SUIT YOURSELF INTERVIEWS
RISING STAR EMILY CAPELL
When Suit Yourself were invited to check out rising star Emily Capell who has just supported The Selecter on tour we jumped at the chance, we knew that Emily had been making waves in the music world for a while now with some cracking singles and a fantastic debut album just released, it wasn't until the interview stage that we realised just how big this young lady and her band are becoming, from touring the smallest clubs up and down the land, supporting The Selecter on their 40th Anniversary tour, launching her own album tour next year as well as supporting the legendary Madness you know this girl has some clout. We sent international Northern Soul and contributor DJ Pete French along to the sell-out gig at the O2 Academy in Bristol to see Emily and the guys on the main stage and our own Cris Davies interviewed Emily for this Suit Yourself exclusive.
Hi Emily, can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, where your love of music came from and your early musical influences.
Hi, so I’m a musician from North West London. I play the guitar and sing and me and my band have just released our debut album Combat Frock! At the moment I have just finished a tour with The Selecter, I have always loved music in every different form! From Frank Sinatra to The Clash. I guess my early musical influences come from Britpop. Being born in the early 90’s in my house you couldn’t really escape it.
Can you tell us where and how it all began for you, how did you get your first break and what the experience was like.
It didn’t really begin for me it was just something I always did anyway. I have always sung and written songs and poems. I always got up and sung at any given opportunity, I can’t help it! When I discovered the open mic scene I found myself doing about 4 a week. I just loved singing on stage and showing my songs to whoever would listen! If I have had a first break I can’t say I’ve noticed it! It’s always been just a gradual process of the music growing and growing. As long as I’m enjoying it and so are other people then I’ll keep doing it!
Can you tell us about your early gigs and how people first perceived you.
Living in London you have the option of playing every night all over the capital on the huge open mic scene. It was exhausting but I loved it. It teaches you how to play to nobody, which is important. You earn your craft! You play with musicians, comedians, magicians.... all sorts! I never questioned why I was doing it I just got out every night and sung in pubs and clubs all over. People would come and see me and buy home made CDs! I could never believe it! I still can’t, it’s weird that the songs I wrote in my bedroom people and are now singing along to!
Can you tell us about your fellow band members, where you met and how you gelled together
I have the best band ever. I have Steven Oates on bass, Kiki Moore on lead guitar, Matt Crowley on drums, Dan Falkner on Sax and Paul Jordanous on Trumpet. I met Matt through googling local drummers to me, I had a residency at The Dublin Castle in Camden Town and invited him down. He introduced me to the others. We ALWAYS laugh together on stage and off and people comment on how much fun we’re having! I want them to want to play with me. I am very lucky with them, I adore them all. I love their musical input, we are all in to totally different bands. When we played with From The Jam Kiki didn’t know who they were, but I have no idea who Van Halen is... when him Start by The Jam he was having none of it!
What style of music do you play? Where do your influences come from? can you tell us about the creative process within the band.
I think it’s pretty clear that you can’t really box me into one particular style of music and I think that’s down to my very wide range of influences. I love so much music, when I went to music college I met people who hadn’t ever heard of Joe Strummer and I couldn’t believe it! But I hadn’t heard of John Legend and a lot of the bands the other kids were talking about! We had an incredible music library that I would borrow CDs from and take home and put on my I pod. Bands I’d never even heard of... I discovered Jasmine Sullivan that way!
I write on my acoustic guitar, record it on my phone, send it over to the band and then we rehearse it. They tell me if it’s any good or if I’ve accidentally ripped off another song and if it’s too obvious! Hahaha! That’s what works best for us! Sometimes, my guitarist, Kiki sends me songs and I write lyrics for them. I’m more confident in lyrics than I am chords.
Your rise within the live music scene has been quite meteoric, can you tell us about some of the places you’ve played and who you have supported and played with.
Oh god there’s loads of people. I find it incredibly hard to say no to gigs and if I do I feel super guilty. I’ve been lucky enough to play Glastonbury, Lattitude, Isle of white, Reading and loads of other big festivals. I’ve toured with The Selecter, The Blockheads, Mari Wilson and Marc Almond, Texas, Billy Bragg, Rhoda Dakar... and all over the world too. Dubai, South Africa, Qatar, Amsterdam. If this all stopped tomorrow I would be able to say that I’ve done some amazing things with incredible people!
When was the killer moment that you thought ‘My god look at me now!
I can honestly hand on my heart promise you I’ve never thought that. I’ve done incredible things but the next morning I always got up and gone back to work. Welcome to the music industry in 2019, there’s no money in it.
Recently you released your debut album ‘Combat Frock’ which has been wonderfully received but this wasn’t your first release, can you tell us about the others.
