Last time we talked to Phildel in May 2013 when her brilliant debut album “The Disappearance of the Girl” was released. Then we discussed her path in music, relationships with London and all the best things, which the city has to offer. It’s been quite a while so we talk to Phildel 5 years later – about the things which matter to her now and her sophomore album “Wave Your Flags” due in March.
Thank you for finding time to talk to Gig Islands. What were these past 5 years about for you?
The last five years have been incredibly transitional. I wrote my latest album, and, most notably – became a Mother to twin boys, Dylan and Finn!
I’m looking forward to your sophomore album. Tell our readers about new music. What inspired it? How different is it to your first album?
This album was inspired by my journey to find the courage to voice the truth – to speak out about my experiences and ignore judgment, fear or insecurity in pursuit of living authentically.
Where was your latest video shot? Is there anything remarkable about this place/these places?
The video ‘Electric Heights’ was shot at Didlington Manor, an enchanting place of spell-binding beauty. The land and the manor are owned by a friend of mine named Fiona Dickson and she hosts Vital Danza retreats there – which is how I met her. Vital Danza is a movement based therapeutic practice comprised of various different exercises to help people gain a better feeling of connection with themselves and others.
As far as I know, you have moved to Brighton. Is it right? What influenced your decision to move there?
Yes, I moved to Brighton because I love so many things about this city. I love that it’s progressive, with a strong LGBTQQ community, that people here feel more able to be their authentic selves than might be the case elsewhere. As a mother to twin boys, I like to know that we live in a place where they can be themselves as they grow up. I love the independent shops, the general environmental awareness and care that’s common to witness on any given day. I love the choice of food – that it’s easy to find gluten free, vegetarian and vegan food here. The natural beauty of the rock pools, cliffs and The Downs has been important to my music videos too.
Does Brighton influences or inspires you as a musician in any way?
I think the sea has definitely influenced my music – I didn’t think it would but I’ve found, unconsciously, a lot of water imagery has surfaced in my lyrics… which I quite different to when I wrote “The Disappearance of the Girl” which I wrote living in the Chilterns, or more land-based valley region. It’s interesting how terrain and geography unconsciously shape these creative things. It makes me wonder what my music would be like if I spent a few months living on The International Space Station…
Would you say that Brighton is somehow remarkable in terms of music heritage?
Yes, some of the biggest acts in the world through history have performed live here in Brighton, which shows that historically, there’s always been a lot of support for music here… Through the 70s and 80s live music was abundant in most Brighton pubs. So, I think the history here has really supported the vibrant music scene of today – now there are a range of highly respected music academies and courses here, available from places such as BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music). It’s definitely a creative city.
What is the best music venue in Brighton? What is your personally favourite?
I have to confess, since moving to Brighton I have lived in the eye of storm of twin parenting… and haven’t managed a single night out. I always see amazing acts advertised at The Dome however, and I think that will be where I head once I’m able.
Brighton is a visually rich city with lots of street art spots. What is your attitude to street art? What kind of visual art touches and inspires you?
I think street art is brilliant and should be embraced more by communities and councils. I don’t think it’s fair to overstep the boundaries of property owners by decorating their property in ways that upset them. But I would love to see more designated spots for street art to be exhibited. If I owned property in the centre of town, I’d welcome street art artists to work with my space… but then, as a twin mother, I accept I have a pretty relaxed attitude to ”wall art” of all kinds!
As a mother, would you say that Brighton is a friendly city for children?
Yes, actually – this is a massive reason for why we’ll be staying here for a while. On one hand, there are loads of activities/groups/initiatives for children of all ages… but most impressively for me, every summer there are at least four open-air, FREE, swimming pools or fountain activities… that welcome the public to have fun and paddle. There’s also a lot of alternative education here, from Steiner to Buddhist to forest schools – which is great.
Do you think London is more or less comfortable for a mother with children?
I grew up in London myself, and whilst there’s loads of great places and things to do, I really am not a fan of the traffic, or air pollution there, which I vividly remember through my upbringing. I’m a lover of natural landscapes, wildlife and getting my children involved in nature and the seasons. I also think that if I lived in London I would have needed to be in full-time work very soon after my children were born, because the cost of living is substantially higher. I love Brighton because Chris and I can afford the balance of life that suits us as a family – both working part-time and spending the remaining time with our children.
What are the perfect places in and around London and Brighton to spend quality time with kids?
With London I would say the free museum’s are phenomenal for kids – and perfect since they’re within walking distance of one another, The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, and the V&A are all in South Kensington. In Brighton – I’d say summer is the best time to visit with kids – a play on any of the beaches, or the rock-pools of Saltdean… a walk through Stanmer Park enjoying a quick swing on any of the tree swings, followed by a meal. All great things to do.
What’s the next big thing in your music career that we should be looking forward to?
The release of my album, “Wave Your Flags”. I worked on this album for years and I’m incredibly excited to be releasing it.
Finally, would you like to visit Russia some day? As a tourist or on tour? What would be your expectations?
I’d love to come to Russia, either as a tourist or on tour… my interests would probably focus on arts and culture – I’d expect to be fascinated by the rich artistic cultural history and architecture of Russia.
Thank you very much for your answers!
Phildel’s brand new album “Wave Your Flags” is out on March 22.
The current singles ‘Electric Heights’ and ‘The Deep’ are out now.
Phildel plays The Purcell Room in London’s Southbank Centre on March 20th.
Read in Russian / Читайте на русском в Yandex.Zen