‘I had a few lost years – a lot of my career is trying to make up for that. That’s why I keep on hunting’

Richard Olson


For his debut solo album, Richard Olson & The Familiars, the frontman of London’s cosmic country kings, The Hanging Stars, and former member of The See See and The Eighteenth Day of May, has let his freak flag fly, with stunning results.

It’s a wonderfully eclectic and inventive record, opening with the spacey, Primal Scream-style psychedelic dub of I Can’t Help Myself, before movin’ on up to the irresistible and breezy, orch-pop of Fall Into My Hands, taking a detour into the English countryside for the gorgeous ‘60s and ‘70s pastoral folk of Down Looking Up, heading to a Swedish forest for the Lee Hazlewood twilight croon of A Thousand Violins and then moving into krautrock territory for the hypnotic Little Heart.

Elsewhere there’s a Spacemen 3-inspired cover version of Air by Brit-folk-psych outfit The Incredible String Band, a homage to the garage-rock of early Brian Jonestown Massacre records (I’m A Butterfly), a Velvet Underground-esque spoken word piece (Rain) and the haunting, psychedelic folk lullaby Inside Sunshine.

“I had a bunch of songs and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them, so I was like it, ‘Fuck it – I’m just going to make a record!’ the Swedish-born singer-songwriter tells Say It With Garage Flowers. “The rules were completely thrown out of the window that was fun.”


How did the idea for the solo album come about?

Richard Olson: Firstly, I had a bunch of songs that didn’t fit with any of the projects I was doing and, secondly, it was very much a product of the pandemic.

For me personally, it was a huge step to test my confidence because I’ve always been surrounded by incredible musicians: Pat Ralla, Pete Greenwood, Paulie Cobra, Sam Ferman, Joe Harvey-Whyte… I was like, ‘fucking hell – can I do it?’

I’m a drummer – that’s my first instrument. When I was about eight, I asked my mum, ‘Can I please learn to play the drums?’ I pissed myself in the first lesson because I was so scared and I couldn’t ask the drum teacher where the toilet was. You’re welcome to write that.

One of the really key things about playing these songs that I didn’t feel fitted in anywhere was that I kind of got to know the bass guitar a little bit and realised that it is the king of all instruments.

Is that why you open the record with I Can’t Help Myself, which has a killer dub bassline on it?

RO: I came up with that bassline and I was like ‘fucking hell!’ Everything sits so well around it.

Are most of the songs on the album new?

RO: Most of them. It all started with A Thousand Violins

Which you wrote in a forest in Sweden…

RO: Yeah – I was on a little hill, overlooking a lake, and I had two chords that I was very pleased with. I had this idea that if I was ever going to do something on my own, I wanted to do some of it in a crooner vibe. I’m not getting any younger and I can get away with crooning – we all hope for Las Vegas eventually, right?

Were you channelling Lee Hazlewood and Richard Hawley?

RO: Yeah – and Serge Gainsbourg. I really wanted to sing A Thousand Violins in Swedish.

‘I got to know the bass guitar a little bit and realised that it is the king of all instruments’

You were born in Sweden, weren’t you?

RO: Yeah – I came here [the UK] when I was 21/22. I’m from the very south of Sweden – it’s a plain, which is very near Denmark. The forest line hasn’t quite started yet – it’s four hours away, and Stockholm is eight.

Malmö is Sweden’s third largest cityit has a little sister city, which is very full of itself, called Lund, which is where I grew up. It’s famous for its university and its 1000-year-old cathedral. It was a great place to grow up.

My mum was a single mum – she was a nurse. I grew up in a big, grey tower block with a lovely park. It was her just her and I – I got to know my father a little bit later in life. He was in a band with Björn from ABBA in the ‘60s – they were very famous in Sweden. I haven’t got a bad word to say about him – he was a great guy to drink a gin and tonic with.

