INTERVIEW: Jane Weaver | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Considering the rich, widely acclaimed solo catalogue she’s amassed over the course of two decades, Jane Weaver perhaps isn’t an artist you’d deem in need of a grand crossover moment. Occasionally, however, the best records turn out to be those we didn’t realise we wanted in the first place. For this writer, it’s an adage which certainly applies to Flock; an album which recalibrates the North Westerner’s psychedelic trademarks by way of vibrant, hook-laden songcraft, culminating in a body of work that’s perhaps the finest – and certainly the most accessible – she’s fostered to date.

“I was worried some of it wasn’t as moody as my previous records, but the songs I was writing and the sounds I was hearing in my head were lighter and more melodic, so I just went with it,” she reveals. “I did want to make a more uplifting record comprising of different types of pop song; something which wasn’t particularly concept or subject-based. I was feeling quite low at the time, so it was all a bit contradictory, writing downbeat lyrics to upbeat melodies, but I’m happy with the way it turned out!”

For all its wearied words, Flock’s raison d’etre “a consciously positive vision for negative times” makes for one of the year’s most generous listens, embellishing musings on UK politics and patriarchal norms with Day-Glo sensibilities and her warmest production work yet. The brighter motorik sounds of its predecessor, 2017’s excellent Modern Kosmology, may have softened the leap, yet as Jane recalls, Flock’s bolder brushstrokes nevertheless posed a novel challenge.

I did want to make a more uplifting record comprising of different types of pop song; something which wasn’t particularly concept or subject-based

“I was mindful from day one that pop music is more exposed production-wise – things are clearer and less layered. I’ve always found it easier to layer songs in soundscapes of synths and noise, so I wanted to avoid that if I could. I’ve never had problems making things up, but it’s translating what’s in my head into the studio that’s the real challenge.” Indeed, the prospect of realising this vision called for all her polymathic experience. “I do believe in fate, and that things happen along the way which lead you to a destination, good or bad. I probably couldn’t have made this record at any other point in my career, so I’m glad most have embraced it. It’s nice when people contact you on social media from all parts of the world, all ages and backgrounds saying they’ve just discovered your music – it’s great to feel like there’s a connection.”

More welcome still, the coming months will finally see that artist-listener relationship re-established in person on Jane’s first full UK tour for three years. North East fans are especially well served, with November’s opening night in Stockton followed by a new year visit to Newcastle during the jaunt’s second leg.

It’s been exciting, terrifying and emotional, but essentially quite joyful!She enthuses, on her long-awaited return to the live stage. “So many things have changed for so many people, and I’m really grateful the opportunity is still there. It felt good to be back with the band, and almost like my identity was being slowly revealed to me again…like ‘Ah! This is what I do!’ I’ll never take it for granted that it’s a given, but if us being on stage connects with people and helps them feel normal again, then I’m happy.”

Jane Weaver plays The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Tuesday 2nd November, followed by The Cluny, Newcastle on Wednesday 9th February. Flock is out now


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