Discover up and coming bands in 10 questions…
18 July 2019
Impassioned singer/songwriter and performer BETH RETTIG, the arresting frontwoman
of former British synth force Blindness started her solo project WHERE WE SLEEP last summer with the release of three stirring ambient tracks. And last May her impressive
5-track debut EP, titled ‘EXPERIMENTS IN THE DARK‘ featuring members of The Fall, Echobelly and Curve saw the day of light. Five gloomy electro grooves, five bedazzling sentiments, five magnetic moony moments, five vocal highlights.
So Turn Up The Volume is delighted to have a chat with Beth. But before starting
the Q & A let’s get in the right mood with her new clip for one of the EP’s intriguing
cuts. Here’s ‘CONTROL‘…
1. Is WHERE WE SLEEP a BETH RETTIG solo trip or rather a collaborative project with befriended musicians helping you out to translate your musical ideas and the stories you want to tell?
“It’s a bit of both really. Three of the tracks on the EP feature guitarists, the other two are just me. I’m definitely hoping to keep the collaborative element going as much as possible. There are advantages to both formats. It’s nice to have the freedom and control in working by myself – and I am a bit of a control freak. But, I’m not a good enough musician to do it completely by myself. And, more importantly, you get so much from working with other people – new ideas that you wouldn’t have come up with on your own, new challenges, different moods and directions. And that’s really really exciting.”
2. What’s the story behind the name WHERE WE SLEEP?
“I actually set up a Soundcloud page before I started this as a proper project to repost stuff that I’d been doing – not just Blindness but a couple of collaborations as well – and have them on one page. So when I decided to release new songs under this project, I kept the name. There isn’t really a story behind the name – if there is, it’s probably a really boring one.”
3. Last year WHERE WE SLEEP shared its first tracks (‘Crawl’, ‘Veins,’ and ‘The First One’). Why did they not end up on the debut EP and making an album out of it?
“I did consider that, bringing it up to an album. I suppose I ended up just feeling like, as they had already been released, they could stand on their own and I should move forward. There were a couple of other factors as well, the first two songs were mixed by Guy Fixsen, whereas the others have all been mixed by John Cranmer. I wasn’t sure if they’d sound right together. Also, the five songs on the EP, for some reason, just seemed right together in my head.
It’s really hard for independent musicians to release music. I’m not sure everyone realises how much goes into getting one song sounding right. It’s so expensive to get songs recorded, mixed, mastered, promoted etc. and I don’t expect to make any of that cost back from whatever I’m releasing. So at one point, it did occur to me to just release singles to make it a little easier and spread out the costs a bit. But I still like having a body of work of some kind. And, at some point, I’d like to get the EP out as a physical release and that’s obviously, easier than releasing several singles.”
4. Do we need to take the EP’s title ‘EXPERIMENTS IN THE DARK’ literally?
“I’m not one for talking about song meanings but I guess a little of all the above.
The title of the EP is obviously taken from the name of the last song. I just really liked
the title for the EP as well. It seemed to sum up the mood of it. And Experiments In The
Dark was the first new track that I wrote for Where We Sleep, before Where We Sleep was actually going to be a thing. It was the first new song I’d written in a while.”
5. I really dig the artwork of the EP, especially that very intriguing ring.
What represents or signifies that beautiful ornament?
“I don’t know that it signifies anything really. I have a bit of a thing for images of lizards.
I don’t know why. I really liked the ring and once I’d messed around with it, I just liked the image and though it worked well as a cover. “
6. ‘The Desert’ is my favorite track. Great swagger, great guitars, great vocals. Sounds also very personal. Will you share with us what it was that you wanted to express in that song?
“Again, I’m not that great at explaining songs. But I really like the imagery of driving through the desert night. I grew up in Africa and one of the things that really makes me yearn to be back there, is huge open spaces and skies. I’ve often felt quite overwhelmed when I’ve seen images of those endless skies and vast unpopulated plains. Even more so when I go back there. It wasn’t something I was conscious of when I wrote The Desert, but once it was written it was obvious that that nostalgia and need in me has found its way into some of my music.”
7. The title track deals with anxiety and a sort of claustrophobic fear when
being left alone? To me, it resonates like a universal feeling in these troubled, egoistic times we live in again the past few years. Do you agree?
“I don’t think that’s wrong – I think a lot of people are struggling to navigate the complexities of our current times. Experiments In The Dark certainly has a thread
of helplessness running through it.”
8. Does this new project mean that your former band BLINDNESS is over?
“So, Blindness ended in 2016 when I left London for a while, although we released the Monsoon EP, which we had already been working on, the following year. That’s how it is at the moment. I wouldn’t say that’s definitely it, because you never know, but we haven’t got any plans to do anything.”
9. What movie would you pick to visualize the EP’s
music on a big screen while playing?
“I actually don’t watch a lot of films anymore. But I guess it would be something dark, dramatic and visually beautiful. Something involving dystopia and rebellion.”
10. Next step for WHERE WE SLEEP?
“I’m hoping to do an album next. I have some songs written, one or two that I can start thinking about getting mixed. I have a few ideas about people I’m hoping to work with
on some of the other tracks as well, which I’m quite excited about so I’m starting to think about first steps for that now.”
Thank you for this interview, Beth.
May the road rise with WHERE WE SLEEP!
EXPERIMENTS IN THE DARK here…
WHERE WE SLEEP: Facebook / photo on top by Nando Carniel Machado
(promo photo on top: via Beth)