Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thea Gilmore swaps guitar for an iPad on new album

Singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore has announced a 10-date tour of England to co-incide with the release of her new album, The Counterweight.

Thea says: "This tour is going to be something else (we have a 7 piece band for starters!) so make sure you pick up your tickets as soon as possible!"

Thea Gilmore wants to make people think
The Counterweight is released on June 2nd. You can get the new single to download straight away if you pre-order now on iTunes or via Thea's website. and there will be double vinyl and limited edition copies too.

Since releasing her debut as a teenager nearly 20 years ago, the Oxfordshire-raised, Cheshire-based singer and songwriter has chosen to shake things up with her next release.

Fifteen albums in, Thea has all but abandoned her trusty acoustic guitar in favour of an iPad and a piano. The change forced her out of her comfort zone in to exploring new methods of composing as well as new ways of recording.

“I’m not someone who plans albums in advance,” says Thea.

“I don’t decide what subjects to write about or how the songs will sound. But I knew I needed a change. I didn’t want to write another acoustic guitar album. I’d done that enough already.”

The iPad she had used only sparingly before. The piano, she claims, she can’t play.

“Using an instrument you can’t really play imposes limits,” says Thea. “If something sounded right, I kept it, but a proper pianist might be horrified. The iPad I’ve previously used for vocal arrangements, but never to write entire songs. It’s a brilliant tool for framing lyrics in a way you just can’t do on guitar.”

“I remember around Avalanche [her 2003 breakthrough album] thinking that we were heading down a rabbit hole. I wrote about how technology was dominating our lives, but little did I know... We’re now its slaves, not its masters. Our attention spans have become so tiny that unless you confine yourself to 140 characters, no one listens. Tackle politics like that and you end up with Trump and an unelected Tory leader. You can’t pick your way through important debates in sound bites, but that’s what we’re doing. I’m not anti-technology, but you have to use it right.”

Despite its hefty themes, The Counterweight also delves into disco and pure pop and boasts strings, samples, shimmering soundscapes and pretty piano. She adds: "Where it might have been mournful, it’s often airy and optimistic. Where it does delve in to darkness, it also glimpses light."

On the day the song 'Johnny Gets A Gun' was recorded, the MP Jo Cox was shot and killed. 

“That was such a strange and terrible day,” recalls Thea. “News of the shooting came through just as we arrived at the studio and by the time we’d finished the song Jo had died. It seemed so resonant to be singing about misfits and outsiders at such a tragic time.”

The Counterweight’s closing track, The War, includes several direct references to the late Labour MP in a call-to-arms for change.

“I find the best way to ram a point home is to mask what you’re doing by making people sing along,” says Thea. 

“It’s like subliminal advertising. People don’t realise you’re shouting at them if you’re singing a sunny tune.

“There are ballads on the album, but they’re uplifting rather than mournful. A songwriter’s job is to get people thinking, not make them so despondent they don’t act. You may as well stick your head in the oven right now if you can’t see a crack of light in dark times!"

Thurs June 1st - Union Chapel, LONDON BUY TICKETS
Fri June 2nd - Revelation, ASHFORD  BUY TICKETS
Mon June 5th - The Stables, MILTON KEYNES  BUY TICKETS
Wed June 7th - Junction 2, CAMBRIDGE  BUY TICKETS
Sun June 11th - Contemporary, NOTTINGHAM  BUY TICKETS
Tues June 13th - Arts Centre, POCKLINGTON  BUY TICKETS

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