Paul Richards catches up with Emma Hall, vocalist and keyboard player in Pocketbooks.
How has your well earned rest been since the release of Flight Paths?
Well it hasn’t been so much of a “rest” as a bit of a hiatus to allow us to work on the other things. Dan, Ian and Jonny all play in other bands, all of which have been busy lately; me, Andy and Dan are involved in the running of the Indietracks festival and Ian in London Popfest and Spiral Scratch, and we’ve generally all had personal stuff going on too, such as buying houses!
With so many of you involved in different bands (I count eight) is it hard to get all of you in the same room to practise and work on new songs?
Is it really eight? Wowsers. It’s not been as hard as you’d think. Our rehearsal dates have clashed on occasion, but it always seems to work out. When we have new songs, Andy, Ian and me usually get together first to work on the melody and guitar, then Dan and Jonny add the rhythm section once that’s all sorted, so the five of us don’t always have to be together. When we do though, we’re usually pretty focused so it all comes together very quickly. Then we reward ourselves with a nice cold pint and a bag of crisps.
I hear you’re working on your second album. Tell us more about it.
News travels fast! We’ve got our collective itchy feet together again with a batch of new songs, some of which we’ve just started to play at our shows. We’re still at rehearsal stage just now but the studio is booked to start recording in November. It’s hard to tell what it’ll sound like at the moment because the songs tend to change as they develop – you might be able to get an idea from the ones we’ve been playing recently though! Simon Trought will be producing again. We loved what he did with our last album and find him a real pleasure to work with – he really seems to understand what we’re looking for. Plus he’s got loads of cool stuff to play with in the studio!
Will the album be released on the How Does It Feel To Be Loved label?
We’ve no idea! I don’t think we’ve got as far as talking about that yet or pitching the idea to anyone, but we’re open to offers from any interested labels! We were so happy to have worked with How Does It Feel To Be Loved on the first album as label owner Ian has been really supportive of Pocketbooks right from the start so it just felt natural, but we’ll have to wait and see! Whatever happens, it would be really nice to find a home for our album in the USA this time round.
You didn’t play at Indietracks this year despite many of you being involved in the running of the festival. Why was that?
I think it was exactly for that reason. We’d performed at every single Indietracks event so far, and with three of our members already represented on this year’s bill in other bands, we just decided it would be a bit much and we didn’t want to monopolise the line-up when there are so many other bands waiting to get on it. If everything goes to plan, we’ll have a new record out by next year so you’ll see us return to our traditional Indietracks slot!
You’re on the bill for the Lets Kiss and Make Up – Indie Pop Days Festival in Berlin in a few weeks time. Will there be an extended European tour?
For the moment, we’re just concentrating on rehearsing and recording our new songs so we’re not booking too many shows. We couldn’t say no to playing a castle in Berlin though – it sounded too good to be true and is one of our favourite cities in the world, plus the line-up is pretty spectacular. Apart from recording the album in November, hopefully we’ll be in a better position to start playing a few more shows towards the end of the year. Watch this space! Chances are though, you can walk into any venue in London and a member of Pocketbooks will be playing in some band or other.