|Isaac Gracie (13 april 2018)
Isaac Gracie — Isaac Gracie (13 april 2018) → Eponymní debutní album se zvukem umělce, který se trochu přehoupl přes humbuk a semena pochybností, pocházejících z těžkých očekávání. Maskovaný skladatel, nekonečně vynalézavý, schopný zvládnout několik přístupů, které je téměř nemožné odhalit. Způsob, kterým debutuje, se nadzvedá poklička tajemství o umělci, kterým se ještě může stát. 23~letý Isaac, to je skromná a nenápadná duše. Síla jeho hlasu je tak impozantní, že každý, kdo se odvážil mluvit v polovině skladby, byl rychle potlačen a již se neuchýlil k zbytečným poznámkám. Mladý umělec z Ealingu se brzy ocitl uprostřed nečekané bouře. Pokud srovnáme rané věci od Jeff Buckleyho, Leonarda Cohena a Nicka Cavea, zaujme nejen nás teď, ale už dávno přilákal pozornost mnoha fanoušků a velkých šéfů průmyslu. Jeden z největších, sir Lucian Grainge — vedoucí Universal Music — přijel do Londýna krátce poté, co se ukázalo, že Gracie vystoupí v The Lexington London: hned poté Isaac rychle podepsal kontrakt s Virgin EMI. Svůj hlas ovládá skvěle, ale možná to není překvapivé pro někoho, kdo ví, co znamená vyškolit se v klášterní nadaci Ealing Abbey Choir, založené v březnu 1897. Jeho poetické a pečlivě zpracované texty se stávají působivějšími kvůli vzájemné kombinaci hudebních přístupů; Gracie je často nejsilnější ve chvíli, kdy jeho skladby jsou jakoby svlečeny donaha a jednoduché. Dodává do plenéru album, které je velmi pravdivé, jako sám umělec. Malování v přírodě podle skutečnosti odpovídá jeho pojetí písně. Ví, co pro ní dělá, ale ví, že může překonávat hranice, takže nelze ho označit jako určitý typ umělce. Na to, aby se mu to podařilo s debutovým albem tak dobře, jak to dokazuje, je obraz toho, že Gracie je víc, než si myslíme, že víme. Na slovíčko o otevřené zranitelnosti? Ano, jeho vokály se třpytí trochu chvějícím se hlasem a díky hlasu se s ním téměř cítíme spojeni jako s člověkem a soucítíme s jeho bolestí z utrpení. Možná, pokud se s touto bolestí nebudete moci vypořádat, toto album odmítnete poslouchat znova, ale pak ty náčrty stejně přijdou znovu, protože toto je určitě album plné pocitů. Možná nejlepší způsob, jak to reflektovat, je díky písni That Was Then, kde nám říká: “teď běžím, takže se mě nesnažte zachránit”. A je zpravidla ironické, když v jiné pokračuje: “Nemám chuť zpívat jinou píseň o cestách, kde všechno bylo špatně”, protože to je jeho parketa, jeho silný rys, který se odráží v písni When You Go. Jeho hlas získává oprávněné srovnání s některými z folk~rockových velikánů. Gracie má obrovský talent a pokoru v připravenosti omluvit se a zároveň pobavit, což je roztomilé a jak nás již naučila písničkářská historie, je to často ta zvláštní kombinace, která charakterizuje ty nejoblíbenější umělce. Dnes hraje v Edinburghu (The Mash House, Edinburgh), 15. 7. 2018 v Londýně na Festivalu CITADEL 2018 v Gunnersbury Parku. As a child, Isaac sang in the Ealing Abbey Choir and started writing songs at the age 14. His mother Judith is a poet. Isaac likes Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Tim and Jeff Buckley amongst others. In August 2015, he recorded a song called Last Words on Garageband in his bedroom.Born and raised: in Ealing, West London
Location: London, England
Genre: Pop, Indie, Singer~Songwriter, Psychedelia
Album release: 13 april 2018
Record Label: Virgin EMI
01. Terrified 4:35
02. Last Words 3:44
03. The Death of You & I 4:57
04. Running On Empty 3:07
05. Telescope 3:23
06. That Was Then 4:09
07. When You Go 3:43
08. Silhouettes of You 4:57
09. All In My Mind 3:59
10. Hollow Crown 4:21
11. Reverie 5:43
Highlights: When You Go; Hollow Crown; The Death of You & I.
Similar artists: Tim and Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan, Rylan Walker, Ryan Adams, Radiohead. Review
Victoria Ling, 11/04/2018; Score: ****
→ Starting with a heartbeat, Terrified opens the debut album from Isaac Gracie, and what a statement it is to mark his place in the music world, “I’ve heard all the people calling my name. They never see how much I’ve changed. Now I’m terrified….” This is life, and music is a beat of it and there really is no need for him to be terrified.
