An Interview with RHODES, who has just released his debut album Wishes. The Worldly’s James F Hill discusses life, heartbreak and music with indie folk singer David Rhodes, otherwise known as RHODES.
The young musician from Baldock Herefordshire combines ethereal soundscapes with a voice that echoes Aaron Dessner of The National and Sufjan Stevens.
JH: So David tell me, are you excited or relieved to be releasing your album?
DR: I’m very excited mate, it’s been the culmination of two years of work and I’m glad to draw a line under it and move onto the next chapter.
JH: So this has been a good year for you, the release of your album, big tour and an appearance at the Park Stage at Glastonbury, how did you find the Glastonbury experience?
DR: It was very surreal, I hadn’t really gone to festivals before, and they’re a bit expensive. This year wasn’t my first Glastonbury, last year I was at the Rabbit Hole and I was looking over at the Park Stage and I was dreaming of playing that stage, now this time I was looking at the Rabbit Hole. It was odd.
JH: Go trudging in the mud much this year then?
DR: Not as much as last year… I mean I had to do a lot more interviews this time so was mainly doing that.
JH: See anybody you enjoyed?
DR: Leon Bridges were incredible, Hozier – who was amazing – and Ben Howard of course.
JH: You mentioned Hozier, I’ve heard that you’re going on tour with him next year?
DR: Yeah, I’m so excited for it, chance to play with such a great artist and it’s a good next step.
JH: You recently released a new single with Birdy, Let It All Go, what was working with her like?
DR: Well, it was great, very relaxed I really enjoyed it because it came about organically. We met up, hung out, I started riffing on some notes and it became the opening intro and hook and then she started singing. We had it written in one afternoon. Very natural I think.
JH: I assumed you covered themes of heartbreak and love? It is a Birdy song of course…
DR: [Laughs] You could say that! It was more that we thought they were universal themes and very relatable. She’s an amazing artist and I’m glad I got the chance to work with her.
JH: It’s a heartfelt song, an adjective that could be applied to a few of your songs, how do you find the writing process?
DR: Well, I always used to be a Guitarist and I was a huge fan of the Blues, Clapton and Rory Gallagher. I was in a band when I first started out and I wasn’t getting enough out of it, so I went off to Wales, spent some time in an open and secluded area. Time was so important to me and I created soundscapes and I played a song on the piano and it was Your Soul.
JH: I ask because Justin Vernon of Bon Iver went off into the woods to write his first album and it’s similar to your story in a way. Both in bands and then decided to go your own way.
DR: Thank you. Well I enjoy his music, however my favourite bands alongside the guitarists are bands, have you heard of The National?
JH: One of my favourite bands, Trouble Will Find Me is incredible and I Need My Girl is a simply amazing song.
DR: Oh god yes! I am a huge fan, I listened to Alligator and songs like Friend of Mine hooked me in completely.
JH: Of course, and you can hear echoes of them in your work, its brilliant.
DR: Thanks man.
JH: Don’t worry I only have a couple more questions, then I’ll let you go.
DR: It’s cool man, I’m enjoying it.
JH: Over the last couple of years you have supported artists such as London Grammar and Sam Smith, LG are massive and Sam Smith is writing the next Bond song, what was it like opening their acts?
DR: I took it as a learning experience; I did a short and sweet set and just learnt a lot you know. I hadn’t listened to London Grammar before the tour and well I’ve toured in Europe before and I’ve played a couple of festivals and of course Australia so it’s all been a learning process. I can’t quite believe it’s happening you know, it’s an odd one.
JH: That’s great man, I always ask my interviewees this question, are you happy with how it turned out? How things have turned out?
DR: I’m so happy, over the moon with how the album has turned out, I learnt the craft myself and did it myself and I’m very proud of the work I have done over the last two years, can’t wait to see how the album does and move on to the next project.
JH: Thanks mate, you’ve been excellent, can’t wait to see your show.
DR: Thanks man, look forward to it.
I ended the interview here after speaking with the softly spoken lad from Hertfordshire, destined for big things; you couldn’t imagine it happening to a more genuine guy.
Find out more about RHODES here.