Indietracks interview #16: Without Feathers

Interview by Claire Walker

Without Feathers are a wonderful trio comprising of, Emma Kupa from Standard Fare, Nat Johnson from Monkey Swallows the Universe and singer/songwriter Rory McVicar. The music is beautifully gentle and charming but is really only best explained by listening (and purchasing?) the ‘Three Songs’ EP on their Bandcamp page. This is definitely one band to watch.

Hello Without Feathers, thank you for taking the time to take part in this interview. How did you three of you meet and decide to form a band?

Emma: I met Rory through Nat and loved both their music as soon as I heard it.

Nat: I’ve known Rory since my Monkey Swallows the Universe days when I invited him up to Sheffield to play with us and we’ve been friends ever since. And Emma and I were introduced through a mutual label – Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation (RIP). When Rory got in touch about organising a gig in Sheffield earlier this year, I suggested Emma get involved too, and then instead of the three of us sharing a bill, I had the not-so-crazy-after-all idea that we could actually form a band. And they said yes.

Rory: Yeh, Nat’s definitely the glue that holds us together! I’ve known her for years, and we’ve played in each others solo records in the past, too. She put me on at the Grapes in Sheffield a few years back. Standard Fare played an acoustic set that evening and I thought they were fantastic. I was surprised when I took the record home and discovered they were usually an electric band! Since then we’ve all played gigs together and become good friends.

You named the band after a Woody Allen book, what is the reasoning behind this?

Emma: Nat? I was recently bought the book and it’s a good read! Much more off the wall than we are.

Nat: Aye, I’m a fan, and when I first read that one I remember thinking it would be a great name for a band. And we didn’t have any better ideas!

Rory: I think at the time we had a working title of ERN. Just imagine the kind of music we would have made under that name. It would have been awful!

The ‘three songs’ album is beautiful was it intentional for each of you to take turns in being lead vocalist?

Emma: Thanks! It probably makes sense to split things equally as we all have massive egos! 😉

Nat: We do have songs where the vocals are shared too, and are working on more, but I think this was a nice way to introduce the band to people who know us from our previous ones. Also, because we all live in different parts of the country, we’re emailing each other songs and then putting our own mark on them. It’s more difficult to write fully collaboratively when you’re rarely in the same room.

Rory: Emma’s right – it’s definitely the egos.

What can we expect from your Indietracks performance?

Emma: Smiles and songs played with heart by friends.

Nat: What she said 🙂

Rory: Bone-crunching riffs.

What solo surprises do have in store for us Emma?

Emma: No idea yet. I’m playing on the train so I want to be loud enough. My instinct is to play requests so a bit of solo/bit of SF, and some new stuff.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Emma: We’re playing some gigs over the summer and writing more. Seeing where the tide takes us.

Rory: more gigs / more songs and also the potential of a DIY release later in the summer.

Many thanks for taking part, looking forward to seeing you at Indietracks!

three songs by Without Feathers