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A Chat With Louise Connell aka Reverieme


Reverieme released one of the most compelling EPs of 2015 so when we heard they were returning with a fully fledged album we couldn't wait to hear more. When offered the chance for a chat with founder-member, vocalist and guitarist Louise Connell, we jumped and immediately accepted. Here is what we found out. 

MG: Straw Woman was released last week: congrats! How did you choose the title?

LC: Some people have spouses, some people have children, some people have incredibly fulfilling careers; I have a book of logical fallacies that I enjoy quoting whenever someone tries to engage me in a spurious argument. I’m just kidding! I used to have a book of logical fallacies. The straw man argument is one of the easier and more annoying of these to point out when your companion is spitting an impassioned rant in your face. [It's a 'common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent'. Thanks, Wikipedia — Features Ed]. Calling the album Straw Woman is mostly just me trying to be clever and annoying, which is also all I really hope to be during most arguments. 

MG: The album follows your acoustic EP Or The Light from last year. For those not already familiar with your music, can you tell us about what we can expect from the album?

LC: It was only when we completed ‘Or Else the Light’ that I realised there’s a fair difference between an acoustic song, like those on the EP, and a song that’s referred to as being acoustic because it doesn’t feature drum fills and overdriven electric guitars (but still has eleven percussion tracks and eight harmony vocals). For the acoustic EP, we only recorded lead vocals and one or two accompanying instruments. The new album was always going to be a fairly distant departure from that in terms of production and composition, though I did retain all the screamo parts.

MG: You received rave reviews for the EP. Does that place you under pressure creatively for the album?

LC: Fortunately, as far as the writing process goes, I had penned all the songs on the album before the EP was released, which meant I didn’t need to consider what anyone had critiqued or commented on (at least at that particularly vulnerable stage). Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t retroactively hate, and panic over, each song regularly.   

MG: The album is headed up by the release of 'Golem'. How do you know what songs should be singles?

LC: I don’t take much to do with that decision, thankfully. There are certain, commercial, aspects of the album release that swoop past my head, and I happily wave them on their merry way. I think I’m slightly too close to the writing and production of the album to be objective about what songs other people would like most. It has to be a colder process than having me sit at my highchair, jabbing my chubby finger at my favourite songs while cawing, “ME LIKE DIS!”

MG: Are there any songs on the album you are nervous about people hearing? 

LC: For the four people who listened to and enjoyed the acoustic EP, some of the songs on the album will be a change from what they’re used to. Everything’s still very jolly, and the release falls firmly into the realm of pop music, but a few songs have transformed in their journey from one release to the next. It’s like watching the second series of a TV programme after it’s been renewed and has had a budget injection; suddenly they’re filming on location and one of the cast of Friends is guest starring.

MG: As an artist you are in charge of all aspects of your project, what part of the project do you most enjoy?

LC: I love all the creative parts of making an album. Writing songs can occasionally feel less like a choice and more of a necessity (it’s like a penance for my sanity – like, it prevents me from eating the wallpaper or collecting moths or listening to Nickleback records), but it also makes me feel like me. I’ve really enjoyed helping with the production of this record, too, and seeing how much of an art form this part can become. Creating the artwork is tremendous fun, too, though I’m writing this as I wrangle with template after template to create the album layout, so I’m probably less enamoured than I could be.

MG: As a performer you are known for the intimacy of your live sets. What's the secret to engaging your audience?

LC: More and more, I think engaging an audience has as much to do with the crowd as it does with the performer. I played a few shows in Sweden last year and I was mesmerized by the way that the people, who had come along to listen to music, actually came along and listened to music. Over the preceding months, I’d been so used to playing, and attending, concerts where the first musical note heralded a trip to the bar (or the opportunity for people to start screaming their conversations) that it totally baffled me at first. “You’re all listening!” I’d spurt, confusedly. “This won’t be getting any better, you know. Seriously, you’re very welcome to talk amongst yourselves.” Of course, it transpired fairly quickly that this is actually the normal way to behave at concerts. It taught me that, if both parties fulfill their side of the concert bargain, the performer will benefit and the audience will receive the best show possible.

