Back in August, at For Noise Festival in Pully-Lausanne, I had the pleasure to have a chat with Siôn Russell Jones, a very talented Welsh singer-songwriter. We talked about his last album Lost No More and his plans for the future. Thanks a lot to Siôn Russell Jones for being so friendly and thank you to David Schindler from Two Gentlemen for making this interview possible. You can read the review of Siôn Russell Jones‘ very special intimate gig here. The Liberation: How would you describe your new album?
- Siôn Russell Jones: I guess technically speaking it’s folk music because it’s on the guitar and is also kind of acoustic music but also kind of pop music. And I think there’s a big kind of stigma with pop music when you say that term, people think of chart R n’ B and stuff that is sort of very fashionable to listen to. But I mean the kinda stuff that I do is kind of like power pop in a sense, some of it is kind of slow traditional kind of singing songwriting, I think the picking kind of tracks, and some of it is straight up you know catchy, as memorable as I can make it, the kind of stuff that I like to listen to. The kind of thing I wanna hear on the radio that’s what I’m trying to do when I’m writing songs. I think: “What would I like to hear when I switch on the radio?”
The Liberation: Do you have any particular influences?
- Siôn Russell Jones: I have, loads. To be honest with you I started listening to heavy metal when I was a teenager and I still listen to it quite a bit. And I think my approach to play the acoustic guitar is sometimes quite aggressive because of that. So there’s a lot of energy in some of the songs that I play and I get that from that sort of influence. But you know I love pop music as well, I love bands with strong percussion, good tunes, I like lots of energy, that’s what I’m trying to do.
The Liberation: Since you come from the UK, which is seen by most as the Mecca of music, was it easy for you to break through?
- Siôn Russell Jones: To be honest no, not really. My first album came out in 2010 and the following year Ed Sheeran‘s album “+” went massive. I’ve known the guy, I’ve played with him before, shared the stage with him in America and stuff. And I think being as we physically look quite similar has been a little of a drawback for me to be honest. I mean I try to let the music speak for herself. We play very different kind of singer-songwriting music. I don’t let it bother me too much. We do very different things in the same kind of field if that makes sense. You know, it’s been difficult, there’ve been challenges but you know this is what I love to do and I wouldn’t swap it for any other job.
The Liberation: Cool! And how do you live the fact of playing abroad in places like Switzerland?
- Siôn Russell Jones: I love it, I love coming here. I mean it’s an amazing thing because like when people go travelling a lot of the time they go to cliché classic tourist destinations but with this I get to travel to places I’ve never heard of, play festivals I’ve never heard of and they’re incredible a lot of the time. It’s a real eye opening experience. You kill two birds with one stone, you know you get to travel and you get to play music, you get to meet new people and have new experiences, it’s very cool! It’s a cool job you know, I camp to be playing really. (we laugh)
The Liberation: Sounds like it! How does your producing process work? Do you come up with the lyrics or melodies first?
- Siôn Russell Jones: I think some people come up with lyrics first but for me I always write the melodies first. You know, I’ll just pick up my guitar and play something I’ve got in my head or something I’ve recorded on my phone a few day previously or just a melodic idea that is memorable and catchy and something that I like and once I’ve them I do something like scatting, you know when you sing something that isn’t really words and then you kinda pick out rhythms of words and phrases that fit well with the melodies and where they go. And then I kind of write the lyrics around the mood of the piece and how it makes me feel and then I have got a song. That’s how I do it. (laughs)
The Liberation: What are your musical plans for the future?
- Siôn Russell Jones: Well next month (September 2014) I’m starting my third album. I’m recording this one in London with a guy called Erland Cooper. It’s a little bit different than the stuff I’ve done previously. It’s still got the same catchy elements in it but it’s a little bit more mature maybe and I’ve got a full band with me now. It’s almost like more of a band project this time. But there are still stripped down very simplistic kind of me and the guitar songs but then there are other songs that are really big with synthesizers and like drum pads and all kinds of crazy stuff. Yeah it’s a nice mixture, I’ve always tried to make every song kind of different to the last but still have my kind of stamp so that you know it’s me. So yeah I try to vary it as much as I can and each album is always the same process so this one is slightly different but you know it’s me.
The Liberation: So have you already started recording your new material?
- Siôn Russell Jones: Yeah, I’ve started recording it I already finished writing it as well. So yeah it’s pretty much good to go, I’ve got a few weeks kinda blocked off in September in which I’m gonna go to London and do the all thing in one go. We’re actually doing it in an analog studio (Hoxton Square studios) this time and it’s very old fashioned you know there’s patch leads in the wall. The sound of the room is incredible you know. It’s in Bethnal Green in London, in a very cool sort of area and the studio is very nice. So yeah I’m looking forward to it, it should be nice.
The Liberation: Are you looking forward to the concert?
- Siôn Russell Jones: I can’t wait. Yeah I’m always looking forward to playing. It should be really nice. I just had a sound check and yeah it sounds good and it’s really loud which is nice, cuz it’s only me on my own sometimes you can kinda be drowned out by the crowd especially if people are talking, and they’re drinking and stuff. So when it’s just me I like it to be very loud and I’m playing and plugging in and just jumping out the speakers.
The Liberation: Cool!
- Siôn Russell Jones: Yeah that’s always good.
The Liberation: So today you’re not playing with your band later?
- Siôn Russell Jones: Today no, it’s just me. Just me, very simple set, just me and the acoustic guitar. But next time hopefully I’ll be on that stage (indicates the big stage just behind us) with the band. (we laugh)
The Liberation: Is it the first time you’re here in Switzerland?
- Siôn Russell Jones: No, I’ve been here a few times. I’ve played here a couple of times I think it’s my fourth time. I did a tour with Heather Nova like in March I think. I’ve done a few shows in Bern as well thanks to PlayLIVE #Bern a great organization which kinda helped me get my foot in the door in terms of playing around here as well. So yeah it’s been good.
The Liberation: Great! I’m looking forward to see you!
- Siôn Russell Jones: Yeah, cool! I’m on at 8 o’clock I think.
The Liberation: Yeah, I’ll be there!
- Siôn Russell Jones: Wicked! All right then, sounds great! Cool!