Stroud-based Low Chimes released debut album ‘Illumine’ earlier this month – the collection of ten boasts a far-reaching quality and a joyous contemporary flourish of folk, indie rock, and progressive textures. Obtaining great inspiration from the natural world and the vast landscapes that surround us, the four-piece has carefully crafted a sonic exploration like no other.
Join us for an exclusive look behind the canvas of lead vocalist Marianne’s adventures around the globe, for a photo blog that captures the beauty of the sounds expressed in the album, alongside the reflective ruminations that are articulated through the lyrics. Enjoy the full photo gallery below (don’t forget to click expand on each individual photograph to experience the journey in full) and continue scrolling for a Q&A with the band, as we delve deeper into the production process of ‘Illumine,’ and talk further on the band’s love for exploring.
Can you tell us a little more about the collection of images Marianne has shared?
They’re images that have inspired and been the setting for some of the lyrics and songs on the album, and places where some of the songs have also been written. I took the photos on my film camera in a few of my favourite places that I’ve been to and adventures that I’ve been on.
Nature is proclaimed as one of Low Chimes’ greatest influencers, what is it about landscapes and the vastness of Mother Earth that inspires you so much?
It never ceases to amaze and surprise me in how breathtaking and beautiful it can be. I love the sense of space and freedom it gives me, the thrill of being out in the elements, the changing of the seasons and the feelings that can stir and bring up in me, how the weather can often feel like it’s mirroring your feelings and vice versa, unfamiliarity and the excitement of new landscapes, and how small and insignificant it can make you feel.
Low Chimes play with metaphor very cleverly, which makes me wonder how this element of the writing process works? Is it a matter of searching out the right cover phrase to use, or is it simply an instinctual process?
More often than not it’s instinctual. I’ll generally write out streams of thought and ideas when I’m initially feeling inspired, then pick out my favourite phrases that I feel will fit well in the song. On luckier occasions, these phrases seem to arrive as I’m writing the melody as opposed to picking them out of my notebook, yet there are also times when the process is slower and drawn out, and more refining is involved.
Having now gone through the album making process, has it infused how you work together as a band at all?
Definitely, it’s been great to have a bigger project to sink our teeth into. A lot of the songs really began to take shape in the studio on this record, whereas the writing process now seems to happen much quicker and with more fluidity when we’re together, and the pre-production on songs for the next record seems to naturally be happening much earlier on in the writing process. Rob has also taken on more of a role as sonic director within the band since recording the album, as he came up with a lot of the sounds and parts on the record, and worked very closely with our producer Greg Freeman on these.
Out of all the countries you’ve travelled to, which place summons the strongest feeling in your mind?
I have a strong affinity with Sweden as my Mum is Swedish, so I feel a lot of nostalgia about it as I spent a lot of time there when I was younger, but I also find the scenery there to be really magical, particularly the lakes and forests. I’ve also become incredibly fond of the Lake District in this country. My Sister lives there so I go up to visit when I can. It feels like another world to me, and I’m always taken aback by its stunning mountainscapes, waters, winding walls and fells.
What is it about travelling that you enjoy the most?
The excitement of the unknown and not knowing what’s going to be around the corner, hiking and exploring new surroundings, the feeling of freedom, the different sense of perspective it can give you on many things, meeting new people, seeing such vastly different landscapes to those you already know, unfamiliarity, being out of your comfort zone, and missing home (in a good way).
What kind of journey will we be taken on through ‘Illumine’?
Hopefully a vivid one of different chapters joining together through a sense of different places and the exploration of them. This is reflected in the lyrics as well as the sounds, textures and sonic spaces we’ve made on the record.
Once the album has been released, Low Chimes set off to tour the UK. In each city, do you hope to go exploring?
Yes, we love to have a good wander about each place we play. Depending how much time we have to spare, this can sometimes involve just strolling about and taking it all in, enjoying the local beer, snooping around a market, visiting a museum or cathedral, and often trying to find somewhere to have a game of table tennis (Pete currently reigns as our table tennis king!) or go for a swim. The coldest swim I’ve ever experienced was when we went wild-swimming in Aviemore, Scotland in March on a tour once… Not sure we’ll be braving that one again!
The new album ‘Illumine’ is out now, via Bellow Records – and is available to Stream/ Purchase here.
Low Chimes will be touring the UK, October through December:
19 Oct – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
21 Oct – The Eagle Inn, Manchester
26 Oct – The Railway, Winchester
28 Oct – The Goods Shed, Stroud
5 Dec – Sebright Arms, London
6 Dec – Hope and Ruin, Brighton