C60 in Conversation: Sloe Noon
As part of the C60 Club, we here at austerity will be catching up with some of our favourite artists of the underground music scene. This month, we spoke to Anna Olive – vocalist, guitarist & one half of the first international inductees to our cassette series, Sloe Noon…
Greetings Sloe Noon, & welcome to the C60 Club!
A: Greetings austerity records & thank you for having us!
Having only formed in the early months of 2020, Sloe Noon is still a relatively new project. Take us through the origins of the band & how it came to be…
Well, I started Sloe Noon as a solo project in January 2020 after being fed up with procrastinating over making music for almost 10 years. I started writing songs at 13, but got a really bad case of artist block growing up. I always wanted to play in a band & that was also the reason I moved to England at 19. I always deluded myself by saying I needed to be in the “right” place with the “right” people to start, which I now know is bullshit. Not creating anything is absolutely worse than creating something mediocre or even bad. I had to really hit the bottom before I finally got over myself & wrote songs again. When Dennis [guitar] & I decided we wanted to record a “lockdown EP” - which became “Embassy Court” - I realized I could no longer take credit for all the work done on my music, so we decided to make it a band during that process.
As a two-piece, yourself & Dennis are now fully based in your hometown of Kiel, Germany after living in Brighton up until the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. How did the transition of moving home go, & what is the scene like over Western Europe?
To be honest, it’s been quite weird. As for most people, Covid really messed up all of our plans. Dennis was going to move to England & we were both going to be students, but then everything went crazy with the virus & I had to decide, pack, rent out my room & flee the country within two weeks so I could spend lockdown with my family. I had no time to process anything, but I guess it all turned out well in the end. I’ve had a lot of time to heal & reflect over the last year & I don’t think “Embassy Court” would exist now if I hadn’t left. It also turned out we weren’t eligible for tuition fee loans, so we couldn’t have studied anyways, which is why we just recently moved to Dortmund!
The scene here is quite different from the UK. There was a reason why I wanted to live in Brighton. Mid-sized towns like Kiel & Dortmund don’t have a lot of young indie music to show & Germany is lacking opportunities for small bands such as BBC Introducing etc. It’s all very much a bubble – it’s about knowing the right people & being radio friendly. I’d say the scene is quite small, but supportive & I have hope for growth… but honestly we haven’t even started playing proper shows yet, so I guess we are bound to find out more next year when we finally have a live band.
Speaking of Brighton, the “Embassy Court” EP is an ode to the area of the city that you called home during the first lockdown & subsequently the recording of this record. How much of an impact did your surroundings & the strange scenarios of a pandemic have on your song-writing?
All of the songs on “Embassy Court” were actually written pre-pandemic, so I can’t say that it really influenced the writing that much. They were the first songs I had written in years, with ‘Planestation’ being the breakthrough from my artists’ block. I remember we were in Dennis’ rehearsal room in Kiel, as we were in a long-distance relationship then, & I was determined to finally write a song again & not leave without one. I only had three chords to begin with, but it worked. I finished it back home in Brighton & we made a demo the next time I was in Kiel. I knew I was finally out of whatever was stopping me, & it all came pouring out. When I left, recording it really became an attempt to find closure with that chapter & I think it worked… whatever closure means.
While mainly emitting upbeat & feel-good vibes, the EP contains some very emotional & deeply personal lyrics (in particular, the “I’m so good at making myself sad” lines from “https://home”). How important is it to you to speak from the heart like that?
I don’t know if it’s particularly important to me, but it’s just what came out. My lyrics so far are always a caricature of a certain emotion or phase. I’m hyper-sensitive, so I’ve got a lot of those. The songs I’ve written so far for this EP & the next were definitely more self-therapy than anything else, but I can see myself writing more abstract or fictional storytelling lyrics in the future as well. I feel a lot calmer & more collected than I did & can focus more on the craft, which will be fun to explore, but we will see. I guess as our personalities change & develop, so does our art & that’s why “finding your voice” is such a harmful thing to try & do. Your voice is whatever comes out at one moment in time, is completely random & influenced by a million factors out of your control.
As well as joining the AUS C60 Club with “Embassy Court”, you recently teamed up with Manchester vinyl label Box Bedroom Rebels to release a special 7" of the EP. What has been the response to your music finally being available on physical formats?
Really great! When we started recording, our plan was to do a Bandcamp release only, but I’m so glad we put all the effort into spreading it & got these amazing opportunities like the C60 Club. Uploading your songs to the internet can feel a bit like screaming at a wall & making it physical lets it feel a bit more like leaving something real behind. & as we all know, plastic takes a long time to break down, haha!
You have been back in the studio recently working on a follow-up to the EP, & some of the clips we’ve seen of the new material sounds absolutely stunning. When can we expect new music & what’s next for Sloe Noon?
We’re working very hard, but it’s taking a long time to do it all ourselves. We’ve just moved towns and are starting University, so it will probably be a little while longer. At the moment our focus absolutely lies on finding a drummer & bassist, making a banging live show & playing all of the venues that we can reach. Next year will be the real birth year of Sloe Noon.
Sloe Noon’s “Embassy Court” EP (AUS-C07) is now SOLD OUT. Click HERE to listen on SPOTIFY.