Indie-folk quintet Patch & The Giant release their debut album, All That We Had, We Stole on Friday, February 10th. We spoke to multi-instrumentalist Angie Rance about their history, recording the album and forthcoming UK tour.
We explore ideas such as theft, success, belonging, death and life. and water. Water crops up a lot.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - what led you all to forming Patch & The Giant? Why the name?
The band has existed in some form or other for five years or so. Originally it was the dregs of another band Luke had started, the dregs being Luke and me, and then we just continued to build it over time. A few friends have come and gone along the journey and each person has left their mark, but the band as it is now is really a result of happy accidental musical comings together (if that’s not too much of a mouthful). The name…..we’re getting worse at answering this question each time we’re asked. Essentially it means nothing. We wanted something which alluded to storytelling and this was what we came up with at the time. We’ve been called ‘James and the Giant Peach’ more times than we care for…..
Your music has been described as harnessing indie, rock and blues. Who are your influences and what do you consider you style?
I guess we try not to over think our style. We generally fall in to the folk category because our music is acoustic. But traditional folk has never really been a big influence on any of us. Until recently. Each band member would give a different answer when it comes to influences. And that’s a really lovely thing. Often on the tour bus we will introduce each other to new music that the others haven’t heard. But ironically I don’t really think we sound like the music we listen to. So it would be heard to call it an influence. But maybe it is. Subconsciously…
When it comes to writing songs, is there a process you follow?
No, not really. Each song is different. Some take 10 minutes to write while others we can still be writing a year later. Often the melody will come first and then the lyrics will follow. There’s nothing worse than having a strong melody but not having anything to write about. I think it gets harder the longer you’ve been doing it because you use up all your ideas on the first album. So I’m imagining the second one to be a completely different process.
Tell us about your forthcoming debut album All That We Had, We Stole. What’s the overriding theme?
There isn’t one particular overriding theme. But we explore ideas such as theft, success, belonging, death and life. and water. Water crops up a lot.
You worked with producer Nick Trepka on the new album, who previously worked with Emmy The Great and Mercury Prize Winner Speech Debelle. How did he help shape the album?
We basically gave Nick free reign and he exercised this right with poise and skill throughout. There were many songs which we’d thought were completely cooked and ready to just lay down on tape but Nick would in many cases still have ideas and it’s a testament to the trust we’d built with him that we took it in and didn’t tell him to bugger off.
Some of the most interesting additions to the songs during the recording process came from Nick - new harmonies, alternate structures and just generally pushing us in all of the ways we needed to be pushed. He’s also a wonderful musician and features all over the record.
You recorded the album in Easter 2015. How has it developed since?
Considering we’re only releasing it now, it’s crazy to think we actually only spent three days in the live studio. We locked ourselves in there and just didn’t leave until we had all the songs down. What followed then was a period of long gestation, many long nights spent with Nick honing everything as close as we could to our version of perfection.
Fundamentally we probably wouldn’t have been UN-happy with it being mixed straight after the live recording but the months spent nurturing the recordings was just as big and important part of the album process as all the live recordings.
Single ‘Flowers’, released in September, made Apple Music’s ‘Hot Tracks’ Playlist and the popularity of the accompanying video helped you win the public vote for Amazing Radio’s Audition Poll. How did that feel?
Well it was lovely, really. It’d been over two years since we’d released anything when ‘Flowers’ came out and there was definitely a build up on our part so there’s always the fear that either people will dislike it or, worse, not even take notice, so it was also nice and reassuring in this sense.
Which song on the album was the hardest to write and which song are you most proud of?
I think the one that I’m most proud of is probably the song ‘All That We Had, We Stole’. Purely because it wasn’t going to be on the album. Half of the band hadn’t even heard it before we recorded it. I just thought that its wasn’t ready and it was slightly too ambitious. I was playing it one morning in the studio between takes of another song and Nick our producer said ‘you should record that’ so we had a five minute practice and then did it. And it’s turned out really lovely. It was probably the hardest to write as well.
You’re about to go on tour to promote the album. What’s your three must-have items while on tour?
Beer. Bananas. Bedding.
Any particular dates you’re looking forward to?
The album launch itself on 10th February (at London Fields Brewhouse) probably has to be it. There’ll be a lot of friends and family there and we’re also going to be doubling the size of the band for this one as we’ve got a few extras on stage. It’s going to be a squeeze but it’s going to be great, the culmination of everything this album has come to mean to us over the past couple of years.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
I want Bellowhead to get back together. Imagine the sound we could make!
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Probably the versions of ourselves playing our first ever open mic night. We’d remind ourselves that it does get better, infinitely better. Oh and we’d warn ourselves not to get caught by the ‘pay to play’ promoters that try and snap you as a new band, London is rife with them and all of our peers have been through exactly the same set of terrible gigs… though all a learning experience if nothing else.
Watch the video for ‘Flowers’ below. For news and tour dates go to patchandthegiant.com.