We recently shared a review of Nick Byrne’s alt-country/folk single Houses, and now he’s back with us for a little chat about his career so far.
It has been an interesting musical journey to get to this point. When I started playing guitar in my early teens I was very into rock and ‘loud’ genres of music. But although I often strayed from those genres there came a time where it lost its impact for me. Some members of those bands recorded acoustic folk or country albums – Dustin Kensrue was one, Frank Turner and Jenny Lewis were others – and I started feeling that a soft guitar or vocal can have just as much impact or emotion as those louder sounds. So from there developed a massive love for singer-songwriters, contemporary folk and alt-country.
I remember the first time I stood up and took note of Jeff Buckley’s voice, I remember the feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t in a band at that moment so it inspired me to write solo material from an emotional and vulnerable place. Another artist is Iron & Wine. ‘Our Numbered Days’ inspired me to move towards more delicate folk and Americana with my ‘Through The Tall Grass EP’, and in particular has influenced my fingerpicked guitar style. Other artists such as Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and Andy Shauf are artists who are inspired by varying musical genres – they all also have their own distinct vocal style and sing from that same place of honesty and vulnerability.
‘Houses’ is primarily written about my relationship with my dad, a builder by trade. There’s a few subtle references to this as well as his struggles. The building imagery ties it together and act as a metaphor for life, and how it takes time and effort to shape it into something that feels like home. I was first inspired to write the song on a family trip to Liverpool. We ended up coming across an area with rows and rows of abandoned houses, condemned to fall into ruin. Walking through those streets was incredibly eerie, imagining what they would have been like when they were filled with families – and this ended up being the subject of the second verse. It’s definitely a song that was quite therapeutic for me to write.
As a small artist I’ve been lucky enough to perform at some nice venues and support some artists I respect a lot, probably the biggest has been Declan McKenna. It was a great show and a real experience. To be honest though it’s probably the songs that I’m most proud of. I went through a period where I stopped playing music and when I returned I had a simple goal: to create music that was lasting and beautiful. Something I could look back on and be proud of. I’m pleased with ‘Houses’ and it seems like its been well received by people who’ve listened to it. So I can’t ask more than that.
I’m looking forward to releasing my next single ‘Summer Rain’ in August. It’s a little different to ‘Houses’. It’s written from quite a naîve place, about young love and healing. Further to that we’ll see what the ‘new-normal’ bring in terms of gigging. Hopefully I’ll be back in the studio and practice room with my band soon. Either way I’m always writing new material so hopefully I can share some more soon!