MG: You are also known for your wicked sense of humour. Do you have to pre-prepare for live ad-libs?

LC: I’m prone to some fairly ridiculous manifestations of nerves on stage. There’s the usual where-to-look dilemma, as well as some localized shaking in my various appendages, but I also need a tissue on hand for an uncontrollably runny nose that develops whenever I’m nervous. All this has led me to prepare a few, marginally insane, talking points for one or two shows. At my last album launch, I copied out notes from a book about dealing with nerves and recited them to the audience. One of the pieces advised that you should imagine a confident person and channel their chutzpah when you’re feeling nervous. Long story short, I wound up taping a picture of Cliff Richard to my guitar for the rest of the gig. It was a better evening than you’d imagine, I swear.

MG: Which part of the album release do you enjoy most - writing, recording or performing?

LC: In the past, I would have said writing without any hesitation. Recording this album has been fantastic, though, and I can’t wait to get back in the studio again soon.

MG: Lastly, if you could collaborate with one artist on a future release, who would it be?

LC: Let’s say John Grant. I love how his songs toe the line between beauty and whimsy, but at the core they’re absolutely furious. That’s if Chad Kroeger isn’t available, of course. 


Reverieme's latest album, Straw Woman, is out now and you can buy it on iTunes and Amazon. To keep up-do-date with future releases and live dates, keep your eyes on Reverieme's website, Facebook and Twitter


The Weekly Froth!

  • Published in Columns


The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the week: ‘I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler’ by YACHT

Seriously, that title alone makes this one worth talking about, because that is just friggin’ awesome. Not only that, it’s probably exactly what every semi-nerdish person is thinking at this very moment, because who hadn’t expected the future to be cooler? At least give us that hooverboard man! Google Glass is too 1984 (never mind all the curfews-following-protests and stuff), but the hoverboard is the epitome of futuristic playfulness! Anyway, YACHT, I love YACHT. Not only for their witticisms (there’s an English grad in that band after all), and not only for the fact that there’s an actual ideology-- or at the very least, workplace ethos-- behind it, but also because they know how to create a catchy tune. First Claire sings the title of the track, layered with a bit of roboticism. And then the tune start, with the kickdrum, with the bass, with loads of auxiliary sounds like that catchy piano line that starts at around the fifty second mark. They attack the chorus pretty niftily, dialling it slightly back for the verses. There is a little break with some handclaps around the two minute mark, then they go at it again, and then they bring it down to just a synth line and the vocals, before going all out to the finish line again. Love the double vocal layers, the catchiness, and just this whole track is wickedly fun, to be honest.

‘Stranger In A Room’ by Jamie XX feat. Oliver Sim (Pional’s Room Version)

Last week this column featured a Pional remix that he did together with John Talabot, and this week we’ve got a track where lonesome he takes on Jamie XX’s track ‘Stranger In A Room’, featuring Oliver Sim on vocals. Love the piano at the start, leave it to Pional to herald that instrument, and the drums give it some backbone. A floating synthline is underneath it all, being a constant in the background. Soon the vocals come in, slightly detached. At about 1:14 Pional slows the pace down for a moment, going with a non-rhythm bass sound. I love the atmosphere of the tune, it is slightly dark, moody, but for instance that guitar that comes in at 2:16, or the sudden relative clarity of the vocals: just some things that then suddenly come above the fray and give you a little jolt to the body. The ending, pretty nifty, with a slow guitar sound over the more trippy percussion. Another power offering by Pional.


