British singer/songwriter Aidan Tulloch releases his transformative EP Somewhere Without Lights. The five-track release takes listeners on a journey, starting right at the beginning of Tulloch’s youthful endeavours in Yorkshire.
We get to experience some of the musician’s most cherished memories of summer nights with his friends and the feeling of being completely invincible, with the whole world at your fingertips. As the EP goes on, we see Tulloch’s outlook on life mature, with his impressive classical violin and stunning, cinematic soundscapes. His music is quite unlike any other and will be sure to make an impression both on a sonic and emotional level.
From the raucous indie rock “Goalposts” to the peaceful, serenity of “Somewhere Without Lights”, the 20-year-old artist has cleverly composed an EP to resonate with listeners from all walks of life.
Culture Collide had the pleasure of speaking with Aidan Tulloch, touching on the inspiration behind the EP, how he’s been coping during lockdown and future plans.
Congratulations on the release on Somewhere Without Lights! How does it feel to finally have this out for the world to hear?
Thanks a lot Joe! It feels really exciting. Just so great to connect with people through words and music in a more extended and sincere way than a couple of teenage singles. But also it’s something of a relief too. It’s the first time I’ve felt like something I’ve released is a complete project and a true reflection of where I am, and what I want to say.
Somewhere Without Lights touches on a few themes associated with your Yorkshire youth. Do you think your music would have taken a different path entirely if you’d grown up elsewhere?
For definite. Every track is pretty much a Thirsk song in some way. Especially Goalposts, obviously, I mean, just look at the lyrics. And the riffs in the chorus and at the end were written by me and Luke Coupland in a practice room at Thirsk School when we were like 16. Even the decision to dig it back out was based off conversations I had in Thirsk Spoons. But then something like Santa Susanna, which came out of the excitement of travelling, or Milk and Orange Juice which is a really sleek, white wine/city lights kind of track, both came from those times when I was just so excited to be somewhere that wasn’t a small town.
“Milk and Orange Juice” is a really unique track, showcasing your skills as a classical violinist. How important is it for you to incorporate your classical training, along with more modern, electronic sounds?
I think it all works together and I find it hard to separate them. I did the classical grades stuff when I was quite young, so it completely shaped how I approach music. My favourite thing to do is to merge beautiful, organic pianos with a good quality electronic pad or bass track.
“Goalposts” has been aptly labeled as a throwback indie rock festival singalong – what does a live setup look like for Aidan Tulloch and after social-distancing rules ease, can we expect a tour?
This is something that I’ve got to work out. There’s a lot of production going on in all of these songs, and I really want to do this justice in a live setting. Likewise, it’s important to me that audiences get a band to interact with, rather than just some singer on their own with a backing track. It all depends on how this EP and anything else I release resonates with audiences over the next few months. Either way I’ll do some kind of tour in summer 2021. Maybe I’ll do some acoustic sets round hostels in Europe, or maybe it’ll be more of a traditional festival series. These kind of decisions will be made over winter — I’ll keep you posted!
Do you have a favourite track off the EP? If so, what is it and why?
One of the best things about this collection of songs is that each one is somebody’s favourite. It’s so reassuring that there’s nothing on there that isn’t doing something special for someone, somewhere. Maybe that’s because they’re all quite different — at least at first glance. Personally I couldn’t pick just one, because they’re all the sum of hours and hours of work, and of real lived experience. For what it’s worth, my favourite moment is probably the coda at the end of Song for Armageddon. But choosing just one song — I just couldn’t.
If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Again, it’s hard to choose. I think the pinnacle would be making a song with Billie Eilish and Finneas. Oh but then there’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner. I’m a huge fan of The National and a lot of that is down to the sheer musical talent coming from those two. I’d love to just go and have a coffee with one of the Dessners one morning in Stockholm or wherever and do something with an orchestra or some pianos.
How have you had to adapt in the past few months, in terms of connecting with fans and new listeners, especially during a new music release?
This is my first big release project, so I don’t know if it would have been different if it wasn’t for lockdown. But I’ve learnt so much anyway that it all feels quite new and exciting.
What has been your go-to isolation meal?
I’ve been lucky enough to have spent it in my childhood home back from uni, so the food, courtesy of my mum, has been phenomenal. I’ve also been cramming in another meal at about 2am when everyone’s gone to bed and I’m just sat watching some comedy on Channel 4 or Dave or whatever, and although that’s been less impressive on a culinary level, it’s still always been proper nice. A lot of olives, a lot of hummus, that kind of thing. Pancakes, the odd Twirl. Yeah, it’s all over the place to be honest but I like it.
What can we expect next from Aidan Tulloch?
There’s the big question. Short term, I’ve been curating a series of ‘official lyric posters’ with some designers and typographers, and I’m so excited to get that out there. Then, there’ll be videos and other promo content for this record. The hard thing is new music — I’ve got 7 or 8 songs on the verge of being ready, but I don’t know whether it’ll be best to do some singles, or some EPs, or even just one double EP to really set my stall out and get everything released so I can concentrate on spending a couple of years touring, collaborating, creating with a larger form project in mind, like some kind of album. The medium-term plan changes everyday and I’m essentially just feeling my way through for now. Whatever happens, I can promise it’ll be fun and filled with good tunes and good vibes, so stick around and join me for the ride!