How did Harbottle and Jonas get together?
Freya was born in Chertsey and grew up in Wescott, Surrey. David was born in Cullercoats, Tyne and Wear. They met at The University of Liverpool whilst both studying for Music Degrees and lived in the city for 5 years.
David went WWOOFing (World Wide Organic Farming) in Tuscany for one year following his Degree. On his return to Liverpool David found himself with no work and nowhere to live. He was offered a very cosy couch at his friend Luke's shared house. He snatched this opportunity with both hands. It so happened that Freya lived in this shared house and the rest as they say is history...
Freya was brought up in a very musical family and is highly proficien
Freyas background is as a pianist and vocalist.Her was trained as classical pBusking together in the early days in and around Europe - this is when Freya became accustomed to playing the concertina (piano is her primary instrument).
David busked around Europe for a year...traveling only with the money earned. We have been based in Devon now for 6 years. David was a Secondary School music teacher in Newton Abbot for 6 years. Freya taught primary in Torquay for 2 years. We both now pursue music as our full time vocation as of July 2017. We often play with additional instruments such as the harmonium and have a fluid line-up of band members including mandolin, cello, fiddle, trumpet and banjo. Our new album Anna is a Dancer has received widespread critical acclaim.
What are you musical sensibilities and how have they combined?
Dave: Folk/Singer-songwriter influenced. Grew up listening to classic rock and was always fascinated by Thin Lizzy and the duel guitar harmonising.
Freya: Influenced by the music my parents were listening to and took a particular shine to the female musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Nina Simone.
Making music involves us both separately presenting different musical ideas to one another. This means that our music tends to be quite eclectic. Dave brings his knack of writing a good pop/folk melody and Freya brings her slightly more melancholic /soulful influence.
Where do you get your songs from and what do you look for?
People, places, events, stories, history...anything that is interesting and has moved or affected us in some way. We love to bring characters to life through our music and bring them to the forefront.
Who are you listening to lately?
Dave: Seamus Fogarty, Lankum, Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams.
Freya: Lankum, Mike Silver, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, Anna Shannon.
You’re way busy with over 200 gigs a year (or is that nearer 300?) It must be great travelling the country, but there must also be challenges. For example, in February, you started ‘somewhere in Devon’ and covered Yorkshire, Northumberland, Lancashire and Derbyshire. And February is a short month! What are the pros and cons?
PROS: Time to find inspiration, meet people and see new places. Seeing our songs relate to people in new ways at each gig. Seeing our friends as we circle the country.
CONS: Traffic, snow ;) , smelly dog farts - we take our jack russell Murphy everywhere with us.
You’ve recently made a video for The Devil and started recording more of you playing live, how important is video and visuals to you?
I think this is where music is heading, the visual aspect is becoming increasingly more important to the listener, whether a live visual or music video. Attention spans seem to be shorter than ever...with that in mind, we have a new video in the pipeline!
You’re latest album Anna is a Dancer got stonking reviews: how was making it; how was performing it; and what’s next?
Such good fun. We got lots of friends involved and recorded in a professional environment with great equipment and all round top gents Ross and Gareth at Cube Recordings, who also lent us their listening ears and advice. It was really exciting hearing it all come together and the arrangements come to life. We are really proud of the songs - the test is once you've played it 100 times do you still like it...most of the songs from the album we still like and enjoy playing live. It's brilliant talking to audience members after a gig and hearing how they were moved by or interpreted certain songs - the different audiences means that our performances and songs can be heard in a completely new light at each gig.
We are in the process of writing material for our new album which we will record and release later on in the year, so keep your eyes and ears peeled. In the meantime with will continue to write, travel the country playing gigs and folk festivals.