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Her Name is Calla - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 24 / 1 / 2013

Her Name is Calla - Interview


Anthony Strutt talks to cinematic Leicester-formed group Her Name is Calla about their diverse sound and as-yet-untitled forthcoming third album

Her Name Is Calla are a cinematic-sounding group which formed in Leicester in 2004. They have been through various line-ups, but currently consist of Tom Morris on vocals, guitar, and piano; Sophie Green on violin and multi-instrumentalist Adam Weikert mostly on drums but also anything else he can lay his hands on. They have released two albums to date, ‘The Heritage’ (2008) and ‘The Quiet Lamb’ (2010) as well as various EPs and singles. They are currently working on an as-yet-untitled album, which will come out in the spring, and have recently released ‘Ragman Roll’, the first single from it, which is limited to 500 7” vinyl only copies. Pennyblackmusic spoke to the band before they recorded some drum parts for the new album at the downstairs cafe bar at the Crumblin' Cookie in Leicester. PB: Was Her Name Is Calla your first ever band? TM: Sophie and I have both been in other bands. AW: It's my first band. SG: It's my first band where I’m not just helping out with the strings. TM: I have been in bands since I was fourteen. They were all terrible (Laughs). My dad has the proof. He has got the full Tom Morris back catalogue, going back to all those little cassette tape things. He has threatened to upload them at some point (Laughs). PB: Why did you choose the title Her Name Is Calla? Is Calla a girl's name? TM: Calla is a girl’s name, but it is more often the name of a flower. It is difficult to describe why we chose that name. I guess that the only answer I can really give is that it is a band secret. PB: How would you describe your music? To me it is like country rock or Americana. AW: That is a new one. TM: I think that is the first time that someone has said that. AW: We would say that we are a post rock act, but that is because wrote one long song once (Laughs). TM: A lot of our stuff is vocal-led, especially the newer stuff which we will be releasing later this year. It has become increasingly more acoustic-based which is how we started out really. The band started out with me on acoustic guitar doing aimless jams. Then we started playing around clubs in Leicester, and in doing that a few songs started to materialise and over time to develop. PB: Would you say you are a Leicester band then? TM: I think so because this is where we formed. We played our first gigs here, and it is where we keep on coming back too. PB: What was the original plan for the group? Did you have one? TM: We didn't really have a common listening ground, between any of us. PB: Which is probably why your sound is so diverse... TM: Yeah, we didn't have anything we were trying to achieve. We were just making music for ourselves basically, and as you do that you grow. The next thing is we were like, “Let's put this onto a CD.” And that is how the first album happened, and then you listen back and say, “We can now do this a bit better.” And that is how a band grows. After a short time people left, and so we decided to make our sound grow a bit. That is when we met Sophie, and by then we had met Adam as well. PB: Did that make a difference to the sound? TM: It did bring in some talent, and allow us to do arrangements with different instruments that we wanted to use. Then we grew again. After all we never did have a direction. We had an idea of what we wanted to do. We had some little plans. PB: Have you achieved any of those plans? TM: Yeah, in 2004 we would never have thought that we would be able to travel. The furthest that we thought we would have done is the odd gig in London, but we have been to the Ukraine and back, and we flew to Athens. PB: Having seen you twice now, I would have thought that by now you would be playing bigger venues in your home town and filling them up too.. TM: We have done gigs here which have been better than others. I do recognise faces that have been going to our shows since 2005, and are still coming back and hearing the same old songs. We are really lucky to have a loyal fan base, which has expanded over the years. PB: What would you say are the band's collective influences collectively? Tom, your vocals remind me of Thom Yorke’s from Radiohead. TM: I can't really take offence at that. If you have grown up listening to John Lennon, you naturally take on your main influence. When I was fourteen or fifteen, I was listening to a lot of Radiohead, so of course they are an influence. I would say our influences are, however, less music and more everyday stuff. SG: Our music reflects our day to day stuff. Each album or EP is a reflection of how we were then. AW: If you listen to ‘The Quiet Lamb’, you might, for example, think that my drumming sounds like that of the band Volcano, which I was listening to a lot of at the time. PB: You have released a lot of self-releases. Was that fun to do or simply necessary? TM: It was a bit of both. It was to get the music out there, especially early on. PB: Was ‘The Quiet Lamb’ your first proper album? TM: We had an album out called ‘The Heritage’ first. That was our first album, and it came out on the Leeds-based label Gizeh Records where it sold out. We then moved to a German label Denovali Records who wanted to do a vinyl pressing of ‘The Heritage’. We stuck with them for a few years, and they also released ‘The Quiet Lamb’ in 2010 and ‘Maw’, an EP, in 2011. ‘The Quiet Lamb’ is our ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’. PB: Would you say it is prog or psychedelic rock then? TM: No, it is just really long. SG: It was a labour of love really. PB: So how is the new album coming along then? TM: It is going really well. PB: Are you finished? AW: We have not finished recording it yet. Some of the tracks are completely done, but because we all live so far away from each other it is taking time. SG: Tom lives in York now and I am in Manchester. AW: I am still here in Leicester. TM: But we all live together on the internet because a lot of tracks are going back and forth (Laughs). We try and stay away from random gigs and just do tours as it gets far too expensive otherwise. We haven't had an excuse to tour because we haven't had anything out. AW: We all do solo stuff as well.. PB: Your music is very cinematic. Have you done any videos? SG: We have a friend who is an animator, and she did one for her university project which looks amazing. It is all hand drawn too. TM: It is a stunning video and she did it off her own back. It was a song that was a B-side and that was going to be on the next record. It is in three parts and about twelve minutes long. She did the middle bit and it took her four months. SG: And she won an award for it. TM: She is something of a workaholic. She is a fan of the band as well and a good friend too. She shouldn't be doing it because she got too much on, but she has been texting me saying she has got ideas for the first and third part. There have been a few other videos over the years. PB: Do you all have day jobs too then? TM: Yeah, but we all have quite flexible jobs. Sophie has her own company. PB: When will the new LP come out? TM: In the spring time, April maybe. It will last about an hour, and hopefully be more folky and acoustic-based. PB: Thank you.

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Her Name is Calla - Interview

Her Name is Calla - Interview

Her Name is Calla - Interview

Her Name is Calla - Interview

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Her Name is Calla - Interview
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