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Interview: RHODES

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The last time I spoke to RHODES was after his set at Dot To Dot festival in Nottingham. He was eating a mediocre pork cob, and in the middle of his 2015 adventure. During the past few months he has toured Europe with George Ezra, performed for Burberry, played Glastonbury and announced the forthcoming release of his debut album.

The singer songwriter from Hertfordshire took ten to talk album, tour and evolution.

Having released his first EP ‘Raise Your Love’ in early 2014, the lead title track captures RHODES mysterious, deep vocals set on intense, pumping instrumentals.

His music is regularly dubbed cinematic and large in its extravagance. It’s easy to draw the conclusion, especially upon learning that Danny Elfman is his favourite composer.

Together we decide that a RHODES track would be fitting on a television advertisement of a nice car being driven through the mountains.

Three EPs quickly followed the first, acting as a soundtrack of his own musical journey.

“My first one was very raw and quite organic; it was mostly just me and my guitar. Me singing with my guitar then some light percussion.

“With the EPs it was the development of how I was evolving. I spent quite a bit of time to figure out what I wanted in my palette of sounds and I experimented quite a lot so I think it definitely documents my musical evolution.”

The ‘Morning EP’ is shyly sweet. Melodic and harmonious tones wash over heart warming lyrics in confessional, yearning ballad. 

 

Gorgeous falsetto, soothing echo and gentle pace compliments hints of eclectic guitar.

Soulful tones are hinted with solemn husk, as whispered lullabies build to spine tingling powerful anthems throughout the ‘Home’ EP.

Most recently gifted ‘Turning Back Around’ is almost unrecognisable. Perky and upbeat, it’s emotionally charging but full of life.

 

 

All lead to debut album Wishes, that carefully ties the styles together, set for release this coming September.

“The album is kind of a combination of all of them phonically but it's kind of gone back to the organic I've gone more back to basics on it.

“It’s a lot more dynamic I think than the EPs. There's a lot of loud and quiet, I experimented a bit more with analogue synth but you can't really hear it. It's more of a texture.

“I think what I wanted to do with the album is go back to the roots of the music and make it more about my voice and the core instrument of the song: whether that's piano or guitar. Then I tried to make everything else fit around that and compliment it.”

Excitedly gushing that we should expect “a lot of instrumentals and interludes” throughout the twelve track full length.

“There's one at the very end of the album, just before the last track. I wanted to make one that sounded like marching, when you see people marching to war or something like that.

"It's like an epic soundscape, it's only thirty seconds long but it sounds like it has purpose.”

Though he coyly reveals that his personal favourite is a new song called ‘You and I’.

And we cannot wait to hear it.

RHODES quickly became no stranger to living out of a suitcase and packed diary schedules, earning European recognition through opening slots with the likes of George Ezra and London Grammar.

His next tour in September will be his biggest headline shows to date, including a stop off at London’s KOKO.

Though, that’s not to say he still doesn’t still get nerves before a show.

 

 

Speaking about them briefly in latest single gloomy but a reassuring shoulder ‘Close Your Eyes’ ‘maybe, maybe I am just as scared as you’.

“The song originally came about because I was just too frightened to sing really, on stage, and in front of people.”

“I still get really nervous. I like to have a few moments to zone out. And I steam! I have a little steamer that I use and always warm up for about ten minutes. I like to be alone for a little while.

“It's hard because when you do a show if you're not in the right frame of mind then it can be the difference between your best show and your worst. So it's important. If you're in a bad mood or something, you have to leave all of that behind when you walk out on stage. It's hard sometimes but you've good to have a little moment just before you go on.”

However, like with most of RHODES songs, ‘Close Your Eyes’ has a different meaning too.

“It’s more about being there for one another when you're scared, or when you know that somebody is going through something tough. The importance of having people there with you and going through things with you.”

Elaborating that he writes his songs without holding back, yet consciously makes them “air on the side of ambiguity just so people can read their own meanings into it.”

Often personal and exposing, the lyrics are just one part that ensures that a RHODES live show truly nestles into the core of intimacy. With hypnotic instrumentals and a wired passion from a live band, it’s escapism in a safe haven.

As the crowds are more often than not stunned into silence, the show is a magical spectacle of artist and music.

“It feels great, but at the same time it feels daunting. You're very aware of that silence. That's why I like to use a lot of effects on my guitar; to fill the space even in the breaks there's still some ambiance to fill the gaps.”

Being thoroughly involved in his music from the start be it from writing to instrumentals to vocals, it means a lot that all of the music comes from him.

“I tend to improvise a lot on the songs and just going through track by track and improvising freely over them for an hour or so. Recording literally every single little idea that I come out with on the spot.

“That's probably one of my favourite parts because it feels sort of a bit more something that's coming from the heart. Losing yourself in the song and creating an atmosphere that is right there at that time, and that's what I like to capture.”

With a beautifully bewitching back catalogue to fall in love with, and more material just around the corner, RHODES is a name that will be difficult to avoid this summer. Not that you’d want to.

The year is just about to get even more exciting.

 

 

Catch RHODES on tour

28 Sep Portsmouth - Wedgewood Rooms
29 Sep Brighton - Komedia
30 Sep Nottingham - Rescue Rooms 
02 Oct Exeter - Phoenix
03 Oct Bristol - Thekla 
05 Oct Sheffield - Plug
06 Oct Leeds - Brudenell Social Club
07 Oct Glasgow - King Tuts 
09 Oct London - Koko
10 Oct Manchester - Gorilla
11 Oct Birmingham - Rainbow

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