Having just last night supported James Vincent McMorrow in London, Karen Sheridan of Slow Skies is moving towards the spotlight. State.ie caught up with her on the eve of their appearance at Dublin’s Sugar Club where they’ll be showcasing their new EP, Keepsake.
A lot of people first came across you guys on Other Voices. How was it to perform on such an iconic show?
I was so nervous about it to be honest, because of the fact that it is going to be recorded and it’s all very high pressured. I felt really nervous about it but I was happy that I didn’t look too nervous on screen. But it was definitely a big dream of ours to do that. It was a big opportunity. I’m not sure if it led directly to any other doors being opened to us though, to be honest. I’m sure people saw us on that and we may have gotten a few more fans because of it, but nothing directly I don’t think.
So what kind of summer did you have, any festival appearances?
We didn’t [play that many], actually. We played our friends festival Mountain Dew, which is in Cork. It was in his back garden which was lovely, but we didn’t really do anything. We were focusing on writing. I went to Sweden to do a writers residency for the month of July. I really just wanted to start writing for our album. That was the plan to focus more on the writing side of things rather than gig loads and have a manic summer.
What was involved in the writers residency? It sounds interesting.
It was in the middle of nowhere about an hour and a half away from Malmo in this place called Harnosa. It’s run by this lovely woman who set up this artists program to bring artists to this town in the hope that they would be inspired by the nature and the people in it. It was me and this other guy from Belgium and a girl from New York and we were all living in this little farmhouse writing.
Were you inspired by that in terms of your music?
Yeah, but to be honest it was really nice to chill out and relax. I was worried doing it that I would be going there and putting pressure on myself to come up with something and then nothing would happen. Obviously if you put yourself under that much pressure you end up writing nothing. But I definitely felt I came back with loads of ideas. It was a great place to start a new project like an album.
You have just released the EP Keepsake, how are your plans looking with regards to promoting it?
With a gig is in the Sugar Club next Wednesday 8th October! Then we are playing London on 20th October and Cork on the 26th for the Jazz Festival with the Sleep Thieves. Between all of that we are supporting James Vincent McMorrow in London too.
So Keepsake is the third EP you have released. Are there plans for an album after this?
Yeah we feel like it is probably the time for us to do that. I feel pretty confident that we would be able to have a good crack at a solid album, whereas before we have been experimenting. We didn’t really know what we were doing and we still don’t but I feel like we have definitely grown as musicians. Me personally I am more comfortable singing and writing songs, so it will hopefully take the form of an album.
So yeah, we’d love it to record an album with a whole new set of songs, but it really would depend on how they fit together. I think we’ll aim to do a full 10 or 12 songs but we could then decide that an old song fits in better than what we have just written. But I would like to aim for a new set of songs.
All through your previous releases , there is a clear line of progression. Who would you say have beeen your influences?
I don’t really know, but from a production point of view I know Conall loves Sigur Ros. We both love John Hopkins . I think we listen to loads of music and it could even be a certain synth sounds we hear in a song. And we would try write a song incorporating that sound. We are pushing ourselves to listen to as much music as possible, and I think from my time in Sweden I was listening to a lot of Scandinavian folk music which I thought was beautiful.
On the most recent EP there are bigger moments, distorted guitar and big ending to some of the songs. I really love that, but I also love when songs are really simple and it might just be a guitar and a synth pad. So I would love the album to have a really nice rhythm to it and have different moments of both, so it is not just the same thing over and over again. But I don’t really want to be using loads of noise all the time, there is something to be said for having quiet songs as well but we will see what happens though cos we might decide we want all noise. Generally speaking I’d write some of the songs before I take them to Conall and then we work on the arrangement and he produces. Or it could be that we are just working together and one of us might come up with a chord progression or lyrics or whatever.