You’re performing at Lancaster Library this afternoon for the Get It Loud In Libraries project, what do you think of this concept of having gigs in libraries?
I think it’s brilliant! It’s perfect. Libraries are really important and this is a nice way of keeping them alive and keeping people interested in them. It reminds them that libraries aren’t just about being quiet, they’re places of community exchange and act as the hub of many communities.
Your latest album Moonshine Freeze has been out for a few months now, how have people reacted to the record from your point of view?
It’s been really great, people have been so nice about it. People that don’t like it don’t usually tell you, so there’s probably a few people who aren’t into it! [laughs]
I’ve seen the record on a lot of year-end lists – how does it feel to know that your album is so highly regarded by these high profile publications?
It feels amazing – the record came out in July last year, so maybe that’s helped because people have had a while to properly get into it. I haven’t really noticed the ‘End of Year’ lists before now, it seems like a newly exploded thing.
What is the record about and what does it mean to you?
There’s a lot, it deals with change and coming to terms with stuff, equanimity, finding the right balance between feeling stuff and not minding about stuff. Just human beings, and the way we mug along together and sort things out together. And the lessons that we learn and re-learn as individuals but also as a species.
Given the political climate we’re living in, maybe we’re not learning all of our lessons the first time around!
We’ve forgotten loads of stuff… It looks like we’re going to have to re-learn and be reminded of some things.
You worked with John Parish on the album – and he’s worked with other incredible artists such as PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius and Aldous Harding – what was your experience of working with him?
He’s great, he’s got a very calm energy and he doesn’t rush decisions. He listens really well and carefully and has a clear idea of what he thinks will work and what he thinks won’t work. He’s a good communicator, the whole band was there recording the album and guest musicians were walking in and out, but he was really good at diplomatically making it all work. He’s a nice person to be around, he’s got a good sense of humour. This has been his craft for so long now, so it’s not about ego for him.
You recently supported The National on tour, which is a huge deal! How did that come about and what was it like?
It was really good fun, they’re lovely guys and their crew are great. The venues they play in are exceptional. It felt like a real privilege, we only had to play for half an hour and there wasn’t much pressure, because people were there to see The National but it’s nice to think that people became fans of our music through supporting them.
Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring young musicians?
It’s hard because I’m giving advice to someone who has the same kind of brain as me, people have different agendas and different priorities. But for me, it’s quite important to not want to be famous, to just do it because you want to and because you want to have that exchange with people.
Get It Loud In Libraries have been putting on gigs in libraries across the country for several years – they’ve brought artists such as Adele, Florence + The Machine, Jessie J, Clean Bandit, Wolf Alice and alt-J to Lancaster Library over the years. To find out more about their upcoming events, including a matinee show with BBC 6 Music Album of the Year nominee Tom Williams on 18th March, visit loudinlibraries.com.
‘Moonshine Freeze’ is out now, via Rough Trade Records