By David Hennessy
“People can expect not to expect anything from the work,” Metor Award-winning Enniscorthy singer-songwriter says of her latest record Architect which in change of direction, takes on elements of dance music.
“But to move to a genre like dance on its own would be cutting my nose off to spite my face a little bit because that’s not my style at all. The record began as a trance record but then I quickly moved out of that because I can’t express myself completely through that, that’s a craft in itself. It’s not my style but mixing different styles is definitely my style and people have expected that. While it might take two or three listens, I’m lucky that people who have grown up with my music have always given me two or three listens and the benefit of the doubt. I’m allowed to go wherever I want to which is a beautiful thing, that people say: ‘Go wherever you want, we’ll go with it’.”
Does the dance style come from her enjoyment of the vibe a new party city after relocating to Berlin from London? “All of my music is highly influenced by my environment, where I am at that moment. I guess it would be kind of aural patchwork of what happens in my life.
“The record was recorded in Germany, quite a lot was recorded at home in my home studio which was the main basis for calling the record Architect. I wanted to build it from scratch, start off where I am and see what I can make from there. We kind of just stuck with what we know as well as branching out into different spaces.”
After recently playing her first Irish gigs since the album’s release, Wallis, who is known for her unorthodox playing style that comes from losing fingers that were reattached in a childhood accident, got to see how the new tracks were received: “In the run up to the release people were asking how it was actually going to translate and the funny thing is that it’s just the exact same instruments as beforehand. They just take a different approach, it’s a different style of playing them like muted or manipulated through effect but it’s pretty much the very same set up that it’s always been.
“When it came to playing the new songs they were very good listeners but you can tell that they’re really checking out what’s going on, what’s happening onstage, who’s playing what and how. I’ve got quite a music sensible crowd coming to my gigs so they come up and see what’s happening onstage and after everybody’s left, they hang out and check out what equipment we’re using and stuff like that so it’s interesting. Musos.”
Architect is Wallis’ fourth studio album. Her 2007 album Spoons was critically acclaimed while her follow-up New Boots reached 14 in the Irish album charts. Her eponymous 2012 album earned her a Choice nomination as well as respectable chart positions around Europe.
“Now I’m really looking forward to going back.”
Does Wallis miss anything about London, the city she lived in for seven years? “I miss Brixton, there is a real community vibe happening in Brixton and I loved the vibe, I really like the vibe. I made a lot of friends while I was there, I miss The Hootenanny, this incredible bar in Brixton. Good fish and chips, I miss going around the corner and getting good chips. And I miss walking around Regent Street and then going down to Mayfair on a Sunday when there’s not really many people around, when the city’s kind of asleep and Victoria Park is lovely. Yeah, there’s lots of stuff I do miss.”
For the full interview, see the May 10 Irish World.
Architect is out now.
Wallis Bird plays The Garage in London on May 11. For more information, go to: http://www.wallisbird.com/.