Artist: Common Tongues
How did you come up with the name of your new album, Divisions?
Divisions was originally the name of one of the tracks, but the more we thought about it the more we saw it was actually a thread that runs through a lot of our lyrical themes, whether it be divisions in society, divisions in ourselves, a division between two people etc… Also this album has come at a point where we ‘re stepping away from our folkier roots and turning to a new sound. Safe to say we agonize over the names for our songs and releases so we're really happy to have something that encapsulates a lot about us and what we’re doing.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the first track, "Pioneer".
Tom: At the time I had just come out of a pretty long relationship, so the track was written about my own experiences adjusting to that. I guess the song is pretty self reflective, and looks into what it meant to me to be suddenly searching for something new or different, and some of the difficulties in that process. "Pioneer" was also one of the first songs we wrote for the album, it’s kinda like a complete self contained version of how we wanted the whole album to sound. It begins with some familiar acoustic themes, like our previous E.P Tether and Twine but then opens out to a newer more progressive sound. It was a great sonic springboard for us to take to Gavin for the new record.
What is your favorite track on the album and why?
Oli: For me it’s probably "Picture a Scene." With this song we completely threw out any attempts to make it radio friendly or give it a conventional structure… We really indulged the proggier side of our writing and it bought up some clashes and conflict about how we all individually saw the band and the music we were trying to make. Really brought into focus where our line was between making music that’s accessible and draws people in and yet fulfills us as artists, and how you balance that between 5 passionate people with different opinions. By going through that process I think we came out with a song that no one else could have written but us, unique to Common Tongues, and unique on the album aswell.
What sparked your aural addiction?
The records our parents listened to when we were young – Beatles, Beach Boys, Led Zep, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Wishbone Ash etc ... I remember my Dad used to dust down his vinyl on a Sunday afternoon and boom out those kind of records. It's the first time I can remember music awakening something in me, sparking an emotional reaction... I think we're so lucky to have been a generation where our parents would have grown up in the late 60's or 70s and would have been playing these kind of records and force ingraining us with these amazing artists and sources of inspiration.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Being in Brighton we're lucky to be surrounded by some of the most talented musicians and writers you'll find. That being said we don't have to look very far to find people we're aching to collaborate with. Some of our favourites at the mo being Ellie Ford, Night House, AK Patterson and Time for T. We're heading to the South of France for 2 weeks at the beginning of August with a very talented singer songwriter called Michael Baker, the plan is to write and record an EP so if you're interested you'll be able to hear it when we're back.
If/when you’re lacking inspiration, how do you kickstart your creativity?
Tom: Creativity is quite hard to keep a constant, it's almost like a muscle you have to exercise so doing a bit of something each day can be really helpful in remaining on form. When you're songwriting you're drawing from your experiences and stories so it's important to keep making new ones. Switching the medium in which you're creating something can also be really helpful when you get a bit of writer's block; whether that's moving from guitar to piano or writing a poem as opposed to lyrics.
What was the first album you ever bought?
I Should CoCo by Supergrass
What is currently on your playlist?
War on Drugs
The Doobie Brothers
What is your favorite type of performance venue?
There are 5 of us with a lot of gear and pedals so somewhere with quite a bit of room is a must. Also with our music being quite interwoven and the parts playing off each other quite intricately, we need somewhere with good monitoring so we can hear ourselves, particularly with singing harmonies - it's a nightmare trying to harmonize something you cant quite hear. Saying that, you can't beat a sweaty crammed smaller venue where you're all crammed together like one living breathing thing, and the crowd are right in your face. You can lose yourself in the energy you get with that kind of show, the crowd feeding off the band and vice versa... so much fun to play!