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All aboard the Davey train
After a storming appearance at the Eurosonic festival in Holland, Patrick Freyne talks to Cathy Davey about recording, redecoration and ill communication.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 04 Feb 2008
So what do you need to record? “Pro-Tools and a nice room and a half decent mic and that’s all I need,” she says. “I like technology, but I don’t really care what it’s recorded onto as long as all the other conditions are right. I had birds at the time I was recording, and I can hear them on about three tracks and that’s really nice to me. I like a bit of noise on tracks. It’s very natural.”
And because the material was created more organically, Davey’s also much more comfortable performing it live. Two weeks ago I saw her with her band playing in a small, full venue in the Eurosonic festival in Groningen. It looked like a mini school gym from the 1970s and before the gig, the enthusiastic compere ensured everyone (previously lounging around on the floor) stood up for his favourite act. It’s a culture lover’s festival with most people moving purposefully from venue to venue trying to make new musical discoveries, and a lot of people in the audience looked like they’d just made an important find. Davey’s learned to let the songs take over – she plays and sings with focused intensity, and her (excellent) band follow her lead with considerable energy and style. This is a new found confidence.
“I used to have a huge problem with performing but I’ve definitely overcome that now,” she says. “With the first album I was doing things because I had to and because it was expected and I really didn’t want to. I also realised that to be terrified of how you’re perceived is actually a real ego thing. I used to think it was a lack of ego... but ego is very complicated.”
She’s still not comfortable with some of the other things that go along with being a touring musician. She’s more likely to go to bed early to read or to draw, than to carouse into the wee hours of the morning with bandmates, fans and a big box of drugs. “No non-stop partying for me,” she says. “I sneak away. Some very interesting people have been addicts and it has been associated with a certain creative freedom with some people. But the obsession with drugs in rock 'n’ roll is a bit childish. I don’t like the touring lifestyle. Usually after a day or two of touring I start to feel really weird. I used to feel worried that people would think I was a shit when I didn’t hang out with them after a gig, but now I feel better about it because my friend is tour managing, and she’s kind of holding it down for me. I’m not too sociable. Especially on tour. I don’t know why. You’d think that you’d come out of your shell on tour, and get comfortable with people or something. But I start to feel really weird. I’ve always had that... I remember on school trips, if I went to the Aran Islands with my class and was with them for three days, the same thing would happen. After a day and a night – I’d start to be really strange around them.”