Interview – Simple Sessions

Simple Sessions are a collaborative collection group based in the Leeds area – they recently released a new song for the holiday season It’s Christmas! which I loved. I was intrigued to find about more about the group, especially considering that they’re based in Yorkshire – find out more below!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new track titled It’s Christmas! What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased?

It’s Christmas! was written by Wayne Pollock, a local Leeds piano player and bandleader/songwriter, and Simple Sessions’ sax/piano player Jon Melville. The music to the song was a combined effort and Wayne wrote the words to the song, which Jon then mixed/mastered and released with Barehand Digital (www.bareha… We started writing the song early in 2021 in an attempt to get it finished in good time for the release. But, as ever, life got in the way and it took until around early November to finish it, leaving roughly 3 weeks to record and release it! We made it in the end though and are really pleased with the outcome. It’s available on all the major streaming platforms and can be downloaded/purchased on iTunes and Bandcamp – https://si…-christmas

Would you ever consider doing more Christmas/holiday songs in the future? How do you celebrate the holidays?

Writing a Christmas song was a first for us – it’s not something we had really planned to do but we thought about it this last couple of years and thought let’s go for it. It’s not to say we won’t write another, but we may well try to focus on some other original music initially as up to now (before It’s Christmas!) we’ve only released cover songs. Holidays for us generally involve a lot of relaxation and a break from all the hard work and rushing around!

Have you got any plans to release a full length album or an EP anytime soon?

As it stands we don’t have anything specifically in the pipeline but we have been toying with the idea of writing and releasing an EP of original songs this coming summer in 2022. Watch this space I guess!

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

In the case of It’s Christmas! the song was written in stages throughout 2021. During the first half of the year Wayne and I met more online (due to lockdown/measures against gathering together) using WhatsApp/Zoom and talked through/listened to ideas remotely – we would also play ideas on piano to each other through the video chat. As things eased up a little going into the summer we met up a few times to finish off writing the song which did help by being able to chat in the same room. In terms of recording, we managed to get the band (minus the singers) in a room together in Leeds, where Jon recorded the song using a remote setup. It felt really great to be able to play together in a room after all the recent restrictions. The singers were then recorded individually at home and Jon added the sax and extra percussion etc., also at home.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

At this moment in time we don’t have any specific plans, but we will probably look to releasing something in the not too distant future.

You’re based in Leeds. What is the music scene like in your part of the world at the moment?

Leeds has a great music scene generally. Venues such as Seven Arts, Sela Bar, The Domino Club and Hi-Fi always have loads of top bands and acts performing. As like everywhere else things have been hit by the pandemic, but venues have done an amazing job at carrying on as best they can and keeping live bands and shows going as far as possible.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

We are hugely influenced by a lot of Soul/R&B and neo-soul artists, in particular female vocalists. We have covered/released songs by Emily King, Kara Marni, Sinead Harnett, Laura Mvula, Dua Lipa and H.E.R. and also spend a lot of time listening to songs by the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Amber Mark, Jorja Smith, Lianne La Havas and Hiatus Kaiyote, to name a few. Some of the current male vocalists we particularly love listening to are Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei and Sam Wills, as well as producers such as Bonobo and Conor Albert who also influence us.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

In terms of playing, musicians and bands have been heavily affected by the pandemic. Simple Sessions were just at the stage of starting to perform live as the pandemic hit, as we’d played our first show in Leeds in January 2020. We were originally mainly set up as a recording project with accompanying videos which, as it happens, was something that became very popular for bands to do during lockdown, with many fantastic videos appearing all over social media. Hopefully as things open up more we can get out and about performing live again.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

We’re hoping to do a livestream in early January which would be an acoustic set and a much smaller setup (probably just guitar/vocal) and are considering putting together a live gig around springtime – this would of course be dependent upon any covid restrictions that may be in place at that time, something we have to constantly consider at the moment. Covid has really affected our plans for live shows and touring, but we hope this is something we can get back to in the not too distant future. Our show is generally a pretty chilled and relaxing affair, featuring some great musicians, so hopefully a pretty enjoyable experience!

Any last words for the fans?

We hope you have an amazing festive period and enjoy listening to It’s Christmas! on your favourite platform! Merry Christmas!

Please check us out on Instagram and if you like give us a follow @simplesessionsmusic