My mum died when I was 19/20 – that was quite central to a lot of my career. It shook my whole world and I had a lot of ‘pillows’ that eased my pain – there were some good people around me. I had a few lost years and, speaking to you now, I feel that a lot of my career is trying to make up for that. That’s why I keep on hunting.

‘I wanted to do some of the album in a crooner vibe – we all hope for Las Vegas eventually, right?’

On A Thousand Violins you sing about losing your way. Is that a reference to that time in your life?

RO: So much of it is – you never get over a thing like that, but you learn to live with it. At the same time, you don’t want the pain to go away…

I can remember asking my mother on her deathbed: ‘What am I going to do?’ She said: ‘There will be a scar but you’ll learn to live with it and you’ll never want to get rid of it.’

My mother’s death taught me so much – once I got out the other side. That’s why I’m so driven and on it.

Have you been wanting to make a solo record for a long time?

RO: No. I had a bunch of songs and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them – it wasn’t how I wanted The Hanging Stars or The See See to be. I was like it, ‘Fuck it – I’m just going to make a record.’

‘I’m trying to make a £2,000 record sound like a £200,000 one’

So, you went into the studio with Sean Read, who produced the last Hanging Stars album…

RO: We go way back – he’s such a brilliant guy and he’s become better and better at what he does. He was the perfect guy to speak to when I was challenging my confidence and myself.

I like his brass and piano on the record, and there are some great string arrangements by Herman Ringer of the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra too…

RO: Herman got in touch with The Hanging Stars and said ‘If you ever need anything…’ He was mind-blowing – he did three-part string arrangements at home that sound absolutely massive.

It’s incredible and it added to the wildness of the whole idea – I’m trying to make a £2,000 record sound like a £200,000 one. That’s a good quote!

Fall Into My Hands has some great strings on it and is a breezy pop song…

RO: Yeah – exactly. It was one of those songs that wrote itself – as a lot of people tend to say.

You pulled in a few friends to help you make the album, like Pat Ralla, Paulie Cobra and Joe Harvey-Whyte from The Hanging Stars, Jack Sharp (Large Plants), Dan Davies (Wolf People), Jem Doulton (Thurston Moore), Cecilia Fage (Cobalt Chapel)…

RO: And Duncan Menzies, who is an incredible fiddle player, and Ben Phillipson, from The Eighteenth Day of May – he’s a key person in my musical development.

I know you’re really into ‘60s and ‘70s British folk music. Down Looking Up, which is a lovely song, has that feel…

RO: Thank you – I did a demo of that for the third Hanging Stars album but it never quite sat the way I wanted it to. We reworked it with Sean on piano.

It reminds me of Nick Drake’s Bryter Later

RO: Yeah, yeah. It’s got that vibe. It’s a funny song as well. I think I wrote the lyrics when I was touring and playing with Joel Gion’s band – the old Brian Jonestown guard. There were quite a lot of late nights and long drives. It’s a tale of drunkenness and cruelty.

Little Heart is the lead track on the EP that’s coming out ahead of the album. Why did you choose that song?

RO: Fall Into My Hands  was the obvious pop choice – during recording it was known as ‘the Lenny Kravitz song’ – but I wanted to make it clear that this is a different record. It’s a more challenging album than that song.

Little Heart was inspired by something your son said, wasn’t it?

RO: Yeah – kids say some really magical shit. He kept saying ‘Little heart’ and I thought it was a such a beautiful thing.

It’s a one-chord song, isn’t it?

RO: Pretty much.

And it sounds a bit krautrock…

RO: I asked Jem, the drummer, to keep the Klaus Dinger [Neu!] beat down and built on top of that. That’s what’s so fun – there are a thousand pop songs in a chord.

Has your son heard the song?

RO: Yeah – he got bored pretty quickly.

You’ve covered Air by The Incredible String Band on the album and on the EP. The version on the album is quite Spacemen 3-like, but the one on the EP is a country take on it…

RO: I didn’t know how to get the song across – I got absolutely obsessed with their version of it. I’m a huge Incredible String Band fan – I know they can seem a bit twee, but once you scratch the surface there’s some incredible songwriting.

