Interviews

Q&A: Tallsaint

Leeds-based warehouse pop artist Tallsaint recently unveiled her glossy debut EP ‘Hard Love’. Combining a plethora of influences including the likes of Björk, Kylie and Sophie Ellis Bextor, Tallsaint explores the sounds of future pop with her glittering tunes. Recently supporting Self Esteem on tour and sounding like the lovechild of St. Vincent and Lykke Li, Tallsaint is an artist redefining what it means to be a pop artist in 2019. 

Hey Louisa, thanks for chatting with us. Firstly, ‘Hard Love’ is an incredible body of work for a debut EP – how do you feel now that it’s out in the world?

It’s very humbling to have a body of work out in the open and I hope it resonates with those who listen. I learnt a lot throughout the process of getting it all together in all aspects, so I’m delighted it’s now stream-able/purchasable, but so eager to use what I’ve learnt for new things now too.

What’s your favourite track on the EP?

Warm Skin. Reason: cats and bass synths.

How has your writing style changed since you first began writing?

Very much so.

My main instrument aside from using my voice to explore melody, rhythm and harmony, was guitar. When Tallsaint was in the conception stages, I had an idea of what sounds I wanted to go for with the collaborative help from my co-producer J O S H U A who was able to provide momentum with new sounds and styles. I was feeling that my comfortable means of writing with guitar wasn’t cutting it for me, especially in conjunction to the more beat/dance based instrumental that myself and J were coming up with. It could have been because what I was playing on guitar was a bit meh, or it could have been because what I was doing was quite familiar to me. The sounds I was using, the chord voicings I was playing. So, I decided to start really laying into my limitations which at this point was production. I’ve always been into production and exploring sounds and atmospheres, but in the past, I’ve not had too many of the tools that I felt I needed to explore it fully.

I think as my patience and my collaborative style grew, so did my knowledge for software and exploring elements of different styles. I think my confidence shot up as well. Just learning to trust the information/sound that you input into a track based on an emotive sentiment are great, and they don’t need to be perfected to the nth degree. Sometimes the first take will do because it’s amazing, or sometimes a sound will go wrong but it’ll make the track what it is. That’s a massive lesson I learnt through writing and collab-ing on this EP.

Are there any tracks that didn’t make the EP that you now wish were included?

No, I don’t think so. There were a lot of demos… a lot, from a certain period of time where most of the tracks for Hard Love grew from. And I guess there’s a couple from that time frame that I still really believe in. I’m into saving those though, as they are growing alongside me as an artist and writer/producer and now have the advantage of the blueprint that Hard Love has specified.

Your music is contributing to redefining pop music, what does pop mean to you today?

Thank u ♥︎  This is a great question. I’ll always think of pop music as limitless. That’s only something I think that has hit me within the last sort of… 5 years maybe.

‘Hard Love’ combines electro-pop, there’s some synth-pop work in there and a number of glorious indie-pop textures. What makes pop such a versatile genre?

I think at the core of pop music is fluidity and borrowing, and re-borrowing again to make something amazing and unique. Sound and atmosphere surrounding really great songwriting always extend and expand a songs purpose in conjunction with what an artist is about. So I guess similarly to above, it’s versatile because I believe you can decide what it is that you want.

You’ve built an all-female team around you, how important is it to work with other females in the industry?

Extremely important. I could write an essay, but I won’t. I guess I’ll just try to say as bluntly as possible that – breaking age-old presumptions of gender roles and attitudes in ALL ROLES across the music industry is everything. And doing it as part of a team moving into the future with a shared vision is also everything.

If there was one thing about the music industry you could change, what would it be?

Pre-conceptions.

Side Note – Can we quickly express our love for Gone by Charli XCX and Chris? If you could make your very own iconic collaboration, who would you choose?

I think I’d want to create a small group. So, myself and Alice (who plays in the live version of Tallsaint on bass/vocals + electronics, sidenote: is actually taller than me, so maybe even the real tallsaint) have staked our places. Then I’d invite Empress Of, Robyn and Max Martin (who might even ask Ariana to the studio sesh, I dunno yet).

Who’s your top 3 female artists you’re listening to at the moment? Anyone we should be watching out for?

I’m listening to Yaeji a lot at the moment, production is unreal on her tracks. I really like BANKS new album. Revisiting some Sugababes stuff circa 2000 – 2003, so great.

Where can we catch you live soon?

On the 3rd August at Humber Street Sesh Festival in Hull on the Main Stage, and on the 25th August at This Must Be The Festival in Leeds.

Thanks so much for talking to us!

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Featured image by Portia Hunt

Q&A: Tallsaint
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