‘Country bumpkins at heart’: Alt-pop duo Meadowlark excited to share new EP with Manchester’s Sound Control

Following a jam-packed 2014, Bristol-based melancholic alt-pop duo Meadowlark are back in Manchester to showcase their new EP Dual in a support slot with Amber Run at Sound Control.

The last 12 months saw the dynamic duo, made up of Kate McGill and Daniel Broadley, launch their enchanting debut EP Three Six Five, headline their own tour, and perform with well-known names such as Elvis Costello, Natasha North and Bastille.

MM caught up with singer-songwriter Kate to discuss creative influences, touring and the recent reaction to Dual.

“The reaction so far has been really incredible. We’ve had these songs for so long that it is a relief to finally get out and play them for everyone and hear what people think,” she said.

“The record is new for us to play and it is still really exciting. We love singing the songs and love playing them for people and so we are confident about the new EP. It is a great feeling.”

Kate, who previously gained a following covering famous pop songs on YouTube, described how the past year had been a whirlwind in her new band.

“Headlining our own shows last year was an incredible experience – we weren’t expecting that many people to come,” she said.

“We play the songs because we love them, and to get such a great reaction from other people when they hear them really is incredible.

“We always have a really good time in Manchester and are looking forward to meeting fans of our music in the North.

“It’s always amazing to see how supportive people are of us and pay money to come and see us and we’re excited to show off this record next.”

Dual shows a rich development into a bold, electronic sound – whilst maintaining Kate’s same spine-chilling and evocative vocals as harnessed in their debut offering.

It feels like a transition that the pair are comfortable and confident with, and what emerges is a powerful, emphatic and altogether beautifully produced bit of music.

Hailing from Bristol, a city known for producing sound characterised by sparse instrumentation, melancholic vocals and throbbing basslines (think Massive Attack), we asked whether this influenced Meadowlark’s own musical leanings.

“We grew up in Plymouth and have been playing in Bristol, and it is fair to say we draw inspiration from all of our influences and experiences,” she said.

“But Dan and I are country bumpkins at heart and get more out of going away to remote places in the countryside.

“We have a special place in Devon that we go to – we’re talking no phone signal, no Internet, nothing. We just sit, and write, and play.

“Dan and I are very much on the same wavelength musically; when we write together it happens very naturally and nothing is ever forced.”

Meadowlark take their name in part inspired by the Fleet Foxes song of the same name and in part by the warbling songbird itself.

With a birdsong described as ‘melancholic whistles’, the name is in fact remarkably fitting – demonstrating a thoughtfulness and attention to detail that doesn’t just exist in their music.

With Kate’s echoing, almost ethereal vocals, teamed with Daniel’s subtly popping and incredibly catchy rhythms, the band have fallen subject to inevitable comparisons to the likes of London Grammar, Gabrielle Aplin and Nina Nesbitt.

The duo somewhat unavoidably tend to be placed somewhere within an increasingly prevalent alt/folk/pop genre, however Kate is not one for pigeon-holing.

She said: “Our sound definitely started off more folk-y and this EP is more electronic, but we have never tried to manipulate ourselves, it’s more of an organic development as we experiment with what we like.

“Obviously its natural to draw comparisons, and it can be a compliment – if it means people like us then that is great!

But we much rather people listen to our songs and make up their own minds on the music rather than trying to find a category to put us in.”

But finding like-minded people in the musical world can have its advantages. Like Ant West, of ‘Oh Wonder!’ – one of the duo’s favourite bands right now, producing their second EP, ‘Dual’.

“Dan and I are massive fans of [Ant’s] band, ‘Oh Wonder!’, so it was great to have his creative input on our record.

“He is really talented and akin to the sound that we want to produce.”

Talks of a full-length album were mooted by Kate – news that will be music to the ears of eagerly-awaiting fans.

“There is actually a full length release in our sights, though the word terrified me at first personally,” she said.

“But we are writing all the time, demoing all the time and playing all the time – at the same time we are growing and enjoying where it takes us.

“So yes, that is on the horizon.” 

Kate’s enthusiasm for the band’s music is enchanting and utterly infectious – much like the hook to their song ‘Eyes Wide’, which we have had on repeat since its release. 

On expressing our love for the track, and urging the pair to keep up the good work, Kate responded: “I could never think of this as a job, it’s too much fun!”

You can catch Meadowlark supporting Amber Run in Manchester at Sound Control on Thursday 30 April.

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