I haven't posted in an interview here in quite a while, but I kind of felt like I had to find out more about Burrows after stumbling across a stream of the utterly spellbnding "In Winter" album towards the end of last year. Primarily it's the work of a lady by the name of Kate Glavey, who's based in Waterfrd where she also runs the freshly minted Deise branch of the WINGNUT records empire, which we talked a little about as well. Kate kindly answered a few questions for me. The album is out and I strongly suggest you order a copy as soon as possible.
1) Kate, let's get the obvious out of the way first - how did Burrows come
The name came from me just liking the word......I got nice imagery from it and liked the idea of something burrowing...you know.
I don’t really know when I started singing , my father was a violin maker, so instruments were about the house... but the first time I ever remember taking music personally was when my older cousin Siobhan showed me The Carpenters - Calling Occupants ... I was around 8.
2) The "In Winter" album is just about to come out this month, you must be
excited about it finally coming out? What made you decide to do it on vinyl
rather than on cd? Do you the think the format is integral to the album as
Yes my records are almost here...I got the second test pressings last week and for me it fits so good. Sounds old and rich and deep and I am happy to send it on its way like that.
I do actually have it on CD also....I only done a few copies in chipboard covers that I printed and sell when I play live.
3) I know the album was recorded over a period of time - you started in October 2010 right? How long did it take in all? How did you approach the writing for it, was it written over an extended period as well or did you have all the songs together from the start?
That summer I had done a house swap in Barcelona and came home with many of the songs. In October I went into the studio with 11 [song] skeletons and the album was reordered over the next eight months. My geographical location wasn’t ideal...I was living in Galway, recording in Waterford and doing a masters in Dublin. Seemed like a constant state of liminality...always on a bus...with a hundred bags.
The songs were developed over time.....there was a stage where it was going to be instrumental...but that changed. The only thing I was sure about the whole way through was that I wanted it to have space.
4) Does Burrows actually have a full band line up or is it primarily just
yourself? I know the album has a bunch of different people playing on it but
would it be fair to say it's essentially your "baby" if you know what I
Burrows is essentially just me. I say ‘essentially’ because I have gotten so much help. Lots is done in isolation but lots isn’t. All the people that featured on the album added something quite vital to the finished piece. The same with the live gigs I have gotten loads of help....loaned equipment, transport, peoples time and energy. It never fails to amaze me how much work people do for no payment and over the last while I’ve gotten lots of favours.
5) I haven't seen you live yet but I know Burrows gigs have taken place - I saw you played a church in Waterford towards the end of last year, which sounds like an amazing setting - how do the songs on the LP translate live?Is there much difference between the recorded versions and the live
So far the sets I’ve played have been based on the LP arrangement ... Declan (Declan Q Kelly), Aaron (Yawing Chasm) and Sarah (September Girls) have been the core band of my past gigs and are real empathetic players. They kept what was needed and then added their own to it.
6) So the music on the album definitely has the kind of wintery feel that the title suggests, and there's a very definite soundtrack kind of thing going on as well - are soundtracks a big influence on Burrows?
Yes soundtracks are... but film more so. I adore films where little happens in a plot. I love intense flatness. It’s not that I find not having a start, middle and end and a climax entertaining, just that it seems more realistic to be other than that. In general terms I don’t really see that things begin happen and end...and I have intrigue for that space of what’s not been said creates.
In the end the ideas for the songs or the experiences the songs are based on are tiny experiences and glimpses more so than anything. Maybe that allows them to trail each other and give a feeling of continuity, which may root a cinematic quality.
7) On that note, is there any kind of touring planned for the album?
The album has had a quite release...but there are some gigs planned. ..scattered in the next few months. I’ll play at Deaf Joes album launch in Waterford in February.... an album I am very much looking forward to.
8) I believe you're behind the new Wingnut records shop in Waterford too -can you tell me a bit about that? And kind of related, is there much of a scene in Waterford at the moment?
Two days before Christmas Wingnut Waterford began. Ciaron from Hard Times books shop allowed me stock one of his end walls with Irish Independent music. Waterford Wingnut is a franchise of the marvellous Wingnut /Bell Book and Candle operation Ray Cuddihy and Paul Deacy run in Galway. And it’s going good....plan to have a somewhat official launch in April on record store day.
Yes there are thing happening in Waterford...lots more than I know about I am sure as I am only home a couple of months. Some amazing work comes from here...tonight I was just watching some new stuff directed by film maker Neil O Driscoll...so stunning. Lots of people hard at work down here for sure.
9) Last question - the first album is done now, are you thinking about the
next one already?
I finished recording in winter in May ....so since then I have been collecting bits....you know the kind of ground work before the real hard graft...making lots of noisy recordings.