That song is so evocative and the essence of how good they are. I’m not sure I did it any justice but I did send it to Mike Heron [from The Incredible String Band]. After a couple of months, someone got in touch and said he absolutely loved it. That was really nice.

‘I’m a huge Incredible String Band fan – I know they can seem a bit twee, but once you scratch the surface there’s some incredible songwriting’

The album track I’m A Butterfly sounds to me like it could’ve been a Hanging Stars song. It’s a bit country-garage rock…

RO: It’s more garage rock and maybe it could’ve been on one of the last See See records. That was the one that I was most worried about fitting in if I’m honest, but then we put a weird recorder on it that goes all the way through it. It’s a bit of a homage to the Brian Jonestown Massacre – they have that weird recorder vibe on a few of their early records.

Christof Certik [from the Brian Jonestown Massacre] actually does a spoken word part on it…

RO: That was really funny – I kept on saying to him: ‘Can you send me a voice message of you saying ‘I’ve seen the light in all its might and it is something to behold?’ He kept saying, ‘I don’t know how to say it’, so I said to him, ‘OK – you’re an 18-year-old surfer and your mum has just told you off for not doing the dishes,’ or ‘You’re a Hollywood cowboy…’ In the end, I said, ‘You’re a wannabe beatnik in 1959, but you’ve got it a bit wrong’. That was the one we ended up with.

Is that song autobiographical? In the lyric you sing about going to school, bumming around and getting a job…

RO: Without sounding too pretentious or dramatic, it’s about being who we all are – us and the people who go to our shows. We’re butterflies – we’re colourful, we look silly but, ultimately, we look beautiful. That’s what I think – that’s why those people are my people. But people don’t always see it that way. It’s slightly putting the boot in at all the people who tell you’re a prick and that you should grow up. Hence, ‘I’ve seen the light in all its might and it is something to behold.’

Your wife, Lucy Evans, does the spoken word part on Rain, which you recorded at home during the lockdown summer of 2020…

RO: The rain is real – it might’ve been when Walthamstow got flooded. The beat is off an iPhone app with all these classic drum machines on it – most of the vocals and the guitars were done at home, but then Sean mixed it. In some ways I wish I’d done it all at Sean’s to make it more ‘hi-fi’, but, you know, it’s all part of the journey.

‘With this record the rules were completely thrown out of the window – that was fun’

Paulie Cobra sings the harmonies on it…

RO: He did an incredible job – when he sent it back to me, I was like, ‘What the fuck?’

He sounds like Dennis Wilson…

RO: I know – that’s exactly what it is. He completely created it.

Was the song inspired by Spiritualized?

RO: You’re the second person to say that. I was trying to go for more of a Velvet Underground thing.

Ben Phillipson from The Eighteenth Day of May plays guitar on the last song, Inside Sunshine

RO: Yeah – he does. That song is very dear to my heart because I feel like it is a bit Eighteenth Day of May – it’s very much what him and I conjure up with that band. I’m so pleased with that song – it’s got all the elements.

The Hanging Stars

Do you think this record will surprise people?

RO: To be honest, The Hanging Stars is my main thing, but it’s not the ‘60s, ‘70s’, ‘80s or ‘90s anymore, and you can’t just say, ‘We’ve really got into Kraftwerk and we’re going to make a Kraftwerk-country record…’

We have to play within our field, but with this record the rules were completely thrown out of the window, which was quite freeing – that was fun. I would’ve spent a lot more time and money on it if I had it, but it came together the way it did because there was no money and there was no time.

I also have to celebrate the community – it’s so easy to slag London and scenes off, but we’re all very lucky. I’m surrounded by some brilliant musicians – London is full of them – and, in our little corner, it means something to us.

I wish I could’ve celebrated it more and got a lot of my friends from America on it, but it was just after the pandemic and people weren’t travelling.

Are you pleased with the album?

