Songwall first discovered Sleuth in Autumn 2016 and were delighted to welcome front-man Chris Taylor-Ashcroft to perform at our November 2016 “Songs in the Sky” event as runner up in the competition.

Ahead of the release of Sleuth’s new EP “Coming up for Air”, we caught up with Chris to discover the secrets behind Sleuth…

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you find music?
A: In a haphazard nutshell, Sleuth in 2016…

The year started with writing aplenty, of which three songs were chosen to be recorded more diligently than others. The recording sessions happened with a forced leisurely pace at home which were then taken into nearby RML studios for mixing.  Of the three, “For The Idle We Stand” was chosen by “BBC Introducing” to be played on BBC 6 Music and Radio WM, premiering in August, and then not premiering again in September.

During this time the Secret Sleuth Tour was underway in which solo Sleuth ventured out unannounced with piano or acoustic guitar at mainly open-mics to air the new songs.  This led to the offer of full shows in which the decision was decided on that what would increase the viewers (and aural) pleasure would be by having a full band going full pelt.  Fortunately for solo Sleuth the search didn’t take much time or geographical effort.  With my very own Janet Weiss on drums, and my close friends from Grande Valise on guitar, bass and volcanic harmonies, Sleuth the live entity was awoken like a man-made monster from a different age.

A local festival and a not so local festival which included Richard Hawley, Gaz Coombes (Supergrass), and John Bramwell (I Am Kloot) later, the latest outing saw Mark Morriss from the Bluetones entertained by Sleuth.

In answer to part b of the question, and in the words of some long forgotten band who probably wore their trousers too tight and far too much hair, “I never found music, music found me”.

Q: Describe what music means to you in 5 words or less
A: “Music strides where words falter” (Thusel)

Q: Who or what are your biggest influences/inspirations?
A: A record collection amassed in my very early teens would have to be the answer to this which have continued to propel my musical tendencies forward…inclusions were The Beatles and respective solo careers, David Bowie and The Beach Boys, which were obtained, not always knowingly, from parents, uncles and neighbours.  Add to this Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Columbo and George Orwell and I think we’re covered.  This list is inexhaustible though and could go on into the vacuum of musical voids…

Q: What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self about creating and sharing music?
A: Don’t think too much, but not too little either.

Q: What is the song, by any artist, which best describes your journey through life and music so far?
A: Jed the Humanoid by Grandaddy

Q: If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life who would you choose?
A: It would be the supergroup I have created from all of my favourite bands including the ones above, name as yet unknown.

Q: What’s your favourite song in your set?
A: Together Everyone.

Q: What opportunities and/or challenges does today’s climate present to new artists?
A: Social media is the big factor I think these days.  This means connecting with others is tremendously easy which offers opportunities for sharing and collaborating, however, there is so much going on out there, you have to endeavour to get through the noise.

Q: How did you discover Songwall and what are your thoughts about us so far?
A: I discovered Songwall through my friend Pete (PTR Williams) who recommended I take a look.  As ever I was right to trust in his judgment, and am enjoying Songwall’s company.

Check out amazing new tracks from Sleuth here!

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Written by Beccy Clark



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