Recently, we had the opportunity to have a chat with Welsh singer-songwriter Novo Amor, with conversation moving from his new album to the environmental aspects of touring. Suffice to say, it made for a very interesting chat!
You recently announced the release of a new album called Birthplace, slated for a released in October. What can you tell us about the album and the music it will contain?
Birthplace is my full-length debut. Working on this album has given me scope to be more experimental in my instrumentation, production, and songwriting, allowing me to explore ideas beyond those on my previous EPs. The album feels like a great personal progression into a more celebratory tone, while still harbouring the melancholic undertones present in my previous releases.
What is the title a reference to, and how did you come upon it? It’s quite an interesting one, and it sounds like there may be a story behind it.
The name – as well as the whole album really – calls upon the place and the era in which I started making music as Novo Amor. A lot of the songs reflect a celebration of moving on from the past, holding a candle to moments of my life that made me who I am and why I started writing music. There’s a lot of my past in this record; moments and places that I’ll never forget, moments and places that I see to be the birthplace of Novo Amor.
You recently released a video for the title track of the album, which contained a remarkably poignant message within it about the environment. What more can you tell us about that the track and the video? We’re assuming that preserving the environment is something very important to you?
The video was 100% conceptualised and created by the directors Sil and Jorik. Once I saw their treatment for the song, I couldn’t not go ahead with it. The track brings to light the issues surrounding plastic pollution in our oceans, a problem that’s growing every day. It’s an issue that I care about and I’m trying to make personal changes to benefit the environment, such as cutting down on any single-use plastics used on tour and working with charities to balance my carbon emissions produced from touring.
Do you think it is important to speak about topics like the environment and politics within music? Do you have any other political songs on the album? What are your thoughts on the shape of the world at the moment?
If you have the opportunity and the audience, I think it’s important to speak out on issues that you care about, whatever they might be. I personally haven’t made – and wouldn’t want to any politically-focused music. I love artists like Rage Against The Machine and Enter Shikari, who regularly have political messages in their music, but that’s not why I write. I think using creativity to bring these issues to a wider audience is great, hence why I’ve used a music video to highlight oceanic plastic pollution. The response and support for our environmental messages has been incredible. I’m seeing so many positive changes. My thoughts on the the world? We’ve fucked up our planet and we’re all going to die.
You worked with production duo Sil and Jorik on the video, as well as world renowned freediver Michael Board. What were they like to work with? Do you have any interesting stories from the shoot?
They’re all great people and super professional. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go on the shoot, but they made a behind the scenes video that shows their amazing process. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjtjX6pudhM&t=1s
You’re going on a European tour in October, with a few UK dates. Are you exited for that? Is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to going?
I’m really looking forward to visiting places that I’ve never played, such as Leeds and Glasgow. I’ve always had great shows in Amsterdam, so I’m looking forward to going back there. And it’s Halloween on that day so maybe we’ll dress up. We’re also playing two shows in London’s Union Chapel, which is surreal for me.
You have a date at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, which will be the nearest gig to us. Have you ever played there before? It’s a cracking small venue! Any chance of a gig in York anytime soon?
I have not, but I’m excited for it. Maybe one day there will be one in York, but I’m not going to lie… I can’t say there actually will be. I hear through friends it’s a really nice place though.
We noticed that you have been working with two very important charities (Julie’s Bicycle and Energy Revolution), in order to try and reduce the carbon footprint that the tour might produce. What can you tell our readers about those charities and what they do?
When artists tour we rarely consider the environmental impact of what we’re doing. We forget about the thousands of litres of diesel we burn across tens of thousands of miles, the plastic bottles and disposable cutlery we use once then throw away, and we don’t often stop to think about the inks and fabrics we use for our merchandise. To take a step in the right direction, I’m collaborating with two UK charities – Julie’s Bicycle & Energy Revolution – to limit the environmental impact of my work. An example of this will be to balance fuel consumption and Co2 emissions with the funding of projects that generate clean, renewable energy. We’re essentially giving ourselves a pollution tax which will help fund projects such as community solar power in the UK, wind power generation and reforestation in India.
If you’d like to read more about it, you can: https://www.novoamor.co.uk/sustainability
Why do you think people should come and see you play, and what can fans expect from one of your gigs?
I’m not forcing anyone, but you’ll have a good time. You can expect awkward talking between songs, loud noises and the person next to you to either be crying or falling in love.
Any last words for the fans?
You guys and gals are literally the best and I wouldn’t be here without you.
By Jane Howkins