Freya Ridings on open mic nights, Love Island and her career so far

Freya Ridings X FAULT Magazine 

Freya Ridings X FAULT Magazine 

Words by Jack Lloyd

At only 23 years old, London singer-songwriter Freya Ridings has caught the ear of millions of listeners worldwide. Her single, ‘Lost Without You’, resonates with such authenticity and hits with such devastating fragility that it has received over 37 million streams on Spotify and was featured on ITV2’s most watched show Love Island.

Last week, Freya performed ‘Lost Without You’ on BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge and on C4’s annual fundraising show, Stand Up To Cancer.

FAULT: How’s your year been so far?

Freya Ridings: It’s been a whirlwind and kind of unbelievable. I’ve been touring around the world, releasing a couple of live albums as well as focusing on my debut album. It’s been an incredible journey so far.

Your single Lost Without You has gone on to be hugely successful; what’s the story behind the song?

Freya Ridings: I always write from personal experience and I think one of the reason’s ‘Lost Without You’ may have connected with people more is because it really happened.

It’s that feeling where you’re emotionally exposing yourself and feels almost too raw to share with people. You have that feeling of isolation and heartbreak and you’re not sure if you’re ever going to get past that and writing was a way for me to deal with that.

I was quite scared at the idea of sharing it with people but I’m so happy I did because I’ve had a really overwhelming response from people and it’s really touched me. I feel extremely lucky now but at the time I felt like I couldn’t share those stories in my songs and it took a while for me to do that so I’m really happy it’s connected with people.

It was also featured Love Island; how did you feel when that happened?

Freya Ridings: I had no idea it was going to be used on the show. I’m a massive fan of the show and when it came on I got all these messages from my friends freaking out. It was an incredible moment having one of my songs being played on one of the biggest TV shows and the response after on Instagram and Facebook was incredible, I feel so lucky.

Freya Ridings X FAULT Magazine 

Words: Jack

What was it about the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song ‘Maps’ that you wanted to cover?

Freya Ridings: I feel like choosing a cover song is not just about finding a song you like it’s about finding one that you connect with on an emotional level. It’s like choosing a Pokemon, they kind of choose you as opposed to you choosing them.

If I’m playing a song that isn’t mine, it either gets me or it doesn’t in that first moment and when I first sung that song I was going through a really hard breakup at the time and it hit me like a lightning bolt and I just really resonated with the story and felt like I needed to share it with people.

Being raised in London, has it influenced you in any way?

Freya Ridings: Hugely, at school I was heavily dyslexic and really struggled academically so music was my safe haven. Growing up when I started to do open mic nights around London, it was where I started making friends with other musicians that shaped me and shaped the kind of artist that I wanted to be. I feel like London can be hard when you’re younger but then when you turn into a teenager it’s suddenly the best place to live.

When I started doing open mic nights, I would focus on doing upbeat covers because that’s what I thought people wanted. It was actually the songs I would come home and play on piano that felt like the real me and it was a journey to realise that I can actually share the songs I was writing on the piano and it was only when I started to that everything started to change for me.

It’s been a rewarding experience to be more authentic and raw and less scared to share.

What was it about the Omeara and St Pancreas Old Church that you wanted to record your live albums?

Freya Ridings: I’ve been playing live for so many years and being in the room you can feel this sort of magic, especially in venues like churches or venues that have a bit more character to them. I didn’t want to do something where you hold everything back until it’s perfect, I wanted to share the songs in their raw exposed authentic form and I’m so happy we did that because feel like it’s a way to let people in instead of holding the at arm’s length. I feel like people have really resonated and connected with that which means the world to me and have people come and sing the lyrics with you is just another level.

Freya Ridings X FAULT Magazine 

 

Is there any artists that you never get tired of listening to?

Freya Ridings: Florence and Adele are huge influences because I feel they’re very heart driven songwriters that I resonate with on another level. Tom Odell is huge influence who I adore, I actually saw him recently and wanted to tell him how much I was fangirling.

Hozier is another one, I love really honest storytellers. Ray Lamontagne’s voice transcends like no other voice I’ve heard live, Trouble was the album that made me want to write and play songs to begin with.

I adore Taylor Swift too, she put me on her Apple Music playlist and I literally dropped my phone.