‘Disappointing’ by John Grant feat. Tracey Thorn

John Grant already went fairly electronic with his quite awesome previous album, veering away from the more singer-songwriter territory of his first solo endeavour. After his Hercules And Love Affair stint it should come as no surprise that this new single really starts rubbing its shoulders with the disco. The electro synth lines give it this bass-y catchiness, with new instruments popping up every now and again. In the mean time John Grant puts on his low voice for the verse, where he names all kinds of things that are Disappointing, compared to you. I like the theatrics of the backing vocals doing a sort of shubby-do-waa near the end of the chorus. The second verse Grant gets some help from Tracey Thorn, who helps him come up with stuff that don’t quite cut it if you put it next to love (or, at least, him). In the chorus they kind of dial the pace back a bit, though they keep a kickdrum behind it all to make sure you can still do a little dance whilst the tune keeps plodding forward. At about three quarters of the way through there is a little instrumental interlude, capped off by a moment of just vocals before it reaches its end. Which it does with a sound that is pretty uplifting, they managed to choose the instruments well to convey that feel. Saw them two years ago in the pouring rain at Primavera Sound in Barcelona (No no, look here, it says it’s not going to rain, so we can leave our raingear at home...), and looking forward to seeing him this Autumn when there’s actually a roof over my head.

‘City’ by Stuart McCallum

Stuart McCallum is gearing up for an album release, of which this is the title track. The start is really electronical, with a simmering synth, a bit of echo on the vocals it seems, bit after about thirty seconds you get the soulful voice and a nice slice of guitar to pierce through this atmosphere of a more industrial (nay, city) vibe that the instruments build behind that. At 1:20 he goes ghostly, having just the vocals at first doing some ooooh, after which you briefly here a soft guitar, before it goes into a sort of dub-steppy drum rhythm. In the mean time McCallum is singing that He fell in love with that city, after which you get a sort of jazz guitar solo, which is pretty wicked. And that makes it the intriguing listen that it is, the theme of it that is enhanced by the more electronical drums and instruments, but the humaneness of the soulful vocals and the jazzy guitar sound that walks right through all that. Album will be released on the 28th of August, if this tickled your fancy.


‘Lost In A Dream’ by Eagles And Butterflies (Larse remix)

Larse knows how to make a good deep house tune for the dancefloor, and here too he starts with a nice bit of rhythm with the percussion and beat setting the pace. At about the fifty second mark he sets the tone in terms of atmosphere, before combining that with the returning beat again after a couple of seconds. At the 1:20 mark he slides in a nice, reasonably paced synth line, which becomes more prominent in the upcoming parts. At 2:30 he starts to sneak in the piano, which will become an actual piano bit when he dials out the synth line. Which is neat, as he already introduced the replacement earlier, and when it comes it’s a smoother transition. At the halfway point he again subtly changes things up, in with some new stuff and out with some old stuff, but the core stays within this realm to help the track keep its continuity, which is no bad thing for the dancefloor. Before the five minute mark he turns down the beat and most of the percussion, starting with basically just a synth before building it up with, as the last addition, the beat coming back at the six minute mark (like, exactly). Another awesome instrumental house tune by Larse, who knows how to get those people down by the underpass dancing.


‘You Can Shine’ by Andy Butler feat. Richard Kennedy (The Carry Nation Remix)

Last month an EP of sorts was released where three people took on Andy Butler’s solo effort ‘Can You Shine’, which has Richard Kennedy on vocals. This is The Carry Nation’s takes on the tune, who starts it out with a bit of that bongo percussion to get that rhythm and jackin’ vibe going. Then the beat comes in, and even more African based percussion come out of the woodworks to get all y’all doing whatever you do on that rhythm thing. Just after the minute mark there comes a bit of Berlin in there too, a bit of that industrial synth, before Richard Kennedy comes in with those crystal clear house vocals that sing that He makes me special. The synth, in the mean time, is doing that bass thing to really get that House vibe going on, with this one transmorphing into an old school House tune with the soulful vocals, all those jackin’ rhythms, and this tale of love that fell apart, with house music and the dancing as the saviour. That change-up at about 4:20, that’s sweet, that’s some bass sound dancefloor goodness right there. Which, incidentally, starts an instrumental house-a-thon with some lovely change-ups to keep the dancing crowd going, and it’s only after 1 1/2 minute that the vocals come back in (though, from the back of the mix). Basically it’s just an 8 1/2 minute long party for all the freaks and geeks who like that House sound.


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