I headed to The Angel Microbrewery to see Laurie Illingworth support Port Erin. I first saw Laurie a few weeks ago at Hockley Hustle and I was absolutely stunned by his vocal ability. His voice is so pure and timeless, and it’s a voice I could listen to all day and not be bored of. I can honestly say that I have never seen an act like him, because his sound is original and unique. When I saw that he was gigging in Nottingham, I snapped up the chance to go down and watch his set and find out a bit more about him.
He’s next playing at The Bodega on the 13th November supporting John Joseph Brill. Tickets are available here: http://www.alttickets.com/john-joseph-brill-the-bodega-2017-11-13-19-00
How did you get into music?
My parents are very big influences for me. My mum has never really been a musician herself, but she’d tell you she could play the recorder at secondary school, but my dad was the front man in a rock and roll band, kind of 50s/60s. He had a gig the night I was born so I think there’s something in that. They just encouraged me and my twin brother Adam and my little sister Amy to just be involved in music from a young age.
I started playing the recorder when I was six, and played the clarinet when I was nine. We got a thorough musical upbringing, in terms of music theory and playing on a weekly basis. I started playing piano when I was 15 – it was through a couple of mates who were doing open mics and things like that. I thought I wanted to get involved, so I started learning from YouTube tutorials of songs that I really liked. From there I developed to playing with other people.
I’m 23 now and I was 15 then, and over the past few years I played with other people and by myself, but I only ever did covers. Only very recently, since I moved back from university, I have been writing my own material. You’ve heard some of it tonight.
I’m very heavily influenced by lots of different musicians and lots of different genres. In terms of piano, I really like a percussive style of play, so it feels like I’m playing a bongo or something. I like an instrument you can play different notes on, you can have a melody, you can have a harmony. I hope that answers your question.
What’s it like being solo?
Ooh good question. It’s strange because right before I moved up to York to study music at uni, I was always with other people, I was in a trio, with a female singer, a guy on guitar and myself who did pretty much everything else. Ukulele, keys, backing vocals, I played all sorts. We played pubs and school gigs, we played a lot of weddings. It was fun, we bounced off each other and we all had a particular set of skills, different ways of viewing things.
Being solo is very different to that. I like to think I’m not a solo artist because I have the piano with me. I try, that’s a stupidly geeky answer, but the way I try to play the piano and sing is I like it to be a combination, I like it to come together. It’s nice being a solo artist as you don’t have to rely on people for other things but it’s also great because you can put your own spin things, with covers I like doing some different with them.
Being a solo artist, you can literally do what you want, nobody can tell you what to do. You can take advice from people, but you make your own decisions. In terms of writing, I’m influenced by so many different people, I like the control of being able to write what I want. It’s fun being a solo artist.
How would you describe your music?
I struggle with this every time. I would describe my music as, I feel like, I don’t know, there’s no key word. I feel like my voice, I’ve got a bit of soul and quite a lot of power, so I can project my voice and be loud. In terms of my keys, heavily influenced by people like Bon Iver, Jack Garratt, James Blake. All these guys. The lyrics are important but so is the music.
I love music. I like how it comes together. I could listen to five seconds of a song all day if it strikes a chord and is beautiful. I don’t know how I’d describe myself. I’d describe myself as a singer-songwriter and a piano player from Derbyshire in England and I like to sing songs to people. I like people to feel something.
1 – Writer’s Own