My interview with The Widowmaker…
So ladies and gentlemen if you fancy discovering some new rather beautiful music tonight, then I highly advise you move your assess over to The Widowmaker and his myspace page (just click his name a few words back and it will take you to his page you fools) and that is the process.
“What process? I haven’t just been put through a process!” Is what you are thinking right about now, right? Well guess what – the process is this: You click the link to his myspace page, you listen to Mr Ian Easton’s music and you fall in love. That is the process. The process of me opening your ears to some local Southampton music.
If you are interested in this style of acoustic music or even just decent songwriting then I wholly advise you check this out, if you want you can even read this interview I did with the man himself! Enjoy!
The Widowmaker interview –
Southampton is one of those towns that for whatever reason, just has a wonderfully active music scene. No particular genre thrives more then any of the others, but on any particular night in the city you could go to any one of its prestigious venues, The Joiners, Hampton’s, The Talking Heads, Southampton Guildhall – even the smaller venues such as Goblets, Soul Cellar, Southampton and the Southampton Solent universities, and find yourself opened up to all sorts of great new music. That is exactly how I found myself in front of Ian Easton one fateful night, an acoustic singer/songwriter from the local area. With a voice that will transport your mind and spirit to a whole other dimension and a wonderful guitar style that will leave you in a daze…well obviously I just had to know more.
Ian Easton, or better known by his stage name ‘The Widowmaker’, was just getting ready to play a show at The Joiners, but luckily he had a few minutes spare to do this quick interview with us;
Thanks for the interview Ian, we know you are a busy guy-
So just who exactly is ‘The Widowmaker’? How did everything come together in the beginning?
I’m cool man, pretty good right now – things are coming together nicely. It all started out after I was in a blues rock band called Lowly Gallows and we had the exact sound, of The Widowmaker, but with more band members, and less acoustics. I wrote all the songs and the band thing didn’t work out. So I thought ‘you know what, i’m gonna try this alone’. It was nice because I didn’t have to answer to anyone in terms of musicality. Bliss.
How would you describe The Widowmaker’s sound in 10 words or less?
Authentic 1960s counterculture-inspired folk –blues-acoustic-groove baby! How’s that?
Ha! Perfect you nailed it! What has influenced you over the years to write and play the style of music that you play?
Meeting musicians along the way! I was lucky to get on well with my sisters ex who I ended up becoming good friends with. We went travelling together and he was such a flawless singer/songwriter and I honestly learnt so much from him. I don’t think I would be half the player I am today (not that I’m that decent) if I hadn’t met him.
Also, studying music at college and meeting lots of musician’s means that things rub off on you and vice versa. You learn what to write and how to write it through a process of attrition and making mistakes (and I’ve made a few! –laughs-)
So let’s talk the new album, Soundtrack to Reality, it’s bloody good! How long have you been writing and recording material for it?
I had been writing material for it for about seven years! I had about 25 fully completed songs to choose from that spanned across that time. It was just a case of fitting together the ones that felt right for the record. ‘Remember Me’ was written when I was in Asia in 2003 so that’s the oldest one, right up to ‘Wicked Old Me’ which was written in about 3 hours during the recording process, so that’s really new!
Were there any specific themes or subjects you wanted to touch upon and explore with the album?
Ummm, love, love lost, irony, disillusion with the world, sarcasm, humour. There are some very dark moments in that album, which reflect things I’ve been through personally; however I try to leave the door open in terms of lyrics so that listeners can hopefully relate to it on a grander scale.
Other than that, I kinda wanted it to have a similar feel to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s HOWL album. The first time I hear that I just thought ‘this is it!’
When writing acoustic music, do you feel like you have to bring a certain level of personal life experience to the songs for them to carry a real meaning and feeling?
Yes of course. There is much more room for light and shade in terms of vocal delivery in acoustic music. Well, I think so anyway. In terms of actual lyrics, I think the intimacy of them can be explored on a deeper level because people – in my experience – tend to listen more than they would to rock, for instance. I know that’s not always the case, but still. So therefore I feel I can be a bit more daring in terms of lyrical content, because it seems like it means more, you know?
I know exactly what you mean! so Soundtrack to Reality was self-released, how has it sold so far?
It’s only been sold in hardcopy at the moment. I’m currently getting it onto all the internet-based digital music sites as we speak. But yes, I’ve sold a fair few –gives a cheeky smile-
You have been described as having a very, and I quote, “pretty voice” – this must work wonders on picking up ladies? Any stories where you or Dan (*Ed note- guitarist who often joins Ian onstage live) has used the Widowmaker’s name to get an advantage over the average Joe’s like us? –laughs-.
Haha! God knows who said that! But that’s very nice of them to say so. I’m not really used to ‘picking up the ladies’ with it though. Dan however has been known to lie and say he is The Widowmaker in order to impress though… bastard.
Have you had any record label interest?
I’ve recently signed to a local indie label – Noah’s Ark Records.
Ah superb, that is great to hear! The album has of course led to some pretty big opportunities this summer; can you talk about any of those yet?
Yes I’m playing a few things. I’m supporting Delays in May, and playing Glade and Camp Bestival in terms of festivals. Other than that, you’ll have to wait and see.
Southampton has always been known to be a great starting point for musicians thanks to its diverse live scene and many venues- how have you found the live scene?
It’s good. There are a lot of decent venues who actually seem to give you a chance. If you fuck it up – that’s your problem, but at least they give everyone a fair go.
So what are you working on now that STR is out? Anything big?
I’m currently recording an EP. Yes I know it’s a bit early after the album, but I wanted to record all the songs that didn’t make it onto the album. So yeah I’m doing that.
And to close – what is it about music that means so much to you? What makes you want to get up on stage and play in front of people?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Where do you start? I suppose sharing your creativity with a large number of people is very cleansing. And it’s lovely to share a moment with others like that. I think music does that better than anything else in the world.
Any famous last words to finish the interview with?
Stephen Leighton is Clown’s Shoes . (Ed note.- Justice)
Great interview, if you are interested you can find The Widowmaker at http://www.myspace.com/thewidowmakerlive where you can also contact him about getting hold of the album – which I highly advise! Check this guy out if you fancy finding some new music, you won’t regret it!
If you have read this far may I also just say expect a review of the album to go up at somepoint within the next week or so! Also If you are in Southampton on Wednesday he is headlining at the SoulCellar – entry is £3 and it is sure to be a stormer. Contact him via myspace or me at unknown_rebel[at]hotmail.co.uk for a ticket!