One of our musical highlights of last year was the "Mine Canary" ep released by Ivan Moult. With well crafted songs and a distinctive voice it was a mighty debut release. As well as his solo work Ivan plays with up and coming indi-pop band the School.
Can you give us a brief history of Ivan Moult's life so far?
A brief history of my life? Well I was born in Norwich and grew up in Suffolk but moved to Australia for a year on an exchange with my family in 97 when I was 8. Then came back and moved to live in Cornwall in 03 and came to uni in Cardiff in 08. Since then I left my course last November and have just applied to go back next September. I was brought up without a TV in the house and instead read a lot and listened to a lot of music mainly my parents blues folk and classical records which I think was a big influence on me. I've been playing guitar and singing in bands since I was 16.
You play guitar and sing and presumably get labelled 'singer song writer'. How do you avoid the clichés and come up with something original?
I do get labelled a singer song writer because that's what I am really. I don't mind the label just some of the preconceptions that sometimes come with it All I've ever done is write personal and honest songs about my life and thoughts. They may not be ground breaking, original or even interesting to most but my songs are an expression of myself. It's a kind of conscience cleaner for me. I'm not focused on being anything other than what I am and I hope it comes through in the songs.
What other singers and song writers have inspired/influenced you?
As far as other singers/songwriters are concerned I'm consciously influenced by people like Nick Drake and John Martyn, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin etc I like Folk Blues and indie pop!
Your songs are very personal how did your songwriting develop?
My song writing is a kind of therapy for me. Whether I'm happy, sad, angry or in love I always want to write songs about it. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I complete a song and the fun of building the parts to fit together or just improvising and fine tuning ideas into something slightly more coherent. I've been doing it since I started learning guitar in the first place, I never really wanted to learn other peoples songs when I could write my own.
You are involved in the bubblewrap community including label mates The School.
My involvement in Bubble Wrap Collective came about through the School and Rich Chitty. I joined the school last March/April time after meeting Liz at a gig she'd booked me for and she mentioned needing a guitarist. Being an opportunistic drunk I put myself forwards and things went from there. Obviously Rich drums in the School and we just got to talking about it on the first UK tour I did with them last winter and he suggested they release my EP which I was more than happy about! Its easy enough to balance it all because we're all mates and have similar tastes in music. The only real issue we have is rehearsal timing and work commitments but we always seem to get round it.
How would you characterise the music environment in south Wales in 2011?
The music environment in South Wales? I only really have experience of Cardiff and Newport but I think there's a lot of support for bands and I think Cardiff is one of the most friendly cities towards new bands I've been to. Whether it's on-line like yourselves or local music mags like MMP (miniature music press) there's evidently a group of dedicated music lovers out there working hard to make things great here for everyone involved. I can't really do it justice here but it's great being a part of it. It really feels like a community.
Last year you released the 'Mine Canary' how was that received and what impact has it had on you?
The Mine Canary was received really well which I was relieved about. I was genuinely dreading bad reviews or no reviews at all but everyone was really nice and it gave me a lot of confidence to continue and write more. I can't thank bubble wrap enough for doing it and putting their hard earned money towards it, it's made a big difference to my confidence.
Do you have any particular musical ambitions that you want to achieve?
I want to release an album with a full band and do a small tour and that's about it really. I'll give it my best shot and see how it goes. I don't think I'm going to be massive or ground breaking in any way shape or form but I enjoy gigging and writing so I'll keep doing it as long as I can or as long as people will listen at least.
What has been the best gig you have performed so far and why?
My best gig was probably my first 'proper' gig at Buffalo for Bethan Elfyn's old night at buffalo in November last year. So many of my friends came along to support me and it felt like such a massive step after all the time I'd spent writing the songs over that year. It probably wasn't my best sounding gig, but certainly the most memorable.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
My plans for this year are to release my album. I've been writing solidly for a while now and have the arrangements sorted and we've been regularly practising. So we're sorting out the recording logistics at present (finding money). I'm looking forward to it!
Mine Canary EP (2010)
Green Man Festival 2010
Jessica Lee Morgan
John Rostron's SXSW Highlights
The Leisure Society
Harry Franklin Williams
A Silent Film
OUR BROKEN GARDEN