“It’s like an ideal place, that you feel anchored to – not necessarily a place, it can be a state of mind too.”
The Mourning Suns have been a prominent place mat at Birmingham’s musical platter for several years. Born from the creative partnership of Rosie Wilkes (vocals) and Anthony Williams (guitar), who began playing together at university in Falmouth, the ensemble grew into its current lineup after “we stole the rest from Birmingham Conservatoire.”
Well versed and rehearsed, The Mourning Suns have released two five track “demos” since 2012 – with countless gigs on the schedule in support. But Friday 14th August sees the release of their “first proper album,” as the slightly delayed Dreaming of an Island gets launched at The Sun at the Station in Kings Heath.
“We’ve played there a couple of Christmases ago, and all know Joe (French, The Sun at the Station promoter) from different versions of different bands,” explains Rosie Wilkes – lead vocalist and co-founder of The Mourning Suns. “They change the room around and have a group of visual artists that come in, which really shakes stage up.” If previous gigs at the venue are anything to go by, you can expect at least a rainbow of lights or backdrop of stars to play amongst. Perhaps a couple of 6ft mushrooms. “And the music we make has an almost cinematic feel to it; when we’re performing it I hope that is experienced, so it’s more than just another gig. I want the audience to be to feel the beauty of it, and then it becomes more of an emotional experience.”
Dreaming of an Island is a six track ‘cinematic soundscape’, with the narrative threads of beauty and freedom, even escapism, tying it together. “I used to live in a really beautiful part of Cornwall,” explains Wilkes, “whilst I was studying, so I guess all of my writing is inspired, in part, by that place – where I used to be.” The teaser video for the title track also features film “from a train journey down to Devon,” alongside “a splice of lots of beautiful landscapes – parts are from Swiss and Italian mountains, from our European road trip.”
But some of the subject matter goes a little deeper, with Wilkes dealing with two close bereavements during the recording of her band’s debut album. “A couple of the tracks came from quite a dark place, for me – my Granddad died and my mum’s husband died in the same two to three months. So there’s an element of that in there.”
“‘Shy No More’, (the 3rd track on the album) I wrote it with Ant the day after my granddad died,” continues Wilkes, “and is about how you shouldn’t be tied down worrying about what people think, or to hold yourself back with reservations or anxiety – and that’s to do with him. Some of the last words he said to me are placed in the lyrics; it was quite emotional writing it, and sometime playing it. Not that it’s a sad song, not that I want it to be a sad song in any way; it’s more about release or liberation. Its about growth.”
Originally recorded by Gemma Livesey-Hubble and Alex Clarke in 2014, who worked on The Mourning Suns’ 2012 EP The Cloud, the extra hands on the Dreaming… deck came from James Brough – a ‘Birmingham based soundmaker’ who’s stage shows can included anything from loop pedals to hair dryers.
“He’s a good friend of ours,” tells Wilkes, “we were so happy with what he’s done. We also had ‘Like a Dog’ previously recorded by Ed Taylor, another stolen Conservatoire student, which he did a couple of years ago. But we wanted to wait until we had an album together before we used that.”
Sounds like a lot of support. But having already bypassed the original release date of November 2014, was the multi cook recording process worth the wait? “We recorded the rhythm and guitars in one go, to get more of an element of that live sound – something we feel is a real strength to us as a band. We did same with the vocals and viola, and then James produced them all to such a high standard.”
Dreaming of an Island album teaser – by The Mourning Suns
The Mourning Suns release their debut album, Dreaming of a Island, on Friday 14th August – playing a special launch gig at The Sun at the Station on Friday 14th August, with support Michael King and Andy Oliveri.
For more gig info, visit https://www.facebook.com/thesunatthestation
For more on The Mourning Suns, including online purchase points for Dreaming of an Island, visit https://www.facebook.com/themourningsuns
For more from The Sun at the Station, visit http://www.thesunatthestation.co.uk/