Interview: PICNIC | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photo by Issac Johnson

Sunderland’s fusers of jazz, funk and pop, PICNIC, release their brand new single, Baby. Written almost entirely with voice notes, this smooth and uplifting offering will have you converting your front rooms into discotheques as you dance away the woes of living in one of the worst years in recent human history.

We catch up with the band to find out about the single and what they’ve been up to…

What have you been up to in these strange and uncertain times?
We’ve tried to stay as busy as possible, making sure to keep in touch with each other all the time even if that’s just over Zoom. We raised over £500 for Sunderland Foodbank during lockdown by releasing a 14-track album comprised of our favourite North East artists, including Field Music and Mt Misery, covering our last single, that was pretty cool! We’ve also been lucky enough to play a sold out “socially distanced” show at Independent in Sunderland, making that a grand total of TWO gigs we’ve played in 2020.

Sound-wise how would you describe your new single, Baby?
I think the vibe is pretty disco/old school funk pop, sort of Earth Wind and Fire inspired. We wanted it to sound quite “live” so didn’t mess around too much with the production on this one, we wanted the energy to come through without being tied down to click tracks and over-editing.

Can you tell us more about the songwriting process.
I wrote the song almost entirely through voice notes on my phone, including singing the bassline (badly) and chord stabs! I was working at the Disney Store at the time and had the chorus melody come to me when I was working in the stockroom, I quickly started singing the first words that came into my head and ended up with about eight different voice notes of me just singing and humming melodies. The lyrics that I improvised on those voice notes just stuck as they fit the melody so well, I’ve never really looked back and analysed them until now. I’m sure someone will find some meaning in them somewhere but the truth is they just had the right amount of syllables!

Is this the first time you have written in this way?
For the whole song, structure and all, yes. I always record little melodies and lyric ideas when I’m out and about, most never make it into a song, but for ‘Baby’ the whole thing was already in my head before I even picked up a guitar or sat down at a piano!

When dancefloors open again what will be the first dance move you do?
I’ve got a lot of pent up energy right now so there’ll probably be a lot of jumping, and possibly one of those knee slides kids do at wedding discos.

What’s next for Picnic?
Gigs, hopefully! We had a full summer of festivals lined up that have all been rescheduled so we can’t wait to get out there next summer and play to some new crowds! We’ve also written a few new tunes that we really like, so we’ll record those as well.

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