Exposure: Rob St John
Buried deep within Edinburgh's ever-evolving folk movement (a scene now boasting the likes of eagleowl and Meursault), Rob St. John, complete with his band of like-minded minimalists, has been pleasing many an ear with Last year's Like Alchemy EP and hushing many a crowd with the band's lush, but restrained live stylings. As the band continue to enjoy their slow-burning progression, here's the man himself with a few words.
How did you get started?
It’s always been Rob Waters (harmonium, vocals) and I. We’ve played on and off for a couple of years with the band coming together in the last year. It's happened slowly and as a result we’re all great friends and play with no ego or anything. It’s all just good fun.
How would you describe your sound?
We try to play folk-based songs using interesting and unusual acoustic instruments (saw, harmonium, autoharp etc), highly influenced by minimalist, ambient and post-rock music.
Who would you consider to be you biggest influences musically and creatively?
We all love Bill Callahan, Will Oldham and Leonard Cohen as well as the orchestration of Nina Nastasia’s records and the minimalism of Steve Reich, Boards of Canada or Amiina, though I couldn’t ever claim we get anywhere near any of that! Lyrically, trying to describe the magic in the tiny things that make life worth living is a major intention. I like writers like Roger Deakin, Aldo Leopold, Ernest Hemingway and Alan Bennett for this style of writing.
What has been your fondest moment so far?
We played a short UK tour in February, and the Edinburgh stop at The Bowery - a stunning new venue which was packed to the rafters with familiar and not-so-familiar faces - was a great moment. It seemed to reinforce that we’re all onto a good thing, helping each other out and remaining resolutely DIY.
What has been your best/worst gig?
Playing the Fence records Homegame is always a great experience, and one we’re really looking forward to again this year.
What do you hope to achieve in the next year?
We’d like to do another set of recordings for a 7 inch vinyl in the summer. We’re hoping to play a couple of festivals and have a good time in the sun. To be honest, we have a good time playing together as a band, and if anyone enjoys it, or if good things are offered to us, that’s just a bonus.
Where can we hear more?
The last few copies of 2008’s Like Alchemy are kicking around the online shop and Rough Trade (London), Avalanche (Edinburgh) and Elvis Shakespeare (Edinburgh). We’re also on a tape compilation from Mathilde Records called “Flameless Electric Heat” which has just been released. There’s an exciting Edinburgh show for us on Saturday 4th April at the Bowery, when we’ll be playing in support to Benjamin Wetherill.