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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Taking centre stage: An Interview with Molly Burch

15 December 2018
Armed with an arsenal of entrancing songs, world-class voice and plenty of personality, there is no doubt in our minds that Burch will storm into the new year ready to take her place as one of the best acts on the scene...

Since her sophomore album First Flower hitting the shelfs in October, Molly Burch has been in tour mode. Travelling across both coasts of America and through a dizzying rally of Europe, it was a wonder she could still stand as she rolled into her sold-out show at one of London’s most recognised small venues, The Lexington.

Even after Burch told us she’d had “one day off” over the past two months, her excellent live show and unique brand of smoky, jazz-inspired pop landed a 5/5 review from us.

The Captured Tracks artist notably recorded her debut effort, Please Be Mine, in a day. Speaking about the recording of First Flower in comparison, Burch said:

“It was different. On the first album I didn’t have a label helping me. I did it that quickly because I’d saved up a certain amount of money, I didn’t have enough to record more”. 

Giving credit to her fellow musicians, Burch continued, “I had a set band at that time and we’d been playing the songs for about half a year. I brought in a whole new band for First Flower and hired session musicians. We spent around a week in the studio”.

Bringing in a whole new band may seem a daunting challenge to some, but not for Burch. “After touring for a year on the first album I learned so much about being a band leader. I like the freedom of not having a set band”.

The lessons learned? Much like her own ballads of love and loss, problems had begun to appear in her old band.  “They started dating!” Burch exclaimed, “They (the original drummer and bass player) started dating after our first tour, and the tours became so strained after that. It was really difficult to communicate and felt like a very unhealthy situation.”

Burch has indeed become the band leader she strived to. Standing tall as the centrepiece of the stage she dropped her guitar entirely for this tour. She recounted her original reasoning for playing guitar live:

“I feel like I picked up the guitar out of necessity. When I first started writing songs and playing in Austin, people didn’t think I wrote my own songs even though I went under my own name”. With the credits instead being handed to her guitarist, Burch explained “it was important for me as a woman for people to know I wrote the songs”.

Her unique palette as a songwriter has been one of her biggest assets so far, something cult indie label Captured Tracks, who signed Burch in 2016, surely took notice of:

“After I recorded the first album, Please Be Mine, I sent it out to certain labels, including Capture Tracks. They were the only people that got back!”. 

With no connections to industry insiders or labels, Burch gushed:

“I was super lucky with how it turned out, a lot of people told me I wouldn’t hear back from anybody. It was so true. I heard back from them [Captured Tracks] a day later. It felt really surreal. They’ve been so supportive and never pushy about anything”.

Citing artists such as Mac DeMarco and Chris Cohen as what drew her to the label initially, Burch explained: “they stand out because they don’t sign buzz bands, they sign people they really like”.

Outside of her musical life Burch is extremely outspoken about politics, showing support for Texas Democrat party nominee Beto O’Rourke in the recent midterm Senate election. When probed for a comment on all things Trump and Brexit, she said:

“It’s pretty much a nightmare. It’s really embarrassing”.

Finding the silver lining, Burch continued: “One good thing with Trump being president, is that it’s so bad that hopefully it’s waking people up that are blindly following him.”

Leading a band halfway across the world is no easy task, yet Molly Burch appeared to be right at home. Armed with an arsenal of entrancing songs and her world-class voice, there is no doubt in our minds that Burch will storm into the new year ready to take her place as one of the best acts on the scene.

Molly Burch // To the Boys (Official Video)

Watch “To The Boys” from Molly Burch’s sophomore album, First Flower, out October 5th, 2018. Order at http://MollyBurch.lnk.to/FirstFlower *** Directed by Em…

Words, Harry Mitchell

Images,  Julian Neel – @juliannneel & Kelly Giarocco Photography – @kellygiarocco