Andrew Villanelle - Interviews - Soundblab

Andrew Villanelle

Down in the west-country town of Cheltenham, there's an experimental folk/acoustic talent brewing going by the name of Andrew Villanelle. His innovative style is leaked through the likes of his guitar, accordion, ukulele and violin, and he demonstrates his musical and lyrical talent in a confident live show.

Villanelle's debut album In Somnis Veritas is an exploration of culture and passion, and after the first few tracks, I really felt like I was in his pointy shoes, staring down some burnt out street in London or Paris. In seriousness, the album is full of poetic imagery that truly conveys his take on life in 21st Century England.

In short, Villanelle sounds like Patrick Wolf after a stern night on the cider with The Wurzels, he's created a fresh record that divulges a young man's tale of city life with refreshing glances into his countryside past.

I managed to have a few words with him where we talked about influences, plans for his next album and up-coming shows...

Firstly, why is music important to Andrew Villanelle?

I grew up with it mostly, I come from quite a musical family so I was introduced to music when I was little. My brother's quite a good musician, he listened to a lot of folk music when he was younger, and a lot of grunge too, so when I was growing up I was listening to a lot of different styles through him when I was about 7. That's how I kind of started off on my musical 'expedition'.

Cool, and extending on that why is playing shows important to you as well?

Firstly because I enjoy it and because it just gets your music out there. There's not much point in playing songs if you don't enjoy it really, especially the ones you've written. It gives other people a chance to actually listen to what you've produced, it's always quite a proud moment when you hear someone clapping away to your songs, it's a good feeling.

Talking about the album, congratulations on your downloads, what went into it in terms of musicality and emotion?

Well, I produced and recorded it myself... All the songs I wrote for it I'd had since 2006, 2007 and I'd wanted to do an album for ages, I finally had enough equipment and time to do it, so I started off by re-recording the songs I'd already done as demos and make them better, wrote some more... when it came out it came out. Emotions wise, it's mainly stuff I've felt and seen over the last... 21 years.

You draw a lot of influence from London and Paris, how do the cities help you to write songs and what feelings do you associate with them? How are they different for you... and similar?

A lot of the folk aspect of my music comes from England. I like the whole 'idea' of Paris, the romantic aspect of it. I think you can hear a lot of that in my music, there's a song on the album called 'La Nouveau Romantiques (Perdu)' which means the new lost romantics. 'In Somnis Veritas' has got a very French atmosphere to it but because of my background, there's folk in there too.

Would you say you'd given up hope on the Old Romantics of England then?

Definitely not, there's a lot more of England in 'Ghost Lands' [Villanelle's next album]there's a lyre harp in there, it draws from folk a lot more, oh and more violin. The second album's going to be a lot more... not necessarily more polished, just better produced.

So would you say you're going to magnify the folk aspect of 'In Somnis Veritas'?

Magnifying it, maybe. As I said it's definitely going to be more of a folk album.

Do you think there's a lot of room for folk music right now?

For what people would call folk music, yeah. Bands like 'Noah and the Whale' and 'Mumford and Sons' use folk instruments, but it's more 'poppy' isn't it. It's a completely different area of music really. There's always room for traditional music until people change their taste.

Well, it could be going that way. Tell us about up-coming gigs...

I'm playing the Camden barfly on the 3rd April. I'm booked for a festival called 'Frog Fest' in Cheltenham in September and at the moment I'm trying to organise a tour for the middle to the end of March, hopefully going around Bristol, Bath, Bournemouth, Southampton, Reading, London, Manchester... I'm going to try to get up to York, everywhere really.

Sounds good... Andrew, thank you and good luck.

Andrew Villanelle's album can be purchased here:

Jake Attree

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