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

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The Last InnHouse are a an alt-country/indie band from Newcastle who offer a colorful palette of darkly luscious, musical soundscapes and thought-provoking lyricism. They have recently released the single, Open Road and their album Skimming Stones is due to be released Friday 7th June. Their sound comes from the cohesion of the bands original members, Victoria Siddoway and Craig McDearmid, so we had a quick Q & A with them to find out more about what’s going on.
 
Where did the name The Last InnHouse come from?
At the edge of the world and at the end of unknown catastrophe, The Last InnHouse has to go down as one of the best places for live music I can imagine. Is there another place where music could be more powerful? I can just see people standing, clutching their whisky or wine and drinking in the music, lost in time, and bowled over by their own emotions. Every possible version of the story of love, life, loss, reflection and celebration would exist in this space. Just as it does in the realm of music; this universally understood but completely powerful individual experience that takes you to the boundaries of your emotions, where you’re the sole scarred and celebrated survivor of your own decisions and experience.
 
How would you describe your sound? Who are your musical influences?
I grew up in Sydney and spent most of my time watching live bands in the Sydney underground music scene, often drawn towards the darker side of things, which actually seemed really colourful to me. Though I did wear a lot of black. Craig studied music in great depth, taking influence from music across the spectrum, Stravinsky to Tom Waits.
 
We actually met through a joint appreciation of Mazzy Star, by far one of our biggest influences, and also Mark Lanegan, formerly of the Screaming Trees. Add to this the fact that we both admire the songwriting of many country artists, and am a big fan of Lindi Ortega, so country and folk influences are deeply rooted in our music also.
We take a lot of influence from the natural landscapes around us also. For instance, ‘Love My Ghosts’ is set in Rookhope in the next valley to us, an old and shut down mining town with old rail lines that go on for miles. This theme of the natural world is a constant theme across the album, making the album cinematic and visually evocative throughout. Perhaps we are therefore best described as alternative rock with a hint of (slightly darker) alt-country or indie folk, but from such a diverse range of musical influence, there is a perhaps a little something for everyone.
 
Tell us more about your new single open road?
We like to think of Open Road as a song fit for a Tarantino film. It is an especially visual song, evocative of a road trip juxtaposed with life, looking back, cross roads, mistakes, but above all, hope.
 
What was the recording process like?
We have spent considerable time in building up our own home recording gear, so most of the tracks are actually fully recorded at home. But we found a musical soulmate in the legendary Grant Henderson of Loom Studios in Yorkshire who produced the album. He also played the drums and percussion on the tracks and mixed them down to perfection. It would take us two hours to drive to his studio from where we lived, so we’d rock up with our files on a hard drive, but he just absolutely got where we were coming from with the music and was a brilliant crack on from start to finish, so we had some of the best days in the studio, and his  contribution to the album is real and far reaching. We also recruited in some local musicians at the top of their game including Neil Mabon and Michael Burdon on the bass and Paul Gowland on the saxophone.

Do you have any shows supporting the release?
There are no dates set in stone at the moment but this is definitely the next step in this journey, so watch this space.

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