FAULT Future: Freddie Dickson

 

We recently spent the afternoon with Freddie Dickson, the young voice setting music blogs ablaze with his dark ‘Doom Pop’ sound. Courting comparisons to Lana del Rey and the legendary Nick Cave, Dickson has just today released the video for his new single ‘Speculate‘,  which has already been played on Annie Mac’s show on Radio 1 and Jo Good’s on XFM.

It’s taken from an EP, of the same name, out April 13th on Columbia. Dickson has also announced an intimate headline show at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington on 1st April, before heading out on the Communion New Faces tour on the 20th.
Freddie Dickson (2015), photographed by Constance Meath Baker

Freddie Dickson (2015), photographed by Constance Meath Baker

What are your influences and how have you arrived at this current ‘Doom Pop’ sound?

In the early days it was Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, and all those guys I had grown up on. Then as I got older I became more into production- The XX, Lana del Rey, Florence + the Machine, Plan B. I wanted an all-encompassing style for my music.

When did you start writing?

I didn’t start singing until I was 18 at an open mic, but I had been writing since I was 15/16. It just got to a point where I realised I didn’t want anyone else to be singing my songs.

When you did start performing, was it something that came easily to you?

No, I was so shy! But I just drilled my way through endless open mics. I guess I ‘Ed Sheeran’d’ my way through it! (laughs)

Were people quick to take notice?

No, not until I changed my sound. To begin with, I was just too stuck in the past. I was trying to be Bob Dylan, and no-one should try that! I got bored myself, and I did a gig in East London when I was 21 and a friend was just like “that was really bad.” And I knew it.

But I went away, and got Logic on my laptop, and started developing the sound I have now. The artists I want to be like are the ones who constantly change- Plan B, Kanye, Bowie. I get bored so easily (laughs)

Freddie Dickson (2015), photographed by Constance Meath Baker

Freddie Dickson (2015), photographed by Constance Meath Baker

It’s interesting, watching sessions and live performances that you’ve done, to see how you take that production-based sound and transfer it into the realm of the live experience. How do you find the music changes when you perform it live?
I think the live experience has to be so different from the record – if you just try to mimic the recorded version, there’s nothing worse. It’s almost like you have to do a cover of your own song, and put some twist on it.

The visuals seem very important to your music- is that something you’re closely involved with?
Yeah I think it’s so important. All the artists I like – Nick Cave, Patti Smith – they created all this powerful imagery. It would be weird, given how dark my sound is, if I was styled with bright neon clothing, right? (laughs) I think it all has to fit together; how you’re photographed, how you look, the live performance.

Part of that process is collaboration, which seems to underpin so much of today’s music industry. Is that something that comes easily to you?
When I was first signed I had so many co-writing sessions set up for me, and none of them really worked. But  I eventually hit it off with someone and now I have this great team of musicians and producers who help me reach the exact thing I want. I’m not an accomplished musician, and I don’t even try to aspire to greatness because the singing is really my thing.

Freddie Dickson (2015), photographed by Constance Meath Baker

Freddie Dickson (2015), photographed by Constance Meath Baker

Does the writing process come easily to you?
No not at all! And I think that annoys so many of the people I work with (laughs) I like to make sure every word is perfect, and that every syllable comes out of my mouth easily. I could never be one of these people who writes three songs a week, they’d all sound the same!

It’s interesting to hear you talk in terms of before and after being signed. How has the process changed since being signed- are there new pressures that come with having a label?
Not really- my label has been really nice. We still do it in the same way, writing away in my bedroom, and they give me my own recording space with good speakers which is great. It’s like having a little office (laughs)

As you’re writing music, are you constantly listening to new material by other artists, or do you try to cut yourself from other people’s work?
No, I follow a lot of blogs and love just diving into new music. I’d love to work with a hip-hop band, or a dream collaborator like Nas or Sia! I think she’s amazing because it’s so much about the songs and the voice.

Are you excited to be going on the Communion New Faces tour at the end of April?
Yeah I can’t wait  – it’s such incredible exposure! At the moment I can see how the fans are spread out and there are so many in places like Russia and Eastern Europe, but not enough in England yet (laughs)

Finally, what is your FAULT?
Scotch Eggs. And not being able to write songs very quickly.