→ Gracie’s name has been around a few times. He hasn’t been catapulted into the music world but very much nurtured. He has had the time to work on his writing and style and has now released a fine debut that is a testament to his music ability and no one else’s.
→ In the first five songs we are given a range of musicality from Gracie. From the opening heartfelt Terrified, straight into the country~folk feel of Last Words. Seriously, if you close your eyes, you can feel that piece of straw hanging from your lips as the sun sets over the fields. It has a catchy hook of a chorus that would definitely transfer great live as a sing~along.
→ We are then treated to Death Of You And I, the title~track of his 2017 EP, with a somewhat Latin flamenco feel, or so it seems until the chorus kicks in with a shout~fest! Is this how the breakdown of love feels, ”running into one another, you say you want to hide!” All the emotions are there in the almost five~minute sound piece. In fact it takes another turn around the three~minute mark. Be prepared to be surprised.
→ Running On Empty is almost Springsteen~like (and definitely no pun intended towards Boss~classic Born To Run). All the elements are there for this to be a mainstream hit. The chorus is memorable and almost has that beer~swigging~in~the~sun vibe. It’s catchy with its vibrant strums on the electric guitar and the lively beat of the drum.
→ After most of his musical meanderings, the remainder of the album is how most have come to know Gracie — stripped back and vulnerability open. His vocals shine with a bit of a quiver and we almost feel connected to him as a person and feel his pain of heartache. Maybe don’t listen to this album if you cannot deal with that pain, but then again do, as it is definitely an album of feeling. Maybe the best line to reflect this is with That Was Then, when he tells us that he is, “running now, so don’t you try to save me.” And it is quite ironic when he sings, “I don’t want to sing another song about the ways I got everything wrong,” as that is his strong element, reflected on the indie~folk tinged When You Go.
→ The complexity of Gracie’s vocals seems to shine most brightest on All In My Mind. With the slight choral opening and his shaky vocals, it is probably the strongest of the slower tracks and the electric guitar in the instrumental break gives it a bit more edge.
→ Gracie delivers an album that is very true of himself as an artist. He knows what works for him yet he knows he can break the boundaries, so that he is not labelled as a certain type of artist. To nail it with a debut album as good as this shows that there is more to Gracie than we think we know. → https://thankfolkforthat.com/
Review & Interview
In Conversation: Isaac Gracie
√ On creativity, the importance of good mental health, and his debut album...
ROBIN MURRAY FEATURES 12 · 01 · 2018
•★• When Clash finally catches Isaac Gracie he’s only just woken up.
•★• But then, the frenetic pace with which the songwriter has conducted the past 12 months would wear down even the hardiest of souls.
•★• Emerging from a hard~earned break, he’s ideally poised to look back on his successes, and to sketch out where he could go next.
•★• New EP ‘Death of You & I’ is out now, and with a flurry of live dates scheduled both for the UK and the continent Isaac Gracie is set to be busier than ever over the coming weeks.
•★• So it’s perhaps apt that Clash finds him in a rare state of relaxation, able to talk freely about creativity, the importance of good mental health, and his debut album...
Q: The tour kicks off in a matter of days, how have the live shows been going?
→ Live is pretty much my favourite part of the whole equation at the moment! I’ve never played with a band before, and since I’ve started with that everything has taken on a whole new life. The shows are just different!
→ And it also helps for when I play on my own, as well, because it puts everything into perspective a little bit. And I think it makes you better — or more comfortable, at least — onstage when you have other people up there with you. Which I’ve never had before!
Q: You’ll be travelling to the continent, which must be quite exciting. What is it to travel and visit these places?
→ Yeah! I mean, it gives me something to do… It’s like having a job, in a way! And you get to travel and play gigs. Aside from a long tour where you’d maybe get worn down a little — I can imagine — I really can’t see what’s wrong with that set up, y’know. Everything about it is enjoyable. Even travelling isn’t that bad because it’s meditative… I’d probably just be wasting time anyway.
→ “Live is pretty much my favourite part of the whole equation...”
Q: Can you write on the road? Or do you need to find somewhere a little more solitary?
→ No, I’ve tried… I recorded a whole bunch of voice memos, and that’s generally how I write my songs. I tried on the bus before to score through them, and finish the lyrics and stuff like that, and get that whole picture worked out… Sometimes that works, and it’s fun, and that’s excellent, and other times it doesn’t because the further away you are from actually being able to implement the changes you envisage in your head it can become quite a maddening and depressing thing.
→ So if you’re on a seven hour drive from France to Germany then you might start that drive and think, oh cool I’m going to write some lyrics to this song and it’s all good, but then three hours in you’re like: I’m getting nowhere with this song, that’s three hours wasted!
Q: So is the studio where those ideas come together in a coherent sense?
→ Not really… It’s more in my bedroom. The song will be written and I’ll usually have a picture of it because I’ll usually do a demo. What we do in the studio is to seek to replicate that.
