High and Lonesome - Q&A with ... Holly Macve

Holly Macve, plays Left Bank at this weekend's High and Lonesome Festival at around 7pm.
Holly Macve, plays Left Bank at this weekend's High and Lonesome Festival at around 7pm.
Have your say

WITH the second High and Lonesome Festival almost upon us, we throw the spotlight on Yorkshire-born Holly Macve, who will be taking centre stage at Left Bank on Saturday night.

Now living in Brighton, these are exciting time for the 20-year-old singer-songwriter, who was signed to the Bella Union label earlier this year, joining the likes of John Grant, Ezra Furman, Father John Misty and Fleet Foxes.

She was chosen by Grant to play support on his UK tour and, after working with Lanterns on the Lake’s Paul Gregory, new material is expected to be released next summer.

We caught up with Holly to ask her a few questions before she returns ‘home’ to Yorkshire this weekend.

You’ve recently signed to Bella Union, a label that houses respected artists such as John Grant, Mercury Rev, Father John Misty and a host of other names, how did it feel to get that deal done?

It was such an amazing feeling... It was something that seemed to happen really naturally after meeting Simon over a year ago in a cafe I was working at in Brighton. Him and his wife Abbey have helped me out in lots of ways and we have build a really great relationship. I feel lucky to have found such a solid ground in this industry and to be allowed to make the music I want to create!

Listen to Holly Macve on Soundcloud HERE

Who do you regard as your main musical influences?

I was brought up listening to a lot of old blues, country and Jazz music such as Big Bill Broonzy, Elvis, Johnny Cash and Billie Holiday. Also a lot of Irish folk (My mum plays Irish fiddle music and that sound always makes me feel at home...) Bob Dylan has always been seen as a God in our household too. I discovered Leonard Cohen when I was in my teens and fell in love with the poetry and melancholic feel to his music. He is definitely a big influence. Another influence would be Gillian Welch, in particular her album Time (The Revelator).

You hail from Yorkshire originally, but have moved to Brighton, what prompted that move and how is it working out?

I had been working a lot in London and wanted to move somewhere down south. My sister lived here for a while and whenever I visited Brighton I felt like I would fit in. It’s full of creative people and it’s a real buzzy place. I’ve met loads of cool people here, including Simon (Raymond, Bella Union) so I think it was a good move!

You return to Yorkshire for the High and Lonesome Festival on November 14, are you excited to be coming back and playing in front of a ‘home’ audience?

Absolutely. Although I love Brighton it’s still always nice to come home! I do miss Yorkshire when I haven’t been back for a while...

Who else on at the festival will be a must-see for you on the day, schedule permitting of course?

There are actually quite a few artists I haven’t had the chance to listen to yet so I’m really looking forward to discovering some new music. The vibe of the festival seems right up my street so that’s quite exciting for me! I am definitely hoping to see Josh T. Pearson though and I would like to see The Traveling Band if I can.

You’ve been recording with Paul Gregory from Lanterns on The Lake in recent months - how has that been going and when can we expect to hear the results of that?

The songs were all written either on my acoustic guitar or on piano so it’s been really fun experimenting with different instruments and sounds to help create the right atmosphere for the songs. There has been no pressure to do anything in a certain time limit and we are still adding parts! We are hoping it will all be ready in the summer though. Paul has been incredible and is very susceptible to my creative process and ideas.

I understand you will be supporting John Grant on his latest tour, how did that come about and how much are you looking forward to it?

I am SO looking forward to it. He heard some of my music and asked if I’d like to support him! I actually went to see John Grant in the summer of 2014 at Brighton Dome. It was a very special night and I’m privileged to be able to play the Dome with him this month (Along with Vicar Street and the Apollo!)