By Ryan McConnell
Last week I caught up with one of Scotland’s most exciting artists, Seil Lien to speak about debut album ‘Shatter’. She has been described as “Kate Bush meets Nine Inch Nails” and has also drawn comparisons to the likes of PJ Harvey as well as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and it is clear to see why once you lay yourself down with a set of headphones on and immerse yourself in the sheer beauty of this record. Have a read of what frontwoman, Marie Claire had to say below..
Your debut album came out April 17th, was it a while in the making and how does it feel to have it out there now?
There was a mixture of excitement and nervousness of how it would be received but the response so far has been somewhat overwhelming. I was really blown away by the positive feedback from critics, industry peers, fans and friends. I’m a believer that what people think shouldn’t define or impact your achievement but it’s nice, I’m not going to lie. I feel proud.
What is your favourite track from the album and how would you describe the general theme of the record to new listeners?
Favourite track – Shatter. Theme, I wanted it to be immersive. I want to get inside the listener, with songs like A Little While More and Shatter, the vocals are so present that they kind of creep in like a voice in your head. It’s been described as “Kate Bush meets Nine Inch Nails”, It’s etherial and dark, like a nightingale singing in Gotham city.
You had a date set at The Old Hairdressers for the album launch – is it frustrating not getting out to showcase it live for now, and is there plans to re-schedule?
Yes, it’s hard to say when. Word on the street is there won’t be live shows until next year. But as soon as it’s safe to do so we’ll be there!
You played the Barrowland Ballroom in December stepping in to front with Goodbye Mr. McKenzie as well as support the band with your own work. How was that as an experience?
I should probably clarify I don’t front Goodbye Mr Mackenzie. Martin Metcalfe also of The Filthy Tongues is the lead singer I was stepping in for Shirley Manson on backing vocals. They have a really hard core following so the Barras just ignited, It was really quite spectacular. They’re such an important band in Scottish musical history so it’s was a real honour to be part of the reunion tour. Supporting was like fulfilling a dream I didn’t realise I had. It was so special and difficult to put into words.
When I first heard your music I was totally blown away by the overall sound and the work put into each track. Who would you say have been the main influences in your style?
Thank you! I don’t generally listen to a lot of music, I think it can often contaminate the creative process whether you want it to or not. I’ve worked hard to discipline myself to really try and write from a ‘pure’ space. Doing improvised music really helped, I learned how to respond to my emotions musically in the most honest way I could. When I wrote the record I narrowed my listening down to my vinyl collection which I inherited from my father as he did his father. It’s made up of mainly old Spanish and Latin American classical guitar records where It’s all about dynamics – beautiful, delicate melodies met with an intense drama. It really takes you on a journey and I suppose I wanted to create that in my own way. The producer Rico is an artist in his own right and has a very particular sound which he brought to the album. It brought the right kind of contrast to the more etherial and vulnerable side I was bringing.
A Little While More featured on an ad for No.7’s ‘inspiring women’ campaign, how did that come about?
I have an incredible team at Just Isn’t Music, the publishing arm of Ninja Tune who specialise in syncing music to tv and film. They have been so supportive and really believe in the music. They put it forward, these things are usually a long process and you can be the front runner for something then the client can change their mind last minute. So I just tried to put it out my mind. Months later a girlfriend texted me one day and said “I think your song’s on the tv” and there it was! Such a beautiful campaign, very proud to be a part of it.
How have you been keeping yourself pre-occupied throughout the lockdown?
When you self release… there’s a lot of admin! So I’ve been keeping busy with the release and walking my little dog who had her debut on the Jimmy Fallon show, she’s literally the star of this household… we’re literally just staff lol! I should explain, she was caught in a shot for a home recording my husband Matt was doing for an artist and she made it into the video. A lockdown highlight for sure! Also cooking, chilling and online gigs. Next one is May 8th, 5pm for The Takeover Festival on Right Chord music Facebook page and then 15th May 9.30 pm for Loud Woman on their Facebook page.
What are your main ambitions for SEIL LIEN once things are back to normal?
Tour the album and get in the studio make some noise!
You can also catch up on all things Seil Lien below..