Interview by Miriam C.
Irish folk songstress Wallis Bird is back with her new album “Home” out now via Mount Silver/Caroline. If her previous full-lenght “Architect” has narrated her life and relocation from London to Berlin, instead “Home” represents the continuation of her life and it’s dedicated to a special person and her muse: her partner Tracey. On this matter, she’s not afraid to expose herself for what’s really is and the cover album of her last album is an evident proof of this and when she get specifically enquired about the recent devolopment for the LGBT community in Ireland (and Italy), she offers a truthful but a harsh vision about the current situation.
Hello dear Wallis, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you?
I’m great! Thanks for asking, how are you?
I’m fine, thank you. So, Wallis, we’re here to talk about your upcoming album “Home”. Can you take us through its genesis?
Well, It’s been nearly two years of taking time off touring, slowing down completely, staying at home (which hasn’t happened since I was 19!) and getting up every day and playing music all day. It’s about domestic, relationship and team bliss. a Zeitgeist for the good times, considering how fleeting it can be. So I just set about putting a good vibe into every word and every note.
If on “Architect” you have celebrated your new life in Berlin, on “Home” you resume and you continue on by narrating your life epilogue. This time, which were your main influences and, personally speaking, how much hard it was to relocate from London to Berlin?
As soon as I decided to move to Berlin from London, I felt a huge inspiration come over me. I guess I was living under clouds for far too long in London. The vibe there wasn’t inspiring me at all. Yeah, then when I moved to Berlin I spent quite a lot of time dancing break up pains away and generally getting fucked up so I could forget my sadness. That’s when I met Tracey, who this album is primarily based upon. She is a hell of a force. She challenged my everything. So persuading her to be with me was a huge premise of “Architect”. I knew that if everything worked out with her I would call the album “Home”. Funnily, we moved into the apartment where we first met at a house party, so this album “Home” is cathartic, fucking prophetic for my life nearly! I knew what I wanted and I got it. So when that worked out, drawing out extreme gratefulness and simple pleasure was a mantra I wrote with throughout.
“Home”, as the press release states, can be “described as a ‘thank you letter’ to your muse and partner”. Probably the question can sound a little predictable and specious, but in which way did she helped you during the creation process?
By us constantly having fun, enjoying life, spending time together, going for walks, long conversations, beautiful fullfillment is what she gave me, so I reflected and lost a lot of anger I used to have, lost a lot of ego I had and generally became more in tune with kindness and calmness. Yeah, it’s a ridiculously thankfull record, but fuck it, I don’t care if people think that’s weak because I know that it took effort to feel this way, so I’ll take that!
“Home” can be considered a sort of a continuation (if you don’t mind me using this word) to your previous album “Architect”. Musically and lyrically speaking, which are the common traits that “Home” can partake with “Architect”?
Well, there is the happy ending feeling about the same love, so I feel that you can see me losing myself in “Architect” and searching deep within for “Home” because of a love that has taken me through this journey for 4 years of my life, so there is a frequential thread to that story within the sounds. If I am singing about the same person and feeling even stronger feelings along the road, well it will bring out a different side to me, but in the end I will always sound like myself!
One of the many definitions that “Home”‘s press release uses is (and I like it very much) “The singer’s raw, honest and confessional lyrics celebrate love in its purest form”. Taking this sentence as a cross-reference, are you able to delve into the lyrics included in your new album?
We’re into the 5th gig of this album tour and I have to say that I’m a fucking baby onstage, doing all of this has me feeling so powerful and so moved that I’m fairly ecstatic and overexcited a lot. But it’s all positive.
For “Home” you have decided to be the main producer along with the help of your fellow friend and long-time collaborator Marcus Wuest. Why have you decided to have more a central role as producer, this time?
It just made more sense and it was a very natural progression. I was moving away from studio time and I was enjoying being on my own more with the last record “Architect”, which made recording kind of horrible for everyone, so once I moved into a new flat with my girlfriend and we had plenty more space, I set up my home studio and just worked away by myself. Everyone saw that what I was doing was better by being on my own, so I just did as much as I could before bringing anyone else into the songs. I was 70% finished on the record before I started opening up to Marcus and the band. They were actually much happier with it as it made everything so much more streamlined and less questionable and I was more chilled and open to suggestion.
“Change” was the first single that introduced “Home”. What insight can you share about it?
It’s a thank you to my team and the people who’ve supported me on this whole journey till now. I’ve had a lot of changes throughout my career and I’ve been mad lucky to be allowed to chose my own choices. It’s basically saying now I have everything I could possibly need and I’m reflecting and saying thanks for that.
Now, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane and bring you back to your 3rd album “Wallis Bird” because it represents a stepping stone in your career since you went to be signed onto a major to a little independent label like Rubyworks. What led you to opt for this solution and how did this affect your musical universe?
It affected me greatly, I got to know my work ethic and my team much closer, we fought harder, we enjoyed the ups and downs together, and there not pressure to try be something sellable or fuckable or whatever the fuck. It’s more my style to be able to have real open talks with whoever I’m working with and you can’t really do that with a major label as there seems to be more pressure on commerce than art unfortunately in my experience. I also like the fact that you’re your own boss so there’s no one else to blame if shit hits the fan, so being independent is a driving force as well as a huge educator.
Back in 2015, in Ireland the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015 was signed into law and practically allowing both marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. It’s not the place nor my position to make personal assumptions (although those who know me closely can totally affirm that I’m quite passionate about the LGBT cause), but which is your general point of view about this matter counting that Italy too (my country of origin) was one of last EU country to approve a same-sex couple bill?
I think Ireland had a fight to break away from the Catholic Church’s death grip, after all the abuse and disgusting things that affected millions of people in Ireland alone, so the referendum outcome was a huge fuck you to the church and a very ‚old’ way of Ireland and that was very much needed. The whole referendum process was thankfully coming from a really kind and loving perspective, so it was extra special because of this. I think if catholisism wasn’t based in Italy and wasn’t such a tourist draw and wasn’t so deeply ingrained in the tradition, people would be ok with showing their love on the streets and not hiding it like we did in Ireland for such a long time. But as far as I can see catholisim is in it’s final straws, and people should just fucking love their partner and expose their true loving self, and we should support each other doing it.
So, Wallis, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thank you too for your time, this was a really enjoyable interview! Hello to everyone reading this, take care of yourself take care of your loved ones, be yourself, be kind, have some fucking fun! xxx