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We spoke with Katy Pearson, the lead singer of up-and-coming brother-sister duo Ardyn, backstage on the first night of their debut UK headline tour. The band have been hotly tipped as ones-to-watch for 2017 by NME, DIY and The Line of Best Fit and are touring the UK this November in support of their second EP, The Valley.
How are you being back in Manchester? It’s not been long since you were last in Manchester supporting Wild Beasts, how was that experience?
Katy Pearson: Yeah, it was amazing! Yeah, that was a really exciting tour, I think getting the opportunity to play such big venues with kind of only just starting out, it was such a good experience for us. And to come back and to play to a crowd that’s coming to see us is really exciting. Yeah and hopefully tonight’s going to be a really good show!
You’ve partnered with DICE (a mobile, fee-free ticketing app) to sell tickets for this tour, do you feel quite strongly about ticket touting?
KP: Yeah, I feel it’s really wrong, ticket fees, touting, all that stuff. I think it’s important to have a fair price and I think all musicians feel the same, you want people to come to a gig that’s a good price where we’re getting payed and it’s not too expensive and for people to buy tickets and then charge a lot of money, it’s just not fair.
Your fellow bandmate Rob is your brother, so you grew up together, what made you want to form a band with each other? Why not with other people?
KP: I think for so long we just played music for fun at home and we didn’t really think anything of it, I was never actively like ‘I want to be a musician’, I just did it for fun because my parents did music. In a way, we did jam with other people but I think we knew there was something special with our being the same age and there was a connection there… so cheesy, but I think that meant we just really wanted to just play music with each other. It’s worked nicely.
Coming from Gloucestershire, did you have a rural upbringing?
KP: Yeah, I mean I lived in a town, but it was a very sort of country-farming-town really, so there weren’t many gigs going on at all, it wasn’t a very music-oriented place really, it was quite cut off from other music, so in a way I think that’s why me and Rob came out with a sound that’s different I guess, because we weren’t getting influenced by other acts in the area, because there weren’t that many! [laughs] I think it’s done us a lot of good to grow up in such a rural place, a bit of isolation is always sort of good.
If you had any influences in that environment, I guess it would’ve been your parents’ music, so did that have any influence on you?
KP: Yeah definitely! They were both kind of in bands in the local town just for fun, like covers bands and stuff, but they used to rehearse in our garage. We were brought up on classics like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and stuff, I didn’t really here about any new music until I was maybe 14 or 15? I had a friend who was like ‘Oh have you heard of The Maccabees?’ and I was like ‘No?!’ and I was like ‘OH MY GOD THIS MUSIC IS AMAZING!’ ‘cause I’d always listened to really classic, old music, so I found a whole world out there of music.
I believe you’ve worked with James Ford, of Arctic Monkeys fame, how was that?
KP: It was amazing, he’s such an amazing producer and you never know how things are going to work out and if you’re going to connect or not, but it worked so well and we wrote The Valley in the studio with him, well we wrote the song and he helped us to arrange it, but he really knew what we were about and he’s a really great guy to work with, so that’s been amazing. We’re back in with him in a few weeks, doing some more recording!
And did he give you any advice after working with these acts that have become so huge?
KP: I think the main thing is to be true to yourself and keeping to what you’re about, in the industry you feel the pressure, you can feel it even when there isn’t any. But on the other hand, it’s about being open-minded with what your music is about, you might say no to something and then you’ll go and work with someone and it’ll be amazing, so I think there’s two sides, you never know who you might connect with on a musical level.
The Valley EP was written mostly in Devon, in the countryside, so was that about getting back to somewhere like where you grew up? Or was the city stifling?
KP: I think at the time, we had been in the city so much and we went down to Devon, my dad was living there at that time, so we went back down there and I was like ‘Oh my god, I haven’t been in the countryside for so long!’ and I think it helped the songs to just come out of nowhere, Rob played guitar and I sang it and that was a song. That was a very simple inspiration I guess, just a valley.
Would you say there are many differences between the ‘Universe’ EP and ‘The Valley’ EP?
KP: I think The Valley EP was being a bit more ambitious with our ‘sound’, I think we were bringing in a few more electronic elements. The Universe EP was a bit more vulnerable in the way that it was recorded, on the second one we were trying to be more ambitious with what we’re doing, we want to keep the bar high and keep making better things.
And finally, do you have any plans for next year? Or is it all top secret?
KP: I think we’re going to release another single at some point and there’s stuff dropping in for next year, more festivals, online stuff… We’ll definitely be out there next year playing lots of shows!