What’s next for you?

Freya Ridings: We’ve just come out the studio and I’m excited because we’re in the final stages of finishing the album. I can’t wait to share the songs with everyone, I’ve been so used to playing them on my own so it’s great to hear them with all the other instruments and choirs because it changes the whole feel. I just never thought I would have the opportunity to share that with people so I’m really really excited.

What is your fault? 

Freya Ridings: There’s too many, I would say up until now not living in the moment enough. I’ve really been trying to work on that mindfulness and gratitude just so I can appreciate all that’s going on and be grateful for the things I have.

 

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Follow Freya Ridings on Facebook and Instagram.

Isle of Wight Festival 2018: review and pictures

As the Isle of Wight festival 2018 celebrated its 50th anniversary, the sun shone as golden as the glittery glad rags parading around the festival field…and we got our cameras out:

Isle of Wight festival 2018: Friday

Grooving on the main stage Nile Rodgers and Chic performed a flawless performance that fired out hit and hit and got the fans on their feet. While the Big Top tent saw Bedford boy Tom Grennan cause a storm on stage and solidifying his status as one of the hottest sounds of 2018.

Friday night came to a close with Kasabian performing a by the book performance that saw the band belt out tune after tune suited for the main stage, Chase and Status caused chaos as fans piled into the Big Top tent desperate to dance into the early hours of the night.

Tom Grennnan @ Isle of Wight Festival 2018 - FAULT Magazine

Tom Grennan performs on the Big Top stage at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Saturday

The sun continued to shine though out Saturday as areas such as the Old Mout Cider Kiwi Camp kept things cool with their delicious array of ciders and light entertainment like Disco Yoga and Rockaoke.

Brit award winner James Bay was back trading in his trademark hat for slick back hair and riffs galore as he jammed on stage to his follow up album Electric Light. While man of the hour Liam Gallagher pulled in a sizeable crowd and belted out Oasis classics such as Rock n Roll Star and Supersonic that proved to be still some of greatest songs ever written, the downside being a shared stage and not having the time to truly shine.

Sigrid at Isle of Wight Festival 2018 - FAULT Magazine

Sigrid at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Sunday

Sunday saw Sheryl Crow keep things light and breezy while Cuban-born Camila Cabello gave a scorching performance that added a little heat to the already blistering day – although it was arguably a little tepid compared to that of the England team. Spirits were raised as high as the English flags waving through the sky when the England vs Panama result began to ripple through the raucous crowds, convincing everyone present that football was truly coming home.

It was a welcome return for Sam Duckworth – aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – to the stage as he was supported by a full band that helped transform previous electro-experimental efforts into a vibrant array of melodic splendour. The full ensemble breathed new life into his debut album The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager, sounding as fresh as it did back in 2006.

Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid unfortunately felt the strain of technical difficulties eating into her allotted time by an extra half hour, but was welcomed by an sympathetic crowd filling out the Big Top tent before rushing off to see headline act The Killers take to the main stage.

The Las Vegas band pulled no punches as their perfect blend of indie rock and bruised Americana with a Springsteen-esque twang attracted multiple generations to the main stage. Spectators witnessed a dazzling performance accompanied by festival fireworks soaring almost as high as the bands brilliant finale Mr Brightside, proving that Isle of Wight is one of the biggest and brightest festivals around.

The Isle of Wight Festival 2018 celebrating its 50 year anniversary - FAULT Magazine

The Isle of Wight Festival 2018 was celebrating its 50 year anniversary

 

Keep tabs on tickets for next year’s Isle of Wight Festival here: www.isleofwightfestival.com

 

Words and photos by Jack Lloyd

Isaac Gracie for FAULT Issue 28

Isaac Gracie X FAULT Magazine

Isaac Gracie for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

Photography: Joseph Sinclair
Styling: Gary Salter
Grooming: Charlotte Kraftman
Words: Jack Lloyd

For Isaac Gracie, the last two years have been nothing more than a journey of self-discovery and introspection. It just so happens that along the way, Isaac has caught of the ears of millions of listeners and radio stations worldwide. After selling out many of the UK’s most prestigious venues, Isaac is about to embark on an even bigger journey after the release of his eponymous debut album on 13th April.

