A week or so ago Manchester singer / songwriter Pierre Hall put together a Soundtrack for us - you may have already read it; he recommended all sorts of interesting tracks, from Jonathan Richman’s ‘Summer Feeling’ to Mazes’ ‘Cenetaph’.
This week he’s answered a few of our questions about his own music, telling us about his new project Golden Glow and his forthcoming debut album under the moniker, ‘Tender Is The Night’, due for release on 21st June through Mush Records and Bleeding Gold.
Hello Pierre. How are you? What’ve you been up to today?
Good thanks. Nursing a hangover, so watching old Cosby Show episodes on Youtube and reading about Lisa Bonet on Wikipedia. I love her.
We’ve just been brushing up on your bio and there seems an awful lot to ask. Firstly, you’re the son of a British father from Trinidad and Tobago, and a Mauritian mother - how in touch are you with those backgrounds? Do they influence your music at all?
Well I’ve visited both places once, but not since I was younger. They’re both pretty beautiful, in their own ways. I’d like to go back, but obviously it’s pricey.. I’ve definitely started to embrace more aspects of those backgrounds as i’ve got older. I think thats a natural thing - wanting to connect with those places that constituted who you actually are, aspects of your life which you had no control over. In terms of my music, I don’t think those places have informed it directly, more so probably in that I was influenced by my parent’s own musical tastes, as a result of them coming from those areas.
My mum used to play a lot of of Lovers Rock, which was a sort of reggae romantic movement during London in the 70s when she was growing up. Artists like Janet Kay and Susan Cadogan. I listen to that stuff all the time now, it’s definitely an influence.
You started making music properly when you moved to Manchester for university, but had dabbled in poetry before then. Was it the ‘bad sixth form’ type, or ideas you can look back and draw on now?
It’s hard to be objective. But i’m sure some of it was the bad sixth form type! But yeah, I’m constantly looking back, drawing on those ideas. I don’t really see it as hugely important though, the standard of it, that is. I tend to view it more just as recordings of what I was experiencing at the time. Just a different form of what I do now I suppose. It’s nice to have, and sometimes helps to be reminded of sad/happy things that have happened before. It can shed perspective on present situations.
As for the lyrics - I’ve never used the poems for songs. The music normally comes first followed by the melody and words. I’d like to start working the other way round, but I suppose its just what comes naturally.
Bands like the early-Manics where Richey was producing pages of complicated lyrics and poems and then the band would have to mould songs around them, I don’t think I could do it. I’d like to though. At the moment the two elements run parallel for me.
You’ve also previously fronted another band, Lead Balloons, and worked in promotions. It must have been a busy time for you?
I suppose so yeah, but you kinda just get used to just doing whatever it is you’ve decided you want to do so it just feels normal. I’ve always had day jobs. But separate from that, promoting and putting on gigs was something that I’ve always loved doing.
In the Lead Balloons, I was really just finding my feet. Learning about what it felt like to decide to try and make music, give it a go. I definitely wasn’t ready at the time, but you know, in ten years time I might say the same about now.
How did the car accident you were in back in 2009 change the way you record your music? Did you not do much home-recording before?
The accident changed me a lot in that for the past 10 years I had led quite an active social-life, which in some senses was probably distracting me from my own music. When you know for certain you literally won’t be able to walk to leave the house again for over six months, you have no choice but to accept it. It kinda forced me into my thoughts again, and so naturally you feel like you want to create something out of it, as your other outlets aren’t there.
I hadn’t really done any of my own proper home recording before. I was put off computer-working as I used one all day in work and also suffered from quite bad eyesight at the time. I bought a BOSS Micro BR 4-track on the recommendation of a friend and it completely opened me up and allowed me to develop a certain sound. The entire album was recorded on that and nothing on computer. I really like the limitations of it, and the fact that I didn’t really know how to use it and was still learning how to use it at the time. I had no choice but to leave all the mistakes and imperfections in there, but that’s what I like about it. It was warts an all. The songs reflecting the surroundings completely.
Are you more experimental now, do you think?
Definitely more, but still nowhere as near as I’d like to be. I’ve definitely got a lot more to learn, technically, especially. For me its about finding the right balance, the counterpoint between natural soulfulness almost, that emotion which makes a good song good and sincere and the technical side of it to convey it in the right way. That’s why I love bands like Felt and Radiohead, that Thom & Jonny thing, it’s like both sides of the spectrum meeting at the perfect point.
I’ve definitely opened myself up to more abstract sounds. I bought an old Roland MC-505 on a complete whim and it really helped form the sound of some of the songs. I’d like to do more things like that.
So, how did your new album ‘Tender Is The Night’ come into being? Did you set out to write an album, did the songs just fall together..?
Nope, it was never meant to be an album - and I think that actually helped as it was just no-pressure, no timescale. Just making demos really, whenever inspiration struck.
Now that they’re on an album - it does kinda feel like it was always meant to be. But it’s definitely more of a collection songs.
The label just loved the way they sounded - exactly as they were, and in the back of my mind, I knew that I did too. I didn’t see the point in recording them again. These were the recordings. I know for some people that will definitely be a criticism of the album, but for me it feels right.
Are there any themes - lyrical or otherwise - we should be looking out for?
Hmmm.. none that I set out to convey on purpose, but I’ve listened to it a lot now, so I guess in hindsight: Frustration, love, regret, loneliness, mortality, fate.. All the classic tortured-soul stuff. All the big names.
Finally: will Golden Glow be sticking around for another album, or is this a one off for you?
Definitely be doing another. With the live set-up now, it’ll definitely be a lot more collaborative. Mainly because I’m just looking forward to setting out to record an ‘album’ and not like I did with this one, where it was more bits and pieces here and there coming together.
But also, they’re just better musicians than me! I can kick back a bit more..
GOLDEN GLOW // Adore Me by TheArtOf…