Last month psych-folk trio Great Silkie released their debut LP, Dawn Chorus, through independent label Crocodile Laboratories London. An album of songs, crisp and clear in their production but hazy and off-centre in their performance, Dawn Chorus was predominantly written by vocalist/guitarist Sam Davies in the English countryside, away from the band’s base in East London, and the influence of both can be felt in the fibres of the record. We caught up with Sam to ask him about the importance of place in his music and asked him to select a few tracks that evoke some of the locations that have played a part in his life and his development as an artist.
Having spent time living in Berlin, Wiltshire and London – is there one place that you consider ‘home’?
Being born in the city (Berlin) and then moving to the West Country side of the UK at the age of 5, I spent most of my childhood playing in the forest and running around Salisbury Plain. But saying that the moment I started coming to London it felt like home to me.
Track choice: Mr. Fox – Salisbury Plain
What impact has place, and moving around, had on your songwriting?
I do think growing up in Wiltshire fed into my love of folklore and history in general, which definitely has led me down the road of traditional English folk music.
Track choice: People – Glastonbury (Glastonbury being about 15 minutes drive away from the town I grew up in)
Aside from places that you’ve lived, are there any other locations that you feel a musical afinity with?
I have always been a big fan of the Canterbury music scene of the 60s/70s starting with Kevin Ayers. Pretty much all the bands that all spring out of the initial embryo that was “The Wilde Flowers”. So bands like Soft Machine, Caravan, Matching Mole, Hatfield & The North, etc.
Track choice: The Wilde Flowers – Parchment Farm
You’re now based in Hackney in East London – what are the differences as a musician living in the capital compared to where you grew up?
It’s a lot better for meeting people of similar taste and goals as yourself in the capital I would say. As it is the place most would and should migrate to in order pave a career in music/the arts in general. Compared to where I grew up where I could count the number of people I met, into the same kind of things as me on 2 fingers.
And who are the bands in your local scene that you’d recommend people listen out for?
Moon Balloon I would say are a favourite band in the scene at the moment.
Track Choice: Moon Balloon – Half Measures
Where are your favourite local places to play and watch live music?
Probably have to say Moth Club in Hackney as it is the main if not only venue I’ve been to for a while either in a performance/DJing capacity or just to see live music myself.
Would you like to give a shout out to one of the behind the scenes, unsung hereos keeping new music thriving where you are?
Rhys Webb, the best unsung Modernist Jazz DJ
Track choice: Bobby Valentin – Use It Before You Loose It
Dawn Chorus is out now on Crocodile Laboratories London – listen on Spotify / Apple Music
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Interview by Paul Maps
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