Anna Mitchell interview – Q & A

Anna Mitchell

Songwriter Anna Mitchell will launch her debut E.P. Fall Like That at this year’s Coughlan’s Live music festival on Friday, September 26th. Recently Anna took the time to speak to the Last Mixed Tape about the record and working as a solo artist.

You just released your debut E.P. ‘Fall Like That’. What can you tell me about the writing & recording of the E.P?

Writing and recording this EP has been a labour of love over the last two years in the home studio of my good friend and Producer Christian Best of Monique Studios in Cork. Releasing this EP now is all in preparation for my debut album release in Feb 2015. The last two years in the studio have been spent working on a ten track album, which is recorded, mixed and mastered now, but I see the EP as a chance for people to get to know me a little bit better as well as a little taster of what’s to come for the album.

The songs were sensitively recorded with the help of some of Cork’s finest musicians with a tasteful and captivating approach. I was so lucky to have such amazing people around me who helped make this E.P a reality. I enjoy going into the studio so much, the days can be long and trying but also so awe-inspiring. The studio was a creative hub due to the people I had with me who were as passionate about the music as I was, breaking occasionally for coffee and crisp sandwiches we worked hard on bringing these songs to completion and I am so happy with the end result.

How did writing a solo record differ from working as part of a band, as you have done before?

As a member of 6 piece folk country band John Blek & The Rats for the past couple of years I have had great experience writing and arranging with other people. The significant thing about being part of a band and arranging together is that each band member is bringing something from their own experience and musical tastes to a song, with everyone contributing and bouncing ideas off of one another it can be really stimulating as we learn a lot from one another.

For solo writing and recording it’s not a whole lot different, although I write the songs it’s the players around me who have brought the songs to the level that they are at now. Writing and recording music by one’s self is something of a practice in vanity I believe, and I prefer to pick the brains of the experienced and amazing musicians whom I have surrounded myself with and am very open to suggestions. I am lucky to be able to work with such inspiring musicians and feel it would be a lost opportunity not to ask them to contribute ideas to arrangements of my songs.

Producer Christian Best has been a driving force in the studio and has been indispensable in coming up with ideas during the recording process, constantly coming up with interesting ideas and pushing me in different directions and aiding me in the creation of more engaging and compelling music. For me the recording process has not been a solo venture, without the support and assistance of some of the most gifted lunatics whom I am so happy to call my friends it would not have been possible.

Do you think ‘Fall Like That’ works as a record built and made over a long period of time, or a snapshot of who you are a solo artist?

I think ‘Fall Like That’ the E.P works as a piece built in terms of this album, but I also feel like the album itself is most likely a snapshot of who I am as a solo artist in this moment in time. As a musician I am always learning and wanting to do something better, and new. I am very proud of this album as a cohesive piece and feel that it is a fair representation of me as a musician and song writer as I am now. Who knows what lies ahead or what could change?

For you, what song on the E.P. best captures the sound of the record?

The title track of the E.P ‘Fall Like That’ is I believe the song that best represents me as a writer and artist, the dream-like feel of this song I believe is a fair representation of what’s to come.

Are you excited about touring these songs?

I am really excited about touring, I love playing my songs to new people and am delighted to get the chance to check out venues that I have never played in before. For this tour I will be playing half of the gigs as a two piece, my good friend John Blek tours with me in the two piece set up, and we have a great time together, we play a lot of gigs together and get on really well, plus he’s a total lunatic so there’s never a dull moment, there’s no fear that I’ll nod off on a long car journey coming home from a gig as he’s always up to some antics to keep me awake!

For some of the gigs we will be joined by Brian Hassett on bass and David Murphy on pedal steel and Dobro, I’m mostly looking forward to these gigs as a four piece as the guys really add something special to the set. Dublin duo the Edisons will be joining us for a double bill gig in Cleere’s Kilkenny on October 3rd which I’m also looking forward to, we all might even play a song or two together. Another highlight will be at Coughlan’s Live Music Festival in my hometown of Cork City, I will be playing my Official E.P launch gig there this Friday 26th of September, with support from Belfast based musician Malojian.

Fall Like That by Anna Mitchell is out now. Mitchell will play Coughlan’s Live this Friday (September 26th).

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