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

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It’s been ages since we last heard from Saint Saviour, but the Stockton-born songstress also known as Becky Jones returns this month with her fourth album, Sunseeker, and a short tour to promote it. Much of the new album was inspired by walking around London, and she spent a lot of time listening back to her initial compositions while visiting galleries and parks.

I have a very long-winded songwriting technique,” she says. “I write melodies for about two weeks, then I go walking for hours every day, listening back and making lyrical notes. I love walking. I live by the Thames and I like to go out and thrash through the tourists and tut at them for walking too slow. After about six months I’ll have a good few full songs. Bill Ryder-Jones produced this and my second album. I give him an idea of what I want to achieve and he springs into action, plays pretty much everything and I feed him snacks.”

Also known for her work with Groove Armada and The RGBs, Becky began releasing solo songs in 2010 and her upcoming release is her most accessible so far. “I ended up with the name Sunseeker to reference the lighter mood I was trying to achieve. My last album was more electronic and the arrangements were quite complex and precise. With Sunseeker I was trying to find a lightness of sound as well as mood – loosen everything up a bit.”

With Sunseeker I was trying to find a lightness of sound as well as mood

Known for her honesty about everything from mental health to motherhood, it’s no surprise that this also comes through in her songwriting. Sunseeker is her attempt to embed encouraging messages to her daughter in her work whilst also dealing with grief. “I started writing A Picture Is All I Have about a photo of me having just given birth,” she says. “I felt superhuman, and the photo connects me back to that strength and reminds me what is possible, as it’s very easy to forget. The song evolved and travelled through photos of my grandmother and mother, both of whom we lost very suddenly and too soon. After the shock dissipates, you are left only with your memory of them and that can begin to fade.” 

It’s an undoubtedly emotive album but, while at times there’s an ethereal air and a vulnerability in her vocals (particularly in Poetry and Not Nothing), there’s also a warmth and positivity to the messages within. The opening song’s “you’re better than this” chorus refrain is a reassuring mantra, while Let’s Go Outside is a brilliantly sunny pop tune.

Becky is both delighted and anxious to be returning for a gig in her home town on Thursday 28th March. “I haven’t played Saint Saviour music for ten years,” she says. “I’ve been building a new live band and putting a set together from my last three albums, so it will be a bit of an eclectic mix. I’m a bit nervous about being emotional in Stockton as it will be my first hometown gig without my Mam and also without my mate Tom Butchart of Sound it Out Records, who passed away last year. I have just always had an intense passion for music and have never considered anything else. I’ve built a life around it over decades so there’s no turning back now!”

Saint Saviour plays The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Thursday 28th March. Sunseeker is out now via VLF.

 

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