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

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The Shining Levels are a brand new music collective based in Durham and Northumberland, who record on the edge of the Northern English Moors and seek inspiration from books. Their new album, Music Inspired By The Novel The Gallows Pole (a novel written by Durham-born author Benjamin Myers) uses rural folk musicians, loops and electronics, takes influence from the likes of Pentangle, Sandy Denny, Tom Waits alongside a love of ambient music, hip-hop production and musical obscurities. The result is music that is as exquisite as it is interesting, so we caught up with band to find out more ahead of their show at Pop Recs, Sunderland on Friday 7th June.

Who are The Shining Levels?
Misfits who should know better, but our core is Davey J and DW Coggins with Laura Smith at the vocal helm. We are also decorated with three very talented ladies who sing and play like a dream.

How would you describe your sound?
Probably easier for others to say and they said this: ‘gritty landscape hymns, ethereal acid-folk, borderlands ballads, 70s folk horror TV/film atmospherics, mood pieces, echoes of the colliery bands of old, moor-top drones and much, much more.’

How did the novel The Gallows Pole influence your recent album?
It’s a testament to how vivid the writing is and how Benjamin Myers uses the landscape itself as a character. Even though the story it tells happened a long time ago his writing puts you right in it and we’ve all enjoyed and know the landscape where it is set. So the characters and stories were begging to be written about in this context, we had to stop ourselves.

What can people expect from your show at Pop Recs on Friday 7th June?
An hour or so of complete musical escapism, we will set the tone for a meditation, a musical seance which we can all enjoy together.

What else have you got coming up in the near future?
We have some more gigs, Manchester, London, Liverpool and Durham at the Old Cinema Launderette in October as part of Durham book festival.  There may also be some new music, an exciting collaboration perhaps, no…I’ve said too much.

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