Currently coming towards the tail-end of a support slot on tour with Amber Run, Bristol duo Meadowlark have been busily raising their profile and picking up plenty of new fans with their finely-crafted pop melodies and emotive production.
Made up of Kate McGill and Dan Broadley, the band have recently released their Nocturnes EP of stripped back songs, ahead of the emergence of their debut album later this year. We caught up with Dan to find out a bit more about their story so far and what the year ahead has in store for them…
SYNC: So where did it all begin?
Dan Broadley: Kate and myself both met years before Meadowlark started. I was directing music videos and playing in rock bands and she was pursuing a career as a solo artist. The first time we met was on a video shoot, I was directing the promo for one of her singles. It was amazing how much we had in common and when the time came for us both to pursue something else musically it seemed natural to start a project together and from that Meadowlark was born. We have never looked back since. It’s such an adaptive project, we can experiment with so many different genres and musical ideas with this band.
SYNC: What’s the songwriting process like for the band?
Broadley: We never give ourselves any constraints and have written songs in all manner of ways. The songs we are most proud of are the songs that we write together from scratch. As well as sonic poems that contain experiences from both Kate and myself’s lives, our songs are also postcards for us, each one carries a specific memory of how we felt and how we were at the time of writing it.
When writing our first record we wanted to find a space be able to lock ourselves away in and focus on nothing but music itself. We found a holiday cottage on the internet that offered a grand piano and we booked in multiple week-long stays. It was an amazing time, the space felt magical, every time we went we would write about five songs which meant it didn’t take long at all to have an albums worth of material that we were really proud of.
SYNC: Nocturnes has been stirring up lots of interest. What was the thinking behind this EP – and in particular the idea of giving the song About You Now such a beautiful new slant?
Broadley: When Kate and myself write music we go in at a very raw level, just acoustic instruments usually, penning the song in a simple way, I think it’s really important that a song works in that way – it can be so easy to hide a bad song behind good production. Once we’ve written a song we then play around with its sonic boundaries, adding synthetic elements to create our desired mood and energy. Nocturnes was a wonderful opportunity to take the songs back to a more raw and intimate state, showing them in a more honest light. About You Now seemed like a very random choice to most people but it’s everything we love about songwriting. The original Sugababes version was a pop smash but buried underneath the production was a much darker song and without changing any of the chords or melodies and simply playing it differently we were able to bring that to light.
Meadowlark – About You Now
SYNC: Last year was a busy year for festivals for you both – is 2017 shaping up to be the same?
Broadley: Just looking at the calendar now and it’s certainly filing up. Festival season is always a lot of fun, you never really know who you are going to play in front of which adds to the excitement.
SYNC: Finally, how has work on the album been progressing?
Broadley: We actually finished the record a little while back, it was an amazing feeling to finish it and have a full body of work of songs that we are so proud of. We are hoping for it to be out before the end of this year!
Meadowlark – Headlights