Folk / Interview / Jeunes Pousses / Rockette

Interview Kristin McClement x Hedwige

Hedwige avait découvert Kristin, dès les premiers rayons de l’été, en juin dernier. Son album, The Wild Grips, sorti en Février dernier a clairement été un des coups de coeur de l’année !

Voyageons à nouveau avec elle, à travers son interview envoûtante, tout comme sa musique !

HEDWIGE : Can you tell us briefly about you and the actuality of your project ? Do you have an album coming ? A tour ?

KRISTIN MCCLEMENT : I released my debut album The Wild Grips in February this year via an independent label in Brighton called Willkommen Records. The label is run by Marcus Hamblett who is an amazing musician and all round great guy. I played two album launches in beautiful churches in Brighton and in London. They were full band shows made up of members of the Willkommen Collective and my bandmate Jools Owen who I often play live with. Since then I have supported The Leisure Society on tour and also opened for Jessica Pratt, Sam Lee, Benjamin Clementine and Tom Brousseau. I have a few solo shows in the UK in October lined up – and we are working on an European tour. We hope that we will be playing France soon !

HM : What are your influences ?

KMCC : Landscapes that are undisturbed by mankind – where nature flourishes, the seasons, the elements, relationships (forming, blossoming, falling apart), Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Anais Mitchell, Nina Nastasia, Benjamin Clementine, the cycles of life and death, Pablo Neruda, Ted Hughes, Tom Brosseau, Nick Drake. And more!

HM : When did you started do play music ? What was the impulsion of the project ?

KMCC : I started learning the piano when I around ten years old, and I remember instinctively making up simple instrumental songs. It was a few years later, after moving from South Africa to England, that I picked up my first guitar. I had classical guitar lessons and opted to learn blues, folk and jazz tunes which opened a whole new world of fingerpicking styles and chord progressions. While I was at university in Brighton I met cellist Becca Mears (Peggy Sue, The Mariner’s Children, Eyes & No Eyes) and drummer/percussionist Tom Heather (Rachael Dadd, Sons of Noel & Adrian, Eyes & No Eyes). We were all on the same Fine Art course, we became very good friends and they helped me to develop my sound. Their unorthodox ideas and approaches are a core element of my debut album. Christian Hardy from The Leisure Society, who produced the album, also had a big influence on the sound. He and I both contributed piano parts, and he also played bass guitar and backing vocals, but the electronic sounds in particular add another dimension to the original song arrangements.

HM : What are your plans for the future ?

KMCC : Touring as much as possible with my bandmate Jools (on drums, harmonium and singing). Keep writing new music. Philosophising about the complex world that we live in. Recording my second album.

HM : Who do you wish to collaborate with ?

KMCC : Leonard Cohen. If you could arrange this that would be great! 😉

HM : Haha, we can try but he is very busy these days ! What is your best performance on stage ?

KMCC : Supporting Benjamin Clementine at the Theatre Royal in Brighton in May this year. The theatre was first opened in 1807 and although it has been renovated over the years it still has a very traditional feel. I think special theatres or concerts halls like this help the audience to focus and be absorbed in the music. And Benjamin – what a voice, what a soul ! I find him very inspiring.

HM : He is very inspiring, Hedwige is in love with him ! What music do you currently listen ?

KMCC : Aldous Harding (Self titled), Anais Mitchell (Young Man in America), Mary Hampton (Folly), Leonard Cohen (Songs Of Love And Hate), Andy Shauf (Bearer of Bad News), Philipe Glass (The Hours soundtrack), Wildbirds and Peacedrums (Rivers) and much more!

HM : Favorite concert hall ?

KMCC : Union Chapel in London – Google it for pictures!

HM : Do you have a feminine icone? Why ?

KMCC : Nina Simone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to her album “I Put A Spell On You’. She had such a distinctive voice, which defied any narrow perception of what a female voice could be. What she gave (and still gives through her recordings) to her listeners was something very honest, raw and powerful. She cut through all the ‘rubbish’ of modern life and modern expectations and sang from the depths of her soul.

HM : What is your unconfesses favorite song ?

KMCC : I think it would be ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ by Radiohead. ‘The Bends’ was such a big part of my teenage years while I adjusted to a new life in England.

HM : If you had not been working in music, what would you have done ?

KMCC : I have a degree in Fine Art and still like to draw and make lino prints. I think I would be a struggling artist instead if I wasn’t struggling musician! (You can see some of my prints over here:

HM : Is it hard for you to be a woman in the music industry ?

KMCC : I think it is hard to work in the music industry whether you are a man or a woman! I do look at the chart/mainstream world and am quite amazed how sexualised many artists are – how much emphasis is placed on ‘perfectly’ made up faces and ‘perfect’ bodies. Of course this is their choice (I hope!). But for me personally, as a woman, as a human being, I don’t feel comfortable selling myself in this way. We all like to put a face to a voice. But for me there are limits to how much attention I want to draw to my physicality. Because we are so much more than our outer selves.

HM : Hedwige Bonus : A salad receipe?

KMCC : Mmmmm. I love salads! I have stolen this recipe from Able & Cole – I would add some mixed salad leaves to the ingredients below.

4-5 beetroot, peeled

4tbsp olive oil, plus a little for cooking the beetroot

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4-5 oranges

2 tbsp honey

A pinch of mixed spice or ground cinnamon

A pinch of chilli powder

A large handful of walnuts, roughly chopped

A handful of fresh mint leaves

  1. Cut your beetroot into wedges about the size of orange segments. Heat a large lidded pan. Add a gloss of oil, just enough to coat the bottom. Spread your beetroot out on the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Cook till tender, about 15 mins, turning once.
  2. Pour 4 tbsp of olive oil in a jam jar. Add a pinch of salt. Squeeze in 4 tbsp orange juice from one of your oranges, 1 tsp of the honey and a pinch of each spice. Pop a lid on the jar. Shake till well mixed.
  3. Top and tail your remaining oranges. Cut the peel off the sides. Slice into rounds.
  4. Toast your walnuts in a frying pan. Once fragrant, gloss with the remaining honey. Add a pinch of salt. Mix. Remove from heat. Tip the walnuts on a cutting board. Let them cool.
  5. Arrange the beetroot and orange slices in a bowl or plate. Drizzle over the dressing. Scatter the walnuts and mint leaves over. Serve.

HM : Do you want to add something ?

KMCC : I would like to share a poignant quote by Maya Angelou (an American author/poet). I heard it for the first time in a speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, who is the new leader of the Labour political party in the UK.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

Merci beaucoup à Kristin d’avoir accordé à Hedwige cette interview ! Hedwige a hâte de pouvoir la rencontrer lors d’un prochain concert à Paris, avec Léonard Cohen qui sait !


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