THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH THE GREAT PARK
There are two different ways to introduce you to the wonderful but kind of frightened world of Stephen Burch aka The Great Park. You can use the short way and go directly to his website www.thegreatpark.co.uk and start downloading his latest album ("Jeswood Recording", it's for free!) or you can sit down in your chair and read first what the man has to say. The music speaks for itself, strong lo-fi indiefolkpop that can compete with the greatests (Lambchop, Bon Iver, Bonnie Prince Billy, early American Music Club,....). Before Stephen departs to Germany to do their a quite massive tour, he was so friendly to do an interview with us....
HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC THEN? My name is Stephen Burch and I make songs with words as The Great Park.
AS A KID YOU TRAVELLED A LOT, DO YOU THINK THAT INFLUENCED YOU A LOT? Of course. My parents moved about a fair bit when I was growing up, now they've settled in one place and I try and do all the moving. The people in the songs spend a good deal of time wandering about too - probably not a coincidence.
I GUESS YOU AGREE THAT MUSIC LIKE YOURS IS KIND OF TIMELESS…. IN THE 70’S THERE WAS CAT STEVENS, NOW THERE’S BON IVER. DO YOU SEE THE CONNECTIONS WITH ARTISTS LIKE THAT? I'm not sure I know what you mean by 'timeless' - but Cat Stevens and Bon Iver both make pop music and maybe the idea of pop music is 'timeless'. These fellows have been fashionable at one point, and at the moment have some sort of 'authenticity' label on them - I'm wary of this… I think if they are connected to each other it would be only in the fact that they are both popular musicians who can play guitar and sing at the same time. In that sense I suppose I'm like them - but that's not something I've ever thought about! Do you think I'm connected somehow with these two people? Hmm...
IN SOME WAY I DO, STEPHEN, AS I SEE YOU AS A SORT OF TROUBADOURS. WITH TIMELESS I WAS TRYING TO SAY THAT IF YOU HEAR THIS TYPE OF MUSIC IN LET'S SAY 20 YEARS IT WON'T BE DATED. DO YOU CARE ABOUT ALL THESE HYPES YOURSELF OR NOT? What do you mean? What hypes? Cat Stevens and Bon Iver? If so, nope. If not them, then nope. (IN FACT I AM POINTING OUT TO THE PRESS WHO FIRST IGNORED THIS TYPE OF MUSIC AND NOW CONSIDER I8T AS "HIP").
I ALWAYS HAD A GREAT ADMIRATION FOR TROUBADOURS LIKE YOU. I MEAN, IT REALLY TAKES BALLS TO GET UP ON STAGE AND BEING THERE ON YOUR OWN, NOT? I don't know about that. Ask Fee Reega, Animal Magic Tricks, Liz Green, Mary Hampton, Martha Rose, Kristin McClement, Jane Bartholomew….
NEVER GOT ANY STAGEFRIGHT? Nope. I mean, I never have. So, yes to never.
DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ANY MESSAGES INVOLVED? In what? The songs I write? They're just songs, and maybe songs can be messages - but if so then I don't know what the message is, what it's telling or what it means I'm afraid.
YOU’RE ONE OF THE ARTISTS WHO BELIEVES IN FREE DOWNLOADS, NOT? I do believe in them. I've even seen one.
WHY AND DO YOU THINK IT’S KIND OF FAIR THAT THE MUSICINDUSTRY COLLAPSED? It hasn't collapsed - I have a job and plenty of others like me are doing just fine. 10 years ago I wouldn't have been able to do an interview from a kitchen in Ireland with someone in Germany who heard my music online and was telling people to go to a concert in Berlin… These days musicians have to have more responsibility for themselves and their work - this isn't a bad thing in my books.
I NOTICED THERE IS A HUGE GERMAN TOUR BEING ARRANGED. WHY ESPECIALLY GERMANY? I've played over 200 concerts in Germany in the last 2 years - I'm based in Berlin so that's where I start. I have friends in Germany, Berlin is cheap to live in, I have space to work, there's lots of places to play for drinks…
IT MIGHT BE STRANGE TO ANSWER BUT STILL…..WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR OWN MUSIC? That is a strange question. I make it, so what could I expect? It's like asking what do you expect to see in the mirror... MAYBE IT'S PERSONAL, STEPHEN, I ACTUALLY LOOK A LOT IN THE MIRROR AND IT'S NOT TO SEE MY FACE......
WHY THE GREAT PARK AND WHY NOT SIMPLE STEPHEN BURCH? It's The Great Park because (1) that's the place where the songs are set (2) sometimes other people are involved and I think it would be rude to just have my name on the sleeve or the concert poster and (3) 'SIMPLE STEPHEN BURCH' is the worst name for a band that I've ever heard.
HEHEHEH, GOOD ONE. HOW STUPID IT MAY SOUND, WHAT ARE YOUR MOMENTS OF “FAME” YET AND WHAT ARE THE GOALS IN THE FUTURE? No idea, no idea. Haven't had any, don't have any.
LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS… WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY? This changes all the time of course, these days it's Schubert's 'Piano Sonata #21' played by Alfred Brendel, the soundtrack to Schindler's List, Bonnie Prince Billy's 'I See A Darkness' and 'Ease On Down The Road', Kristin McClement's 'The Lamenter', the last sessions by Mississippi John Hurt and absolutely anything by Blind Willie McTell.
WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN? There's a few people I know personally that I'd happily spend time in a lift with - but of those I don't, off the top of my head Anna Karina comes to mind. I believe she'd find me irresistible.
DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS? Thank you for reading this far. Download my music from the web site, copy it and share it with all your friends, please come to a concert and say hello if you do. Thank you.
So if you're to lazy too scroll above, listen to the man himself and get his music on www.thegreatpark.co.uk