RO: I am, but I won’t know how I feel until I get the vinyl in my hand. I’m still learning how to walk and I feel rather self-conscious promoting my own name, as much as I am. At the same time, it’s just a work of art – something that I’ve conjured up. I’m trying to project an emotion and a dream onto you. When I get over myself, that’s all it is, and I feel like I’ve done quite a decent job.

This record came to me a lot more naturally than I expected it to. I’m not trying to be anything – well, I’m trying to be funny from time to time with some of the lyrics – but it’s quite an unassuming record and I’m kind of happy with that. And do you know what? They’ll probably be another one.

What would you say to people who aren’t, er, familiar with your or your music?

RO: I would say there’s a little something for everyone. There’s Air for the ‘Heads, and you’ve got Fall Into My Hands if you like Lenny Kravitz.

Richard Olson & The Familiars, the debut solo album by Richard Olson, is released on vinyl on April 7. It’s available to preorder here (Cardinal Fuzz).

The digital version will be out on March 31, preceded by the Little Heart EP on March 24.

Richard Olson & The Familiars are playing a one-off show at The Waiting Room, London on April 27. Tickets are available here.

‘Our default setting is fairly optimistic, but I think these lyrics are the darkest I’ve ever written’

The Hanging Stars

The last time I spoke to London’s kings of cosmic country, The Hanging Stars, it was late January 2020 – ahead of the release of their third album, A New Kind Of Sky, which was their best to date – a mix of cinematic sounds, psych, jangle-pop, folk and country rock.

We spent the evening in a pub in London’s East End, chatting about the record. While I was getting a round in, a man standing at the bar, who told me he worked for the NHS, said he and his colleagues were very worried about a new virus that had originated from China…

It’s now over two years later, in early February, and I’m back in a London pub, this time on the edge of the West End, in Denmark Street – Tin Pan Alley and guitar-shopping destination –  with The Hanging Stars… well, one of them, frontman, Richard Olson.

We have a brand new album to discuss, the brilliant Hollow Heart, and it’s the first interview he’s given about the record.

Hollow Heart is even better than its predecessor and sees The Hanging Stars pushing themselves harder from both a songwriting and sonic perspective. It’s also the band’s first record on independent label, Loose.

There’s a lot that’s happened since we last met. We could be here a while…


The last time we spoke was two years ago, just before Covid happened…

Richard Olson: And here we are again, when the clouds have passed.

In the wake of Brexit, several of the lyrics on your last album, A New Kind Of Sky, dealt with the idea of escaping and getting away to a better place. To make your new record, Hollow Heart, you did escape, decamping to Edwyn Collins’ Clashnarrow Studios in Helmsdale, in The Highlands of Scotland – it overlooks the North Sea – with producer and musician Sean Read (Soulsavers, Dexys Midnight Runners), whom you’ve worked with before. How did that come about?

RO: We’re not blessed financially – we do what we can when we can. Every record has been based on that. At the end of the day, we’re a grassroots band.

Edwyn offered us the use of his studio – it felt like being anointed – and Sean is one of the two engineers who he lets work there – the stars aligned. That happened during the pandemic, so we had to find a window when we were allowed to do it. It was quite a project, transporting six people to Helmsdale, with a bunch of instruments.

“Edwyn Collins offered us the use of his studio – it felt like being anointed”

We drove in two cars and we set to work – we grafted and we were so focused. It was magical from start to finish. When you’re standing in the studio, and the sun’s setting over the bay, and you’re singing Weep & Whisper, that shit makes you think that you’ve made it! We got given this chance and we had to deliver the goods.

It certainly shows – sonically, it’s rich and immersive, and I think it’s your most cohesive record. Hollow Heart feels like a complete album, from start to finish, and you can completely lose yourself in it. Did you have all the songs written before you went into the studio?

RO: I write constantly. With lockdown, I had more time than I ever had before and I also had the energy – I just wanted to do shit. That was a blessing – we sent demos to each other.

