Folk singer, songwriter and virtuoso fiddle player Seth Lakeman has been described as the “pin up boy of nu folk” and one of the “hottest talents on the British Folk scene”. Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize he has belonged to several musical ensembles but most recently established himself as a solo act and we are so excited that he will performing at Costa Del Folk, Portugal this October. Fiona McGuire managed to catch up with him this week and ask a few questions:
May I start by saying how excited everyone is to see your name amongst the headline acts at this October’s Costa Del Folk Festival. No doubt you are looking forward to a couple of days entertaining us all in Sunny Portugal, as much as we all are of seeing you.
We are very excited about coming over to Portugal for the festival next month. I’m bringing the family and we hope to hear great music and try some local food.
Clearly you and your brothers were raised in a very musical household. Can you tell us what it was like growing up in West Devon in a family so immersed in music and tradition and can you tell us about some of your early influences?
We have always been playing music. We spent the teenage years playing at the who’d have thought it folk club on West Dartmoor. It really helped us to become performers and we were able to see so many fantastic singers visiting the club.
You have named Tom Mc Conville ‘The Newcastle Fiddler’ as a big influence on your music and playing can you talk to us about your other contemporary musical influences?
Tom was a big help with the fiddle tuition. Others influences I used to listen to a lot include, Stephane Grappelli, Peter Gabriel, Tim Erickson, ACDC!
You have had a busy number of years gigging Seth, you have delighted audiences all over Europe, Australia and the U.S not to mention the countless Summer Festivals in Britain. Have you any stand out moments? Was there any particular venue or audience that made a big impression on you?
I’ve been lucky enough to perform in a huge number countries, I think the one that sticks out for me is playing in the waterside of Lake Malawi.
2014 saw the release of ‘Word of Mouth’, the 7th in what has been a series of bestselling Solo Albums from you. Like a lot of your work, this album draws heavily from your local landscape, culture and history. Can you tell us how you have unearthed some of the wonderful stories and heroes you write about in your songs?
I’m always on the lookout for a subject or character to write about. I love creating new so songs or passages. It felt on the last project that it could have continued for much longer. There are so many inspirational people to discover and talk to.
Your involvement in the hugely successful Full English project saw you collect two BBC Folk awards in 2014. Can you tell us a little about what it was like to be involved in such a wonderful Musical Collaboration and after all the success and plaudits it received, is there any plans for another album and tour?
The Full English was a fabulous way for me to discover the archive in more detail. It’s such a fantastic source to work from. I’m still working through many of the broadsides now. I’m sure it will continue at some point in the future.
Your work with your Brothers, both on your own and as part of Band ‘Equation’ have left a legacy of many fine recordings. I know you work a lot with Sean in the production of your Albums but could you ever envisage touring or recording with Sean and Sam again?
I’m sure we will get back together for various records and projects in the future. We always share ideas.
Your tour calendar looks hectic with plenty of tour dates throughout Britain and Europe. What are your plans for the year ahead, have you any interesting projects planned and can we look forward to another Album?
I’m working with three girl singers from Exeter called Wildwood Kin. I’ve written a record with them in mind and we’re waiting to find a date to record now. Hopefully a new record will be finished by the spring.
Finally Seth, I live in Dublin, a place you have visited a number of times in the past. In 2014 you played a blistering Set in St Michan’s church as part of the Temple Bar Trad Festival. A gig that was so good, people who were walking past the venue were drawn in by the High Energy Set. Have you any plans to return to play for your many Irish Fans?
I was only talking the other day about heading back for some smaller solo dates in the north. Hopefully by the spring I’ll be back over.
Thank you so much for your Time Seth, all that remains for me to do is wish you continued success with your Gigs over the summer and we are all very much look forward to seeing and hearing you perform in Portugal this October. Thanks and see you there.