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07-02-2012 // interviews: Interview with: Bridie Jackson

In December there was the series of interviews to look back on 2011 with the bands/artists that made my musical year. I really enjoyed that and got a lot of great responses from readers and artists. So I figured, why not continue with this in a more relaxed pace (I was actually stressing myself out a bit in December) with the very finest of artists that I discover this year. The best album the year has brought me so far is Bitter Lullabies by Bridie Jackson and The Arbour. Not a day goes by without listening to it and not a second of it goes by unenjoyed (is that even a word? probably not..). It would only make sense that I would talk to Bridie Jackson. Read all about her here below, while you give that beautiful album a spin.

When and how did you first become interested in music? Who were your
earliest (musical) influences?

I was lucky enough to grow up in a very musical household- my dads a composer, and he always encouraged me to be creative, play a range of instruments and I always sang in choirs and played in orchestras, so I guess those were my formative influences. I've also always loved Billie Holiday, just in terms of the passion and viscerality she bought to her performance, and I'm a complete Brian Wilson disciple when it comes to harmony construction and melody.

What kind of music do you listen to nowadays?
I'm quite fickle musically, and always on the look out for new bands to listen to. Currently, I'm listening to The National, Raised by Swans and Antony and The Johnsons. Also waiting eagerly for the next Bat For Lashes album. I also love a bit of Stevie Wonder.

Was there a certain moment or experience that made you decide to make a career in music?
Not really a specific moment, it's always been a focus.

Do you consider Bridie Jackson & The Arbour a solo or a group project?
We're definately a group. We work as a unit and make decisions about the future of the band together. Currently I write all the songs but we arrange them collaboratively and everyone has a creative input.

How would you define the music style that you play?
I have no idea. its definately laced with a range of influences when you combine the different styles we all like to play.

How was the band formed?
It used to be just me, but then I discovered having other people involved was infinately more enjoyable. People have come and gone over the years, but I think it works as a band much better than it ever did as a solo project.

You wrote all the songs yourself, how does the process of writing a song
work for you?

I am not a very prolific writer and am always impressed by those that are. I write about 3 songs a year, although I've written two already this year so perhaps I'm improving.. Or maybe the rest of the year will be creatively arid. Generally, I will get a line in my head, or an interval or a scrap of a melody that I really like, and I'll store it away, ruminate on it and some time later, a song tentatively stumbles out. Sometimes it's genre specific- I wrote 'promises are broken' because I wanted to learn how to compose harmonies for folk music, and exactly the same process occurred for 'please forgive me my human ways' because I was trying to figure out how to write gospel music. The songs are rarely, if ever complete- generally they will constantly evolve, even after they've been recorded.

What does a ‘regular’ day look like for Bridie Jackson?
I'm lucky enough to work in music for my day job aswell, and the most significant part of my job is leading choirs, so I spend my days composing, arranging and conducting, which is a wonderful way to make a living. The evenings are generally taken up with gigging and rehearsing.

You have toured and recorded the album last year, what’s next? What are your main plans for 2012?
We've been booked for a few festivals and are applying for more so that's our main aim this year. We will also be releasing a single over the summer and we have a few other exciting projects up our sleeves too..

When will consider 2012 a succes? What would you like to happen the most?
I'd like our profile to grow nationally. We would like to start gigging more further afield, maybe a trip to Holland- what do you reckon?

Big thanks to Bridie Jackson for taking the time to answer these questions and a trip to Holland would be awesome, I would definately be there to listen to you and The Arbour live!

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