July 27, 2014
Alongside everything that’s been going on for the past few years, I’ve also had a side-project brewing away…
It’s called Vena Portae and it’s a Swedish/Anglo/Aussie collaboration with Swedish producer/engineer/multi-instrumentalist Ruben Engzell (who, incidentally, produced my first solo album Photos.Fires.Fables.) and English theatre maker/songwriter Dom Coyote. Jesper Jonsson, also from Sweden, will join us for the live shows and also appears on the record.
You may remember me blogging about some songs I wrote with Dom over three years ago, which is where I first mentioned the Vena Portae name. Vena Portae means ‘vein portal’ in Latin; it’s a short vein that carries blood to the liver. As we were writing the songs, we were finding inspiration in ideas of roads, rivers, creative openings, connections between people, places and life force, which is how we came by the name. It really does have nothing to do with drinking alcohol. Honest.
In the winter of 2012, Ruben, Dom and I visited the tiny Swedish town of Mölnbo just outside Stockholm. We found ourselves snowed in (like most of northern Europe at that time). With little else to occupy ourselves, we decided to build a make shift studio in the study of Ruben’s parents’ house. We filled it to the rafters with analogue equipment, spring reverbs, electric guitars, banjos, pianos and an array of weird and wonderful instruments. Over the space of the next twelve days, we set about recording some of those songs that Dom and I had started over a year before. And we wrote some new songs too. And the result: a treasure trove of songs, inspired by heartbreak, passion, and intrigue, which together make up the album we are now about to release: Vena Portae.
Vena Portae is our debut album and we’re all incredibly proud of it. It comes out on August 18th and you can pre-order it (along with some limited edition special bits and bobs) HERE.
Our good friend Brett Harvey made this rather wonderful little video to accompany our first single ‘Summer Kills’ – he used the original album version of the track, though the single now available on iTunes is the super cool remix by Peter Morén of Peter, Bjorn and John.
I really hope you enjoy this music as much as we have enjoyed making it – and for those of you close enough, we hope to see you at one of our summer shows (see below).
Very best wishes,
Vena Portae tour
15 Stroud, The Goods Shed
16 Dermot O’Leary – live Radio 2 session
17 Beautiful Days Festival, Devon
18 Cheltenham, Rise (FREE instore show, 2pm), Worcester, Rise (FREE instore show, 5pm)
19 Bristol, Rise (FREE instore show, 6pm)
20 Kingston, Banquet (FREE instore show, 6pm)
21 Southsea, Square Tower
22 Marlborough, Sound Knowledge (FREE instore show, 6.30pm)
23 Lewes, Union Music Store (FREE instore show, 3pm), Bexhill, Music’s Not Dead (FREE instore show, 6pm)
24 Purbeck Folk Festival
25 Winchester, Swiss Cottage
26 Birmingham, Kitchen Garden Cafe
27 London, Green Note
29 Durham, Old Cinema Launderette
30 Manchester, Castle Hotel