis, including tour dates, visit her website.


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