Born in the summer of 2008, London based duo Our Feathered Embers combine folk and Americana to make a soothingly refreshing sound. I filmed a session with them on some rustic steps by the river Thames and asked them about there influences, their opinions on the folk revival and their plans to add Metallica covers to the set.
Made up of Antony Hurley, and Oscar Schumacher, the duo originally from Sussex take their influences from a variety of places. Antony tells me its ‘Mainly centered around folk music and English Folk, Nick Drake, John Martyn and Americana like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan’ and Oscar also mentions Ryan Adams and Joanna Newsom. For me, their sound resembles Iron and Wine or The Low Anthem, who they also take influence from, ‘We just really like that organic, roots vibe thats come back into music recently. The band are great friends with one of my favorites, Matthew and the Atlas and comment that ‘watching them play live is really inspiring’.
They have previously played as support to Matthew and the Atlas and also at venues like The Troubadour and The Bedford, known for showcasing the best in new talent. I asked them what they thought of the folk revival at the moment which is sweeping London. Like with a lot of bands making folk music in London, the first thing they do is shrug off the idea of a scene, ‘It’s not really a sceney sort of thing, its just lots of bands playing a similar sort of music which is great’ although they say that some is definitely better than others. Antony goes on to say that ‘It feels like we’ve struck gold, because we love this music and theres a lot of interest about it at the moment so it feels like a good time to be doing it’, Oscar adds that its nice to have lots of other bands to feed off.
The band are fast gaining a good reputation, their subtle music takes a slightly different angle than many other newer folk acts. Having previously played festivals like Barn On the Farm, which they describe as ‘Really, really good, nice weather, fun music, good weather’, the band are also keen to play lots more festivals this summer, such as End of the Road, ‘That would be the dream!’. They also mention Green Man, but would be up for any festivals. Maybe not Download though, ‘Downloads not on our list, unfortunately. They didn’t like us’, so Our Feathered Embers are apparently not attracting the heavy metal crowd, ‘We might do a couple of Metallica covers at festivals, goes down really well with the folk crowd..’, although Antony adds, ‘We’d probably get bottled’, not on the cards then. However the band say they would love cover ‘I Dreamed a Highway Back to You’ by Gillian Welch or a Ryan Adams song. They don’t cover songs in the set at the moment, although ‘Down by the Sally Gardens’ is based on a poem by William Butler Yates. They also would like to attempt the 16 minute long masterpiece that is Only Skin, by Joanna Newsom, ‘Antony has a similar vocal range to Joanna’ which is followed by a Joanna impression from Antony who adds ‘It would probably take us about 8 years to work out’.
They also want to carry on recording at home, one of Antony’s favorite albums is ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ by Iron and Wine which is all recorded at home, and they like the intimacy of these recordings. They are also keen to add other instruments to the proceedings. Antony is also a cellist, which features on some of their myspace recordings at the moment, Oscar plays drums and the band invested in a pre-war pump organ last summer which they hope will feature on tracks in the future. In terms of their live shows they are keen to get a musical ensemble going. Antony also tells me of a dream to get a group of people singing a Gillian Welch song around a microphone at the end of a gig, a little like the Low Anthem, ‘It probably needs more people though’. Sounds very promising though, maybe one day.
Our Feathered Embers play a headline show at The Halfmoon in Putney on April 4th and at The Old Queens Head on April 17th. The song below is ‘The Runner’, a personal favourite.