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.