FAULT Weekly Playlist: Alana Henderson

Former Hozier band member Alana Henderson draws from her classical background and Irish roots in her solo effort. A brilliant cellist and singer-songwriter, Alana channels vulnerability and beautiful, stripped down melodies as evident in her latest single “Let This Remain.” It’s an icy and unforgiving anti-ballad, fusing an electronic undercurrent to her darkly organic indie-folk sound.

We asked Alana to put together a playlist of tracks and artists who have influenced her solo material, including Joni Mitchell and Sia. Listen below!

Fever Ray- Keep The Streets Empty For Me

“This track has almost all of my favourite things; sweeping synth, melancholy vibe & spooky vocals. It gets better with each listen.”

Joni Mitchell- Cactus Tree

“I was reading a book of interviews with Joni Mitchell called ‘In Her Own Words’ at about the time I wrote ‘Let This Remain.’ I’d been touring for about 1.5 years. ‘While she’s so busy being free’ resonated.”

Sia- Fair Game

“Sia’s track about the ‘game-playing’ of a relationships is really smart. This minimalist string-laden track was my favourite on her ‘1000 forms of fear’ album.”

Arthur Russell- That’s Us/ Wild Combination

“Arthur Russell has been a huge influence on me. He was the first ‘cello-singing’ artist that I ever encountered. The distorted cello on the album ‘calling out context’ and his use of electronic elements is something I took inspiration from for ‘Let This Remain.'”

This Mortal Coil- Song To The Siren

“This Tim Buckley cover is a long-time favourite of mine. Its so mystical and evocative. It really draws you in. That little ornamentation on the line ‘waiting to hold you’ reminds me of old-style Irish ‘Sean-nós’, which I grew up singing. “

Esme Patterson- My Young Man

“Esme Patterson describes this as ‘the feminine aspects of herself writing a love song to the masculine aspects.’ There is definitely an element of that in ‘Let This Remain’… it’s the heart and the head having a conversation about the risks involved in loving someone.”

Ani Di Franco- Untouchable Face

“So much wonderful contradiction in this. I’ve loved this song since I was a teenager.”

Laurie Anderson-O Superman

“This track is still so unsettling, strange and brilliant. The fact it got to #2 in the charts is also heartening!”

Ane Brun-Do You Remember

‘Do you remember when we forgot how to smile at each other? To believe that the other wants only what’s good for you?’
“Maybe its a Scandi thing but there’s just something so gut wrenching in Ane Brun’s lyrics. The tribal beats belie the fact that the words are totally devastating.”

Fionn Regan- Dogwood Blossom

“Fionn Regan is an underrated and inventive Irish Singer-Songwriter. His lyrics are second-to-none. I had this on heavy rotation for a spell.”

Alana Henderson Socials:
Soundcloud
Facebook
Website
Spotify

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

Angel Haze – exclusive shoot for FAULT Online

Angel Haze by Miles Holder

Bomber Jacket: D’Albert
Trousers: Jean Pierre Braganza
Boots: Dr Marten
T-Shirt: This Is A Lovesong

Last week, Angel Haze took to the stage at Heaven for her headline gig and told the assembled masses that “fans of Angel Haze are fans of themselves.” Amidst the crowd of people crying, screaming and hanging on every lyric, there is no denying that Haze has forged a rare bond with her fanbase. Sitting in the make-up chair before her FAULT shoot, she explains that “people who get me, get me because they are me in some sense….they take my music and they make it what they need.” Haze has overcome unusual adversity; she grew up in a religious cult and suffered abuse throughout her childhood, before taking on the music industry with her unique brand of raw, lyrical rap. The aggression in her music is high-impact and searing, with lyrics that possess a brutal honesty and a surprising spirituality. On stage, she has a religious quality; equal parts saint, sinner, preacher and, on the harshest tracks, appearing almost exorcised mid-set.

Angel Haze by Miles Holder

Jacket: Napsugar Von Bittera
Shirt: Joy Rich
Trousers: Carlotta Actis Barone

Perhaps this isn’t far-off; “I wanted to use music as catharsis…to rid myself of all my demons and all the shit I couldn’t deal with alone.” Having put her life so much in the public domain, it would be easy for her ‘story’ to become a burden, and she admits that “once people relate to you, they will run to you.” Haze seems to fear being pigeon-holed, although she is resigned to the fact that “people take your demons and run with them….they become who you are.” Taking a breath, she looks around the room before asserting that “my story isn’t the only story I have to tell.” The story Haze refers to is one of “prosperity, of becoming a better person” and it’s a story ongoing. Her latest single Battle Cry features a vocal from Sia and has already broken into the Top 20, jumping 62 places in a week.

Haze is accustomed to this rapid, viral success. “I got famous from Tumblr”, she laughs between texts on her phone, “and I’m not even as famous as I’m gonna be.” By her count, it’s taken two years to transform her life and she appears incredibly introspective (and honest) for such a rising star. When I compare her to other rappers and their declarations of status, swag and self-deification, she almost timidly confides that “the braggadocio shit doesn’t come easy to me.” Instead, her lyrics are about “being honest with myself and obsessed with love”, filtered through her honest voice and confessional verses; “there’s an immense loneliness to my life.”

Angel Haze by Miles Holder

Jacket: Joy Rich
Trousers: Jean Pierre Braganza

Haze seems both born for the life she is living now, but also so clearly  conscious of where she has come from and, more importantly, what she has overcome. Over the course of our time together, boxes arrive from Chanel, messages get sent over from Karl Lagerfeld (in London for a store opening,) and at one point John Newman texts her to be his date for an event that evening. Haze is that rare thing- the humble rap superstar, with something to say that is truly her own, and a sense of self grounded in her lyrics and not in her designer labels. Amidst the chaos of the set- of publicists and hair people and rails of designer clothes- she pauses and reflects on what she refers to as her ‘process of becoming’ who she is now. “You change, you evolve, and you never want to go back.”

Words by: Will Ballantyne-Reid
Photographer: Miles Holder
Stylist: Denise Brown