Sivu – In Conversation

Interviews "I felt stuck in a bad routine of self loathing and lack of motivation so just had to shake things up"

Sivu has confirmed details of second album ‘Sweet Sweet Silent’, which will be released on July 7th. Introduced recently by returning track ‘Childhood House’, this follows Sivu’s widely-acclaimed debut album ‘Something On High’, and extensive touring alongside the likes of London Grammar, George Ezra and Bombay Bicycle Club. An intimate run of warm-up dates have additionally been confirmed for next month, dates listed below.

In anticipation of the new record and Sivu’s Cambridge show on May 5th (Tickets here) we caught up with the man himself…

James, it’s great to have new music from you, how have you found the reception to ‘Childhood House’?
It’s been pretty overwhelming the past week. I think mainly just as I have been sitting with this song and others for so long, there were moments where I didn’t actually think they would ever get Heard so to be able to finally put new music out and have kind response its had has been very lovely.

And what does the track mean to you?
The track was wrote over a period of 4 days in Ullerpool in north Scotland, the trip still to this day one of the best things I’ve ever done it’s a beautiful place. I went on my own to try and spark some inspiration and this song came out time away so because of that this song very close to my heart.

Is the more piano led sound an indication of how the new record will sound? What should we expect from the new record?
This is actually the only piano led track on this new album. But saying that I tried to write a lot more on the piano for this record just cause I was slightly bored of the guitar, and kept finding alot of the new ideas stemmed from the piano. The approach to This track is very much the core of this new album though. Childhood House was based around a live Piano and vocal take then we built around that which was the approach through all the other tracks on the album.

What inspired you when writing the new record?
I found a new love for singer songwriters, I think that was a big turning point. When I first started as Sivu I hated that title, but now I love it. Whilst writing this album I listened to a lot of great Songwriters and just found that singing and playing a guitar doesn’t have to be boring, i just fell in love with the idea of a great song.

Was there anything you wanted to try different when writing and producing the new album compared to your debut?
I think with the first album everything was more considered and layered in the studio which at the time was perfect as I think I was definitely still discovering who I was and Charlie’s approach was key. With this second album both me and Charlie felt more excited about just recording a great performance and working in interesting spaces and trying to capture that. It was a real freeing way to record.

When did work start on the new album?
This second album has really been spread out. I think it started properly in January 2016 but we had already recorded 2 songs for the album prior but it was nice as there was no real pressure to release new music we just worked in a slow pace, recorded for a few days and took a good break in between to live with it all.

What was the hardest track on the album to finish and why?
There is a track called ‘Flies’ which I’m really proud of and love, but was the first song we recorded in the studio and it was quite heavily produced before we found our focus for the new album. So once everything else was done it was more live so we had to come back to that track and pull it back but now I love it and think it’s a bit of a curve ball for the record.

Which new tracks are you most looking forward to playing live?
I’m looking forward to playing ‘Childhood House’ actually and another song of the album as there both going to be just me and piano which is going to be challenging but fun.

Is the second record harder to make?
Honestly for me it wasn’t. It was a actually easier, the pressures were off for me. Whilst I was making it I had no label no deadlines and no expectations and no point to proof i actually found the whole process really exciting and really inspiring.

You relocated out of London, what affects (if any) did that move have on your outlook and how you write your music?
Before I moved out of London I felt stuck in a bad routine of self loathing and lack of motivation so just had to shake things up. I had started taking for granted living in London so knew I needed a change, it’s been nice to take a step out of the madness and reflect, it’s made me feel more excited than ever about music.

You’re playing the Unitarian Church, what does the Cambridge show mean to you?
Playing in Cambridge is always really important to me. So many life changing musical moments good and bad have happened for me here so I always feel excited to be coming and playing to friends and family and generally people who have supported me from day 1 of gigging years before I played under the name Sivu. I plan on making that show as intimate and as human as possible.

‘Sweet Sweet Silent’ is out July 7th

Live dates
3rd May – Brighton, Latest Music Bar
4th May – Norwich, Birdcage
5th May – Cambridge, Unitarian
8th May – London, Rosemary Branch
9th May – Bristol, The Gally
10th May – Manchester, Eagle Inn
11th May – Birmingham, The Ort CafĂ©

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