Hailing from a small village in Leicester, Leo Stannard has emerged as one to watch. Having been taught classical guitar since the age of 9, the 18-year-old has honed a unique sound, taking inspiration from the likes of John Butler Trio and Ben Howard. Following a sold-out European tour earlier in the year, Leo returned to the studio to record his second EP. To celebrate the forthcoming release of Notions in October, we talked to Leo about the EP, touring, and what the rest of 2014 has in store for him.
CF: What was the inspiration behind the new track, Why Don’t We?
I was in Italy when I wrote the song. I always seem to be inspired by new places and new experiences so being out of my normal environment helped me to write this song, as it has done with many of my other tracks as well.
CF: Is the song a good indication of what the other tracks on the EP will be like?
I think every song has it’s own sound and individuality but there is a running theme throughout the EP. Sometimes you listen to an EP or an album and every song sounds the same, or everything is completely different and you can’t make sense of it. So it’s all about finding the right balance and that’s what I’ve tried to do in this EP.
CF: What was the recording process for Notions like?
I worked with the same producer (Hugh Worskett) as I did on the first EP, so it was a really relaxed recording environment. We know each other well and know what each other do and don’t like, so it was easy to just get on with things. The actual time spent in the studio wasn’t long at all, it took just under a week. But I spent a lot of time at my producer’s flat working on pre production things. So when we got in the studio, everything was pretty much good to go.
CF: Your music is influenced by the likes of John Butler Trio and Ben Howard. What artists or bands inspired you growing up?
Damien Rice has always been a favourite of mine. As a songwriter he’s one of the best guys around in my opinion, along with people like Neil Young of course, who was a big childhood hero for me.
CF: Your Alt-J cover has gained thousands of views, are there any other songs that you’re thinking about covering or would like to cover in the future?
Not really. I prefer to write my own music most of the time and don’t really think about covering songs. But, in the case of Tesselate, I thought it might be fun to take a song I liked, and try and reinvent it slightly.
CF: You had a sold-out European tour earlier on in the year, what was a particular highlight of that tour?
Probably the first night in Zurich. I never thought that that many people would actually turn up to come and watch me. So it was just so nice to play to a packed room of people who all seemed to be liking it. Also it was great to chat to everyone after the show.
CF: For people who haven’t heard it, describe your music in a single sentence.
Exploring the singer-songwriter genre by combining influences from lots of different places.
CF: This is your second EP, how has your sound developed since the first one?
The first EP was very rootsy and sounded more like a live set. With the second EP we’ve been more adventurous with the production and also I think the songs themselves are much better than before.
CF: What would be your dream venue or festival to perform?
I think headlining Glastonbury is the dream. I’ve always watched it on the TV and it looks like the most incredible gig around.
CF: What does the rest of 2014 have in store for you?
I hope to either do another EP or another single before starting work on my album which I’m really excited about. Also, I really want to do more live shows so there will be a UK and European tour some time soon. 2014 should be a good one.