Our first Savvy Seven in a while, and it’s a good’un!
Red Earth & Pouring Rain is the follow up to Bear’s Den‘s Ivor Novello-nominated 2014 debut, Islands, and sees a group poised to take huge leaps forward, with full UK and European tour dates also announced including their biggest headliner to date, at Brixton Academy on Tuesday 8th November.
We were lucky enough to score a quick session with one half of the band: Kevin Jones, who also just happens to be one of the founders of Communion Records alongside Mumford and Sons and Ben Lovett. His answers are thoughtful and insightful and we know you will all take something away from this interview.
– What is the best part about being a musician, for you?
Honestly, just playing every day. There are very few days when you don’t have a guitar in your hands or your fingers on a keyboard. It changes your relationship with music, it becomes both closer than you could have ever imagined but also further away than you thought possible, your relationship with it changes constantly and that reflects back on the relationship you have with yourself.
– How has your music practice changed over time?
Pretty drastically to be honest. I guess I started out wanting to ‘master’ various instruments, and you can get very set on those things but at some point I started to ask ’to what end am I trying to master these things?’ and realised that that wasn’t the point, for me at least. When you make the transition to (attempting) to be an artist rather than a craftsman you realise that you’re just painting with a palette of sounds and colours and textures and that is to me, infinitely more interesting.
– What advice would you give to someone who is about to head off on their very first tour?
Tour is a completely unique kind of adventure, it depends what you’re trying to get out of it, but fundamentally enjoy it and throw yourself into it completely, especially the first ones because you can’t recreate that sense of excitement and of new horizons. And bring Immodium. Seriously. You’ll thank me one day.
– Do you get nervous before you perform? How do you manage that?
Yes, but over time you get more used to playing shows every night and you feel like you can concentrate on what you’re doing more. The most nervous I still get is at shows where your friends and family are present – those will never not be extremely nerve wracking I think!
– How do you record your initial song ideas?
It depends, it can be everything from a hastily assembled iPhone recording to meticulous demoing. Davie also has a theory that you shouldn’t record any ideas at all because the best ones stick around anyway, which I like.
– My top business tip for new artists is…
Take your time, in all respects. Take time figuring out who you are as an artist and what you want to achieve. Take time building a team around you and if that team doesn’t present itself immediately, don’t go with people that aren’t ideal for you. If you rush things and don’t figure things out properly you’ll end up wasting more time in the long run extracting yourself from situations you shouldn’t have found yourself in or re-evaluating yourself as an artist and having to start all over again. Patience really is a virtue.
– What was your biggest career mistake/regret?
I don’t really have any regrets because you learn from every mistake you make, but I do wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t studied music for years before actually getting out into the world and playing it. Maybe I would have come to the same conclusions but more quickly, maybe I wouldn’t – it’s hard to say. It’s either that or the neon pink sweat bands I wore on stage in 2008.
Check out their new single: Auld Wives