Stealing Sheep session for Topman CTRL: behind the scenes pics & interview

Stealing Sheep Topman CTRL

It’s a Monday afternoon in Holborn, and while the office workers are crammed onto the benches outside St Andrews Church to snatch a rare glimpse of sun on their lunch breaks; just yards away – and tucked very much underground – three young women are stood in circle formation in a dimly lit crypt as they prepare to wield their instruments and break into chant…

Nope, this isn’t the opening scene to a medieval-meets-modern-day horror (though if it was, we’ve totally got first dibs on the script) but the characterful setting for Stealing Sheep’s live session for Topman CTRL, as picked by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. Dark and shadowy, it’s just the right match of ethereal, other-worldliness that you’d expect from a band whose pagan-like, folky psychedelia landed them the soundtrack of Hollyoaks’s ‘Savage Party’ enchanted forest trailer (speaking of which: if you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch over here).

Heavenly sat in on the session, and, as promised, managed to snatch a few moments in-between takes to ask the trio some of your questions. We’ll keep you posted on when you’ll be able to watch the results of the recording, but for now, read on for the interview and to see some of the pics we snapped behind the scenes…

Above left: It may look like a shed, but this green shelter is actually
the entrance to the crypt. ‘Cryptic’ eh? Ahem.

Well done on the session girls, it sounded beautiful. Without further ado, the first question is from Rachel in London, who says: “Running with the ‘stealing’ theme: if you could steal a member from any band — past or present — who would it be and why?”

Becky: Ooh that is a question… Well, we are actually going to steal Laura J Martin, so this is a real answer.
Emily: It’s a real theft!
Becky: She’s not in a band, she’s her own project – she’s a solo artist — but we are stealing her.

How did that come about?

Becky: Well we saw her play a few times didn’t we?
Emily: Yeah, I played with her with ‘The Faves once [Emily’s other band].
Becky: She was just really brilliant. She plays flute and we’re gonna sing on her stuff; it’s a bit of an exchange. So for Green Man festival — if anyone’s going to that — we’re going to sing for her. It should be good fun!

Any other band thievery on the wish list?

Emily: I would steal Captain Beefheart’s band.
Becky: The whole band?!
Emily: The whole band, just bring them and I’d just be there joining in!
Lucy: I’ll probably have um… [thinks] Philly Joe Jones: he’s a really good old jazz drummer.

With a rather cool name…

Lucy: Yeah!

Luke from Brighton wants to know: “What’s your favourite song on the upcoming album?”

Lucy: My favourite one is Rearrange.
Emily: My favourite one is…. [thinks]… it changes from day to day really.
Becky: I think my favourite might be Gold at the moment [Lucy bursts into song] but it does change with my mood. I also like The Garden.
Emily: Yeah they’re the two I like… but I like Rearrange as well! They’re my three favourites.

What about Shut Eye – you must have played that a lot by now?

Becky: I really love that song as well – I sort of see it as separate to the album in some ways, maybe because it’s a single and it was one of the first ones that we wrote as well. It’s on the album but I sort of think that the ‘concept’ of the album is more related to Gold and The Garden somehow…You feel like you’re “in” the album when you’re listening to those tracks.
Emily: Yeah, they’re more visual or something?
Becky: Yeah, they’re part of the adventure!

Pete, by email, asks: “What can we expect from the album? Are there any surprises/ new songs/anything that you’ve not played at your shows before?”

Emily: The Shark Song!
Becky: Yeah… we haven’t played that have we?
Lucy: No we’ve not…

[Launches into the Jaws theme] Does it go “duh da, duh da, da da da da”?

Emily: [Laughs] Actually it has done that!

So uh, probably painfully obvious… but why is it called the Shark song?

Emily: It’s about sharks but it’s sort of a… ‘metaphor’ I suppose.

For life? Sounds intense…

Emily: [Jokes] Yeah it’s very cheesy.
Becky: I think it’s a simple message. People can relate to it in either being scared of sharks — which most people are! [laughs] Or it’s sort of being scared of things in life because it’s also about your fears really, and facing them.
Emily: [Agrees] Yeah and letting go of the past.

As represented by sharks!

Emily: Yeah – great whites…

Above: Lucy’s snare drum, with nifty artwork by Emily

The last one is from Jo who asks the classic “5 years time” question: “Where would you like to be in 5 years time — is there anything you’d like to achieve in particular?”

Becky: I’d like to be on a beach! [all laugh] Well I’d like to be doing something musical and I’d like to collaborate with lots of people and hopefully we’ll be making nice albums.
Emily: Yeah with lots of different people as well as us. Hopefully the group will grow into a bigger thing.
Becky: Definitely – there’s a lot of people we want to work with and we like the idea of just being around loads of people.
Emily: Loads of friends and things like that so we’re all involved in lots of fun.

Any awards or recognitions you’d love to get your hands on?

Becky: The best sheep stealing award [all laugh]

Which you’d obviously win… hands down!

Becky: Yeah!
Emily: Um awards… I just started thinking about space then! The Mercurys…
Becky: Yeah, a Mercury would be nice. That or a GIT award! Hint hint.

Hmm, judges take note… Thanks for answering those questions girls — looking forward to seeing the session!

Pictures and words: Lucy Doyle

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