Interview: ilonalowe

We’ve been loving each song that you’ve released so far. You have a new song – “Someday” – what is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it?
Thank you! It’s half-demo and half nicely produced. I’d been speaking to various people at the time of production who said they loved the ‘charm’ of the laptop-mic demos, so we decided to include a little of that. It makes for a really weird song, but I definitely feel that it’s representative of the cyclical emotional states that I was trying to write about. I have a habit of pushing my feelings down for months on end, then the dam breaks and it all suddenly comes flooding out – after that I tend to feel a lot better! Then rinse and repeat, etc. That’s what I was aiming to capture with this one.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
That’s tricky. I’m so strongly influenced by so many artists that I’ve listened to at all stages of my life; when I was tiny and used to listen to my dad’s music, it’d be Bruce Hornsby and The Sundays, when I was a teen it’d be My Chemical Romance and Enter Shikari, and more recently it has been Gillian Welch and Flyte. If you mash all of that together, I suppose you get something that’s timeless, wordy, a bit melodramatic and folky. Somebody actually described it as dream-folk recently, which I think works well.

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
I’m still at a stage where anybody showing interest in what I do is a highlight! I can imagine that it would be easy to lose sight of that once the ‘bigger’ opportunities started routinely rolling in, so I’m enjoying the journey right now. It’s always a nice surprise when a song gets used in sync – the CBS show ‘Why Women Kill’ used a song from an old project of mine recently, and Will Young once praised my songwriting… 
On the bucket list is to play a festival, definitely. I was booked to play Boardmasters the year that it was cancelled due to the weather, so I’m yet to cross that one off! Otherwise I’ll just go where the wind takes me.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Hmm. Maybe Florence + The Machine, or Keane or Coldplay. I’m aware that I’m throwing ‘coolness’ out the window there, but I defy any artist to turn down a support slot for Coldplay. In fact, OK, let’s do this: say Coldplay are doing a gig at Wembley Stadium (90,000 capacity). Even if only half of those fans arrive in time to catch the support slot, that’s a captive audience of 45,000 people. If you shout out your Bandcamp page whilst onstage, maybe 10% of the audience look you up on their phones, and a quarter of those people actually buy your single for £1. That’s £1,125 right there on a bad day. A month’s wage in five minutes! Moral of the story? Take that Coldplay support slot. #quickmaths

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Well, I’ve not been listening to Coldplay actually. I know they have a new album or something out though. For the last few months I’ve been listening to Everything Everything’s discography on repeat – Cherry Ghost, KT Tunstall, old-school Kaiser Chiefs (Employment era). I just discovered George Taylor and Angie McMahon too, and I think we all should be listening to more of those folks. Angie McMahon really has the most extraordinary voice I’ve ever heard. Most importantly, others should be listening to their friends’ music on repeat if they really want to show support. It’s a tough time for independent artists right now, and we need all the love we can get.

ilonalowe: Instagram | Twitter

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