Beth Rowley

Beth Rowley

It was back in 2008 when Beth Rowley released her last album Little Dreamer, but now she is back with EP Wretched Body.

We caught up with the singer/songwriter to chat about the record, the reasons she went off down her own path and what lies ahead.

- You have just released your new EP Wretched Body so what can fans expect from the latest collection of tracks?

Over the last few years, I have been working on quite a few new tracks, well the last four years, and I have finally got together a body of work that I am really happy with.

I have taken my time on it, and I am really excited to have something that is ready to be released into the world.

- This is an album that you have written and recorded on your own and in your own time so why did you make that decision?

I was with a label, and I had this album that was doing relatively well, but it was really hectic and full on.

It was fast-paced and, everything was happening extremely fast and there were a lot of pressures to keep writing and get something ready very quickly.

I just decided that there was possibly another way of doing stuff, and I really wanted to explore that. I just wanted to take my time a bit more. It is good not to be in a rushed environment when you are trying to create.

I am really happy that I have taken the time because I am the happiest I have ever been with anything. It was definitely worth it.

- You have spent the last three years working with a different range of musicians and writers as you have put this record together, so how have you found that whole process?

It has been really good. It has been really enjoyable because I have not had any pressure from anywhere. I am really thankful that I have just had the chance to do that. It has been a really long time, and I have just taken my time; I got involved with a couple of other projects as well.

It is really great to get inspiration when you put a bit of space in-between things as it allows you to give each thing time and really work out what you are going to do.

If you are under pressure, you have to make decisions really quickly, and you potentially go down routes that you weren't expecting or planning to. I have really enjoyed it. It has been really fun, and it has been a really good experience.

- I was reading that you said you have spent these three years also developing your sound so how have you found that aspect? How would you describe that sound now that you have with this EP?

Well, it is definitely still... When I listen to my last album now I can hear blues, pop, jazz and a bit of country and gospel; it literally had the whole kitchen sink thrown in there.

It is good in one sense as I wasn't pinning down any particular thing but, at the same time, I wanted to be more focused with this next body of work. Having that time really allows you to figure out what you want to do.

So there's still blues - I really love old blues and gospel music - so that is really underpinning it. However, there isn't the jazz and the pop in this record.

Taking the time has allowed me to experience a lot more; I was twenty six when I made that first album, and now I am a little older and I am not the same person any more. There are still blues, country and gospel in there, but it is a lot more refined.

What do you think this album says about you as an artist?

I don't know. I think anyone who does music for a living... It's your passion, and it is a journey that goes on; there is not a beginning or an end to it.

I have always wanted to perform and to be able to do that every day is just really cool. I wasn't enjoying it as much as I knew I could, and I realised that something had to change.

I think that life is too short to do something that you don't want to do or to do a half arsed job at it. I decided to stop.

I think that life is too short to do something that you don't want to do or to do a half arsed job at it. I decided to stop.

Now I am definitely looking forward to releasing this music because it's the way that I want it to be. I am not sure what that says about me as an artist (laughs).

- Will Flisk has served as the producer on the album so how did that collaboration come about?

I met Will, through a friend of mine. I started working with him about a year or a year and a half ago. It started off with me going around there and playing and recording music; not at all with the aim of recording an album or anything.

Will, has got a really great home studio, and we would just go and hang out there. It was about six months ago that we decided to turn a lot of the recordings that we had into potential tracks for the album. It happened really unexpectedly, but it has worked out really well.

- How hands on are you when it comes to the production side of things?

Will, is not a musician so his speciality is producing and hearing stuff; he knows pretty quickly if something is right or not. He is pretty much the guy, who does all the producing side of things.

Pedro and I are involved in the production as well as it is very much a joint effort. So between the three of us, we all have our different roles, but we are all contributing.

I guess Pedro, and I are assisting producing on it as well; it has been really hard differentiating the roles as we all have input in everything.

It has been really nice as with the label, it was quite straight down the line, and it was like 'this is the producer'.

Especially from my point of view I always have lots of ideas but you kind of... With lots of well-known producers, you ask them because they are amazing and that it what they do, and it becomes their thing.

We all work in different ways, but I really liked that Pedro and I could contribute. We all have to agree, and it is all out baby, so we are all part of it.

- While you have been able to write and record the music that you want in this free manner were there any drawbacks to making a record in this way?

Absolutely. You have to adopt a very organised and professional manner. With a label, there are so many people involved and, in my experience, it was very well organised and there were time limits on stuff.

There is pressure, but that's good in a way because there is a structure to it. So we have had to employ a little of that because they are just my mates and there has to be a point where you say 'we are working now'.

I think we were all just really excited as playtime has turned into something, which is actually going on to be something a bit more solid and something we can put out there and be proud of. We have all really enjoyed it even though it has been a learning curve for us.

- How have you found the response to the new EP so far - it does seem to be going down quite well?

Yeah, I guess so. It is really hard to tell as you do get a range of different responses. There have been some nice reviews. However, it is really early days. I am really happy with it.

This is the first of three EPs, and we are just putting it out there. It is not a hard sell on people, and we are just going to let it seep out gradually. I am just really happy to get it out and see what happens. Nice reviews are really cool.

- Have you been playing any live shows? If so how have the tracks been going down with a live audience?

Good, so far so good. We have been doing a couple of acoustic duo gigs. It is definitely a different kind of feel as with the record, you have all the guitars layered and stuff. But with these shows, we have been quite stripped back - so there has been a different feel.

There's something really nice about removing everything, and it is just about the song and getting the song across with the simplest structure. It is turning into 'what can you take out?' It is actually more of a fun experience. It has been fun.

- Finally what's next for you?

We have got two gigs coming up this week: 17th at The Slaughtered Lamb in London and then at The Louisiana in Bristol on 18th. I am from Bristol and so it is always wicked to go back.

The next EP release is going to be September, so there will be gigs then as well. So I am really looking forward to getting out there and playing again as it has been a while.

- You have mentioned that this is the first of three EPs so when are we going to be seeing the others drop?

The next one will be in September, and there will then be gigs following that. Then in December time we will be releasing the last one.

It is going to be a busy 2013. I have been eager and waiting to get going on it. I am really excited about it all.

Wretched Body EP is out now

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