Q&A: An interview with Novo Amor & Ed Tullett

 Photo credit: Alex Kozobolis
Following the release of their collaborative album 'Heiress', we reached out to Novo Amor (Ali Lacey) and Ed Tullett to find out more about the experiences that have shaped their music to date. 
Novo Amor & Ed Tullett will also play an exclusive album release show at Shoreditch Town Hall, London on November 23rd.

1. Ali - You're from rural Wales, how does the music scene differ there to other parts of Britain?

Ali: Generally it’s just much smaller, while I was in my teenage years there were about 5 bands in my town, including my own. We’d travel to the surrounding towns to play support slots for their local bands and vice-versa. I live in Cardiff now, where the music scene is fairly eclectic, but close knit and welcoming.

2.How did this Novo Amor  and Ed Tullett collaboration come about and what more do you guys have in store for us? 

Ed: Ali and I met at a show of mine in Newport in 2013, and have been writing pretty much since. ‘Euphor’, from the record, was the first song we ever wrote together. We’re likely not going to do anymore fully-fledged collaborative stuff for a while, but I’ll still be touring in Ali’s live band, and co-writing for his solo work.

3. Ali - your music brilliantly captures vast, melancholic scenes, does the countryside have an impact on your music or is it quite internal?
I grew up deep in the countryside of Wales, which I think has definitely inspired me in some ways. I’m always drawn to vast and beautiful landscapes for my music videos, which I think is because of the natural calmness that they portray, as well as the sense of removal from civilisation.

There is a particular place though, ‘Woodgate, NY’, which I see as the birthplace of Novo Amor. My music was created with Woodgate feeling like an inherent backdrop to my early 20’s. It’s a place that still inspires my music today, It’s romantic to me. My two solo EP’s are, in a sense, a musical forgery of this place, both reflecting different views

4. Have either of you thought about scoring a movie? Imagine you could have your music soundtracked on any film or tv show ever created, what would you pick?
Ali: Film scoring is something that I was really trying to pursue before establishing Novo Amor, I was learning about orchestration and how the film and game music industry operated, but sort of got side-tracked by songwriting. I love epic and emotive music, big crescendos and and sweeping strings, so hopefully it’s an opportunity I will get one day.

I’m too indecisive to pick what I’d want my music in; A film like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or to have a song used as the theme for a TV show would be great.

It’s absolutely an ambition of mine - the few times I’ve written to visuals it’s always been really inspiring, to have a clear vision and a sense of realism in terms of creating music to fit with actions. I want to do it more because it’d be fun than anything else!

5.What or who are your biggest influences?
Ed: I know it’s a very traditional question, but to me it’s a weird thing to be asked, because I never really spare a thought to exactly what my influences are - I think they’re almost always subconscious rather than conscious, and should stay that way. So, in a sense, everything.

6. Ali - Your father was a musician. How influential was he in your early years and did he give you any pieces of advice or tips on the music industry?
Ali: My father was never a professional musician, but recording, music and guitars have always been and continue to be a passion of his. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I took up guitar and drums on my own accord. Following this I’d play in a band with my dad and brother, mainly playing covers at local pubs etc. I’d say that my father has definitely influenced me by just surrounding me with music from a young age, buying me my first guitar and supporting my passion ever since.

7. Ali - Your artworks for the singles and EP's, which are beautiful by the way, have strong connections to water. Even the 'Bathing Beach' EP which doesn't feature any water in the artwork still refers to the sea in the title. Who created the artwork and what's the inspiration behind them?
Thank you. The Bathing Beach artwork is the view from behind the camera on the Woodgate, NY artwork, which is essentially just trees. It’s a photograph I took while I was there. For me, Bathing Beach is a sister EP to Woodgate, NY, being drawn from the vein, so I wanted to tie the two together. The numbers on the front of Bathing Beach are the zip code of Woodgate, NY. The name Bathing Beach is in reference to a place, it signifies a point where you can let something go; where the water meets the land.

8. Love of music can have such a hold on people and some songs can literally be life changing for some listeners. From a musicians point of view, would you say life influences your music or does your music (or music from others) influence your life?

Ed: I’d definitely say for me, life influences my music. As I said before, influences are everywhere, in anything you say, do, hear, etc. As much as I love music, I don’t really think about it in an ‘this song saved my life’ way that I know others do. But it’s still, obviously, something I love, and is extremely important to me.

9. What has been your favourite venue to perform in? Are there any venues on your bucket list?
Ali: Rotonde Botanique in Brussels has been one of my favourites. The production, sound, lights etc were great. I’d love to play Red Rocks, Colorado and Alexandra Palace, London.

Ed: Agreed.

10. And lasty. Are there any new artists you'd recommend us keeping an eye on ? who have you been listening to recently?
Ed: We’re both big fans of Pinegrove, but they’re not really much of a secret anymore. There’s been a lot of great records released this year - Sivu, Marika Hackman, Lomelda, The World Is a Beautiful Place... as well as the heavyweights of Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs, Perfume Genius…it’s been a good year.

Interview by Rachel Prew and Marijana Mladenić