Indie-folk group Patch and the Giant’s eclectic blend of folk, rich storytelling and tender vocals has earned them spots on BBC Radio 2 & 6 and Apple Music’s ‘Hot Tracks’ playlist. We spoke to them ahead of the release of their new album All That We Had, We Stole, which is out on Friday 10 February.
The record has been in the making for a couple of years, how does it feel to be so close to its release?
Weird and wonderful. We’ve gone through so many stages and thinking ‘right, we’re done now’ and then remember we need to design the artwork or to conceptualise and shoot a music video… but finally this is the home straight and it feels quite special. It’s great just to share it and see/hear bits of it as a real life album, out there. Our new single (‘The Beggar’s Song’) got its first radio play on the BBC the other day and we were so excited to just see it there listed on a playlist…seeing it written down ‘officially’ and not just us emailing each other about set lists.
There’s a really natural and cohesive feel to the album, is that owed to recording a lot of it live?
That’s certainly what we were going for so we’re happy to hear that! Our producer, Nick (Trepka) was very keen that we recorded live and after he talked us into this we could instantly feel and hear why. As musicians we’ve always bounced off each other and recording live was really the only way we could capture the songs for what they are to us.
The album feels just as much like a collection of short stories as a collection of songs. ‘America’, in particular, deserves to be its own concept album! Can you share any of the ideas or influences behind the songs?
The album as a whole has common themes throughout but each song also has its own little story. ‘America’ in particular is about striving for success, how we measure it and the journey we take to get there. Often it would take more than one song to explore a particular theme. We found it hard to say everything we wanted to in one song. So there are 2 or 3 songs that play around with the same idea. As well as ‘America’, ‘Where My Body Lies’ also plays around with the same idea of achievement, remembrance and success.
Is there a story behind the title of the album?
Well the song ‘All That We Had, We Stole‘ came first. And then the title just seemed to ring out and hit resonance. I guess its saying that no matter what you do in life, somebody else has done it. Other people and their experiences define us. All art is theft. You know, all that stuff…
Can you tell us a little about the album’s single, ‘Flowers’? How involved were you in the making of the music video?
‘Flowers’ was a bit of ode to my (Luke’s) mother. She lives 180 miles away by the sea. I’m constantly getting in trouble for not calling her everyday so I thought I’d write her a song by means of an apology. There’s constant reference’s to Lavender in the song because I always thought it was her favourite flower. But I found out recently that she can’t stand it! The sentiment’s still there though…
We were quite in the middle of the making of it but also totally led by the directors, Marv (Marcus) and Ben from the band We Used To Make Things (who we’re very happy to say are supporting us at our album launch). We went to them asking them to come up with the concept, to be honest, without much guidance and they were bloody brilliant – they just got into the heart of the song, grew an idea and we just trusted them with it, they were such a pleasure to work with. It was an intense thing to make, we drove to a deserted beach at 3am to start filming at dawn, that was also pretty beautiful.
The album feels very broad in sound, fleshing out folk music with indie, rock and blues. Are there any specific sounds, instruments or genres you would love to incorporate more of in the future?
We’ve been talking about Dixieland…
Are there any songs you are particularly looking forward to playing on your upcoming tour? Personally, I’d love to hear ‘Another Day’ live.
We’ll be playing ‘Another Day’ for sure… plus a few new songs which we’re looking forward to trialling. For the album launch gig itself, we’ll also be playing a couple of the songs from the record which we’ve never actually performed live, along with special guests in the string and brass sections. We’re very excited to make this happen but due to tour economics (not least, van economics) we can’t really tour these songs (yet!).
You managed to escape our shores once, performing a headline tour of Italy. Did you learn anything from that experience that helps you with touring now?
Touring in general is hard to keep on top of – the balance is tricky as the highs are so high, it’s hard to know how to deal with the lows and anything that isn’t a high… we’re all still working on this one but in Italy we learnt to hold back on expectations and just allow each show and each place to become its own, never trying to re-create another experience. We also picked up a very, very small amount of Italian… enough to sustain our pizza and wine habits anyway and we learned the location of a good A&E department in Milan following a bit of a mishap with some stairs and Angie.
Do you have any treats to get you through the travelling between gigs?
The right music.
Where would you like to see Patch and the Giant travel to next?
Germany… or America. No, both. We can have both, right?
Patch and the Giant’s new album, All That We Had, We Stole, is out on 10 Feb 2017