Interview: Reverieme – 'If you turn off the lights and squint a bit, the album isn't unlike a pet cat.'
After the release of her newest album, Straw Woman, Reverieme gears up for a gig at King Tut's in Glasgow.
After her album, Straw Woman was released earlier this year, Louise Connell, aka Reverieme, has been lauded by the likes of Jim Gellatly and Lauren Laverne. We take a peek inside the inner workings of her remarkable brain and chat visions appearing in burnt toast, eating your own arms, and dermatophagia.
Your album Straw Woman was released earlier this year – tell us more about it.
It comprises songs I had rattling around in my noggin for the preceding two years; some are fresher than others and some are more familiar, and collectively they convey the scope of ideas and sounds (and the fluctuations in mood, and possibly also weight) that you'd expect over such a length of time. I've recorded albums in the past, but this was my first time doing so in a studio and my first time contributing to the production of tracks, so I feel especially cat-lady about this chap. In fact, if you turn off the lights and squint a bit, the album isn't unlike a pet cat. It slinked out into the world fairly stealthily and then curried favour with one or two fellow cat fanciers (by which I mean lovely people like Lauren Laverne gave it a wee play on national radio), and it also did quite well on the old internet machine, specifically through Pledge Music (who have helped me immensely over the past year). The album also urinates on my belongings territorially. Wait …
How would you describe your sound to potential new fans?
Well, I'm a woman and I write on my own, so the easiest thing to do is imagine the music of any other female solo artist (then multiply it by two, divide it by seven and picture a root vegetable) and you'll have a pretty conclusive assessment of my sound. My ego and I would be particularly pleased if you could imagine someone like Neko Case or Jenny Lewis or Joni Mitchell, not because I necessarily sound like them, but because I like them all very much and I believe sunshine and sparkles radiate from their music. The short answer, though, is a Scottish Suzanne Vega.
Is there a Scottish band or artist around right now that you think is really killing it?
I'm very fortunate to have recorded Straw Woman with Stuart MacLeod at Beetroot studios. He's an immensely talented and all-together fabulous human being who works with some cracking Scottish musicians. I recommend both Halo Tora and Caezar, both of whom are creating excellent music (in two very different genres) and are notably different to the majority of Scottish acts at the moment. That category includes me, incidentally. Sometimes I really don't help my cause.
How do you feel about the Scottish music scene just now?
The scene seems as healthy as ever, with plenty of hidden gems in the peripheries. There's also a tremendous level of support for established and emerging talent on Scottish radio, from people like Iain Anderson, Roddy Hart and Billy Sloan at BBC Radio Scotland, to scene stalwarts like Jim Gellatly, who's been a great support, both in the press and through Amazing Radio.
You are actively involved in all aspects of your music's aesthetic – why is being involved in this side important to you?
I think most people enjoy pondering wee ideas and creating whatever their means and inclinations allow. The simple reason I do what I do is that I enjoy it, and also I might go insane if I didn't. I bite my fingers when I feel anxious or stressed (it's called wolf-biting, or dermatophagia, and loads of people do it, OK MUM?); if I didn't get to write songs and take pictures and film daft videos I'd most likely consume my own hands. So, there you go. I'm involved in all aspects of my music's aesthetic because I don't want to digest my own phalanges.
Can you tell us a bit more about your book?
The book is called Words and Pictures and it's a small collection of lyrics from the past almost-decade, with one or two articles I've written thrown in for good measure. There are also some little paintings and photographs scattered throughout it, which explains the book's astonishingly creative title. I can't take much credit for the idea; the great management and publishing gods appeared to me in a piece of burnt toast one day and suggested I create something that drew focus to the words I've written. It's always quite pleasantly surprising when people are interested in those words, especially since, as we all now know, their main purpose is to distract me from eating my own forearms.
What can fans expect from your King Tut's show?
Rather excitingly, I'll be there with a full band. By 'a full band', I of course mean extremely-talented-people-I-have-wrangled-and-am-now-exploiting-but-whose-exploitation-does-not-bely-immense-gratitude-on-my-part. We'll be playing almost all of Straw Woman, with a new song or two thrown in for good measure. I'm sincerely thrilled for the show and I have a feeling it'll be a great wee night (until I poison everyone with home baking, of course).
What have you got lined up for the new year?
Along with the mental (and emotional) promise I've already made to cut down on my cheese intake, I've resolved to gig much more often next year, both solo and with the band. Additionally, if everything runs to plan, as my life invariably does not, I'll be releasing a new acoustic EP in spring and a new album by the end of the year. In the meantime, I've just popped a new video on the internets. It's for my song 'Sure' and it involves a great many safety contraventions, such as a sodium-fuelled explosion and the subsequent production of hydrogen gas in a windowless boiler room. It's good clean fun for the whole family!
Reverieme plays King Tut's, Glasgow, on Wed 28 Dec.