“Before I started to take songwriting seriously, I did an English Literature degree, so I guess words have always been very important to me,” South East London songbird Carmody says of her music, a rich tapestry of elegantly weaved words and electronic ponderings. “I love reading and attempting to write poetry, and I think it’s inspired a lot of my songs. It’s also incredible to be part of a group of musicians in London who support each other” she adds. “I’ve seen so many beautiful collaborations in a city and an industry which can often feel quite isolating.”
This collaborative spirit makes its way into the very fibres of both Carmody’s work and that of her collaborators – Tom Misch, Laura Misch, Alfa Mist, Leo Stannard – all cut from the same, vibrant cloth. The songs on her Out to Sea EP created with Tom Misch have become exemplary of their sound – many-layered and harmonious, jazz-infused and luscious, almost bittersweet with their tales of lost loves and fractured relationships. “Sometimes being an artist can be very lonely, you sacrifice a lot of your social life, you miss summers and holidays and sit in windowless rooms far too much,” she ponders before citing collaboration as the ultimate remedy.
While she’s rubbing shoulders with some of the brightest British musicians of a generation, it’s the genuine love for and interest in one another’s work that makes their sounds so distinct and as a result, the whole scene so interesting. “It feels really inspiring to be here and feel part of it,” Carmody enthuses before turning back to thoughts on her contemporaries. “The new Jordan Rakei record has completely blown my mind – the lyrics, the melodies, everything about it is stunning. Marie Dahlstrom also just released an EP and I’ve fallen in love with it, it’s really motivated me to try and write something more upbeat!”
Carmody’s self-penned poetry isn’t the only element which has worked its way into her music, for her past experiences tend to be influential – particularly in her lyrics. “I find them easier to write if I’ve experienced something personally, and strangely I believe the more personal it is, the more relatable it becomes to others” she muses, remembering one specific time her subject matter was a little too obvious. “Once I released a song and two of my ex-boyfriends text me. One said ‘this song is about me, isn’t it?’, the other ‘I hope this isn’t about me?’ And my current boyfriend was like ‘who the fuck is this about?’ It was awful, but comedy gold. There’s so much lyrical juice in everyday conversations you have with people too, I’m still learning how to recognise the good stuff and trying to remember to write it down.”
Releasing tracks sporadically over the year will culminate in the arrival of a new EP, 5 Kinds of Loveless, and a new song ‘The Ways of Your Love’ before Christmas. Again, the labours of her creative community are exposed, this time in the artwork of each single release, which all feature illustrations of women drawn by either Polly Misch or Alicia Mitchell. “For each track, I wanted there to be an individual piece of artwork that told a story about the track, and both artists interpreted the lyrics and created a piece of art from that, which felt like a wonderful process” she describes. “The nudes in the images highlight the fragility and candid quality of the songs. I guess lyrically I’ve stripped myself bare and written about what I’ve done wrong in love, so it felt right that the drawings should mimic this. I also have a big appreciation for the female form!”
Highlighting the work of other female artists is important to the multi-instrumentalist who also runs the podcast ‘Time of the Month’ alongside Marie Dahlstrom, Laura Misch, Emmavie and Ruby Wood. “We chat about our experiences in music, particularly as a woman, and it helps soften the harder edges of the music industry.” Female representation and equality are issues she feels needs more work, but is encouraged to see they are improving. “There is a growing consciousness that feels exciting and liberating” she says. “I’m still rolling my eyes at every film where the women are either helpless damsels in distress or sexual temptresses. It’s also depressing to see a music video where women are still totally objectified, and it feels like a musical porno. But, despite these lingering irritations, there are some awe-inspiring females out there, and together we’re fighting against these stereotypes.”
Carmody wears coat Stand @ 18montrose.com
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