One description of Sara Lowes, which won’t meet with many arguments is the one of, busy.

If she isn’t releasing “The Joys of Waiting” her second album, then she must be scoring a composition for her commissioned position as composer in residence at the Graphene Department of Manchester University. No could be a spot at the Cloudburst Festival, or a gig with the Earlies in London late July. The multi talented singer songwriter, composer, arranger, mentor, is a gal in demand.

I managed to pose a range of questions to Sara, her plans, reaction to her new album, bands she’s listening to at present, and a general take on future plans.

If her busy schedule settles down I may get some face to face time with the Manchester troubadour. For now I hope the Q+A gives you a little more insight to the world of Sara Lowes:

PB: Would you describe for us the objectives of your latest album "The Joy of Waiting" when deciding to set up the project?

SL: Hopefully for it to be good! I also got a bit of an obsession with lyrics and I was trying to work out how compromised song lyrics were comparatively to the story they were meant to be telling because of making the words rhyme – that got me thinking how much the word ‘time’ was put in peoples' songs (certainly mine). It felt like a ‘cop out’ as a word all of a sudden and so as a kind of frustration I then went on to deliberately focus on ‘time’ being the main feature of each of the tracks. JB Priestley was a great inspiration for this, as an idea, as he had a bit of an ongoing obsession with time – and I like his books and his humanism. I also wanted to feel that I could hear a development in my production from my first album and that my arrangements feature just as importantly as my singing.

PB: Have you any plans to play gigs or go on tour this year?

SL: I have a few bits planned. At the moment I am very busy scoring a composition from my commission as composer in residence in the Graphene Department in Manchester Uni. We will be performing the piece on June 25th in the Martin Harris Building at the university and at The Museum of Science and Industry on the 26th of June. I’l be playing a solo set at Cloudspotting Festival in Lancashire , and The Earlies are reforming for some gigs over summer – so we’ll be at Band On The Wall on 29th of July and London on the 31st of July at the Shacklewell Arms – where I think I’m supporting with my solo music.

PB: Do you agree with people who say they hear a lot of influences on the new album: Bush, Oldfield, Yes, Floyd, etc? SL: Kate Bush and Mike Oldfield have definitely influenced and inspired me- Tubular Bells is a favourite from being a little girl. I did catch a few Kate Bush references in some of the reviews and that really is the ultimate compliment.

PB: Are you surprised, excited, indifferent to the album's recent reviews?

SL: I’m very pleased with them all. I like the few negative bits I have seen too – they have mirrored some of my own thoughts and that’s nice to know people are really listening to the construction and production of it all rather than just cut and pasting from your press release. I was very worried about this album for about six months – I thought I’d made a real pile of rubbish for a while. I’m ok with it at the moment…but that could change.

PB: Tell us about your musical teaching commissions and partnerships in and around Manchester.

SL: I have my graphene commission which is nearing towards performance time – this is a commission I received from Brighter Sound, who are a fantastic arts organisation in Manchester. I worked with a brilliant group of young musicians a few months back on a residency in Central Library with Everything Everything. The group were so talented and produced an amazing eclectic set of live music that I have since taken the group into Blueprint studios to record it – it was so good.

I am also producing another project for Brighter Sound at the moment which has been featuring artists in branch libraries delivering original creative projects and over the last four months. All the artists have been using the library spaces in a really productive creative way and some amazing art and music has been created- we will be showcasing it all back at Central Library on the 30th May. I am also looking forward to starting work on a live graphic novel with flash fiction writer David Gaffney in summer – ready for a performance in October this year.

PB: Although I'm a northern lad, I've lived on the outskirts of London for many years. How has the music scene changed in Manchester during the past decade?

SL: I’m not a great person to ask about music scenes. I’m sorry. I don’t really know what’s going on around me musically but I know that Manchester is always very proud of it’s musical scene… and that I should probably try and get in to some new stuff!

PB: Who are the bands/artists you listen to or respect these days?

SL: I always like everything Field Music does, and I like that they are so driven with all their side projects with other artists. I admire people who treat their musical skill properly and work with it and keep it busy. I really like the new album from Sufjan Stevens who is another great example of this and I’m enjoying Chet Baker a lot at the moment.

PB: Is your song writing becoming more personal, autobiographical?

SL: No, I don’t think so. A lot of the most personal stuff I write for lyrics is quite deliberately cryptic. I let a few bits fully come out.

PB: If the opportunity arose, which of the UK Festivals would you choose to play at this summer?

SL: What is Green Man like at the moment ? I always enjoyed playing that festival. That was a gorgeous festival when it very first started.

PB: What books have you read recently? Have you seen any decent movies?

SL: Nothing at the moment. Unfortunately, I’m in a busy period. I have one book on the go, ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson

PB: On a similar theme, do you have any specific hobbies or ways of relaxing away from work and music?

SL: I’m doing a degree in design at the moment which is a bit like a hobby. Other than that, early nights, long walks and every now and then a good drink of lager and/or wine.

PB: Are you a Blue or a Red?

SL: I used to have a season ticket for Middlesbrough.

PB: Thank you.

Related Links:

Commenting On: Interview - Sara Lowes

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last