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What is your name?
Jamie Larbalestier

What is your genre of music?

Give us a little bio about you.
I’m a Reading based Singer-Songwriter. I find myself looking inward to write songs – where I’m barely really paying attention to the songs as I write them; allowing them to reveal themselves to me later. I find a lot of inspiration in writing in open tuned guitars that allow me to play with the harmonic structure of songs, by utilising pedal notes and different modes. My first two EPS (The Flotsam EP, 2016 and In Winter, 2018) allowed me to experiment with these techniques and I feel that About Time really is a culmination of my work with these recordings.

What made you go into music?
I honestly can’t remember? I’m fairly sure that I started drumming because I was always tapping on tables and annoying my parents! I didn’t start singing until my first band in 2012, which began my love for vocal harmony. I ended up bringing a guitar to university with me, which was the beginning of my music as I now know it.

Are you a signed?

You have released your new Album ‘About Time’, tell us more about the album.
This album has been two years in the making, with the first few tracks being written around the time of the ‘In Winter’ release. It really, for me, is the pinnacle of what I believe that I can do with just one microphone, so it feels like a weight off of my shoulders to get it out there in the open. This album really is about my own anxieties regarding the movement of time, so it was fitting that the COVID-19 lockdown came right in the midst of the recording process.

What is the meaning behind the album?
About Time, is an album about my own anxieties and the movement of time. This is something that really gets to me, so it was an incredibly cathartic experience to write this album. Aside from the subject matter of the tracks, the album is also about turning a page in my own recording process – getting a bunch of my friends in to help in the recording process and creating a truly eclectic album, that also feels complete and together.

Describe each track in two words.
About Time – Modal Fun
11:30 – Calm, Subdued
14:30 – Loud, Intense
Never an Hour Early – Album Thesis
Ma – Reflective Folk
Always, These Days – Bossa Nova
Time Passes (Theme & Variations) – Big Choir
Lord, I – On Disassociation
Rosie – Lo-fi Finale

What was the writing process like?
I feel like my writing process has really settled throughout this album. I more or less wrote each of these songs in one sitting. I find that if I sit down with a guitar, I either write a song or I don’t. I usually end up settling on a guitar part and then singing nonsense syllables until they eventually settle as lyrics – this is something that I’ve heard Justin Vernon and Paul Simon talk about, which really did change the way that I write songs. I also ended up writing a lot during the recording process, which is something that I’ve recently discovered and has been really inspiring.

What was the recording process like?
The COVID-19 Lockdown really did give me the time to work at recording this album in a more rigorous way than I had done before. I worked at it like a job, waking up every morning, recording, mixing, stopping for lunch, listening to and reviewing what I’d done and making decisions on what to tackle next. This process is what really makes this album feel different to my last releases – it was me taking my shot to work at producing my music as a ‘job,’ which is something I could have never imagined doing without this horrible turn of events. Aside from this, I feel that I’ve pushed the technique of recording with one mic to the extreme – I forced myself to learn everything I could about the microphone, the space I was in and the individual instruments as well as the software that I use.

Who did you work with on the album?
I had a whole host of people to work with for this album, which really is rare for me as, in the past, I’ve always done as much of the recording process as possible by myself. On the album I have Michelle Jardim playing clarinet, singing and generally being great at bouncing ideas back and forth, Holly Crawford & Conor Drake doing some vocals on Time Passes, Josh Aroesti doing some vocals and some brilliant work on the graphic design for the album and Fray Webb who did all of the photography and was also great to bounce ideas off of.

We also see any music videos for any of the tracks?
I have some plans brewing with Josh Aroesti for this, so hold tight!

Do you have any online shows coming up?
I will be streaming live on my Facebook Page on October 24th for the About Time release!

What else can we expect in 2020?
A big rest! I’m hoping to do a lot more online shows, as well as trying to transition back into live performances.

Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
I’ve been working a lot with Leon C, who also has an incredible new EP coming out at the end of the year. I’m sure we’ll end up collaborating more in the future!

Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Of Course! Contact me on any of my social media pages!

Do you play any instruments?
Guitar, vocals, drums, bass and keys mostly! I’m never averse to trying my hand at something if the song needs it though.

Who are your influences?
I’d say that my biggest influences are Nick Drake, Laura Marling and Bon Iver. Nick Drake and Laura Marling have really inspired my song-writing on a base level, where as I love anything that Justin Vernon produces – he really inspires me in terms of production and writing with interesting textures.

How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I actually try to empty my mind when I write songs. I find that that allows me to write on a more subconscious level, where songs can reveal themselves to me later. My songs are usually very introspective, but there are still songs that I’ve written that I still don’t know what they’re about.

Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
That’s a tricky one. I honestly don’t know if I can see myself in any different position as the one I’m in now. It’s so hard to make a living as a musician, especially now, but I’d definitely love to be doing longer tours and playing new and bigger venues.

When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I love cooking! I’m currently really into fermenting and pickling, so I’m usually either packing things into jars or stood in my kitchen staring at jars.

What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Any song from A Creature I Don’t Know by Laura Marling. That album has inspired me so much as a musician – The Muse and Sophia have such a lovely, live feel to them that I’ve definitely strived for in both my live shows and my recorded work. Tracks like Salinas and Don’t Ask Me Why have been huge inspirations in terms of dynamic texture changes and, of course, the seamless transitions that I adore.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Don’t trust the golden egg unless you’ve painted it yourself.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Get into recording, whilst you write. This is something that I absolutely love doing, which I came to really late. It’s a great way of forcing yourself to be more creative in terms of textures that you can create with limited resources, practicing recording skills (which we all need to do!) and song-writing in a more regimented way, which is something that is definitely a struggle when you first get into writing songs.

What quote or saying do you always stick by?
‘Never an Hour Early’ is an Iron & Wine quote that inspired one of the tracks on the album – I’ve never heard it said anywhere else and I couldn’t find anything about it after an extensive google! There was something about it that really spoke to me and I’ve really tried to take it on in my daily life. Whilst I should definitely stop turning up to things an hour early to quell my anxiety, to me its mostly about expectations and allowing yourself to make mistakes every now and then.

Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Depends – If you want to visit a beautiful venue, where is always a great line-up on, definitely visit the Rising Sun Arts Centre, or, if you want a classic Reading experience, go to Purple Turtle.

Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
Some form of Drive-Thru normally
2/ Who do you see first? I’d say my partner, Michelle, but she tends to be touring with me; playing clarinet, so I’m going with my housemates, who better have baked me something.
3/What do you eat first? Either some form of Drive-Thru, or a cheese toastie, packed with pickles and glass of Kombucha.

When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Cables (that aren’t broken), a capo, Michelle (for some lovely clarinet and vocal work), merch (which is new for me, so I’ll most likely forget every time) and the lyrics (which I definitely forget every time).

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
I sure do! You can find my links below:

Listen to About Time

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