Interview: A. K. Patterson at The Cambridge Folk Festival

There is a palpable, dramatic symmetry with this artist, A.K. Patterson, and along with her accompanying musicians and band members, Nat and Alfie, they lean towards being the thinking music listener’s darling.  But, their sound I believe is universal in that it is so thoughtful and moving, touching on everyone’s humanity actually.  At the recent Cambridge Folk Festival set they performed, we got a wholly impressive view of how deep their talent runs.

 

You have said that you were brought up in a jazz-centric house, which has influence your sound.  Have you ever experimented outside that?  Did you ever think you would rebel and try something outside what you were exposed to?

Yes, the jazz side of things mainly came from my parents, but when I was 7 I decided I was going to play the fiddle. I grew up learning how to play tunes in the pubs of Cambridge and running late night sessions till I moved away from home. During my teens I used to listen to loads of 90’s R and B / early 2000’s to fit in at school! I always felt like I lived some kind of limbo because I liked folk music and was good at the fiddle, but I also loved popular music and I knew how to pull shapes! It largely confused the bullies at school, who could never decide whether I was worth their ridicule or not!

 

At what age did you start playing an instrument and are you versed in other instruments as well?

So, I started playing the fiddle at age 7, and had two very wonderful teachers. I later self-taught myself guitar so that I could start writing songs at about age 14. I’ll have a crack at the banjo and piano whenever I’m home, I grew up in a very musical household and there’s a heap of instruments always lying around. I had a short spurt at learning the Koto when I lived in Japan too.

 

You are playing at the historic Cambridge Folk Festival, it must be a highlight for you…

The Cambridge folk festival is a special place to me, I practically grew up there. I’ve played in previous years with another band so it was great to return with this project and the rest of the band.

 

How did you come to be working with your band members, Nat and Alfie?

Nat and I met about three years ago when I had a gig at Latitude, we were introduced through a mutual friend and he came and saw me play. Alfie I met on the Brighton music scene. I went to one of his gigs and was completely bowled over by his playing! I then presented them with a bunch of songs I had written and they, doing what they do best, wrote parts to mould around them.

Do you find the process of creating new material an easy one, what is your process?  Do you cultivate it or does it grow organically?

I don’t find it easy at all, I am a slave to my own song writing. I don’t mind admitting that either. I have to bury myself in the corner of some dark cafe with a laptop, notebooks and buckets of iced coffee. But when you reach an end point and play your new stuff to an audience and you get good feedback, there’s nothing like it! It makes what can sometimes feel like a very solitary existence feel 100% worth it.

 

How is the rest of the year looking for you, are there any big events on the horizon?

We have some very exciting gigs coming up at the end of August- the announcement is happening this Friday at 9am so look out for that!

 

Check them out here!

 

Words by:  Dana Miller

 

Photos by @PremiumPhotographic

 

 

 

 

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Dana Miller
Dana Miller is the Head of Music News for GSGM