Exciting performance from a rising star
We catch up with Rachel Croft before her upcoming show at Camden Assembly on October 15th, 2023.
You have an upcoming show at Camden Assembly, what can people expect to see and hear?
Oh it’ll be dramatic. I get very into it – a review from my last London show described me as the dictionary definition of a tempest, which I really liked, especially as so many of my songs mention storms and weather. That was a solo performance, so with my band it’ll be something really powerful, I think. I write rootsy alt-rock, and I draw a lot from cinema – my music’s been synced a few times on Netflix and the BBC – conjuring scenes in people’s minds is one of my favourite things about songwriting. If you like Hozier, Lana Del Rey or Florence and the Machine, I think you’ll like my show. I’ll be supported on the night by a couple of guests, including the incredible Tim Gerard, he’s also my lead guitarist for this show, so it’s going to be really cool. I cannot wait.
You have a close connection to Camden, having played some of the venues in the area in the past. Which have been some of your favourite shows?
Yes absolutely – I moved to London just over a year and a half ago just up the road from Camden and I’m so glad I’m here. One of my favourite shows so far was the Song Suffragettes writer’s round night in Camden Club, an export from Nashville which really showcased our music well, and it was ace sharing the stage with some incredible female songwriters. In general Camden has these amazing pockets of music community that are so rich in talent and are really open. I hold Spiritual Bar especially close to my heart because that was the first place in London I went to play for fun and my network of friends and musicians really stemmed from that place.
What is your songwriting process?
That changes a lot you know, but usually it starts with some chord progressions. Just recently I had this kind of revelation stemming from a couple of sources after some really bad writer’s block that lasted months. The first thing I always bear in mind now is to trust the initial spark of an idea and stop questioning it. If you thought it was good, it is good enough. Secondly, don’t spend hours and hours labouring over the first two lines. Get the words out, then come back to it if you need to. And thirdly watch and listen and read the chords, tunes, lyrics of your favourite artists. You’ll find them to often be simple you’ll read the lines and realise you probably wouldn’t have worded something so simply, and yet, it makes for incredible music because the meaning is there. I spent a lot to time unlearning overly clever lyrics, and stopping over-singing. Letting the story speak is so important.
How does the studio compare versus performing live for you?
They are so different for me! Recording is so fun to be creative with, and the possibilities are endless, the more I learn the less I think I know about it all. Sometimes it can feel so amazing, and sometimes you feel so impossibly frustrated that you can’t put what’s in your mind into the music. You should see the crazy charts I’ve made following instrumentation in the production of famous songs I like, all in the pursuit of making my music the best I can get it. It’s fascinating. Live is much more visceral, ephemeral, spilling over the edges. You don’t pour over it, it just comes out of you, imperfect but true. I can connect with the people in the room and feel the energy coming off them.
What are your musical plans for this year and next year?
I’ve been on a bit of a journey into learning about production and writing these last few months, so I’m thinking the near future is allowing those new explorations to form into a new body of work. Being a full-time independent artist and all the risks involved with that, I’ve never given myself the freedom to experiment to find out what exactly I want to sound like, I’ve never given my songs and masters chance to go wrong. Though this time of exploration has meant less releases, I’ve learned from it so much, I cannot even tell you. Now these new songs are coming together, and I’ve got a name for it, “A Mind Made of Sky”. Yep, weather again – but it will explore ideas around speculation and rumination, never being fully in the present. It evolves nicely from my last EP I think – I tend to write a lot about wide screen emotions, the paths we choose and the obsession with doing life “right”. Other than that, I’m currently booking another European tour and I hope to return to New York and Nashville, as both were amazing to play this June!
Get tickets here.