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Interview: Amy Studt

7 min read

During the early noughties, singer-songwriter Amy Studt enjoyed a successful run of hit singles as the musician took on the pop world with remarkable force. Her first album, False Smiles, propelled Amy to the forefront of the pop/alt-rock scene thanks to tracks like Misfit, the angst-fueled brilliance of Under The Thumb and the musicians international chart-topper, Just a Little Girl. Following the release of her second studio album, Studt took a step back from the bright pop lights to focus on a change in musical direction and she has now returned to deliver the fruits of her labour to fans who are eager to have Studt back at the top where she belongs.

Studt’s latest double A-side single, Different Colour Pills/I Was Jesus In Your Veins, showcases an artist who has transformed during her time away and emerged a fresh and inspired artist who is ready to take on the music world with a style that is as unexpected as it is complimenting to the musicians talents behind the mic and on her instrument.

With a third studio album set for release at the start of 2016, we caught up with Amy for a truly refreshing discussion about her comeback, her new material and her views of the music industry since her time at the top. Here is what Amy had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: How’s it going Amy – where does our interview find you today?

Amy Studt: Going great! I’m currently sat at home on my bed with a blanket and I’m on my laptop.

BV: It’s been quite a while since we had Amy Studt grace us with new material. Why so long between releases and what have you been up to during this musical absence?

AS: Yes it has! Well, I have been spending time working out the sound I wanted, built a recording studio, worked intimately with Toby Kidd from Hatcham Social. I was writing lyrics feverishly and having bouts of bad health, which all went into the writing of this album. I broke my own heart and wrote about it. Triumphed over some personal demons. Got stronger and stronger and calmer and clearer and, at the end of it, had this beautiful album which documents my journey.

BV: You are releasing a new EP before the release of a full-length record. Is this to test the water and see how listeners react so that you know the direction to go with the album or is it because you have so much material that you want to get out there?

AS: It’s not to test the waters. The direction of the album, in my mind is clear and I am very excited about it! We also do have a lot of material. Ha! As for the EP, for me, it’s about doing something special and physical before the big release – because we can and it’s a lovely thing to do.

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BV: You have a new double A side single called Different Colour Pills/I Was Jesus In Your Veins out there for fans. Can you tell us a little about Different Colour Pills and the inspiration behind the track?

AS: Different Colour Pills is autobiographical, just like the rest of the album. It’s about waiting for something, longing for something and being lost and, in the darkness someone takes your hand and it’s warm and comforting. It’s also about one of the drugs I was prescribed by my GP that were electric blue with baby blue baubles in one half and I was surprised that someone had taken such care to make something so clinical, so beautiful.

BV: The song is a very personal one, lyrically. Is it difficult writing songs that are as deep and autobiographical and having them unleashed on the world or do you consider the process to be more liberating and part of your artistic growth?

AS: The people who know me would probably say that I am an open book. I’m a terrible liar. It’s written all over my face. So in a way, that is reflected in my music. I think honesty in writing is one of the most important things and, if you give the truth, no matter what anyone says, it’s your truth and that is that. For me writing is cathartic and also having it heard.

BV: Both songs contain much more stripped back, raw and an almost darkly instrumentation to what fans might be familiar with from your early noughties releases. Was this change in musical style something that developed naturally in the studio or was it predetermined as part of this return to music and the evolution of Amy Studt?

AS: It was more natural than thought out. I have been influenced by the music I listen to I guess, as it’s what I like. The music I make now is a mixture of that and my natural sound that has now become one and the same thing. Yes, it is darker but, it’s what felt right. I’m constantly evolving and my interests shifting and this shows when I record music.

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BV: Following the release of your EP later this year you have plans for an early 2016 album release. What can you tell us about the record and would you say your new singles are indicative to the sound/style of what you are working on with the album?

AS: There’s a mixture in there but yes, the singles do reflect the sound of the record. I can say honestly that this album is the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m very proud of it. It may have darkness in it, but it also has the light. It is about sorrow and redemption, despair and salvation – in a non-religious sense – hope and joy. There are also some moments of humour, it’s an interesting and honest album both sonically and lyrically.

BV: Given your previous success with having achieved a US number one with your debut single and a UK Top 10 with your second single, Misfit, is there any pressure for you to replicate that success?

AS: It’s funny, other people seem to feel or imagine this pressure when they are writing reviews or articles about me now – trying to spice it up I guess. But, I don’t feel it, in my world, I write and sing and live my life. All I care about is people hearing my record and to keep writing and doing what I love. Chart success would be an added surreal bonus but, not something I feel any pressure for.

BV: The music industry has changed significantly during your absence from releasing records – the promotion of music has changed with social media becoming a prominent route for artists these days and the world has fully embraced the digital age which means record sales are driven by downloads. What are your thoughts on the changes within the music industry over the last ten years?

AS: I don’t know… In a way I know a lot about being in the music industry but in another way I know very little as far as the business model side of it goes. I choose to leave that up to the professionals (my wonderful manager, agents, etc.) who deal with the business side of things for me now and who I trust implicitly.

BV: Have you kept on top of the new methods of promoting your material – have you embraced Twitter, Facebook and platforms like that to connect with fans and get the word out about new music?

AS: Yes. I use Twitter (though I hate the letter count limit), Instagram, Facebook. I like my Facebook page and my Instagram but, maybe twitter is my least favourite, It’s nice to communicate with fans online.

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BV: What artists inspired you growing up? Who influenced you on your musical path?

AS: Oh gosh, so many. In the beginning (Say 13-14 years old) it was all about Fiona Apple and I still love her lyricism especially. Mazzy Star, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, Stina Nordenstam was a big influence growing up. I was influenced by some Post Punk: Lizzie Mercier, Talking Heads, Suicide and more recently Sharon Van Etten has moved me a lot.

BV: Of all of the songs you have written and recorded throughout your career, what would you say is your proudest moment?

AS: My proudest moment is this album. Every track on it I am so very proud of. Also, being able to achieve using the word ‘constipated’ in one of the songs in a chorus lyric and making it work –Ha!

BV: Are there plans to take the new material on the road? Are there any shows that fans can add to their diaries?

AS: We will be doing a big EP release show/party in November which I’m looking forward to and in the new year there will be lots of touring but no dates to announce just yet.

BV: Thanks for your time Amy – big fans of your work here so can’t wait to hear the new material.

AS: Thank you! xx

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