→ ‘The Death Of You & I’ was written by me when I went for a jog, just me writing it in my head while I went for a jog, and then the next day I had a rehearsal session with the guys and I just played it to them, put it to the floor, and that’s how that happened. So it’s changing, it’s evolving, it’s not the same necessarily as when I started. It’s rare that ideas come to fruition in the studio, it’s usually the leg~work happens prior to that.
Q: Each EP from you seems to say something different, is that a purposeful approach?
→ I’d like to say yeah, but at the same time it’s more that when we put out those demos they truly were my demos, and at that point I had no conception of the music industry or what it was to play music for a job. I honestly had no idea about any of that stuff, so it was the rawest form of my relation to music. Invariably, when more doors opened up to me and what I’m able to do with music — in terms of writing songs or producing them — the sounds can change and grow and become more fleshed out.
→ I didn’t come into music obsessing over any sort of plan or idea of where things were going to go or what would happen. I feel the releases we’ve put out have just been an organic representation of where I’ve grown.
→ “The album is a representation of how I’d rolled with the punches...”
Q: You’ve stuck to that EP format, will there be an album in the not~too~distant future?
→ Yeah. I mean, that’s an ongoing passion project over the course of the past two years — and it’s finished, actually… today! Which is really cool. Right here as we speak it’s being finished! It’s just grown with the project and how things have evolved, it’s taken different recording sessions but it’s a representation of how things have grown along the way.
Q: Did you have a single vision of what the album should be, or was it more a case of accepting the differing ways it was to change and evolve?
→ I think it was more like I was rolling with the punches. I think when we started doing the album I needed a lot of help, a lot of guidance, a lot of direction from other people because I felt really out of my depth in terms of understanding these things. I’d never really been into a studio before! It took time.
→ As far as I’m concerned it isn’t a bad thing that the album is a representation of how I’d rolled with the punches. It’s almost an honest thing. And if I were to try to do an album that had more of a preconceived look or feel — in terms of the songs themselves, or the way it was done — that would be in the future, when all these things are understood.
→ I think there’s something about a debut album that it has to demonstrate the rough ‘n’ tumble of finding your feet in music. It’s not an easy thing. I never had any formal training in terms of understanding music as a professional endeavour, so you’ve got to learn the steps and that’s evident in the record.
Q: Have those experiences helped you gain confidence, both in yourself and in your artistry?
→ It goes in waves. I honestly feel… low, sometimes. I feel worried and I feel anxious… but then at the same time I also feel reassured in finishing the album. You go through peaks and troughs – you might have an experience that brings you confidence in yourself, some reassurance, and sometimes it will be difficult. When there’s an absence of things to do, especially. This is why I like being on tour — it’s difficult to maintain that confidence because you’re not doing the thing that makes you confident about the thing that you do. And for me, that’s always been writing songs.
→ So I find if I go through a period of writer’s block then it can get really challenging. I wouldn’t say there’s any complete answer in the sense of confidence or assurance that I didn’t have previously, but I would say that I’m learning to understand how I feel about all of it a bit better maybe.
Q: Do you have techniques to get yourself out of periods of writer’s block?
→ No… I wish I did! But I’m far too much of a hypochondriac… even about writing. So when I can’t write — which is a lot of time… because who can, really? — I might over~dramatise the fear of it. And it is scary. When you can’t write a song you worry that you’ll never be able to write a song.
→ I try most of the time to just write more, put myself in a position where I’m forcing myself to write. But in all honesty I don’t think that’s the best way of dealing with it, as it ultimately leads to me becoming depressed. The more time you spend doing something you’re failing at, the more pressure you put on that thing to make you not feel like a failure, not feel depressed. It’s like sinking into quicksand.
→ “When you need it that much you can’t turn your back on it...”
→ So I genuinely think that taking myself away from that, finding interest in other things, finding beauty or purpose in something else that would make me want to write a song… That wouldn’t be too pre~constructed or preconceived. It would feel fresh and natural and just leap out of me. It’s difficult because when you need it that much you can’t turn your back on it.
Q: If the album is finished then will the upcoming shows feature new tracks?
→ There’s quite a few new tracks in there, and I’m excited about that. They follow in the vein of the last few releases, and it’ll be good to play them live. One of my things about releasing new music is that the whole point of the deal is you want to put out music all the time, and it’s nice to be able to do that. When you’re not putting out new music you just want to be doing that… so it’s good when you can, I guess.
Q: So is that plan for 2018, then? A lot more music and a lot more shows?
→ I think so! Pretty much. If I can play as much as possible then I’ll be happy. Hopefully it’s just playing lots of gigs and releasing the album and putting out new music. That’s all I look for, really. •★• http://www.clashmusic.com/
Citadel 2018: http://citadelfestival.com/
Ealing Abbey Choir: http://www.ealingabbeychoir.org.uk/_____________________________________________________________
|Isaac Gracie (13 april 2018)