Playing the name game - Louise Connell on identity, art, and the power of the music fan
What’s in a name?
For singer Louise Connell it’s complicated – the Lanarkshire-based singer having previously gone under the Reverieme monicker.
“I hated the sound of my own name, the consonants in ‘Connell’ are a really sad sound,” she recalls, “so I used a different name for the music. it was Reverie for a while but lots of other bands were called Reverie, so, ‘Reverieme’."
However, she’s now come full circle, taking on her own surname again.
“‘Reverieme’ isn’t a word, so when people read it they’d say ‘re-very-mee’! she laughs.” Inconvenient for an artist getting almost constant radio airplay in Scotland.
“It was always just me anyway,” Connell points out.
So working with a songwriting team - something that even our own Nina Nesbitt and Lewis Capaldi do regularly - might not be an option?
“I like the idea of writing FOR other people, we’ve toyed with that idea before, we spoke to our publishers – perhaps country music or the Korean market, which I always thought would be a fun challenge.
“But with people? I would maybe try it but I don’t think it would work for me, I need to be completely alone, co-writing would really clash with that way of writing that I have.”
It seems that the new record – three years in the making – marks a difference in sound, and despite being ‘solo’ now, has a fuller band feel to it. And as well as being rathercuriously named, also has a complex background.
‘Squall Echo Rale’ – a mammoth 19 tracks – takes its name from the three EPs it compiles, which appeared over the three years since Connell’s 2016 album ‘Straw Woman’. Things were coming along nicely, until disaster struck. Crowdfunding website Pledgemusic went bankrupt with many artists, including Connell, losing the money fans had paid upfront for the new releases. Including the final EP in the series, and of course the new album.
Fortunately her “incredibly generous” fans came to the rescue.
“We had people coming onto Bandcamp (a website which pays artists directly) and buying small items like an EP, but spending £30 or £40 on it, just to help out, as we’re putting this out ourselves at the moment.”
As well as her fanbase there is another vital partnership – Stuart MacLeod, who contributes guitar as well as co-producing Connell’s music. “I’d say ‘produces’, she laughs, embarrassing the man, sitting nearby, who also acts as social media manager.
Which is perhaps just as well. “If it was left to me I’d never post anything,” the singer admits, “which is the worst thing you can do in 2019 if you’re trying to release music.”
And if it wasn’t for MacLeod, Connell would still be “cobbling together” the artwork for her releases. However, it turned out that an artist called James Marsh had ‘liked’ theFacebook page.
“Stuart said: ‘I think that’s THE James Marsh, who did (iconic ’80s band) Talk Talk’s sleeves’, so we got in touch and said ‘Do you like the music? – would you be interested in working with us?’ His response was the sweetest – ‘I wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes – will Louise not mind?'”
Connell didn’t mind at all, especially with the new release being a double album, which really requires a gatefold sleeve. “I’m so excited to have his artwork on that format,” she enthuses.
“I’ve spoken to a few people who’ve bought the records but don’t have record players, they just like having the artefact, and without the images in that size you don’t get the full effect.”
With the release finally complete, perhaps the singer can now relax? Well, apparently not – the next album may already be in the works.
I’m writing constantly,” Connell says. “Some people go a run, do some exercise, if they have a bad day they’ll work it out – that’s what I do.
“And, I just love writing songs.”
‘Squall Echo Rale’ is out now – more at www.louiseconnell.com