This is probably the most traditional record we’ve ever done – in the sense that we had some songs, we went to the studio to finish them off and we had x amount of time to make the record.

It was good for us and it was a joy to see everybody flourish in the studio in their own way. It brought out what we’re good at. We also wanted to think about the sonics – Sean came into his own and we had so much fun doing it. This is a cliché but we threw the rulebook out of the window – we had to. We had so much fun doing it – we just let go a little bit and we had to trust who we were as a band.

“This is probably the most traditional record we’ve ever done”

Hollow Heart feels like a more positive record than its predecessor, but there’s also a sadness to several of the songs…

RO: It was surreal – no one knew what was going to happen – and there was a lot of sadness. Our default setting is fairly optimistic, but I think the lyrics are the darkest I’ve ever written.

Halfway through recording, in early autumn, I got a phone call from my wife – I was standing on a balcony, looking out towards Scandinavia – and she told me her dad, David, was in a coma, after having a heart attack. I said I would pack a bag and take the first flight home tomorrow, but she said: ‘There’s nothing you can do…’

David has really been behind our music – he’s a huge music fan and we went to Nashville together. My wife said: ‘Do you think he would want you to come back? Stay there and make the best fucking record you possibly can!’

That must’ve been hard for you…

It was really hard and pretty emotional, but from then on, we just set to work – under quite a lot of distress.

How is your father-in-law now?

RO: He’s fine.

Has he heard the record?

RO: No, he hasn’t…

If Covid hadn’t happened, would you have made a completely different record?

RO: That’s a great question. Do you know what? I’m going to give you a boring answer – it would probably have been a similar record, but I don’t think it would’ve been as close to my heart as this record is.

Your hollow heart…

RO: [laughs]. There you go.

This is your first record for Loose. Did you sign to them after you’d made this record, or before?

RO: After. We came in well-prepared with a lovely little gift for them with a knot on top.

Did you consider any other labels?

RO: Tom [Bridgewater – owner of Loose] said, ‘Let’s stop dancing around our handbags…’ He’s the real deal and he’s been through it – he sees our grassroots.

Let’s talk about some of the songs on the new record. The first track, Ava, is a slow- building love song, but then it turns anthemic. It creeps up on you and we’re suddenly in big cosmic country territory…

RO: It’s all about the sonics – it’s nice to listen to. Your children would like it. It was one of those songs that just came… it needed to have a wistful, wanting, rejected feeling.

Some of the album reminds me of your old band The See See, around the time of the Fountayne Mountain album, which I once said was the record The Stone Roses should’ve followed up their debut with…

RO: One hundred per cent. We let our influences be our influences – we let our country love be our country love, we let our folk love be our folk love… We took our foot off the gas a bit, which we needed to do. That’s quite key to this record.

Ballad Of Whatever May Be sounds like The Stone Roses, if they’d gone country…

RO: I’ll take that, man. It came out different to how it was written –  it changed in the studio, for the better. It has a good riff. It’s just one of those ‘live your life like this’ sort of songs. I’m not standing with a megaphone, screaming, but, holy fuck, I am so angry!

Black Light Night has some great jangly guitars on it. Didn’t Patrick (Ralla – guitar / keys) write the music for it?

RO: Yeah – it’s an old song that’s been kicking around for ages.

I think it has a vintage R.E.M feel…

RO: Yeah.

Weep & Whisper is more melancholy and musically it’s a shuffle – you’ve described it as ‘a love song to youth.’ I like the harmonies and the backing vocals. It has a Simon & Garfunkel feel…

RO: I like that. Paulie [Cobra drummer], harmony-wise, had a newfound confidence and he stepped up to do it, beautifully. It was arranged by Joe [Harvey-Whyte – pedal steel] – it’s a stroke of genius.

Patrick and Joe did their guitars for it in one take – it wasn’t edited. Me and Sean were sat looking at them doing it and we were like, ‘Shit – this is what it’s all about.’ That was one of the finest moments in my musical career.

