Interview: Anja McCloskey

Published on May 25th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Elmshorn-born, Southampton-based singer/songwriter Anja McCloskey is set to release her debut full-length album in September, so Rocksucker fired her over some questions in the hope of finding out a little bit more about her and her exotic, accordion-based ballads. First, though, check out this sumptuous recent single…

How long have you been writing, performing and recording music for?

I came to this relatively late. Although I started playing the accordion at the age of 5, I didn’t actually play in bands until I went to university. It was then that I discovered my creative streak. My solo project started in 2010.

How would you describe your music, if pushed?

Someone called it surreal indie-folk the other day. I thought that was perhaps quite apt. It is not traditional, but definitely alternative. I play accordion and piano and sing, and usually I perform with a band consisting of double bass, violin and guitar.

Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?

I am based in Southampton, although I am originally from Germany. I record with my husband Andy, who also happens to be my producer. We like capturing natural reverb and sound in quirky spaces, so you can often find us in old halls and houses around the city to record.

Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?

I am part of Sotones Records, who are a co-operative label based in Southampton. The label is run by the artists, which is a fantastic platform. I happen to be one of the label directors at the moment.

Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like!)

There is indeed. We have just finished mastering it and it will come out on Sotones Records in September this year. I am very excited, as it is my first full-length album. We recorded it in the Quaker Hall in Southampton, which is a beautiful Georgian hall.

Where can we hear your music online?

My music is available on all good digital retail sites and on Spotify. Of course you can also listen to www.anjamccloskey.co.uk and www.facebook.com/anjamccloskey

Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?

Going on tour in the USA in 2011 was amazing. We toured the Midwest and had an absolute blast and met so many strange but wonderful people. I am yearning to go back there! We also had loads of fun on our recent tour to Belgium and Germany. Proof is on my website www.anjamccloskey.co.uk, where you can download a handwritten tour diary as a pdf for free :-)

Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)

We have lots of gigs coming up actually. Next up we will be doing a bookshop tour with our label mates Etao Shin throughout the UK. The dates are…

1st June – Peter Rhodes Bookshop, Southampton
3rd June – Big Green Bookshop, London
4th June – Oxfam Music, Leeds
5th June – Next to Nowhere, Liverpool
6th June – ORT Cafe, Birmingham

Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?

I think people should take a minute to check out my amazing label mates: Etao Shin, Calico Cat, Johnny5thWheel&thecowards, Ottersgear, Lonely Joe Parker, rude_NHS, Haunted Stereo, Peter Lyons, David Miatt… Other artists I am currently listening to include Keaton Henson, Sharon Van Etten and Pepi Ginsberg.

Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?

Rufus Wainwright, Yann Tiersen, Sharon Van Etten, Michael Nyman and Arcade Fire.

Anja McCloskey, thank you.

Artists:

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.