So before Combat Frock, I had three EP’s. ‘Who Killed Smiley Culture?’, ‘Who Framed Winston Silcott?’ and ‘Who stands with Latasha Harlins?’
They are all completely different and I’m incredibly proud of them all. Smiley was recorded in my friend's bedroom, Silcott has my old band The Three Pete Suite playing on it and Latasha was with most of the band I’m with now.
I wanted to give the three people they are named after a platform and promote the stories of what happened to them to my generation. I wanted people to google their stories and learn from it. Like what The Clash did by naming their album Sandinista!
Our own reporter caught you at the sell-out Selecter gig in Bristol where you were supporting them, how did that come about and what is it like supporting such Ska/ Two tone legends
The Selecter have the same booking agent as me. I supported Rhoda Dakar on her solo tour so for me it was the next obvious step. I did push for it, I know a lot of bands went for it too, so my agent did an excellent job of getting us on.
The Selecter have exceeded my expectations. They are wonderful people and musicians, I love the whole team. Pauline came into my life at the right time. She is an icon and I am very lucky. This tour has been phenomenal!
What’s next for Emily Capell, more studio work, more touring?
We have our own headline tour coming up in February up and down the UK. Then in March we go to Dubai and South Africa for some dates and to support Madness which is a bit mental! We already have quite a few festivals booked in too. It’s all about promoting Combat Frock at the moment!
In a nutshell, could you tell us about the album, where the inspiration came from and the musical journey it took to make it.
I don’t think I can in a nutshell! Hahaha! There’s so many influences in there from Johnny cash to joe Strummer to my favourite doo-wop bands! I love doo-wop, I used to buy doo-wop mixtapes at Ladbroke Grove market off the music stall that weren’t labeled so I had to Shazam every track!
You’ll have to buy the album and hear it for yourself, or come along to a gig!
Obviously I’m inspired but lots of bands as I’ve mentioned before but I like to write about things I’ve witnessed. Social media is great to steal lyrics from. People post some bizarre things that make great lyrics!
We recorded up in Chairworks which is a studio in Leeds next to a Toby carvery, the studio is beautiful but by the end of the week I couldn’t eat any more roast potatoes!
Can you tell us a couple of anecdotes about life on the road.
I got stuck back stage once when I was on tour with Glen Matlock, literally locked in right behind the stage with my only way out being across the stage, Morecambe and Wise style. I had to ring the venue to come and get me out.
Then I got stuck in the load in lift while The Selecter were on stage and again had to ring my band to come and get me out. Each time I’ve been so petrified I’m going to interrupt the gig by setting the alarm off!
Where can our readers buy your music?
From my website www.emilycapell.co.uk and I sell and sign everything at gigs.
Where can our readers find out more about you.
I’m on all social media platforms, so Facebook, Twitter and instagram. It’s usually just me going on about QPR and uploading photos of my dog. I draw the line at uploading pictures of food but I will look at other peoples.
Emily's FACEBOOK page can be found HERE
Where can we catch you live?
So I’m on tour in February up and down the UK to promote the Combat Frock album. We’ve got incredible support from the absolutely gorgeous Katie Owen and the incredibly talented Joe Slater. We are bringing our cardboard cut out of Joey Barton and the bubble machine for the gigs so it’s a tour not to be missed!
Lastly – if you were to bump in to yourself 5 years ago what one bit of advice would you give to yourself?
Buy a beehive wig.
Emily Capell, The Selector and Rhoda Dakar (The Bodysnatchers) at the O2 Academy in Bristol.
Thanks to Hush media an invite along to this event was very welcome, the chance to see the Selecter at the sell out Bristol gig was something to really look forward to, we had heard a lot about Emily Capell and wanted to check her out so off we went to Bristol’s O2 Academy a venue I previously attended to go ice-skating and northern soul all-dayers back in the day! (yes both lol). We arrived to see Pauline Black in reception autographing merchandise ready for the masses of Selecter fans. Rhoda Dakar kicked things off DJ’ing with reggae and ska classics warming things up nicely for Emily who got the place moving with a great selection of material including tracks from her new album, definitely a future star in the making Emily is a great singer with depth of vocals and guitar skills to match, the whole set was enjoyable and I would heartily recommend everyone to check her out.
Next up was the selector; I had the pleasure of hearing them in Bristol about 8 years ago and must say Pauline and the Guys sounded Great! The performance was better than previously heard which was pretty good. If you get the chance you must catch them on tour, finally there was a surprise appearance, Rhoda Dakar the DJ reappears to sing her two Bodysnatcher's classics.!The place was rocking from start to finish and I left with a Cheshire Cat smile on my face. A great night with some amazing performances…..
Pete French @2019