Reports of Snow is the new album by Reichenbach Falls, a collective headed up by singer songwriter Abe Davies, and based out of Oxford, that ever burgeoning hub of musical creativity. The album is chock full of mellow tunes with a tinge of Americana, perfect for those long winter evenings…
How would you describe the sound of Reports of Snow?
Reports of Snow started out as a solo acoustic record – it was going to be just me and my guitar, with maybe a little keyboard and piano, that kind of thing. But as we worked on the songs we kept thinking ‘this should be an acoustic song, for sure, but maybe with electric guitars, drums, bass, piano‘ … so not really an acoustic song at all! So once we’d decided to let the songs go wherever they wanted to go, we worked on the basis that there should be a sort of approach tying them together, to make sure it remained an album rather than just a collection of songs – every one should have the heart of a fairly simple folk song, and the listener should be able to hear that, but that from there one might go in a pop direction, another in a rock, another in a more arty direction and so on. Which is I guess a long-winded way of saying: I’d describe it as ‘experimental folk-pop-rock‘!
Reichenbach Falls by Amberin Huq. ‘I found whilst listening to the Reichenbach album I was reminded to cold winter mornings by the sea and absence so it was just about finding an image that reflected that feeling I had. I wanted to create something that could be quietly beautiful and quite sparse to accompany the music.’
What are the lingering themes of the album and what inspired them?
Well, I guess the lingering theme would be lost love or something like that. It’s kind of a break-up album, and though a couple of the songs are a little older (written when I was living in St Andrews in Scotland) the vast majority were written over a couple of months after moving to Oxford a couple of years ago. So whereas I think the next record will be a little more wide-ranging in terms of subject-matter, this one’s pretty single-minded. I guess every songwriter has to get a break-up album out of their system every few years, and this is ours.
Reichenbach Falls by Emma Russell. ‘Reichenbach Falls have an outdoorsy, Americana feel that I wanted to echo. Listening to Risky, I liked the idea of escape and the image of the Southern Cross shining.‘
Where are you from originally and how did you end up here?
My parents came over here from Canada for my dad to train as an actor, so weirdly enough I was born in Wales. But all our family was in Canada still, and after a few years my dad moved back, so we were always back and forth and I lived in Calgary, near the Rocky Mountains, for a while when my dad lived there too. Then I lived in Spain for six months, Norwich, Scotland for a while, now Oxford for the foreseeable … so kind of all round! I consider myself 40% English, 40% Canadian and 20% somewhere in the Atlantic, maybe a little south for warmth.
Reichenbach Falls by Kimberly Ellen Hall.
How does the ‘rotating membership’ of the band work in practice?
The rotating membership is a pain! It’s allowed us to make an album that I’m really proud of, and that I couldn’t possibly have made without the generosity and skill of all these people, but everything takes forever and is a nightmare to organise. On the other hand, I’m super lucky with the talented friends I’ve made over the last couple of years and also with the fact that to play live I don’t necessarily need anybody but me. I’m kind of at the point where if I want to do a show I’ll agree to do it solo, and then if there’s the possibility to add components I’ll see if I want to and then make some calls to if it’s going to work schedule-wise. So having that solo option takes a lot of stress out of the rotating membership. Sorry, are these answers going on forever?? I feel like they are …
Is that Joe Bennett, founder of Truck Festival who you are collaborating with? how did that come about? He gets everywhere!
That is indeed Joe Bennett of Truck fame. And it came about because he’s a friend of mine and does get everywhere … He’s also an incredibly talented and fun guy who lives to play music, so that doesn’t hurt either! He’s a great guy to have around – I ended up playing Y Not Festival with Co-pilgrim, a band that he’s in, and so he joined me for a few songs. That was cool, and I’m sure won’t be the last time.
Where was the video for Risky shot? it looks suitably depressing and grey…
That was shot in a single take in Jericho in North Oxford – coincidentally, only a few hundred yards from the studio where we made a lot of the album. It was in February, I think, so you get that washed-out light that’s beautiful but sort of sad. Ben Johnston, who conceived and directed it, is also pretty nifty with getting the look just right in post-production – there’s a video for the song Stay Home, Elizabeth that he’s in the process of making with an amazing actress from here in Oxford which is going to be really beautiful, too, I think. I’m really looking forward to seeing it myself!
Who was the dancer and what was her brief, and who is polishing the gun and where did you acquire that from?!!! Looks real…
Actually, the dancer is Breeze Murdoch, a great friend of mine who I met through her husband, Michael de Albuquerque, who co-produced, engineered and mixed the album – and that’s him with the gun at the end, which I think is actually a very realistic, powerful air-rifle. As far as I remember, her brief was to make it feel as if it were a little ‘risky’ just being outside, with all these strange, pretty, dangerous things happening. But she’s both a musician and a professional dancer, so the kind of person to whom you don’t really have to spend a lot of time explaining these things.
Reports of Snow by Reichenbach Falls is released on 2nd December 2013 through Observatory Records.
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