Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Artist showcase: interview with Ed Tullett


With the steady growth of the internet it has become the place for artists to showcase their talents and spread their music.  One such artist is Ed Tullett, 18 years old and originally hailing from Oxford. With an offer to study at Goldsmiths University of London, the same university James Blake attended, the future looks bright.  His album is free for download on his Bandcamp website.  Never Joy is the perfect mix of heartfelt lyrics and Bon Iver reminiscent vocals with a personal touch.  The homage to Bon Iver is very clear and yet the album has a completely different tone to it and is very much hauntingly beautiful.  


When did you realise music was something you were passionate about?
I think it was always something I really enjoyed, and began to love when I started playing guitar around 13. But, in terms of developing a passion for music, in that it was something I wanted to follow and be a part of for the rest of my life, that probably came when I started writing. Ending up with a song in its fullest form that sounds just as you first envisaged is an incredibly satisfying feeling, its like nothing else.
How personal are the songs on 'Never Joy' to you?
Pretty personal. I've always pushed the idea that lyrics should be honest, and you should write from, at least in some form, what you know and have experienced, however tenuous, so in that sense they're very personal. But I like to include a lot of hidden nuances and subtle meanings in my lyrics, and prefer not to detail their explicit meanings - I much prefer them to be open to interpretation
What was the motivation for putting the album up as a free download?
Mainly to motivate people to share my music, and to raise awareness of it. It's probably the hardest thing to come by, especially at my age; getting new people to listen to your stuff. The internet is a fantastic tool for burgeoning musicians, and to fully harness its power its best to offer something free. Besides, music isn't about money for me, at least not yet while I'm still young!
The songs on Never Joy exude ease and a natural familiarity, how easy was it for you to make the album or were there more problems than you anticipated during the making?
Writing and recording has always come very easily to me, especially as I've been doing it from such an early age (around 14, I'm now 18). I write at a furious pace (or at least I did, the current amount of coursework and exam preparation has quelled that pace somewhat), and carry that same pace with recording - the entire album was written, recorded and mixed in about 2 months. I really wanted to capture a more honest and raw sound, something I still don't think I've necessarily achieved, and want to look into for my next release. It's frustrating, I want to do something more ambitious and big, like 'Bon Iver' by Bon Iver for example, but then at the same time I want something as sparse and affecting as Keaton Henson or Perfume Genius or 'For Emma, Forever Ago'.
A lot of contemporary artists prefer to put more emphasis on the actual music rather than the lyrics, how important is songwriting to you?
Songwriting to me is about two main parts - lyrics and music. I love instrumental music, but I don't like writing it. Lyrics to me are seminal, and I love writing poetry. I can't stand it, unless it's typical of the genre, if the lyrics don't carry some sort of weight or at least can be sung with conviction. For example, you don't expect really emotional lyrics in pop punk, but in my opinion you can't have an acoustic song saying stuff like 'crumbling like pastries' (yeah, I don't really care for Ed Sheeran haha), because it doesn't seem like you can really sing it with belief. At least come up with some sort of more romantic sounding simile! Songwriting is what I pride myself on, and what I enjoy most, both lyrically and musically, and I will do it for the rest of my life if I can.
Who are some of your favorite artists and how have they influenced you?
Justin Vernon is a huge influence. I remember when I first heard Re: Stacks, and watched that infamous performance of Skinny Love on Jools Holland, something just clicked. I knew this was the kind of music I wanted to be writing - soaked in emotion, coming from somewhere so genuine, somewhere so perfectly open and honest. Other artists I'm hugely influenced by include Radiohead (their influence may not be evident stylistically, but they are my favourite band ever), Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, Keaton Henson, S. Carey, Grizzly Bear so many I haven't mentioned, I could go on for pages and pages.
What kind of music would you count as your 'guilty pleasure'?
I still have a soft spot for the pop/punk stuff I listened to in my youth, stuff like Panic! at the Disco etc. (Pretty. Odd. I still think is a lovely album), and I really love Coldplay (prefer Parachutes more than anything, but I like all their stuff), a band I think it's become 'cool' to dismiss completely. I can't really think of too much, there's probably a lot! haha.
Congratulations on your offer from Goldsmiths, so what does the future have in store for you now?  Will you be touring any time soon?
Thank you very much - it's a fantastic University and a fantastic-looking course (Popular Music), so I very much hope I get the grades so I can go there. I'll be writing and recording a new release in the summer hopefully, and once I'm at Uni I hope to meet some musicians to form a live band so I can start doing gigs often and really do my music justice live - I don't want to do much by myself with an acoustic guitar, because largely that's really boring, and I make use of a lot more instruments and especially vocal harmonies on the album which I'd love to carry into a live setting.





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