Gearing up for the release of his new album, songwriter Jack Peachey AKA Gallery 47 has teamed up with a manifesto of local Nottingham musicians to put together a collection of heartfelt and melancholic tunes.
We got the opportunity to put some questions to Jack all about his music, influences, challenges in the business and more. Read on to find out what he had to say…
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
Most of my early songs are quite simple and minimal, but recently I've been playing with some cool musicians who have developed and changed that. Mostly though, I try to write the lyric and the melody and keep that the most important aspect of a song, and then the arrangements vary, so I suppose I just hope people like the melodies.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
I think the biggest challenge will always be in convincing people to believe in you. This I think is always going to be difficult, and not just for new artists. The other big thing for me at leasy is trying to deal with my own thoughts, my esteem and everything like that. They all interrelate. It's very difficult to have self-belief on a day when you've had some negative feedback from some source or other. Most musicians will know how it feels to strafe the line between bitterness and self-doubt in the wake of a nasty comment. Given how competitive it can seem, some days, anything can seem like a nasty comment, because either you'll be standing out for the wrong reasons - as amateur, or as not-there-yet - or you'll just be functioning at the best of your capacity but this still won't be enough.
In the past, I recorded three full-length albums and spent years on the mixes, but then I was told that the production wasn't good enough and that the albums have to be shelved or re-recorded, which at the time I didn't have the capacity for. Other times I've been told one group of songs aren't my strongest, but then I've been told by someone else that another group of songs is contrived. You can kind of see how a strong bravado can help, not that I have one.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
It's just unpredictable I suppose. I've known some people who do really well from their first EP and others who steadily release singles over a number of years before getting any coverage. I try to think of that song 'Sunscreen' featuring Baz Luhrmann, in which he says: 'Sometimes you're ahead / Sometimes you're behind / The race is long / And in the end it's only with yourself'.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
Well in terms of vanity or prestige I really don't mind. I don't like it when people are rude with their opinions, and I think sometimes people demand respect of others regarding their ear, but also don't show the same respect in return.
In terms of co-writes and everything like that, I can see the value of it from all sides, and it's just another way in - I guess maybe someone might be co-written for the first album or so and then this will allow their own stuff to get heard by more people down the line. But for me I have to have control because I'm probably too nervous to work comfortably with other musicians, and also I think that I would rather have something flawed which was my own, if you know what I mean. But I really like it when musicians come in and do something interesting with a song. When we were recording 'Rising Star', I had asked James Waring of Nottingham group The Invisible Orchestra to try a particular drum beat - quite a fast, straight up one - but he pulled out some Cypress Hill style half-time instead which I think worked a lot better.
Similarly, I try to listen to what engineers and producers say, just off the cuff. I don't like getting my feelings hurt but I also don't want to deny things to myself. Once I had just started recording this track called 'Make Your Mind Up' and Huw the engineer at Paper Stone Studios in Nottingham said that it sounded like 'Ironic' by Alanis Morrisette, and do you know what? When I got home and listened to it, it did. Not plagiarism level, but close enough for me to feel anxious about checking stuff with other people.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
Like most people I listen to music. At the moment I can't stop listening to 'Silver & Gold' by Neil Young and also 'Either/Or' by Elliott Smith.
In terms of lyrics it'll always be Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but as an all-round musician I think Joni Mitchell sets a standard of perfection which is both inspiring and humbling. When I was younger I wanted to make the next Pet Sounds or OK Computer, now I'm older and less certain of anything and I'm just looking to write things which might be nice for someone, somewhere to hear. It doesn't matter so much if Joni can play the dulcimer better than I can.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
Natalie Duncan and Norah Jones, because they're brilliant musicians and really nice people from what I can tell. I'd like to trip out on cough syrup with Thom Yorke and not talk to each other much! Or I'd like to get a little out-of-it with Bob Dylan and Neil Young! But also I heard it's never good to meet your heroes.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
Yes and no. I try not to think too far ahead because everything changes anyway. Mostly music is about people, I think, so if I end up having a supportive network of people around me, creatively or just as listeners, then I'll be happy. It doesn't matter too much if it's 50 people or 50,000.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
I hope to be sending you my next album after 'Clean' (available November 11). I've recorded two more, one is called 'Adversity Breeds' and is a bit serious, and one is called 'Young World' and is a bit strange. So in a year, imagine I will write back to you and try to explain why I have released such a serious or strange album!