We caught up with Sivu minutes after he left the stage at the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre where he was supporting Nick Mulvey, we found a nice space amongst the backstage chaos and settled down to chat about social media, playing solo and touring with Bombay Bicycle Club, here’s how we got on….
Sivu, it’s a pleasure to meet you, we really enjoyed your set, can you take a moment to tell us about yourself?
My name is James but I perform under the name ‘Sivu’, I call myself this as my surname is Page, my Grandma and Grandad are part Finnish and Sivu is Finnish for Page, I’ve been gigging under this name now for 2 years and I’ve just finished a record that is due out next week. I’ve been gigging pretty solidly over the past 2 years and it’s been great.
Is music a full time venture for you nowadays?
Yes it is, literally from the start of 2014, I’ve been touring solidly and when I’ve not been on the road I’ve been in the studio , it’s been amazing, such a great year!
Where are you based?
I grew up in St Ives (Cambridgeshire) and I moved to London about 5 years ago, I worked office jobs and call centres in order to fund my music.
Not St Ives in Cornwall then?
No, not the good one, no ice creams and pasties for me!
How do you feel the music scene is in London at the moment?
It’s pretty exciting at the moment, as a singer songwriter it’s really interesting as before, people used to think of a singer songwriter as one man with an acoustic guitar, these days, people are being a little more daring, especially in the studio, much more experimental, more exciting material is coming out. Lots of my friends who I play with are doing some really exciting stuff and it’s great to be around that, Nick Mulvey being one of them.
Do you think that we’re going to be seeing a lot more experimental music coming out of London?
I had the same conversation with someone the other day, bands like Alt-J having a number one album, it’s like alternative music is becoming way more popular, it’s great, such an exciting time to be a musician, writing and recording music, people are being a lot more brave than they were a while back.
I guess it's having the confidence to go out and do something a little different after seeing so many acts pulling it off.
You played solo tonight but I heard you mention earlier that you do play with a band, how do you decide whether you do or don’t?
I recorded my new album in a studio with my producer, I wrote all the tracks on the acoustic guitar and then we reworked them in the studio, I normally do go out with the band but on this tour, it was just nicer to be able to go out alone and do a more stripped back, intimate performance.
Were you a little nervous tonight?
I was, so nervous, I think after doing all the festivals with the band and touring recently with them and then suddenly you’re playing larger venues supporting Nick Mulvey, the stage is big and the room is packed and it’s just me on the stage, you certainly feel it a lot more. Luckily, it was a great crowd and everyone was up for it and it helped to make it such a great evening.
How has social media helped you to get your music ‘out there’?
I put my first single ‘Better Man Than He’ online and it just seemed to do everything for me, I met everyone through them having seen the video, this was the start for me really, even now, people know me as ‘the guy from that music video in the MRI machine’ so that has really given me a boost.
Which platforms do you tend to use more than others, you mentioned videos so I am assuming YouTube?
For my music videos it’s YouTube but I also use Facebook and Twitter, Twitter more so as it’s a lot more engaging and Instagram is great too, Facebook just doesn’t seem to be so relevant nowadays.
I’ve been looking into a new social media channel called ‘Ello’, it’s only in BETA at the moment but they are taking details and inviting people to join and I think it’s growing at a rate of about 30000 new join ups a day!
I’ll certainly check that out!
What do you think the best thing is about playing live?
I think it’s so engaging, when you write songs and lay them down in the studio you’re alone, locked away doing what you want to do so the chance to stand up and play them to people, especially when they listen, there’s no better feeling. Tonight, everyone was nice and quiet and you can just play, it feels so good, nothing can beat that feeling, it’s the best!
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014/start of 2015?
My new album is out on October 13th (you can pre-order it HERE), I’m touring with Nick Mulvey until the end of October, in November I’ll be plugging my own record and in December, I’m on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club until the end of the year. For 2015, I just think I’ll be touring my new album and getting my songs out there a lot more, promoting and plugging!
An artist who I have met a couple of times on the circuit, Rae Morris was playing with Bombay Bicycle Club earlier this year, have you come across her music before?
I toured with Rae just a couple of months ago, she’s such an amazing person, so lovely and she’s going to be massive (in the musical sense), thoroughly deserved!
One name you should check out when you’re back in London is Rosie Lowe, she plays some amazing music, very experimental and is so lovely, she plays quite a lot in the city, check her out if you can!
I recognise her name, I’ll be sure to check her out when I’m back at home!
We thanked Sivu for his time and left him to pack up and get himself into some less sweaty clothes!
Interview by Steve Muscutt