Interview: The Silver Field

The Silver Field

Words: Julia Grantham

As I sat, quietly, sipping my one alcohol drink for the evening; I felt calm as I waited for Coral Rose of new band The Silver Field to walk into the bar and meet me.

The evening was a dark, cold, Sunday night in central York and the venue for tonight’s gig; a small intimate and relatively unassuming former working mens’ club: The Crescent Community Venue. In contrast to the bitter weather outside, the atmosphere indoors was both friendly and welcoming. Coral, herself, was smiley pleased to meet me, and between us we arranged for the music to be made lower so we could concentrate on a proper conversation.

Sitting across from each other at a table in the games room, surrounded by a myriad of old televisions, games, and just behind a pool table, we began our chat. Having heard the track ‘Rain’ premiering on Mary-anne Hobb’s Weekend show on BBC Radio Six, I was keen to find out more about the person behind the music.

Coral spent a year living in Anglesey on her own in her late grandfather’s home of thirty years and it was this place that inspired her album’s artwork, as well as the music’s theme- a home, and leaving that home behind. A coming of age album almost; becoming an adult.

Of the location she told me: “It was an hour and a half from the nearest town, a lot of Welsh was spoken”, before pronouncing the name of the town very eloquently and in a perfect accent, she joked: “Try and transcribe that!” And we both laughed! Never had a longer name for a place been uttered in my presence. It sounded beautiful though.

Only living in the house a year by herself, it was somewhere well-known to Coral and her family, having visited her grandfather regularly for holidays and Christmas.

The home not only inspired the cover art, but also: “It inspired the idea of a house as some kind of entity, the artwork feels quite environmental, and a reaction to the environment that was there; so environmental paintings with the weather and feelings mixed in with that”.

We discussed the differences between living in the country and the city and although this family home that Coral had lived in and visited inspired much of her debut album, ‘Rooms’, she actually grew up in rural Derbyshire and has returned to live there after a four-year spell in London and a brief time living in Glasgow.

“I find it hard living in an environment that’s really full on. I’ve realised that I want to be the kind of person that lives in the countryside and visits the city rather than someone that lives in the city and visits the countryside”.

Certainly, the music that The Silver Field has produced has a very elemental, calming and meditative sound. It serves as a direct antidote to the fast-paced digital age of a buzzing capital city, perhaps why this album is so appealing, today, in 2019 as it serves as a reminder to take a deep breath, be still and listen. And be.

Coral is quite a unique young artist in that she embraces analogue as well as digital in her music making. Using reel-to-reel tape, and performing with melodicas, she learnt to play piano on a keyboard that her parents bought her, before learning guitar, bass guitar, cello and all the other instruments she can now play.

Of her instrumentation she had this to say: “A lot of my music is me improvising with myself, so in that kind of way, a song will start off with a tape loop. I often when out and about record sounds that I like onto my ‘phone, and feed it into my tape player and cut a loop”.

In contrast to musicians who may have a goal, a vision, a definite purpose or dream, Coral seems to be an artist who improvises by using what surrounds her, what moves her and her creativity comes through by how she articulates her songs.

“It’s hard to define what being deliberate is. It’s not premeditated [her song-writing], I don’t think many things that I do are premeditated, it’s like, I’m just improvising with myself. I use the loop, and then as I’m playing the loop, something happens to it, and that might give me the structure of a sound or a song”.

And this is what is so appealing about The Silver Field: the music is very natural, it is heard as it was made, created and as it evolved. While the layers sound meticulous, they are constructed in a way that occurs as they were felt. Coral is in touch with herself, and her music seems an extension of that.

Certainly, speaking to her was a little bit like listening to her songs: it had both a calming and pleasing effect. Her music stands out because it is something needed in 2019. We all have such busy, hectic lives and we’re invited to take time out, to indulge in self-care and pause and reflect.

I can’t think of better soundtrack than ‘Rooms’ by The Silver Field to do just that, and it was both a privilege and a pleasure to meet the woman behind the music.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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