Having already made a name for herself as the voice and huge part of the talent in TOUCHSTONE, Kim Seviour has set herself on the road with a new solo project. Being creatively open about her own personal struggles with illness throughout the record, we unpick some of the highs and lows of her journey to her solo album, Recovery Is Learning.
Hi, hope you’re well! Firstly, congratulations on the new record. Are you looking forward to fans hearing it?
Kim: Hi! Thanks for this opportunity to talk to you! Yes, I really am. I was looking forward to it before but after seeing the reactions to the first tasters, I can’t wait to get the rest out there.
How was it to expand your music on a solo project? Is the experience of creating music for your own personal ideas different to making a record with a band?
Kim: It was an amazing opportunity but it was scary as hell! Working in a band is a double edged sword. You all collaborate and build the music together – it really is a team effort, so in my experience it was rarely one person carrying the ideas. The potential downside of that is there are always compromises to include everyone’s tastes, ideas and inspirations. I loved the chance to write an album that would express myself and my ideas, but I definitely felt a lot of pressure. Thankfully John Mitchell is a wonderful producer and he hand held me through the process!
Thinking on the themes of this album, was there a sense of catharsis to expressing your personal journey in such a way?
Kim: Definitely. It was really exposing, but if I was going to write about things that genuinely mattered to me, these are the experiences which have shaped the past few years for me, so they were going to be included. I also found through my journey that sharing it has been good for me, and also for many people who have related. Bands I’ve always been a fan of have taken a similar approach, and I just knew that it was right for me.
Did this album come from a place of personal growth, or did you feel that it could be a tool for others to find themselves upon listening?
Kim: A bit of both. I don’t think it would be a tool for others to relate to if it didn’t come from such a deep place for me. I also experienced some distressing mental health issues that I was not expecting about half way through, and writing the songs was a way of expressing what I was going through at the time, so it definitely helped me too.
Can you tell us a little about working with John Mitchell?
Kim: Working with John was a great experience. We’ve known each other for a long time so he knows me well, what my musical tastes are and could translate brilliantly what I was going for during the writing process. I can say before that this album wouldn’t have materialised without him, so I’m massively grateful.
Do you find that working with like minded musicians is an inspiration in itself to creating great music, or is it more like they are expanding your ideas, with you at the helm of things?
Kim: A bit of both. John took the ideas and the sounds that I wanted go for and made them happen musically so that I could then add my lyrics/melodies etc. There were musically things that I would never have thought to add, and maybe wouldn’t have had the confidence to stretch too, but there were also times that I added hooks and lines which I felt were pretty normal and cool and John would say “that’s bizarre!!”. Having an established prog musician say that was definitely a kudos for me, but it showed how when working together we created something that would have been completely different had we worked alone.
Having taken on this project, with all the issues it deals with, and having to deal with CFS, was there ever a feeling that this was too much?
Kim: Oh, regularly! When starting, I was excited but it felt like such a massive and achievable project at times. A musical Everest, if you will. Also, as I mentioned I became quite ill about half way through so there were times that I didn’t know if I would ever finish it, but I stayed determined and John Mitchell and Chris Hillman were always really patient letting me do what I needed in my own time, which was a massive help.
You have a real openness to your musical expression; how do you balance the lyrical impact as well as letting the music be its own voice?
Kim: I guess I didn’t really consider the music and its own voice when writing. I just added what came from me into the music that John and developed (it was mostly John though!) and it grew into its own thing. I did wonder if parts would be hard hitting at times, but I went all YOLO on it and figured it’s now or never to just put my all into it and see what it grows into!
Focusing on the artwork for a moment, it’s quite striking. Did you have much deliberation on what the artwork would be like, or was it a concept from the off?
Kim: I love the artwork – it was created by an artist in Hungary called Roxanne Phoenix. I knew that I had a vision for the story, so any images in my head had a certain atmosphere about them, but I never knew what I wanted the final image to be. I found the artwork by accident on Facebook after an old friend tagged me in one of the artist’s paintings as it resembled me quite strongly. That’s not the image I went for, but I saw a version of the final image in her gallery and just knew that it was perfect for what I was looking for. Roxanne was really accommodating in painting another version of it after I asked if she could tweak a few things, and that’s how we have the final image.
Finally, after the album, do you feel you’ve learnt anything about yourself?
Kim: I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I thought. I went into the writing thinking “what an amazing opportunity” and knowing that it would come together but not really sure how. Knowing that I had a story that I wanted to tell but again, no idea how it would happen. This is an album that I’ll continue to be proud of for a very long time.
Recovery Is Learning is set for release July 28th
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