INTERVIEW: Dream-folk band Constant Follower


Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks. Yeah, very good. Cooped-up inside for the last week working on some music for one of our friends Scott William Urquhart. Beautiful dreamy finger-picked guitar. Not far off what we’re doing but very stripped back.  

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Set Aside Some Time”?

Folk are feeling that the single is an ode to something missing. I was reading Portuguese poets around that time and came across the word ‘Saudade’, which kind of describes that pain you feel when something you loved has ended or gone, but at the same time you have this happy feeling for the thing that is missing. Good word. I didn’t write the song about this but it kind of happened around the same time and I think the words aptly fits the song. It has melancholy, yet hopeful and gently rousing message that things won’t always be the way they are now.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was the victim of a pretty horrendous attack when I was younger which left me with memory damage where I couldn’t remember my childhood… and various other things which continue until today. I didn’t consciously write the song thinking about this. But a big event like this creeps into your songwriting whether you mean it to or not. My songs come out like I’m unravelling a scroll – I don’t write them with intention. So it always takes me a while to work out what they’re about.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The film maker, Martin J. Pickering, is a childhood friend of mine. We’ve done various things together, and been in a lot of… situations together. So we had fun filming it. It’s mostly shot on super8 and I think Martin’s intention was to recreate the memory of a childhood we had together. It’s a pretty big departure from his usual high-production value work, but I think the grittiness and woozy feel really fits the mood of the song.

How was the recording and writing process?

We recorded in Glasgow with Johnny Smillie of Thrum at the desk. He’s got a lot of stories! We were in this little cavern of a studio called La Chunky, and he’d disappear for a bit and come back out dragging some beautiful old rare synth behind him. It’s a space where you can be very creatively open. I brought the recorded tracks back to my studio to mix them though. I needed the time to sit with them and discover what they needed.

What role does Scotland play in your music?

Space. A Polish writer termed our music ‘Scottish Expanse’, and I think I understand what she meant. There are no drums in any of the tracks – the rhytym comes from my acoustic guitar picking. So all the tracks feel quite open. When I visit other places in the world, I notice how little of the sky you can see. I’m talking about in cities. Scotland doesn’t have that high building thing. You can always see the sky. And I think you can hear the sea in the songs as well. I spent a lot of time by the sea when I was recovering. There are so many sounds. Your brain tunes them out but sometimes it can be deafenening if you let yourself notice them.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

The single is the first release form our debut album ‘neither is, nor ever was’ which will be coming out in October. We’re just finishing the mixing at the moment and then off to mastering. We have some beautiful artwork by the US artist Seonna Hong.

Any plans to hit the road?

I don’t think anyone will be doing gigging here for quite some time.

What else is happening next in Constant Follower’s world?

The next single will be out in early August. So we’re gearing up for that now. In the meantime, we have some collaborations that we’re working on at the moment and I’m trying to persuade Kurd (Andrew Pankhurst our guitarist) to record an album of songs he just let me hear which are really pretty special. Definitely some interesting things coming over the next few months.   

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