What’s happening Sarah Howells?
Ummmm…well..a few things at the moment actually! Lange’s new album Harmonic Motion is coming out in June so I’m excited about that. It features a new track we’ve collaborated on called Fireworks and it’s really different to anything electronic I’ve done before.
Also John O’Callaghan’s Find Yourself is having it’s UK release later this year so we’re all waiting to see how that will do here.
So how does an acoustic-based singer/songwriter make such a mark on the dance scene?
I guess it was an accident really. It just started when DJ Lange moved to Cardiff. I was living there at the time and he was looking for one more vocal track for his album ‘Better late than never’. He asked around at a rehearsal room I used sometimes and one of the staff suggested me. I was going through a lot of emotional stuff at the time and I needed something new to put my energy into. I wrote a simple little song, recorded a rough acoustic version of it at Lange’s house and a short while later it was Out of the Sky. It ended up being a really big track. Apart from the awesome production, I think the lyrics really grabbed people. They certainly mean a lot to me.
And then came Find Yourself with John O’Callaghan. What more can I say! It seems to have a life of it’s own this track. It was equally as surprising to me when it was so popular, but never-the-less, a tune i’m really proud of. John is on the verge of something massive at the moment.
What’s Find Yourself all about?
I wrote it not long after I’d moved to London. I was living in this tiny room in a tiny shared house…the London life-style was very different from Cardiff and a world away from my home town in Pembrokeshire. I suppose it’s about how you can get lost in a place where so much is happening 24/7, there’s a lot of city imagery in it. The rat race springs to mind! I guess it’s about having staying power and obviously self-discovery.
So when you’re not writing dance music…..?
I’m writing songs for my band Paper Aeroplanes and a few other artists that I work with
Tell me about Paper Aeroplanes
Well…Paper Aeroplanes is made up of myself and co-writer/producer Richard Llewellyn. We’re both from West Wales and the band and our song are all about love, loss, the sea and the city. Our debut album The Day we ran into the Sea was released this March and has managed to reach most corners of the world! We’ve just licensed the album to Radikal in Germany, USA and Canada so the next step will be touring over there.
Paper Aeroplanes’ debut has been described as the “best pop album to come out of Wales since Rockferry” how do you feel about that compliment?
*laughs* well it depends whether you like Duffy and that album doesn’t it! No, we’re very flattered. Our album definitely has that pop edge and the songs are the kind that people could relate to in a similar way to Duffy’s. Obviously we sound nothing like her but i guess we have to potential for that same broad appeal.
How does performing in clubs differ from a live gig?
Performing the dance tracks has so far taken me to some of the most interesting places, like Moscow and Beirut. I’m off to Budapest and Malta again later this year. It’s a very different experience. Obviously the music is much louder and frenzied so connecting with the audience is kind of more difficult, but then in my experience the audience has been so supportive that that makes it a breeze. So many people sing along to the big tracks! It always feels like the show is over in a flash though!
With the Paper Aeroplanes, it’s a lot more intimate. Even at festival shows, the fact that you have time to chat between songs and longer on the stage makes it totally different. Holding my guitar also makes me feel more at home i suppose but I like having the freedom to move at the club shows. Can’t wait for Balaton festival with Lange. Should be quite an experience.
Any chance of a remix album?
Maybe! I’d love someone to remix The Day we ran….. I also enjoy doing things the other way around and doing Paper Aeroplanes style versions of the dance tracks. I have one up on my myspace page at the moment.
What does the rest of the year hold for you?
More club shows performing Find Yourself, the First State album coming out featuring a new track we’ve worked on and touring with the band in the autumn.