the creative adventurer: the louise mcvey interview;
Okay, full disclosure: in the years since I discovered Louise McVey’s compelling voice with its alternating tones of death and honey I’ve become lucky enough to be able to call her a friend. But since that would never had happened if I hadn’t seen her live with Cracks in the Concrete at the 13th Note three years ago there’s no nepotism about it. New album Love Lust Tales, out at the start of this week I believe, sees McVey team up once again with Cracks in the Concrete and it’s lush, unsettling and a little bit creepy.
The band support Lydia Lunch and Inca Babies at the Classic Grand TONIGHT and have a few other interesting things in the pipeline… some of which I may or may not know about…
How did you get started writing music and performing?
I sang in a church choir as a child, and some of the harmonies would bring tears to my eyes when singing. I then started learning the guitar as a teenager, mainly to work out song structures and start writing….in order to sing. From Art School, I started playing at open mics, and then joined with three others to form ‘Hamper’ In Austria and Ireland I also played with various groups.
Three words to describe your sound…
Herald Scotland Described us as ‘Alt-rock necromancers’ – I quite like that. Or noir vaudeville balladry.
What influences you?
Nature, literature, and the strangeness that is being alive. People who embrace that which makes them tick are a big inspiration, and that which feeds the imagination. (Graeme [Miller, 'Cracks in the Concrete'] also has a wide range of influences, from Arvo Part to The Cramps, to Hitchcock and noir films…)
You have released music both under your own name, and with Cracks in the Concrete – is there a difference in the music you write or perform in either setup?
The link with Cracks in the Concrete was a very natural one, since it’s a collaboration with Graeme Miller (who calls himself ‘Cracks in the Concrete’). It is different from earlier solo work, or work with the band Hamper, but it’s also a natural progression into an area in which I feel very at home. With Graeme I feel we can explore unchartered territory which keeps the creative adventurer in me alive.
Since I’ve gotten to know you I’ve been inspired by your creativity (and obviously I’m lucky enough to have one of your sculptures in the house!). Are Louise the singer and Louise the sculptor related?
The ceramic/sculptural work does have some crossovers with the music in that I explore tales, imagination, layers of human consciousness and decision making within both fields. However the music can often appear to be exploring darker realms, whereas the sculptures come across as being more playful at times. I am currently working on a body of work which will incorporate both – giving a voice to each piece. Following a small scale collaboration in the Autumn with textile artist Johanna Flanagan in Oslo, I will be developing this new body of sculptural sound pieces with Irish artist Elizabeth Porrit Carrington.
And what are you listening to at the moment?
Recently I bought some medieval music, and some new Tom Waits. I’ve been enjoying Chinawoman, some Bollywood music, and a beautiful 70′s Angelo Branduardi vinyl I picked up at a market. My choice of tunes vary depending on which way the wind blows, and how sweetly the birds are singing.
Louise McVey and Cracks in the Concrete upcoming shows
TONIGHT! Glasgow, Classic Grand (with Lydia Lunch & Big Sexy Noise, Inca Babes)
03/08 Glasgow, Blackfriars
23/08 Glasgow, The Admiral (with Franz Nicolay, Dead Man’s Waltz)
01/09 Oslo, NO, Lørdagsgod
04/09 Glasgow, HMV (instore)
07/09 Stirling (Creative Stirling – TBC)
08/09 Tayvallich, Tayvallich Town Hall
BUY: Love Lust Tales at the band’s website
[Image credit: Kotryna Ula Kullulyte]