Q&A: An interview with August and After

With the release of sublime new single, 'Stream', comes the promise of more brand new material on the horizon, so we thought it was a perfect time to catch up with London based indie-folk outfit, August and After and find out all the gossip!

Hi! How did August and After come to be? How did you all meet?
Vedantha: Life! A party here, a concert there, a long afternoon drink on London’s Southbank...We each wanted the same thing at the same time; we each wanted an outlet to fuse our love of contemporary songwriting, with more classically-inspired instrumentation. And we instantly connected on a human level, something that is really important and often overlooked. From smaller beginnings we’ve now grown to a five-piece, and it’s been wonderful to see the music develop with the addition of each member.

Is there a particular meaning behind the band name?
Vedantha: Yep! The truth is that we named ourselves in August...But there’s more to it. One of our favourite songs - ‘Round Here’ - comes from a Counting Crows album called ‘August and Everything After’. We snipped off one the words and hoped we’d never get big enough to get sued...It’s a stunning album by the way, probably one of the few perfect albums (and I don’t use that word lightly) from beginning to end.

Who or what do you draw influences from?
Vedantha: That’s a great question, and a hard one to answer! Songwriting is often spontaneous, rather than calculated, and as such it doesn’t allow much room for conscious deliberation, while everything that we observe and experience influences our subconscious. The themes that often reappear in our songs tends to be nostalgia, human connection, and reference to nature and the environment. On a musical level, the influences can sometimes be easier to pinpoint. For example, the end section of one of our upcoming songs is influenced by the approach taken by Phosphorescent in ‘Hej, I’m Light’. And some of the guitars in ‘Somewhere in Florence’ draw inspiration from Red House Painters. But ultimately, it’s a big mesh of ideas!

Can you talk us through the conception of your current single, ‘Stream’?
Vedantha: We were rehearsing one afternoon and as we were packing up Ned said: “Can I show you guys a song?” While tempted to say no and see his reaction, we obliged. It instantly hit the spot and we all had an urge to work on it. We love the band for those moments - moments where we feel a sudden excitement and inspiration. We jammed it out a few times and helped to develop it, for example by adding the guitar riff towards the end, the harmonies and the viola parts. Ned explained the lyrics with reference to being on Primrose Hill, a beautiful spot in London overlooking the city. Being there with one you love, but feeling scared, feeling anxious. And in that state finding refuge, solace and support in the environment around you.

Music is subjective, but what is your favourite thing about the genre you have chosen to create in?
Vedantha: I think it would be flexibility. It’s such a broad genre - Bon Iver and Kings of Convenience and Beirut are all classified as indie-folk yet so incredibly different. We are still exploring and developing, and the genre is one that allows space for that.

Imagine you’re releasing a 5-track covers EP, what songs would be on there?
Vedantha: We do a number of covers in our live set, so I suppose a few of those! There are three on Youtube that we like doing: Round Here (Counting Crowds), Kids (MGMT), Chop Suey (System of a Down). We also sometimes flick in a cheeky Lose Yourself (Eminem) cover. As a fifth, my personal ambition is for us to cover Like the Angel (Rise Against) - I’d love to scream out the lyrics, do some headbanging and whack up the distortion to 11, but I somehow feel the others might not be so keen...

Your press release says your ​2018 release will showcase different dimensions of the band, are you able to elaborate on that a bit / what can we expect to hear from the next EP/ Album?
Vedantha: I’d like to say: wait and see! But I’m too eager to divulge information about it...There are a few new songs on the way, and you are right - there may be a new release as well :) One addition to the sound is the use of electronic instruments - we’re not a full on drum ‘n’ bass band (yet) but we’ve added little synths and things here and there and it’s added an interesting dimension. Another is that it is a little more intense at times. We’ve let ourselves be louder and freer, especially vocally, where the song demands it. And we’ve also recorded our first song that is purely piano-led and that doesn’t feature an acoustic guitar.

You've been recording in Paris too right? Why did you pick that location?
Vedantha: The real reason is that our fantastic producer, Jonathan Lefevre-Reich, is based out there. But it’s not a bad place to record either: it’s a stunning city and being away from London means that our minds are not on other things, they can be totally focused on the music.

Will you be touring anytime soon?
Vedantha: Yep, that’s the plan! We’ve got a few shows lined up in September and will be doing a few shows in support of the new releases. The best way to keep track is to follow us on Spotify or Songkick - all our shows will be listed on those platforms.

Lastly, what have you as a band been listening to lately? Any cool tracks besides yourselves we should be adding to our playlists?
Vedantha: I’ve been listening to a real mix of things at the moment. A track I love at the moment is ‘I’m in Love’ by Audio Bullys, it’s an old one but still hits the spot. In addition, I’m still in awe of Ned Roberts’ ‘Hazy Days’ - he is a friend of ours with a warm, soothing voice and a real songwriting gift. Other than that, I’ve been listening to a lot of Dashboard Confessional, as well as Handel’s 'Ombra mai fu’ - a beautiful aria.

Interview Feature by Karla Harris