“Radio On is Big-Star-meets-The-Velvets. What the fuck can go wrong?”

The first single from the album was Radio On, and it’s radio-friendly…

RO: Not as much as I would like! It’s me trying to write a soul song and I think it has a bit of a Velvet Underground thing. It’s Big-Star-meets-The-Velvets. What the fuck can go wrong?

Hollow Eyes, Hollow Heart is one of the heavier, more psych songs on the album…

RO: It’s us trying to be Fairport Convention, but it started out as me trying to write a krautrock song my demo had a drum machine on it. I was quite pleased with it – it was chugging along like a kraut-yacht-rock band, but Patrick had a different idea.

It’s a dark song…

RO: Yeah, but it’s also one of the most truthful ones. It’s about hiding things, whether that’s with alcohol or downers, or weed, or whatever. I think everyone in our scene is a little bit guilty of that. Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but even before the pandemic, more people were struggling and in the abyss more than we’d like to acknowledge. I’m not the only one, but I did get a little glimpse of that shit, and, do you know what? I do not want to go there again and I’d do anything to avoid it.

“I’m really pleased with how I sing on this record. I think I’m finally entering Swedish Sam Cooke territory”

You’re So Free is ’60s West Coast psych-pop: Love, The Doors, The Beach Boys, The Turtles…

RO: I always wanted to do You Showed Me – I guess that’s our version. It also has some piano on it that’s like Ethiopian jazz. Lyrically, it’s probably the song that I’m most pleased with. Because of the whole division thing, with Brexit and Trump, a lot of my good friends, who I love dearly, took a different route during the pandemic. It’s a little bit about that and it’s me trying to be funny: “Scroll your feed. You’re so free to believe in what you see…”

Your vocals sound really good on this album…

RO: I’m really pleased with how I sing on this record. I think I’m finally entering Swedish Sam Cooke territory.

Edywn guests on Rainbows In Windows – he does a spoken word part…

RO: That’s Sam’s [Ferman – bass] song he wrote it.

It’s quite filmic…

RO: I’m really pleased with how it came out. I felt we could do it a Jackson C. Frank kind of way, but then, on the way up to the studio, I thought we could do it like The Gift by The Velvet Underground,  but it didn’t quite work out that way, but then Sean was mixing it in London and he came up with the other bit, and Edwyn was up for it. It’s playful.

“I am the natural heir to Jason Pierce, but I’m a country version”

I Don’t Want To Feel So Bad Anymore is ’60s-garage-meets-The-Byrds…

RO: We went all-out 12-string on it. It’s a bit Flying Burritos as well. It’s a song about being completely helpless in front of the Tory government someone who’s dead talking about what they really would’ve liked to have said: “Now I’m gone, I can tell you my thoughts on the queen and crown. Do take heed of your greed, as you choke on an appleseed.” 

The last song on the album, Red Autumn Leaf, is a sad one it’s about being discarded and tossed on the heap…

RO: Pretty much. It’s Spiritualized gone country. I am the natural heir to Jason Pierce, but I’m a country version. I pretty much based my whole career on Lazer Guided Melodies – it’s magical.

A lot of your new songs have a sad undercurrent, but the music is very uplifting…

RO: That makes me so happy to hear that.

Do you think Hollow Heart is your best record?

RO: Of course it is. You wouldn’t be making records otherwise… With this album, we had to be The Hanging Stars and I think we did a pretty damned good job of it.

Hollow Heart is released on March 25 (Loose).




‘You hear how couples in the same band break up, but we don’t feel any need to write our The Winner Takes It All just yet’

New Morning Blues


New Morning Blues are husband and wife duo Ian de Sylva and Joanna Backovic.

The pair, who released their debut album, London, this summer, run a recording studio together in Soho, and are independent artists in their own right, but this is the first time they’ve collaborated musically.

“To be honest, we’ve always been pretty busy with our own music projects, and it never really occurred to us to work together,” says de Sylva, in an exclusive interview with Say It With Garage Flowers.

