ICYMI Interview // Introducing Caoilfhionn Rose

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Words by Elena Lyons


Hey Kee, first a big thanks for talking to us and answering our questions.

So! The standard few questions: how would you describe your sound to those who’ve never heard it?

I have lots of different musical influences and I’m keen to patchwork genres together. It’s a bit folky, with some hints of psychedelia, a bit electronic with some jazzy elements.

Could you give a quick sum up of how you got to where you are now?

I’ve had piano lessons since I was 7 years old. I studied Music Production and Audio Engineering at The School of Electronic Music and did a Music degree at Newcastle University. I’ve been playing open mics since I was 18 and immersed myself in corners of Manchester & Newcastle’s music scenes. I play lots of gigs and go to lots of gigs. Over the last 3 summers i’ve travelled and been on busking trips across Europe. I’ve collaborated with lots of different musicians and I’ve pursued as many music related things as I can juggle.

How has it been since finishing University - has there been more time to focus on making music?

I loved my course and my time at Newcastle University. My tutors, mentor and friends were amazing and very inspiring and encouraging. Since graduating I have become self-employed, as well as making music and gigging, I teach piano, design posters, organise music events under the umbrella of ‘Night Time Economy’, go on busking trips and pick up bits of part-time work from time to time. I like to do lots of different things to keep me busy but making music is definitely my main focus and love.

That's beautiful. You’ve been so successful thus far, the signing by Gondwana records, gigging in Manchester and Newcastle, featured on Worldwide FM. What advice would you give to young, upcoming artists as someone who’s been through that process?

That’s very kind, thank you. My advice to other artists is to do what you love and create as much as you can. Work hard and don’t give up. Be yourself, experiment, evolve and have fun with it!

Great advice! Your track ‘Awaken’ (as well as the album name), suggests that you spend a lot of time in nature. Is this connected to your creative process? / How would you describe your creative process?

Yes, definitely. I’m lucky, there’s a beautiful park called Fletcher Moss about 5 minutes away from my house which is a big source of inspiration. I don’t have a set creative process when it comes to songwriting. I like working in different ways. Sometimes I’ll write alone, other times i’ll write with my bandmates or with other musicians. I often collaborate with my partner Rich Williams and he is also integral to the creation of all of our music videos.

How did you connect with Gondwana Records?

My dad gave me a CD by Matthew Halsall and The Gondwana Orchestra (Matthew is creator and owner of the label). The album was called Fletcher Moss Park. I reached out to Matthew on social media to tell him I loved his music and the park too. We discovered we were both Didsbury based. He came to a gig I played at a local cafe called The Art of Tea and then we started working together.

Sometimes you play with a band; are they a fixed feature or do you move depending on your sound?

I’m working on new songs with my bandmates at the moment. The band consists of Rich Williams, Dan Wiebe, Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley and Hannah Ashcroft. They’re heavily involved in a lot of the music I produce and I like to encourage a kind of collective feel as we have other musicians guesting from time to time. I really enjoy playing as part of a band and intend to collaborate more in the future.

What is your favourite instrument to listen to, to play, and why?

I go through phases, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of piano based music such as Nils Frahm - his album ‘Screws’ is stunning. Piano is also probably my favourite instrument to play at the moment. It’s been a part of my life since I was a child and although I’ve gone through phases of practicing and not practicing, writing and not writing, it’s been good company over the years.

How do you feel about playing live? Favourite thing/least favourite? ! Is there anything you’ve had to overcome in order to be a performer?

I’ve grown to enjoy it but It can be up and down. It’s nice when you feel very connected to what you’re singing and playing and if you feel the audience are too that makes it even better. My least favourite thing is probably the parts in between songs, doing a bit of talking or tuning my guitar. I often feel quite awkward on stage but hopefully that will diminish over time and it will get easier with experience.

What’s something you’d like to see in the future of modern music?

More music and art coming together would be cool. I’m a big fan of Björk and her motivation to create and share music in different ways really inspires me. With so much advances with technology it’s really exciting to think what we are able to do.

Where do you see yourself in the future: do you have any musical goals, aspirations, dream venues or collaborations maybe?

My goal is to keep going and make many more albums. I’d love to travel more with music and get on the road touring with my band. Dream venue would be Green Man Festival in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. In addition to my current band and Matthew Halsall i’d love to collaborate with local musicians John Haycock, Matt Dunnett and Jamie Stockbridge to name a few.

What’s next for Caoilfhionn Rose?

I’m working on new music at the moment and aiming to get back into the studio soon. We plan to finish our second album by the end of 2019. I’m really looking forward to gigging more this year and we’re planning to tour in Denmark in the Spring plus hopefully another trip or 2 in our van before the year’s out.

Exciting times ahead - ICYMI looks forward to collaborating with you soon!

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