Reverieme plays amazing pop music, which hasn’t been off my stereo over the last few months. I was blown away after hearing one particular song (“Get To Know Me” – a well-recieved former Earworm on The ‘Spill) and charmed by the handwritten note that came with the CD once I’d ordered it from her bandcamp page. Reverieme is Louise Connell whose immensely catchy, multi-layered pop with a literary bent to it, has been an utter breath of fresh air to my ears. In the following interview you can find out how she narrowly avoided making a Stephen King concept record, lifts the lid on Airdrie’s hidden world, and why she’s more than likely to be singing about 1930s syphilis outbreaks – you can also hear a couple of tracks too!
1. “Get To Know Me” seems to have quite a story behind it – like the perspective it’s written from, could you say some more about it?
I am a little infamous for loving gender mix-ups in music, whether that’s in the look of an act (Katie Sketch springs to mind), the vocal style (Antony Hegarty’s voice is particularly beautiful), or in the lyrical perspective (which is the only one I can manage without making any major life-changing decisions) so I suppose ‘Get to Know Me’ is one manifestation of that! It was also a reaction to being labelled ‘twee’ an awful lot. I thought, ‘if they want saccharine, I’ll give them saccharine!’ (incidentally, I am not entirely sure who ‘they’ are – I fear some paranoid delusion had led me to project my own anxieties on to some entirely innocent parties) which, of course, backfired as it is now my trademark song, or whatever the equivalent is for an unknown artist with no trademark anything. After some deep, meaningful soul-searching, however, I came to terms with the fact that I am utterly and inescapably twee and should just stop being such an arse about it.
“Get To Know Me”
2. The album has got a diverse and wide ranging sound & instrumentation, and a lot of interesting bits of production throughout. How did this come about, is it in the studio or was this all planned out before you went to record it? I guess I’m kinda asking about your writing & recording process.
Pretty much all production credit would have to go to David Anderson, producer extraordinaire. My own influence went as far as writing, recording, saying yes when things sounded good, and saying no when I couldn’t get my tiny mind around some suggestions. My creative direction went along the lines of wittering on about how much I loved pop and suggesting artists and albums whose production I admired. You know you’re on to a good thing when your dual suggestion of The Dresden Dolls and Crowded House doesn’t immediately get you laughed out of the room.
3. I’ve never been to Airdrie, what’s it like there?
There’s nowhere better if you need a greetings card or a trip to the tanning beds! Let the record show that I didn’t actually suggest money laundering, I merely commented on the sheer volume of card and tanning shops in such a small, lightly populated area.
4. I can hear hints of a few bands in there – like Camera Obscura here and there and also bizarrely Malcolm Middleton on “Perfect In Theory” – what are your influences?
I like to think of ‘Perfect in Theory’ as David’s wee pop punk baby on the album (if you can erase the creepy images that idea may connote) although I definitely see where you’re coming from. I really like Camera Obscura as well but funnily enough didn’t start listening to them ‘til after the album was written and recorded, although I am in complete agreement with the comparisons (perhaps the influence crept in by osmosis?). But I digress! I think artists like Jenny Lewis (and Rilo Kiley) and M. Ward, who you could say are on the country side of indie-pop, have been a big influence. Books, also, I’d have written about a tenth of what I have so far if it wasn’t for all the awesome things I’ve read (and I’d have written about a hundred times what I have so far if I could read more than a page a day).
5. Is “Ma Bear” about anyone in particular, how did they react when they heard it?
I’m afraid this is going to be the most incredibly dull and uninteresting answer to a question that could have yielded such juicy goss. The song is actually about a short story by one of my favourite writers, James T. Farrell (most famous for the Studs Lonigan trilogy, as if anyone cared). You will never feel more despondent about life than after reading some Farrell and the story on which ‘Ma Bear’ is based is no exception. I won’t spoil it for you, since I’m sure my description has already got you rushing out to Waterstones, but it depicts an incredibly unhappy marriage and explores the ever-so cheery topics of backstreet abortions and syphilis in 1930s America. I fear I have not translated these themes quite so successfully through my own interpretation.
6. Anyone you’re listening to that you’d like to recommend?
Oh yes, some wee gems! Andrew Lindsay and the Coat Hooks have just released their first EP, ‘The Whittling’, and it is so absolutely brilliant (incidentally, Andrew did a load of backing vocals for Melodies but of course that’s not why I like his music – that’s because of his rad hair). Other favourites are Shambles Miller, who is hilarious live so do attend a show if you can, and the many projects of the very talented Matthew Healy (including Loch Awe).
7. Whatcha got planned next?
I’m hoping to get some nice gigs around Scotland planned for the summer with some of the aforementioned acts (who have yet to be asked formally!). I’ll be playing at Bloc at the end of May also, supporting the mighty Beerjacket in what may seem like an Airdrie theme night. Aside from gigs, I’m hoping to get a few low-fi recordings together for a new EP to be released at the end of summer. Unfortunately this is very dependent on a massive improvement in my music production skills.
8. You’ve got quite a way with a lyric, what are some of the themes you write about?
Since I’m incredibly dull and my personal life doesn’t offer up a great deal of source material, a lot of my songs will wind up being inspired by my favourite films and books (though, fortunately, the Stephen King concept record has been avoided thus far). Nowadays I try to avoid anything overly sentimental, I would much rather sing about (any pathetically limited grasp I have of) science and philosophy than try to force anything too corny. I hope I don’t sound too silly saying that, though, especially when my music really does sound pitifully sentimental and precious a lot of the time!
Reverieme’s “Melodies” album is only £5 for CD & download from her bandcamp page, and I thoroughly recommend you get one before the ltd edition of 100 sells out, you also get a wee badge with a cow on it – oh yes!