“I had a song called Polestar. It wasn’t something that really suited my voice, so I asked Joanna to sing it. It sounded great, so I just kept writing with two voices in mind rather than one. So far, I’ve written the songs and we’ve arranged the vocal parts together.”

Backovic is a composer and performance artist who creates scores for theatre and film – she also performs under the name ArHai – while de Sylva’s first band, Silver, released a single on Rough Trade Records.

Signed to Medicine/Warner Bros, Silver recorded their debut album with producer Craig Leon (The Ramones, Blondie). They toured with The Cranberries and Elastica, and de Sylva also recorded two solo albums.

London is an impressive and arresting debut, from the ‘take no prisoners’ opener, Fortune Teller Blues – primal, White Stripes-style, blues-rock with mean organ and dirty guitar – to the beautiful and spectral folk ballad The Mirror, with shades of Nick Drake;  the twangy, widescreen country-pop of The New Messiah; the cinematic psych soundtrack that is A Face In The Mirror, and the dramatic orchestration of On The Horizon.

There’s a haunting, atmospheric and autumnal quality to most of the record. “It’s pretty much autumn all year round in England, so that may have come through in the songs,” muses de Sylva.


How are things? Have you got ‘new morning blues’?

Ian de Sylva: No – we’re both feeling pretty good today.

How did you find lockdown and are you getting back to some sense of normality?

IDS: We actually enjoyed lockdown up to a point, as it gave us both a lot more time to work on our music, which is what we love to do.

How has it been running a studio in Soho during the past year?

IDS: It’s been fine really, as we’ve been able to use the space for our own music more, so all good.

‘It’s pretty much autumn all year round in England, so that may have come through in the songs’

How did you approach the album musically? 

IDS: It developed very naturally, without a definite vision or plan sound-wise. I think it reflects music we both love, from psychedelia to country, folk and blues.


Can we talk about some of the songs? I’ll pick a few, give you some of my thoughts on them, and then can you give me yours.

Fortune Teller Blues: This is a raw, electric blues song – the heaviest track on the record. It has some great dirty guitar and organ on it…

IDS: It was written more as a kind of Dixieland jazz-type thing, but once I had the guitar riff, then it changed into something more bluesy. I wanted to write something upbeat and hopefully danceable.

The Mirror is one of my favourite songs on the record. It’s a haunting, folky ballad, with shades of Nick Drake…

IDS: We’re both fans of Nick Drake and love all his albums. Vashti Bunyan is also a big influence and I think that comes through on this one.

The New Messiah is another highlight for me. It’s jangly country-pop. It has a bit of a Nancy and Lee / mid-’90s Jesus and Mary Chain feel, circa Stoned & Dethroned. I love the twangy guitar solo.

IDS: We were watching a few of Tarantino’s movies and to me it sort of sounds like it could be in one of those films – definitely the guitar solo.

A Face In The Mirror is moody and cinematic, with a dramatic string arrangement…

IDS: This is more of a psychedelic influence. I think maybe it owes a lot to Arthur Lee.

What did you learn most from making a record together, and would you make another one?

IDS: We’re already recording a follow up-album, and working together on music has just been great so far. You hear a lot of stories of how being in the same band breaks couples up, but we don’t feel any need to write our The Winner Takes It All just yet.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

IDS: More recording over the next few months, then some gigs this autumn.

‘We actually enjoyed lockdown up to a point, as it gave us a lot more time to work on our music, which is what we love to do’

What music – new and old – are you enjoying? Any recommendations?

IDS: We’ve been listening to John Grant, The War on Drugs, a great Spanish band called Carino, Kilimanjaro by The Teardrop Explodes, Scott Walker and Sandy Denny.

Finally, why did you call the record London? 

IDS: It just seemed like an apt title. Having both lived in the city for a long time, it’s inevitably had a big influence on us, both as people, and our music.

London by New Morning Blues is out now on Berwick Music.