August 26, 2015

Singer and songwriter RHODES is anticipating the release of his debut album, Wishes. Growing up in a musical household listening to blues and guitar music as well as the likes of Motown, Eric Clapton and The Kinks, it wasn’t long until he was making his own melodies. From recording in his Dalston bedroom to preparing for his tour, RHODES took some time out to talk to us about his journey as a musician, the songwriting process and the future.

UO: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve always known, I think. My dad plays the guitar and I was always incredibly interested and fascinated with it… My mum is very creative and encouraging and I’ve never had any other dream or ambition – other than wanting to play football when I was a kid… haha!

UO: Did you grow up in a musical household?

Yes there was always music around, if not being played by one of us it was always on the speakers. My sisters and I would get annoyed with one another when we were all learning and growing up. They played flute and violin, I was always just hiding in my room trying to play along to my dad’s old Rory Gallagher and Eric Clapton cassette tapes. I feel lucky to be exposed to the vast spectrum of music I was shown as a kid.

UO: What kind of music did you listen to growing up and has that influenced your sound now?

Lots of guitar music, lots of old blues. I actually still listen to most of the music I’ve always listened to. Because of my dad and my best mate’s dad as well, I’ve always listened to older music. Bob Dylan, Cat Stephens, Cream, Free, Arthur Lee, The Kinks, Motown, delta blues players… It’s all definitely influenced me, but perhaps not in the obvious ways.

UO: What’s the best and worst thing about being a musician?

There isn’t too much bad about it… I suppose coping with other people’s expectations and ideas of who and what you should be, can be quite hard. The best things are the freedom and the travelling.

UO: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

The most important lesson is to believe in yourself, but to listen to the ones you trust.

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UO: Who or what inspires you, both personally and professionally?

My friends and family are always inspiring me emotionally and musically, while the outdoors also inspires me. I like to listen to people and get to know new things and new emotions and feelings because I write about relationships a lot, and not just romantic ones.

UO: What is your songwriting process? How does an idea form and what’s the journey to the finished product?

I like to start with the music. I always like to create a vibe or a feeling using sound alone, and then think of melody. The words almost always come as a natural part of the process. I like to see what starts to flow after feeling what turnarounds have evoked in me. I normally make a rough recording either on my phone or laptop, and then make a more in depth demo recoding when I have the time to.

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UO: How do you feel about the upcoming release of your debut album? Can you tell us more about the journey?

I’m so excited for people to hear it. It took about 6 months to record after 18 months of writing. It was a very solitary process at first and I wrote and recorded all of the demos in my bedroom in Dalston. I separated myself from everything really, I worked during the days and at night I wrote and recorded. I met James Kenosha early on when he recorded some of my earliest songs for my first EP at his studio, and I knew I wanted to do the whole album with him. I did some of it at his studio on the seaside in East Yorkshire.

UO: What has been your summer highlight?

All the amazing festivals I’ve done, meeting new people and new fans! There have been some specific highlights like Glastonbury and Best Kept Secret in Holland, but it’s all been great and quite surreal.

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UO: What are you looking forward to this autumn?

I’m pretty much looking forward to Autumn in general, as well as a huge tour and my album coming out. Plus I get to kick around in the leaves on Hampstead Heath, so all is good!

UO: What’s next in 2015?

My album! That’s what I’m concentrating on. Hopefully a lot more music! A lot more touring and travelling. I’m already feeling excited about some new demos I’m working on so its going to be a busy year ahead!

And finally…

I’m currently listening to… Ida Cox
If I could unhear a song it would be… the one about drinking a margarita under the Mexican sky that’s out at the moment!
My guilty pleasure is… trash TV
My pre-show ritual is… Sitting in silence
If I could be anywhere in the world right now it would be… America (I’ve never been!)