Words by Jessica Peace
YOU’RE BALANCING YOUR MUSIC WITH LUGGING GARDENING TOOLS ACROSS LONDON. IS THIS THE GOOD LIFE?
Haha yeah… I guess so. I think I wanted a job that could accompany being a musician and performer, that was flexible and inspiring. Learning about nature and plants I saw as a way of re-educating myself. Sometimes it’s backbreaking though. Like shovelling three tonnes of shit from a hippo bag into a border - afterwards I don’t particularly want to go home and have a sing song. Sometimes It works out though, I’ve come from work straight into a performance and I think being exhausted really helped bring out something. Like I wasn’t frightened anymore or something.
YOUR MUSIC COMBINES ELECTRONICA, PERFORMANCE ART AND MAD AND BEAUTIFUL VOCALS - WE’RE SURE WE HEARD A FEW GARDEN REFERENCES IN THERE. TELL US ABOUT HOW NATURE COMES INTO YOUR MUSIC?
I try to make music that reflects my reality, so when I became a gardener it seemed natural to use the imagery that I encountered day to day. It’s changed quite a bit though, as I started in hard landscaping, being a labourer and I was interested in music coming out of physical exhaustion. I got into comparing that with blues music and miners songs etc. Now I’ve learnt more about plants I suppose I’ve used certain trees and plants as visual references. I’ve not used latin plant names in songs though. That would be awful.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO ALL THIS?
When I was at art school my sister bought me a guitar and taught me some chords. I’d not considered music as an option before then. I immediately started writing songs and it became the driving force in my work. Then I started playing around with making electronic music but still with a heavy emphasis on songwriting. I formed a band and we moved to London. The band broke up but I still carried on making music solo.
As for the gardening I started really considering it when my late mother was ill. She had made a garden in the house in the New Forest before she died, and I wanted to continue where she left off.
My EP ‘Salix’ is coming out in mid July and I’m having a house party. Come?
Im showing a short film I’ve made with Nan Moore at a gallery called Jupiter Woods in South Bermondsey. It’s in collaboration with Chats - a food based project with Berry Patten, Dannie Russo and Leah Walker. That’s in ealry August.
I’ve also got to go to Provender Nursery and try and get hold of some Galium odoratum or sweet woodruff - a great shady ground cover plant.
PETAL, PALM OR POTATO?
I’d have to go with petal at the moment as I can’t seem to stop planting foxgloves. Nice in a salad too if it all gets too much.
PLANTS IN YOUR LIFE?
My garden is a kind of plant hospital of plants I’ve rescued from other people’s gardens. Like the NHS at it's breaking point. The most recent addition is a Rhus typhina, the sumac tree - a plant I really love.
The people that have taught me the most about plants and gardening are my friends and mentors Patrick Featherstone and (Propagating) Daniel Bristow.
FAVE FLORAL SPACE?
I really like the planting in Burgess Park in Camberwell - or Bonnington Square - that’s also a lovely place with a really interesting history behind it.
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