The Kaje talks Dream Life to Mary Epworth

Mary Epworth has always lived and breathed music, so much so that is nigh on impossible for the talented singer/songwriter to pin point a moment when it became clear she would ‘live the dream’ as a young adult. Having been taken to a wealth of gypsy music workshops by her father as a child and embraced her older brother’s passion for heavy metal as a young teenager, it could be said that the Saxon Queensryche fan has an eclectic mix of musical influences. Unsurprisingly, Epworth has been able to craft one of 2012’s most powerful and unique albums so far. Having blown The Kaje‘s socks off with “Dream Life”, we jumped at the chance to have a chat and find out more…

“Dream Life” is your debut album-what can people expect?

Eleven songs, lots of harmonies, some trippy touches, drum fills, and a liberal dose of synth bass.

The album is an eclectic mix of styles-how did you piece it together?

Once the tracks were done, it was a matter of seeing how they could flow as a body of work, would they all fit. A couple of stragglers didn’t make it onto the record, they would have taken it to a different place, made it a different kind of journey. I’m really happy with how it ended up sounding.

Who would you say were the strongest influences on the album’s sonic structure?

I’m really obsessed with 70s Beach Boys albums, Todd Rundgren, and also records that were produced by people like Joe Meek and Curt Boettcher. I wanted to hark back to an era where singer songwriters were unafraid to take an ambitious approach.

How did you know which songs fitted the record?

I didn’t know until we were almost finished. I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out.

If you had to recommend one song as an introduction to the record, which would it be? 

The next single, “Long Gone”.

Why?

That kind of bridges the gap between the massive bombast of something like “Black Doe”, and the more lush ballads on side two.

Do you have a personal favourite amongst the collection?

Same one! The moment where producer Will layered the synths and the brass was a revelation. Suddenly there was a wall of sound! It was exciting, which is no mean feat when you are listening to your own songs.

Having worked in private on the material over an extended period, how do you feel about finally unleashing the material for public consumption?

Both relieved and apprehensive. It’s funny in a way, because this is such a private process for such a large part of it, and then the whole world becomes part of this thing you’ve created.

How do you respond to feedback-whether positive or negative?

I think it depends. Always really chuffed with good feedback, especially if they seem to understand what I was trying to do. Negative feedback, I’ll tell you when the reviews come in! I think when you are a smaller artist, people generally only bother to write about you if they like it in some way. I guess it’s a bit like any criticism, depends if it gets you in a sore spot.

What has been the most notable praise you have received to date?

We landed “New album of the month” in Record Collector, and I loved the review that went with that. That writer really got it, and I really feel so happy with what he wrote.

And the most amusing criticism?

I once sang backing vocals for my friend at a gig, and a review said “The backing vocalist was terrible, they should have used Mary Epworth instead”

How would you define your goals for “Dream Life”?

Get it out, hold a vinyl copy of it in my hands, maybe smell the printing, and then never think of it again. I joke, I don’t know really, I’m very much just seeing how it goes. If I’ve learned anything in the last few years it’s that you can never predict what lies ahead, and it’s better not to fret about it.

Are you excited to get the album on the road?

Yeah! I’m actually starting to really enjoy gigs in a way I never have before. Love my band line up at the moment. It’s so nice meeting people at gigs that have heard stuff on the radio etc. We have some great shows booked, main stage at Hop Farm is going to be epic!

How will you alter the record for the live forum?

We have to try to translate it, so much of the album is about space and treatment of sound, it’s interesting trying to make that work with guitars and things.

What is the Mary Epworth live experience?

We probably rock out a bit more live than on the record, it’s fun! Come and see us play sometime!

“Dream Life” is out June 15.

Interview by Jeremy Williams

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