Imperial Records’ artist Billie Marten just released her fourth studio project Drop Cherries on April 7th. The North Yorkshire artist has had her hold on this wave of singer-songwriters for some time now, with riveting hits such as “La Lune” and “Cursive” that have revealed her eclectic style since as early as 2015. Billie’s sound invokes the likes of emotionality, truth, and revelation, pulling out slivers of sentiment from our mundane realities. Her latest release, Drop Cherries, is both a continuation of these themes and a refined narrative following the simplicity in the moments we share with loved ones. KCR College Radio was able to attend a press conference with Billie where she discussed her latest album Drop Cherries, delving into the creative processes and messages she bestowed upon the project.
Billie released a handful of singles prior to the release of Drop Cherries. Songs such as “I Can’t Get My Head Around You” and “Nothing But Mine” implore the sweet notion that comes with this new project. We got the chance to ask her to describe the themes of this record and she said that “To put it very simply, the general theme is the purity of loving someone or something or being loved. Or just the general theme of love. But, often albums do that so I try and find a way of making it a little bit different. All of these themes are completely in my control, they’re what my eyes have seen and what my heart has felt. There’s not much that’s serving me other than that. So, it’s fully focused on the music and I know that sounds ridiculous, but, this is an album that I worked really hard on and every single sound is directly important to me and I think if you’re ever making something it’s crucial to pay attention to the detail, even things that may not interest you. But everything, from the artwork to the tracklisting, to the videos is all important and it all serves this purpose of making a whole piece.”
In terms of production, the entirety of Drop Cherries was done on tape. Billie acknowledged that the process of recording on tape “makes performances shine” and makes music “less static and flat.” Billie commented that “I think you can get caught in modern music in this chasm of eternal takes and comping and layering and adding part after part. Then you’ve got something that sounds like a full song but is not necessarily a performance. I think that element of modern music is kind of lacking right now.” She explained that working on tape was not even a question when coming together with engineer and producer Dom Monks to create the record. She described that when working with Dom, he would have her focus on the worst take in order to find “the most magic” within the song.
Billie’s thoughts on navigating the current atmosphere of music are honest and clear. Growing up, she was surrounded and influenced by music from artists such as Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and many others. Her lengthy time within the music industry has left her with knowledge and advice she holds close to her craft. When asked about retaining her artistic and creative control over her music, she stated “I was lucky because when I started pretty young I had a lot of good advice around me and that’s something that I’m conscious to share now to anyone who may need it. Which is: you know what is good and you must follow that instinct and I think I’ve hit the boundaries of that instinct a couple of times and righted myself as I continued. No one is allowed to change your musical opinion. No one, unless it’s helpful, should be involved in the creative process.” She also acknowledged that in a music industry that is constantly evolving, you can feel like you might not have a voice if you are not a new or up-and-coming artist. However, she reinforced the importance of shedding these fears when diving into the aspect of longevity with being an artist.
Upon the release of Drop Cherries, Billie did a nine stop record store tour in April to perform some of the album. In light of this, we asked her if she remembered the first record she purchased or if she had a record that was particularly special to her to which she responded: “I remember the first turntable, which I still have now, that I purchased. It was a big day for me. So I went into the shop in a place called Northallerton, which is a very remote market town in North Yorkshire. Not known for its music but there’s this incredible record shop there. I asked if I could buy the speakers and amp and turntable that the dude that owned the shop was playing and he unplugged everything and gave it to me because I thought if he’s playing it then it probably sounds good and I want what he’s got. In terms of first record, I don’t think I remember specifically the first moment but a very early one was Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water just because I loved the way that it looked and the color palette was kind of similar to the Writing of Blues and Yellows era. And I love buying records. It’s not spending money to me, it’s gaining loveliness. So the collection’s bigger now.”
Spanning across Billie’s discography, she explores different sonic palettes that can be seen in all of her projects. Even between the most recent two, Drop Cherries is an evolved jump from the pensive feel of Flora Fauna. As for the future, Billie was asked about what types of topics she hopes to explore more next. She commented that “Recently I’ve been thinking that because most of the albums are heavily lyrically based and I do a lot of talking it would be wonderful to try something that communicates just by instrumental music. I’m kind of interested in going into that realm. But, we’ll see. Who knows?”
Make sure to stream Billie Marten’s fourth studio album Drop Cherries, which is out now. Additionally, you can catch Billie on tour this summer, playing across the states.
Featured image by Katie Silvester