There are bands whose breakthrough music got played on the radio back in the day but never get any airtime in the UK nowadays. There’s several to mention who put out some great tunes but radio stations choose to ignore those tracks unless they feature on a golden hour or mystery year.
Those songs were written by Sian Evans, the talented Welsh-born singer/songwriter who fronted the Bristol based band Kosheen until they officially disbanded in 2016 following five studio albums.
Now working on her solo album Sian has teamed up with long term writing partner Ron McElroy, a new band and a fresh new sound.
Having just returned from shows in Russia & Ukraine we managed to catch up with Sian, who spoke to us about the past, present and her future gig in Cardiff.
Photo by Ubik Litvin Photography – Kiev
– Past or present what’s the best band/musician that has supported you or vice versa?
“We were very lucky to bag a tour with Faithless. We were on the same label and I guess it made sense to try to expose us to the massive Faithless following. I learned so much from this experience. Maxie (Jazz) took me under his wing and we have remained friends. It was exhausting but inspirational. We were in the smallest tour bus with no thermostat so the first 20 hour travel day to Portugal was a sharp learning curve! I remember the boys all on the back of the bus sweltering sat in their boxers gasping for air out of the smallest window!
The first show, as we expected was pretty dry, people don’t usually show up for the support , which is a great shame as sometimes there are real gems to be heard. Hide you was just released and no one knew who we were, but as soon as that intro came through people’s heads turned. The next gig more people showed up for us and as the tour went on we were playing to practically full houses.
It was also my first experience with a full professional crew, we borrowed mostly from Faithless, and Simon Thomas who was fantastic teacher. I was like a sponge.. just wanted to get it right and live up to the amazing shows we were supporting”.
– You’ve done a fair bit of touring overseas. Where is your favourite place in the world to perform and why?
“I am such a foodie! I learned how to make meals using only a kettle and a microwave! So when we would land in different cities I would be straight on to the local crew to find great eateries. I must admit that I could probably tell you cities where it was super hard to find a decent meal.. but my favourite cities for food are Vienna, Prague, St Petersburg and Bern.
I love Prague, the Roxy will always have a place in my heart after a 3 night sell out back in 2006 i think but please don’t pull me up on dates! It was a whirlwind from the start.
St Petersburg is my second home and I am blown away with the warmth and loyalty of the fans there who are so romantic and emotional.
Austria is beautiful, I usually sleep in splitter vans or busses which is a talent in itself but in Austria you have to sit up and gaze at the mountains.
I always get proper nervous for a London gig.. Koko will always be a fave but when we first sold out the Brixton Academy I was on top of the world. it’s not a big venue but I used to jump the train when I was a teenager to go to watch the ORB all nighters!”
– Are you enjoying your solo work more than when you were in the band and would you ever go back to work with them?
“It was the best and worst times really. We weren’t managed so we were thrown from pillar to post. I was a single mum and I missed my son so much with the tours taking up most of the year. I would have a bag packed in the house and literally drop off a dirty one and pick up the clean one, squeeze my boy and out the door.
Any schedule like this would test the strongest relationship and it was fraught. I felt isolated. My songwriting suffered and we drifted apart. I believe we had a golden chemistry, balanced in a respect we had for the elements we brought to the table.
When the boys steered the sound toward a clubby more DJ related record I lost my place, I didn’t relate and we stopped writing. As a writer you are defined by your last composition. I needed to write so I wrote with other people. This seemed to widen the distance between us.
“It is good to be working with a band again. what began as an acoustic project, a kind of reaction to 20 years of electronic music, has become more electrified and beatsy. I have known Ron McElroy for over 25 years and we have always written together. It was so natural to perform and write again with him. He helped to carve me as a writer and it still feels so fresh.The Songs we are writing and performing fit beautifully beside the reworked Kosheen numbers that make up the set.”
– What career would you have taken up had you not been a singer/songwriter.
“I would have loved to be an actress. I have discovered later in my life that I love teaching. I have worked on some wonderful youth projects, using songwriting and performing to build confidence and promote expression. I lecture and give masterclasses and I get so much from this.”
– Where in the UK do you like to holiday and why?
“There is an island, off an island, off an island in North Wales I have fallen in Love with…. I am often in West Wales. I am discovering Cornwall. I will always be a traveller at heart.”
– Biggest influences in your career?
“Being a mother makes you address the human condition in a deeper way. I have seen the world through my sons eyes and that has been my muse. He is an incredible adult now making his way in the world and I am so proud of his development and achievements both professionally and emotionally.
I am a good listener, I try to figure things out and be an open and non judgemental friend, songs help me untangle the muddle. Good therapy!.”
I hear you’re going back to playing in your native Wales soon, are you looking forward to the gig?
“I am Playing The Globe on the 8th December alongside Future Dub Orchestra who are from Bristol, they blew me away in the summer with a blinding set, Bristol fashion DnB, great vocals and stomping beats.
Ragsy is a friend of mine and he will open the show with his bitter-sweet songwriting. It is going to be a lovely way to kick off Christmas”.
The latest single ‘Boy in the picture’ with Kid Crème & Jolyon Petch
By Lee Dolbear @LeeDolbear7 on twitter – Dorset Newsdesk
Many thanks to Sian, Kelly and Maria.