The August List
Describe your music in three words
Sinewy. Dark. Folk.
Looking back to your first album, O Hinterland, how do you think your sound has changed with each release?
When we first started we weren't musicians and we didn't know anything about recording. So the early stuff concentrated on how we played as a duo with acoustic instruments and percussion, it was an embellished translation of how we played live. But even on O Hinterland we strived to get a fuller sound on a ew tracks with friends joining some of the sessions. In our heads we were always a lot bigger and louder sounding and it took a while to figure out how to get there. With Ramshackle Tabernacle the band became more of a fixture and the record was pretty much half duo and half full band. The band would join us more and more on stage as it was so much fun playing with them. Then by the time we got to make the new record The August List was the whole band.
What can we expect from the new album..?!
It's a much fuller sound! It's big on atmosphere with drones and synths. It also has way more electric guitars on than anything we've done before. The band all came up with their own parts and a lot of the arrangements were pieced together in the mix. We went all in to attack loud stuff at full volume and have the courage to leave space and quiet down in the softer moments. Also, whereas before we would shy away from guitars or synths having a dominant role, we weren't scared to throw everything in that we wanted in service to the song.
You are an Oxford band but you’ve played in Reading many times & recorded here, what are your fondest musical memories of Reading?
Reading has been so good to us. We did not know what the hell we were doing when we started. We were quite scared to contact Sid Siddle at Club Velocity in case he said 'NO', but he couldn't have been nicer and so helpful in getting us gigs and building a little fan base in Reading. That time was fantastic and we met so many wonderful people playing at the Rising Sun Arts Centre. Any gig there was magic. We also met Graeme Rawson there who produced our first album and gave us confidence in the studio.
Tell us about your songwriting process. You share the vocals, do you write together ( musically & lyrically ) or will one person take the lead depending on the song?
Martin: I come up with most of the words and the basic structures of the songs and then Kerraleigh comes up with the melodies both for the lyrics and the music. After many years working together we found that that seems to be the best way.
What other music/artists influence you?
It changes over the years. When we first started it was Jenny Lewis and the Low Anthem, these days we get excited by Sharon van Etten, Angel Olsen, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, Billy Nomates, PJ Harvey, even Osees. We feel it's important to find new things to get inspired by.
What has been your most memorable gig?
We'll give you a bad one and good one!
Bad: We played a show in London to a fairly indifferent small crowd, the fire alarm went off mid set and then this drunk guy came in, threw a DVD on the floor in front of the stage as we were playing and proceeded to urinate on it.
Good: Selling out the Cellar in Oxford for our last album launch. It's closed down now which is terrible for the Oxford gig scene. It was a really special show with a fantastic atmosphere. Vienna Ditto played as well which was amazing.
If you could’ve written one song(or indeed album) by another artist, what would it be & why?
Kerraleigh: 'A Better Son/Daughter' by Rilo Kiley. If you're having a bad day, put it on at full volume and sing it loud.
Martin: 'The Crystal Lake' by Grandaddy. It sounds amazing. To create something that rocks and is that melancholy is my dream!
Any plans for live dates ( Covid allowing..! )?
What with Covid and just having a baby, we haven't been booking anything at the moment. We're hoping that we'll be in a position next year or perhaps later this year depending to do some shows to support 'Wax Cat', which comes out in September.
New single 'God is in a Wire' is out now! Buy it here.
New album 'Wax Cat' is out in September.