 

All photography by Constance Meath Baker

FAULT Future: Flo Morrissey

 

Flo Morrissey is a chanteuse who sits somewhere between a Lana Del Rey penchant for romantic nostalgia, the bohemian power of Florence & the Machine, the whispered and mystical vocals of early Björk, and the effortless charm of Jane Birkin or Stevie Nicks.

At only 20, her sound and lyrics are incredibly well-honed, born of influences her contemporaries haven’t heard of and a detachment from pop culture that has made her incredibly unique both to listen to, and to look at.

Having just released her debut single ‘Pages of Gold‘, and just finished her first tour in the UK supporting The Staves, we sat down with Flo to talk cinematic sounds, the world around the artist, and the power of not always saying yes…

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

How are you finding the tour so far?

I’m loving it – it’s my first one so it was quite daunting to start with, doing something new every night for people who haven’t necessarily come to see you! But it’s great to be playing with The Staves because the audience is there to really listen.

In terms of your biggest performances so far – SXSW, Green Man, etc. – it seems like you are really selective when it comes where to play. Is that the case?

Yeah, it’s just the way my path has gone. I think it’s down to the Internet- I started putting up my demos at 14 and never really did shows in pubs or clubs like other acts. I was just lucky that my manager found me online. I think people say yes to too many things nowadays, and it takes away the special nature of actually doing a show.

Is the live aspect something you enjoy, or is it something you find daunting?

I enjoy it more and more because I’m still new to it – but you never know how you’re going to feel after a show. One thing could change and you wish you had done it differently. But I want to perform more and I’m excited to do more shows. It’s just hard in the beginning! When I go on the road, I’ll hopefully have a multi-instrumentalist to play with me so it will be a little less daunting and lonely.

Beyond the live show, is sharing the actual music something that makes you feel vulnerable?

I don’t really think about it until after, when I realise how weird it can be to speak about the songs. I’d rather people had their own interpretation of it. It’s nice to think that someone else might get something from it as well.

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

The individualism of your music and vision is clearly close to your heart. As you grow as an artist- being signed and managed and touring in the UK and beyond- is it harder to retain that sense of self?

I picked my label because they completely let me do what I want to, and I don’t have to compromise. People have this idea of the music industry as this place where you always have to say yes, but you really don’t. I still do my own Facebook and Instagram, and I wouldn’t want that to ever change.

How did you start writing music?

I started putting stuff on Myspace when I was about 14. I used to sing more classical music at school, but I started playing guitar and it was just more fun! So I made my own recordings, and my own videos, and put covers online. I was this 15 year-old girl acting as my own manager, sending my music out to blogs and it just felt really natural.

In that vein of being your own manager, it seems that your vision is really all-encompassing? Is it important to you that all the elements are cohesive in that way?

I think it is really important to have a kind of world around the artist, but then you can’t think about it in that way. I just try to be natural about it.

How do you see yourself going forward? Pages of Gold, (the upcoming single), marks a shift towards a much bigger sound.

I am really open to experimentation and a lot of the songs on the album have big string sections. I’d love to bring a live band on tour because a lot of the songs are quite cinematic and I’m glad it went that way. It could have been a real folk record but I always wanted to have this more cinematic sound.

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

How was the process of recording your album in LA over the summer?

It was quite lonely at time because LA is just such a huge place. It was the longest I’ve ever been away from home but my manager lives there which was great, and I get along so well with Noah, the producer.

You are quite a quintessentially British artist- what do you see as the differences between making music in the US and the UK?

It was quite inspiring to be there because they won’t say no- they had this kind of “you go girl!” mentality (laughs) and it was actually really good for me! They strive for a lot and it’s so easy, and English, to be self-deprecating but it helped in music terms to have that empowerment on hand.

Do you feel the music industry has been really supportive so far?

I’ve been so lucky but I try not to think about it too much! I sometimes feel like my music is maybe not that accessible, especially with just me and a guitar because it’s so vulnerable and raw. It won’t appeal to everyone but I strangely like that. Usually the best things are the ones that have flaws.

On that note, what is your FAULT?

I worry too much!

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

https://www.facebook.com/FloMorrissey

All photographs by Kurtiss Lloyd