Saturday 27 November 2010

'Where We Are' - Southgate & Leigh

Recently I came across the new band, Southgate & Leigh and thought I'd have a quick listen to their music, one track lead to another and I enjoyed their album so much I had to buy it. Now, if you knew me, you'd know that I rarely buy CDs.

'Where We Are' is a mixture of soul, pop and ska and is so good. You can find out all about the band on their official website, read the lyrics, listen to the tracks and buy their debut album, 'Where We Are' here. They also have a Christmas single coming out on 12th December called 'Christmas Time Next Year'.

Phil and Phillipa were kind enough to answer some questions for me:

1. I really enjoyed your songs, both the music and the lyrics, and was wondering where you find your inspiration?

Phil: When I sit down at the piano I practice scales or work out how to play something I heard on telly recently or on the radio and as I’m practicing I invariably get distracted and start mucking around (that’s not a very dignified word for it, but it really seems the best way to describe what I do). When I try to compose I’ll often churn out material that’s technically OK but not necessarily very exciting. Then, without warning, and apparently for no reason, I’ll play something and think, “That’s interesting, I like that”. If Phillipa’s around she will know instantly when I’ve had such a moment and she’ll badger me until I record it for her so she can get working on lyrics for it. In that sense Phillipa is my muse because until she came along I wallowed in the satisfaction of composing melodies without taking the much harder step of crafting half-baked ideas into meaningful compositions. In summary then, my “secret” is to work hard at being a serious musician while being hopelessly unable to avoid the distraction of playing for fun.

Phillipa: I love stories so when I write lyrics I often try to tell a story. Inspiration can come from anywhere really. For example one day I got approached in the street by a "modelling agency" which, of course, turned out to be a scam. I told Phil about it and he was like "We have to write a song about that" so we did. It's called "Fashion Photographer" and it's the first track on our album.

2. I have no idea how someone would go about writing songs, so could you tell me if you write the lyrics or the score first, or is each song produced differently?

Phillipa: All the songs have slightly different ways of coming about. I would say though, that most of the time Phil composes the music first then I write the lyrics to fit. Phil writes pretty quickly and I like to finish one song before I start the next so I always have a sense of urgency when I'm writing but I also don't like to rush. If it's not right I won't use it. I will re-write and re-write until I'm happy.

Phil: I tend to compose in bursts. I’ll go for weeks without composing anything at all and then I can’t seem to play without composing.

3. How long have you been writing/performing your music together?

Phillipa: We performed covers together for about five years but we didn't really start writing together until about 18 months ago.

4. Have you both always wanted to be in the music industry, or was it something that evolved for you both?

Phil: I’ve worn many hats but in my heart of hearts I always knew music was what I wanted to do.

Phillipa: I think it evolved for me. Doing this album has definitely built up my confidence. I really respect Phil so the fact that he believes in me helps me to believe in myself.

5. I don't think I'd be able to choose a favourite song from your album and think that different songs would probably appeal to different moods as some are more upbeat or soulful than others. At the moment my favourites are You Make Me Smile and Bluebells. Do you have a favourite song from your debut album, Where We Are', and if so, what is it?

Phil: Well first off, it’s probably a bit egocentric of me, but I do still genuinely enjoy listening to our album even after all the thousands of times hearing it through the whole recording process. I love the raw power of Phillipa’s voice in What Do You Want, the Bowie-esque middle bit in Marie, the sound of the rhythm section in Don’t Wait, the strings in You Make Me Smile… We were so lucky to be able to work with such fantastic session musicians and hearing them play something you’ve written yourself is a huge privilege. Sorry to avoid the question but picking a winner is tricky for me!

Phillipa: Yeah I find it hard to choose too. I'm so glad you like "Bluebells" though because the lyrics are a true memory from my childhood visiting my grandparents. There is a lyric that goes "It's just something I remember, I wonder if you do too" you might like to know that after they heard it they told me that they do.

Thank you Phillipa and Phil for giving me your time and good luck with your new single and this excellent album.

Here are some links for Southgate & Leigh:
Website: Southgate & Leigh
Twitter: @southgateleigh
Facebook: Southgate and Leigh


Kate said...

This is a fabulous interview Debs. I am always so interested to see how people come up with their lyrics. Phil and Phillipa are inspirational. Thank you for drawing my attention to their great music. Always love reading your blog.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

kate - thanks so much for your kind comment. I'm glad you liked the interview and hope you enjoy their music as much as I am.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Oooo, thanks Deb! I'm listening to their music right now and I really like it. I never would've found it without you. And thanks to Phil and Phillipa for doing the interview. Is that Phillipa singing? She's got an awesome voice. Tell them they have a new fan in the US. =o)

Of course, now I'm bummed because I don't think I can get their music here.

Karen said...

Really interesting interview. I'm off to have a listen now :o)

Karen said...

... LOVED it! I feel really festive now :o)

Talli Roland said...

Brillian interview, Debs. I always enjoy insight into a creative process, especially when it comes to lyrics and song-writing. It's fascinating.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

B E Sanderson - yes, that's Phillips singing. Hasn't she got a wonderful voice? So glad you enjoyed this.

karen - thanks, it's good, isn't it?

Talli - I was interested in this too as I always wonder how people go about writing songs. I agree, it is fascinating.

Feisty Crone said...

Good interview, Debs. I need to look them up!

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

gran - thanks very much. Do look them up, they're very good.

RachTroy said...

Great interview - got me wanting to find out more so went to their website and had a listen.... REALLY GOOD. Adore Phillipa's voice and its great music!!! So nice to know a bit of "behind" the music. :-)

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Rach - thanks for liking the interview. Phillipa does have a great voice, doesn't she?

D.J. Kirkby said...

I like 'Where we Are' too. Came to find out about them via Leigh Russell though I'm not certain how she is connected to them if at all.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

dj kirkby - I believe Phillipa is Leigh's daughter.