Ahead of her headline shows in April, MTTM caught up with Rachel Sermanni to find out more about her inspiration and to get to the bottom of Pirate Song.
MTTM: You’ve been on tour recently with Fink, do you find it hard to win his audiences over given that you’re musically quite different?
RS: His audiences have been great, it has been a surprise. Despite our differences, there seems to be a parallel and I think we work as a good team. I think I can quite effectively warm up the crowd for the boys which is good. I have loved playing for the followers of Fink. They seem to be a very creative and appreciative bunch. They listen well.
MTTM: Your Black Currents EP came out earlier in the year, what’s the reaction been and what do you have in the pipe line?
RS: There has been a wonderful reaction. We were top of the coalition charts for two weeks on first releasing the cd. THis is the only official reaction I know of but what I am consistently aware of is the positive things people say about the instrumentation and production around the songs. People are very impressed with the lovely friends and musicians I have around me. And I, too, am very content with the lovely family of musicians around me.
MTTM: Some of your music is quite dark, what inspires you to write your song?
RS: I am often inspired by dreams. I like the darker side of things although I really have no excuse to want to focus on bad things when my life is really rather sweet. I am fond of the concept of an adversary and also fond of the idea behind archetypes. You can create very extreme states of consciousness within a song. You can envelope everything around only one aspect of your being. This creates intensity. And at the moment I enjoy creating a bit of intensity that leaves you feeling a bit on edge. I’m glad you notice that some are darker…
MTTM: You’re from the small town of Carrbridge, in the Highlands, how do you think that influenced your upbringing and your music?
RS: I don’t know how much it has influenced my writing exactly. I know there has been a lot of encouragement in the area to be creative. There were always traditional music lessons and school musicals to take part in. I was very much into performing from a young age. My writing songs became part of performing when I was in later school and was growing in confidence. I think the space up here has allowed my imagination to run. I am thankful for that.
MTTM: What is the story behind Pirate Song?
RS: Thanks for asking. I haven’t been asked about this one before. I wrote Pirate Song a few months after leaving school. Within months I had been thrown into a storm of exciting prospects and opportunities. It was all very thrilling. I had been to Glasgow and been to pubs with new friends, I had been taken to see jazz music, I had my first sweaty rock band experience in a tiny venue, I had been to London and properly recorded and produced a song with a member of a famous band…so much stuff was happening! But I was aware of how I must not lose sight of how good everything was… I came home and watched some Tim Burton then wrote a song about a girl who becomes a pirate and finds treasure but she forgets about the stars and how she came to be. Greed swallows her. She comes to a watery end because she doesn’t think she needs anyone but herself. It was a lesson for myself. A constant reminder.
MTTM: How would you describe your music in three words?
RS: (I’ve had this question before…I don’t think I answered very well) 1 = earful 2 = of 3 = nice
MTTM: On your blog your describe a couple of airport games, have you actually ever played them and if so, did you win?
RS: Yes. I have played the pilot game. It was fun. But I lost to my good friend Dougie Brown as we flew across to America. The other game was attempted but failed somewhat, I didn’t say so on the blog.
(Full instructions for the Airport Games can be found on Rachel’s blog)
MTTM: 10 years from now, where will you be?
RS: In a small wooden house on a hill with sheep in the garden.