Whilst formulating a series of songs with poetic precision and articulated with such devastating beauty, Isaac has pieced together a record that he claims is a physical representation of a heavy and formative time in his life and as a result unveiled to the public the unravelling of a bold new voice.

We sit down with one of Britain’s most sought-after artists.

FAULT: First of all, how are you and how has your year been so far?

Isaac Gracie: It’s been good – I’ve been good. I just came back from Europe where I finished off the record which is coming out next month. It’s all kind of coming together nicely.

Talk to me about that moment you submitted your demo track ‘Last Words’ and how it got picked up by BBC. Where were you when it all started?

Isaac Gracie: I was on my summer holiday between first and second year of university and I was spending most of my time at home or working in a coffee shop. It was there that I started getting a strange amount of interest whilst I was washing dishes and cleaning tables. I was getting emails from record labels which I had never even thought about and all the while trying to fumble together a decent wage at a coffee shop, it was definitely surreal.

I was also in like a strange headspace then as well. It was summer and I was in the middle of university so I was in a lot of places at one time, so the music felt definitely like an abnormal thing to blow up.

Isaac Gracie for FAULT Magazine Issue 28 srcset=

Was music not a priority at that time?

Isaac Gracie: I was just getting on with making a little bit of money so I could have some spending cash at uni, focusing on studying as well and finding a place to live. I had all of these things going on that were completely not related to music – the music was just a personal hobby and a passion – I really had no intention beyond that. It was definitely part of my life – but large notions of success were completely out of the picture.

Is your family musical at all?

Isaac Gracie: No one played necessarily, it wasn’t a run in the family type thing. I was raised on music only in the way that my mum loved music. Bob Dylan was always number one with my mum and when I was growing up, my dad used to play The Bends in the car when we were driving. I can remember going along listening to The Bends when I was like four years old and really digging it.

Where did you record the album?

Isaac Gracie: It was recorded in a few places, we did a big bulk of it at RAK Studios and then we did some at Westpoint Studios in Shepereds Bush and Crouch End. It was recorded over a long period of time in a lot of different set ups so it really does represent the journey of that time. It isn’t just one singular block of experience or creativity but more of an evolution and a reflexion of the changes that happened over that period of time.

Do you find it easier to write a particular song more than others or did you ever struggle at all when writing the album?

Isaac Gracie: I struggle with it all the time. The nature of the songs is kind of like you’re wandering along a beach trying to find a treasure trove and you can walk for hours and not find anything. Obviously, sometimes things are buried closely to the surface and very easy to uncover and other times you really have to dig for them. That’s just kind of how I relate to it, there is no one way or one experience that I have in relation to songwriting.

Are there any songs on the album or on your previous EP’s that have really pushed you out of your comfort zone?

Isaac Gracie: My relationship to songwriting is pretty much on its own terms. I have a diverse and wide appreciation for music and by no means want to restrict myself but it’s purely for the time being based on the situation that I find myself in and in the songs that I still feel I have yet to write. I think right now it’s all based within that frame.

Isaac Gracie for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

Talk to me about being on tour. Do you have any highlights?

Isaac Gracie: I just love being on the road, it’s pretty awesome to turn up in a different city every day and have like a new crowd of generally speaking, really lovely interesting people there to hear you play your songs. I love the opportunity to travel and see new places but also just driving and looking out the window and being with other people.

It’s also in many respects a bit of a vacuum because you don’t necessarily feel responsible for anything other than the tour so you can kind of switch off a little bit.

What would be your dream if you weren’t a musician?

Isaac Gracie: I’d love to be in film. I’m fascinated by movies and how they’re acted, how they’re directed, how they’re written, everything about them. Obviously, right now music is without doubt the focus but If I get to a place where there was any relative level of comfort or sustainability, then anything in that world would be a dream.

Who would you most like to go and have a beer with?

Isaac Gracie: I saw Bon Iver the other day, I actually saw him twice in one week and he’s always been such a mastery of melody. Also, someone like Jonny Greenwood and be able to discuss the stuff that he’s doing at the moment with his film scores.

What’s 2018 looking like for you?

