O' Hooley & Tidow interview
Ahead of the gig next week, Heidi Tidow gives us a bit of an insight into their current album The Fragile and the music that inspires O'Hooley & Tidow.
How did you come up with the concept of The Fragile?
It wasn’t originally intended to be a concept album, in that we didn’t have a set idea when we started writing the songs. However, it was after writing ‘Mein Deern’, which is a song about the dying hours of my grandmother, which starts with the words ‘The fragile hours pass quickly...’ that we came up with the title. Then it just seemed to make sense, and we realised that all the songs were linked by the common theme of vulnerability.
Is there a similar sense of vulnerability present in your first album, Silent June?
Yes, definitely. We are both interested in writing about people or subjects that are not always talked about, or are on the fringes of society. Silent June had a darker edge to it, there were songs about ageing and mortality and the fragility of humans and nature, and human nature. The new album is a progression from Silent June, yet is slightly lighter in tone.
When did you both perform on stage together for the first time?
Not long after we met in 2005. I was performing solo at the time, and had a gig at our local music venue in Huddersfield - Belinda accompanied me on piano and drums, even though she can’t really play the drums! We then did a few gigs, where she backed me, or I backed her, but didn’t really start performing ‘seriously’ together as a duo until about 2008 when we did the Bridlington Musicport festival, and were absolutely bricking it! It went well though, and it sort of launched O’Hooley & Tidow.
You recorded Silent June and The Fragile at your home in Golcar, why record both at home?
Yes, we bought our own equipment in 2009 to record Silent June, and then The Fragile in 2011. Belinda’s really good with technical stuff, and I’m slowly learning, and we wanted to record in a relaxed environment where we wouldn’t be under time pressure. Plus it means that Belinda can record with her own piano which she knows and loves.
How did the writing and recording of both your albums differ?
For Silent June, we wrote about half the songs together, and the other half were songs from Belinda’s back catalogue. We wrote and arranged all the songs together for The Fragile, so it feels like a more cohesive piece of work than Silent June, and we feel we’ve both developed as songwriters and musicians since then. The first time was quite a learning curve, but by the second album we knew what we were doing a bit more, and really enjoyed the whole experience.
After you complete your country wide tour what are you most looking forward too as a band?
Going to the pub! The tour doesn’t really stop, we’ve got lots of bookings through out the year, and have lots of plans for 2013 too.
Will you be hitting any festivals this summer?
Yes, we’re really excited as we’re doing Cambridge Folk Festival for the first time this year as O’Hooley & Tidow. We’re also playing at Larmer Tree, Bristol, Towersey and many others. Plus Belinda will be accompanying Nic Jones and his son Joe at Cambridge, Towersey, Warwick and Cornwall festivals.
What are you both listening to now?
We’ve just got Irish singer Cathy Jordan’s new album ‘All the Way Home’ which is really beautiful, and makes us both cry. And also the new one from Spiro - Kaleidophonica. They are the finest instrumental band I’ve heard in a long time.
Memories of Cecil Sharp House?
We had a great time there at the Nowt As Queer As Folk event in 2010 alongside the wonderful Roy Bailey, Tom Robinson, Sam Lee and lots of other LGBT performers from the folk scene. We also supported Jackie Oates there that year too. We’re really excited to be doing our first headline concert here next week.
Musical hot tip – who would you recommend we listen to?
Patsy Matheson’s ‘Stories of Angels and Guitars’ is sublime.
That’s easy - Spiro! Though not sure they’d want to work with a couple of daft Yorkshire puddings like us...
Don't miss O'Hooley & Tidow perform at Cecil Sharp House on Wednesday 25 April. Tickets available here.