Austrian singer songwriter, Avec, recorded her forthcoming album in Donegal. She also played her first UK gigs at The Great Escape in Brighton.
She answered a few questions for me.
Hello Avec! So where are you right now?
I am actually on my way to Brighton right now 🙂
I’m Irish, living in London. Over the past while, I’ve noticed several artists from outside Ireland are going there to record. What makes Ireland such an attractive place to do this?
Well, to be completely honest with you, Ireland was never really on my radar. I was always tempted to visit Iceland or the Scandinavian countries, which are, of course, stunning, but I never really had Ireland on my ‘bucket list’ and this feels so wrong in so many ways possible. Ireland is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking countries I’ve ever been to!
Plus the Irish people are just amazing, so open-hearted and lovely, they have a great sense of humour and are always up for a bit of fun. And the landscape – it’s just too brilliant for words, you can get totally lost here, free your mind and soul with no distractions at all. I think that’s definitely a reason why people come to Ireland to make music and to produce a record.
You recorded with Tommy McLaughlin in Attica in Donegal. How did you get in touch with him?
For me, it was really important to have the second album recorded somewhere in the middle of nowhere – not in a city, not in a town – literally, away from the world, so, we got pretty damn lucky and reached out to Tommy via mail.
It didn’t take him long to respond and we had a Skype meeting set up, where we got to know each other a wee bit better. Shortly after that, we booked our flights and me and the band headed off to Ireland, where Tommy has this surreal studio in the back of beyond – it was the perfect place to be!
There’s a delicacy in your music that could be found in Villagers / SOAK, who Tommy has previously worked with. Was this a factor in working with him?
I had a look at a couple of artists who Tommy has already worked with and of course I knew SOAK and Villagers, and I truly admire them and their music, but to me it was much more important to get along with Tommy, to have a great connection, a good vibe going on and a relaxed atmosphere during the recording process.
He knew exactly, how to capture all of those emotions and feelings, how to get these specific sounds, I was looking for, without any pressure – so I guess, it was not the main factor but it was a factor indeed, if that makes sense 😉
Your songs are very much from the heart, very emotive. When you’re writing, which comes first, lyrics or the vibe of the song through music?
I’d say the lyrics – I always tend to write the lyrics first, or let’s say a couple of lines and then try to write a melody and chords on a guitar or piano.
You’re Austrian, which probably means you speak a number of languages. Have you always written in English or have you made a deliberate decision to write in English?
No, I’ve always written my songs in English. I started writing when I was about 12 years old and it never really crossed my mind to write in my native language, I don’t know. I mean, I tried it a couple of times and wrote a few songs in German, but it never felt quite right, you know, I never felt comfortable, it’s too straight and too heavy for me, I guess.
You released your debut album, ‘What If We Forget’, in February of this year and you’re already looking forward to releasing the follow up. Two albums and a remix package in such a short space of time? What’s the reason behind this or are you just a very prolific writer?
I’d say so, yes – I am constantly writing because I just love it and I have to. I struggle with expressing my emotions and thoughts, it’s really hard for me so I need to write it down, anything that’s bothering me – I got a little lost in the studio together with one of my band members, Andy, and we arranged and pre-produced a ton of songs and had all the demos ready to be recorded – and that’s what we pretty much did.
So, if you’d ask me, I might be constantly touring and recording, without any breaks – I just love it, I love writing songs, making records, being creative while working in the studio and I love being on tour as well, it’s just amazing and still so surreal.
How did you feel about handing over your songs to other producers to remix? How did you react to hearing their versions of your songs?
It’s always a bit strange to hand over the stems, cause you don’t really know what’s going to happen and, you know, my songs are like babies to me – I hope that doesn’t sound too crazy, but I put my heart and soul into them. So, they basically contain all my heartaches and many intimate emotions and experiences.
It’s always a bit weird to hand over songs to producers. But I do like the idea of remixes very much – it’s so interesting how a song can be changed in a way I would have never thought about it and I am really happy with all of the remix-versions of my songs!
You’ve got a lot live dates booked for this year, and you’re coming to the UK for The Great Escape. Have you played in the UK before?
No, this is our first time playing in the UK and we all are completely thrilled and excited about it!
How close is your live sound to your recordings? Or do you try to give the listener a different experience at a live show?
I think we have a good mixture when playing live. We are not trying to sound exactly like we do on the record. In my view, it’s always kinda cool to sound a little different when playing live, you know, you can create this unique live atmosphere and vibe.
A couple of easy questions:
When you’re on tour what album do you put on your headphones just to escape?
Keaton Henson – Birthdays
What’s your favourite cartoon character?
If you put a supergroup together who would be in it?
Ufff let me think – B.B. King, John Mayer, Hendrix, Theo Katzman, Foy Vance
What’s the one thing you can’t leave home without?
I am never leaving without my headphones !!!