Dipping her toe into new waters
I T'S been over ten years since Kathryn Williams found herself with a Mercury Prize nomination for her second album, Little Black Numbers. Although mainstream commercial appeal as so far eluded her, the intervening years have found the Newcastle-based folkie produce a string of quietly remarkable collections. Alongside her solo releases, she's recently enjoyed several collaborations, including 2008's Two with Neill MacColl and now The Pond. A trio featuring husband and wife duo Simon Edwards and Ginny Clee, The Pond recorded its debut album with Portishead's guitarist Adrian Utley, who added vintage beats, 60s pop, tape loops and Eastern notes into the mix.
How did The Pond come about?
I had worked with Simon Edwards on my and Neill MacColl's record, and The Quickening. I stayed with him in London, and then me, Simon and Ginny just started messing around.
Why now for a band in your career?
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Well, it just sort of happened. It wasn't a plan, although it was good fun saying I was in a band. I've always wanted to be in a band. But the fact is it's been hell! Don't ever join a band, you have to pretend that you care what the other people in the band think about everything! Being the boss is great.
How does The Pond compare to your solo work?
The main difference is the world music and beats influences. I think we've mixed that with the words I like to write and the sort of folky singer-songwritery thing I do. It's nice because working towards something as a team is a different thing. You all have to give and take.
Where do these influences come from?
Simon has worked with all the Bristol trip-hop people, and in Africa, so he brings a real mixture of sounds. And Cuban music, too. And Ginny is from a more rock'n'roll background. And then there's me, who doesn't really play traditional folk but has those sensibilities.
We didn't really want it to sound like anything else, but we wanted to sound like The Pond. It's funny, because when we had the name, then came the sound to go with it, and then we knew what we would sound like.
How did you all work together?
Ginny and I did most of the vocals and harmonies. I brought a lot of songs and most of the words to the table. Simon did most of the difficult instruments and the computer stuff. We all said "yes" and "no" a lot.
What's the format for the shows? I gather you're the support act?
Yes, I'm doing a quiet acoustic 20 minutes so that people feel they have got a gig from me as well as The Pond. There's also a bit with Neill MacColl. There is a real juxtaposition between the two sets. I'll be using tape echo and loops with my vocals. I've never messed so much with pedals and my voice before.
I'm going to Iceland in the next few months to record my next solo record. Then I've got the next Neill MacColl and Kathryn Williams record to finish. I've also got a jazz record, a band called The ISH Inventors, a duet record with David Saw, and I've started writing for other artists. Oh, and I'm a mum of two.