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Obviously Songs for the Ravens is out now – was that a long time in the writing, or do you remember a distinct part where you embarked upon writing the whole album? Yeah, it was more just embarking on a new, like… I think it was 25 years of things that were in my heart and in my mind. I’d start making up these melodies and things from my past would come up. Tese stories of people would just come up. Twenty-odd years of stuff, which is why I’m excited for this new album, because it’s a whole new different year of stuff, it’s so different.

I don’t like to read too much into titles, but ravens tend to be the bringers of bad omens, a negative force, so can you identify who the ravens are from your album title? Well it was written in this house and it has nothing to do with bad omen or anything, but it was more of just a loneliness. A lot of people I knew were just lonely people and we wanted to have parties every other night, and go to shows and we’d just have those shows and parties just to see each other, you know. It was sweet, but we’d just go nuts – it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. I remember waking up once and thinking, ‘wow, last night was just insane – the music wasn’t even that great but we were just all there, drinking so much because we like… I don’t want to put a name on anything, but at least I was careless with my life.

Tere’s a school of thought that says the best music comes out of unrest and troubles and heartache, but it’s been documented that there’s a certain person making you very happy at the moment – how do you think this has affected your songwriting? Hmm, well I think it’s affected it a


lot, you know. We’re actually not together anymore, which is – we’re best, like best mates and it ended on an understandable note, but she was kinda like… I don’t want to say my catalyst, but she allowed me to know; I was walking up the stairs the other day and I was thinking if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t know ever how to be fully happy and I feel fully happy inside knowing I can be who I really am. She brought a lot of happiness to me, so there were a lot of songs from the new ones I wrote that are about when you’re soulmates, but you still have so much more to do. But yeah, it’s a good thing. It’s kinda like that movie with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet…

Oh, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Yeah, Eternal Sunshine – I would never want to erase my memory of her, like, ever. I’m happy for everything that’s ever happened.

I read a quote from a review on your website that said “this one’s special folks, let’s not screw it up” – how does it make you feel being opened up to critics and a traditionally vicious media? I love life but when people are really harsh I’m like, I only have one life and I’d rather just let it all out rather than hide away. I’d rather put it all out there and see what happens, and if nothing happens, then nothing happens, but I’m putting my best and the good part of me out there. You think of all the people who’ve done it in their life,

like Stevie Nicks – I read she couldn’t read music and she was beautiful, and a great singer… I don’t know, you just move forward and you know it’s good.

It was quite a throwaway comment in an article, but I know you have some famous fans; Decemberists are fans, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle – is it in any way important for you to be appreciated by your peers as well as your fans? Yeah, completely; I feel really honoured to be honest. For example, I want to know what they think, and my friend Kyle from the Little Wings is in town and he’s recording at the studio I’m at, and it was the simplest thing – he just asked if I wanted to sing backing vocals, and I was like, ‘oh my goodness, I would!’ I told my friend in New York and she was like, ‘you know he’s one of my favourites Jules, even from years ago – that’s awesome!’ Sometimes I’ll wanna pee my pants, and then other times I don’t get too freaked out, I just feel grateful and excited.

You came to Norwich in January with Smoke Fairies; you did a few dates with those girls – how did you find that tour, and how did you find the UK? Fun! I love the UK. I love the girls; they’re so sweet. I had a great time – I won’t tell you everything, but there was just a lot of funniness! We had a lot of memorable times, like hotel parties!

Emma Garwood Sea of Bees plays the Norwich Arts Centre on July 11th. For tickets go to Read the uncut version of this interview at /July 2011 / 41

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