Isaac Gracie: Well I’m going on tour next month and touring the UK and Europe then I’ve got the album coming out next month as well, April 13th. Following that I’ll be playing festivals throughout the summer and then going on another tour in the winter. Being on the road and making the most of every opportunity to introduce my music to people and play to crowds who enjoy it. It’s a cool experience and the build-up to this record has been a long time coming so I just want to make the most of it when it comes out.

Isaac Gracie for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

The eponymous ‘Isaac Gracie’ album was released on the 13th April.

 

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Island

With a couple of EP’s already under their belt, London four-piece ISLAND have been tweaking away at their debut album Feels Like Air which is due out on April 6th.

Forming as teenagers, frontman Rollo Doherty’s former acoustic project has transformed into a fierce blend of coastal grooves mixed with languid rock that explodes effortlessly with such rugged precision thanks to the aid of guitarist Jack Raeder, bassist James Wolfe and drummer Toby Richards. Their DIY ethic and close-knit approach to the album has paid off and holds testament to a band approaching stardom at breakneck speed. We caught up with drummer Toby Richards to discuss life on the road and inspiration behind their stellar debut.

Let’s talk about your debut album Feels Like Air. Where was it recorded and what was the process like?
Yeah so when we first started writing, we knew we were working towards an album but we didn’t really have a purpose, so when we were touring out and about on the road we’d been listening to a lot of driving inspired records. Bands like War on Drugs, Future Islands, Leif Erikson that sort of stuff and it just got us thinking about kind of putting together a soundtrack to a journey. As soon as that came into place, all the tracks fell together pretty quickly in the space of a couple of months really. We’d always planned to go into the studio with an old friend of ours, a guy called Mike Hill, he’s got a studio just outside Oxford.
It was a comfortable set up there with him, we were all together in one room playing all four of us together and we’d record it to see what works and what doesn’t and keep it very much a live feel really. It took shape really quickly, I think we actually recorded it all in about eleven days so it was pretty quick.

How important is it the album represent a collective body of work as opposed to individual songs?
Yeah, we definitely did look at it as a full body of work and just with the theme of driving and the journey, it definitely brought the songs together as one. Lyrically, Rollo who writes the lyrics definitely drew on the idea of the songs being written from the point of view of a passenger on a journey so that’s what ties it all together. Sonically we didn’t set too many boundaries, we’d just go with whatever felt right.

So it sounds like you enjoy being on the road?
Yeah big time, playing live is a huge part of the sound for us and something we wanted to take into the studio. We wanted to sound like it’s us on stage performing a show. We keep things very DIY, we drive ourselves a lot of the time and Mike who we did the album with does the sound for us, it’s a very small little family that we take on the road with us. As soon as we finish playing a show we’re at the merch stand selling all our merch and chatting to fans. We try and cover as much as possible just between the four of us really.
It’s always awesome being out on the road, we’re heading out again this month in Europe and then UK in May and then we’re excited to be going to America because it’s going to be our first time going over there so yeah lots of touring to be done for this album.

Did you have more creative freedom on this album as opposed to previous EP’s?
In terms of the writing we’ve always tried not to have too much structure to how things evolve, the songs can come from anywhere, a drum beat, guitar riff, vocal line so many different avenues. I think with this album we wanted to keep it as live and rough and ready as possible, production wise we didn’t add too much in the studio, we really wanted to keep it just the four of us playing together. Creatively, I suppose we did try and few new routes but nothing too crazy from what we’ve done before, we always like to experiment with lots of different effects, guitar wise lots of delay, reverb and things like that but yeah nothing too out the box, definitely still within the realms of the ISLAND sound.

Is keeping your signature sound something you’ll consider on your next album?
Interestingly since we got back from Christmas we’ve actually been writing quite a lot. We don’t know whether it’s going to be an EP or an album we haven’t talked about that yet but just in terms of what’s coming out it is a progression from the album already it’s got a bit of a darker vibe without giving too much away.

What’s your FAULT?
I would say I have quite bad OCD, especially on tour. I get a bit funny about cleanliness on the road in the van, small little things like socks being on the seats or something. I’m also obsessed with driving whilst the others are resting up for the show. I like to take the wheel and love driving through the mountains in Europe but probably a bit too much that I end up knackered just before a show.