Q&A: An interview with Caswell

In celebration of her stunning new single, 'Animal' we had a chat with London-based, singer-songwriter Caswell, discussing dream dinner party guests, ideal tracks for an imaginary covers EP, and all things essential in getting to know Caswell as an artist to keep an eye on this year. 

1.Based in London, can you tell us your favourite and least favourite thing about the city?
I'm the most indecisive person ever so that is such a tricky question, there's so much to love and hate. I feel blessed to be in a place with such an immense range of places to go and people to meet, but I hate how expensive it is to do any of those things.

2.As a self-taught pianist and a BRIT School graduate, is there one piece of advice that anyone has given you about having a career in music that you haven't forgotten?
Numerous people have expressed to me, that if you have a career as an artist and stop loving music, something's gone wrong. As an artist you start creating music because it's something you love and something you can't not do, so if you find yourself compromising those things that made you start in the first place, what's the point?

3.There's three tracks available to stream on your Soundcloud page. Your new single, 'Animal', 'Fury' and ' Stay The Night'. Could you give us a track by track breakdown?

'Animal' is my most recent release, and it's more a stream of consciousness as it was written over a period of time - I kept coming back to it and rewriting bits. In its initial form it's about how, as humans, we like to think we are so much more developed than animals, but in reality we are all still slaves to our impulses. It's also about reconnecting with your intuition and instincts.

'Fury' was written about someone particular who I had an odd relationship with, and I think I wrote the song to help make sense of what that relationship was. Ultimately it was that we had a very strong physical connection but that we had negative impacts on other parts of each others lives. It's a bit cliched the whole love/hate thing, but it's a cliche for a reason I guess!
'Stay The Night' was written when I was about 17, when I had a very secretive relationship with someone. The thing is, it's usually a secret because it shouldn't really be happening. I was more involved than the other person so I was trying to deal with that rejection and lack of fulfilment that you have when feelings aren't requited.

4.And could you talk us through the ideas behind the rich artwork that accompanies the tracks?
I was in contact with a designer called Averie Grahnam a year or so ago, who designed the typography and logo for Caswell, using different scans of flowers to create a texturised backdrop. I've then gone on to use her logo but manipulated the backdrop image in different ways for each single. It's nice to have a cohesive feel to the artwork and I love playing around with the colours schemes for each one.

5.Imagine you’re hosting a “dead or alive” dinner party. You can invite three famous guests (past or present/dead or alive/not limited to just musicians) Who have you invited and what are you eating?
I'd probably invite Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu and Frieda Khalo. I'd cook up a veggie curry of some kind - that's my easy go to dish when I have friends over. I've read that Erykah's vegan so I think she'd be down for that.

6.Let’s pretend you’re going to release a five-track covers EP. What songs would be on there?
Tame Impala-  'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards'
Jeff Buckley- 'Lover you should've come over'
Billie Holiday- 'Gloomy Sunday'
Erykah Badu- 'On & On'
Ariana Grande- 'Dangerous Woman'

7.You cite influences from Kate Bush, to Jeff Buckley, to Nina Simone. But we all have owned records by bands/artists that we are reluctant to tell people about! Can you think of one song that you aren't as forthcoming about admitting to liking? (Until put on the spot by us of course!!).
Haha absolutely, when I was a kid I had the world's cheesiest music taste - but who didn't! I still stand by my childhood choices of Vengaboys and B*Witched, no matter what anybody says.

8.And lastly,  what are your plans for the rest of the year?
At the moment the plan is to release as much as possible this year, I have a lot of songs I'm really excited about. The next track will be out out at the end of April, and then most likely an EP to follow. I'm also gigging quite regularly and always in the studio, so lots more to come!

Interview feature by Karla Harris