Gemma Hayes Discusses Her New Album and Touring

Following the release of her new single Palomino boundary pushing Irish singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes is to commence a tour of UK & Ireland, kicking off at The Globe, Cardiff on May 14. The nine date run will see the maverick alt-folk musician air tracks from her acclaimed 2015 album Bones + Longing at the shows.

Bones + Longing is now the Tipperary native’s fifth album and the third to be released on her self-established Chasing Dragons record label (along with former albums Hollow Of Morning in 2008 and Let It Break (2011)).

Andy Howells recently put questions to Gemma.

Bones + Longing is your fifth long player in 13 years, how do you feel you have progressed since your debut release?
For me creativity doesn’t necessarily go in a straight line or in forward motion. In some ways the naivety of the first album was closer to who I am as an artist than anything else I’ve done. However life experience has enriched my work in my opinion. What I’m very content about is the marriage between the fresh, naive approach to my new album and the weight of the emotions and subject matters I sing about.

Can you give us some background on how you approached your new album and what inspired it?
I didn’t want to labor over it too much as sometimes it knocks the freshness out of it. That was number one on my priority list. So I chose lots of first vocal takes as they were the ones I felt most. It’s hard to pin point what inspires me. It’s life really. I wanted my album to be quite varied in soundscapes, so going from acoustic to loud chaos, folk to electronics to rock. Life is varied.

Tell us about your new single Palomino.
Well it’s a song about a horse!;) It’s a song about a girl on a horse rescuing a boy from being bullied. It has a plodding rhythm and a nursery rhyme style melody which is not what I usually do. I’m really into it for that reason. It’s a new approach.

What have you enjoyed most about putting Bones Longing together?
Working with (producer) David Odlum. I enjoy his company in the studio. He is incredibly talented and good fun to be around. We always go on such intense creative journeys together. He gets what I get, if you know what I mean.

You’ve defied genres by releasing songs in various styles from folky ballads to lo-fi rock pop. Do you enjoy having that freedom within your work?
Yes I do. Music represents different aspect of who I am, different moods and life experiences. No one is just one mood or one aspect of themselves. Music has always been about expressing and celebrating that.

You’re also touring with the album, do you enjoy playing live?
I enjoy it when I’m in the mood for singing and performing. I wouldn’t be a natural entertainer … so it’s something I have had to work at through the years. I love it now.

What’s been your best live experience?
I can’t think of any one in particular but I love that moment when it all comes together and everyone is locked in to the moment of the performance, including the audience.

What can fans expect when you play your Cardiff show?
Well, it will be loud and quiet at times. I’ll be playing songs off all my five albums with my new four piece band. It will be our first gig together !! So I’m dead excited.

Finally what are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to some Bombay Bicycle Club songs off their new album and also rediscovering the Blue Nile.

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