How did you get your start on the solo project of The Widowmaker?
Well, I’ve been in bands before, and I became frustrated with the whole ‘committee’ approach to songs. You know, in a selfish way I just wanted to make all the decisions on songs, that way my ‘vision’ for each song would never be compromised. As a piece of art and expression, I felt it important personally to be able to write the songs from start to finish. Being a solo artist is perfect for that, albeit very selfish!
What’s the story behind the moniker? It sounds like the name of a boxer more than a folk singer, but I like it.
Umm, there is no crazy or meaningful story behind the name. I didn’t want to call myself Ian Easton, as that seemed a bit boring and a bit of a faux pas as everyone does that (understandably). So I had a fantasy football (soccer) team here in the UK at the place I worked. The team was called The Widowmakers – and it cam from that.
In my review I explained that “What We’re Doing” is one of my favorite songs of the year. How did you go about crafting that song in particular? Were you explicitly harkening back to the folk musicians of the 1960s?
I’m glad you like the song, thank you! Although I must say that it’s not about an affair. What We’re Doing is actually about that sinking feeling you get when you realise that the relationship you’re in, just isn’t working.
I wasn’t specifically trying to emulate a 60s folk revival sound, but I think those influences just naturally spew out of me because that’s the kind of music I play, and the kind of music I listen to. I think it’s a natural thing.
Who are your most important musical influences?
My influences range all the way from 60s folk revival and counterculture artists to contemporary singer songwriters and bands. It ranges from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Judee Sill, Johnny Cash all the way to Fleet Foxes, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Low Anthem, Laura Marling, Jack White, Bright Eyes, City and Colour and Fionn Regan.
For some of our techie friends, can you tell us a bit about the logistics of recording an album like this as a “solo” act? Do you just layer your own vocal tracks?
It’s really down to personal taste and how you want the song to come across overall. Some tracks on The Wink and The Gun were recorded live in the barn in one take, whilst others were layered to incorporate vocal harmonies and the like.
I wrote that the album was a great collection of rock history. Did you intend to create a coverage of several rock styles, or was it just the product of your creative devices?
The latter. I don’t think there is much ‘rock’ on the record, but there are a few parts where overdriven guitar is used to emphasise certain points. I think this all came naturally and was as you say, a product of the creative songwriting process. If you have an idea and you think it sounds good – stick it in!
What does the songwriting process look like for you?
Very rarely do I write a whole song in one go. I think the only songs on the album that were written like that were Go Quietly and What We’re Doing. I generally write lyrics separately to music and then add guitar and vocal melodies afterwards if and when I come up with something that I think is good enough. Songs for me are always a work in progress – I add to them and add to them until they are done, but they usually begin just with a set of lyrics or a guitar melody.
What are your plans for touring? Will you be getting a tour band? Do you think you’ll be coming to the US anytime soon?
I plan on touring the UK soon! I have a lot of big shows coming up here on the south coast. I don’t know about the US though! Funds permitting!
What else would you like our readers to know about your music?
There’s plenty to know! I could be here all day really – but be sure to check out my FB page for more details, pics, stories and videos: www.facebook.com/thewidowmakeruk