Roxanne de Bastion is a Singer / Songwriter. She was born and raised in Berlin, where she grew up on a steady diet of the Beatles (the fab four, not creepy crawlies...), learning guitar and attempting to write and perform her own songs.
We've been fortunate enough to catch Roxanne playing live on more than one occasion and we heard that she is releasing her new EP on September 22nd (pre-order links below) so we thought we'd track her down and put her through the musicmuso interrogation process.
We caught up with her in her local pie n' mash shop in the East End of London (Gor Blimey Guv'nor....) we ordered some food and chatted about Italian fans, orgasmic guitar riffs and looking like a mini Alanis Morrisette at aged 9, here's how we got on....
Please introduce your music in one sentence....
I write songs and perform them, mostly on guitar, but sometimes on piano and sometimes together with other people, like cello and bass players.
Your video for ‘Red & White Blood Cells’ is rather bizarre as you seem to be floating in the air for the duration of the song, how did you record this?
It took many hours of practice to perfect the art of levitation. The video was filmed and directed by the very talented Graeme Maguire, who also shot my video to 'Some kind of Creature'.
How has social media aided your music?
It's a great tool. People can find my music regardless of where they are in the world. It's always really exciting to see that people from Australia, Vietnam and Brazil are listening to my music – those are all places I haven't been yet! Social Media is super practical for organising tours and has levelled the playing field somewhat, meaning that it's now possible to make music and connect directly to those who want to hear it and support you, without traditional backing.
The first guitar riff you heard that made you feel all funny?
...maybe I'm listening to music wrong.
We’ve seen many pics of you on Facebook playing what look like ‘House gigs’, how do these come about and what makes them fun and worthwhile?
I really enjoy playing living room gigs. Last summer I went on my first living room tour in the UK and Germany. It gives people an opportunity to experience live music in a really intimate, direct way, without amplification or barriers. If you play a show to 30 people in a unique setting it makes it more memorable for everyone. I always feel like I've made friends after a living room gig – that certainly makes it worthwhile.
What does music mean to you?
Music is an integral part of being human, we've been singing long before we've even had words to communicate with, so it sits at the very core of all of us. It happens to be the way I choose to express myself, always has been. I love writing as well, but listening to and playing music, singing in particular, is my easiest path to happiness.
You recently played in Milan, care to share any memories of the gig?
Milan was the first of six Italy shows. The audiences were just great – totally up for it; singing, dancing and clapping along. I met so many lovely people during that week and look forward to going back for more Italy shows this October. In Milan, I remember that one girl in the audience had travelled for about two hours from a tiny village to come see me play, which completely blew me away, seeing as I'd never played in Italy before. I also remember the rosemary potatoes I ate after the show, which were amazing.
Which act/band made you want to become a singer songwriter?
How do crowds differ from country to country? Why do you think this is?
The great thing about making music is that it allows you to travel. I've been fortunate to play in America, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy so far as well as here in England. Audiences do vary from country to country due to cultural differences. I found the American audiences to be a little more outgoing, but perhaps that's just a matter of the proverbial grass being greener on the other side of the ocean. Luckily, people are generally nice everywhere.
Give me three words that best describe you?
You’ve just read a book on songwriting, in which there was a quote that compared songwriting to fishing, which concluded that: “No one up stream from Bob Dylan has ever caught anything” – Do you agree?
Wow, you've done your research... you must be an avid reader of my silly blog to know that! Well, I like the fishing analogy – it's very difficult to describe the songwriting process. You know how some people doubt whether Shakespeare himself wrote all the plays credited to him? They argue that one man couldn't possibly have written all those works of art in one life time... I wouldn't be at all surprised if people were to say the same about Dylan one day. He's added so many songs to our musical collective consciousness and is still out there creating and touring.
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language?
Ok, so we're cutting to the chase now.. I'd like to learn sign language, so I'd go with the Gorilla.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
Revolver, The Beatles – it's definitely the best 'B-Side' ever. Highway 61 revisited by Bob Dylan is my close second.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Well, I'm performing at the Finsbury in North London on September 15th to launch my EP and am very happy to play with really excellent musicians: Andy Bruce (piano) of Erland and the Carnival, Sebastian Hankins (percussion) from the Leisure Society and Raphael Knapp on cello. So there, that's my super group!
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
It's all over now, baby blue by Bob Dylan – I've performed it so many times that I forget I didn't actually write it.
First gig you ever went to?
Alanis Morrisette – I was about 9 years old and looked like a mini Alanis.
We’ve seen you play a number of times now (couple of years ago granted), are you planning anymore cover versions like the one you did of Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya”?
My new EP comes out on September 22nd, so I'm looking forward to sharing my own songs with everybody now. It's really fun to sneak in an unexpected cover at a live show every now and then though.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
Bill Hicks, Jesus and Jake from Adventure Time.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Check out Jaymay and Niall Connelly from New York, Jody McKenna from Hull, Jess Morgan from Norwich and Nick and the Sun Machine from St. Albans.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
You got me – ain’t got a clue... if you are reading this and have an idea, comment below.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
One can only hope.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
My new EP, 'Seeing You' comes out on September 22nd, I'm on tour in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Italy from September 10th – October 18th. More gigs in the UK and hopefully more recording after that. I'm also organising a one-day music event in London called 'From Me to You' to promote independent music towards the end of November, so keep an eye out for that. I then intend to eat a lot of food and sleep lots around Christmas time.
The pie n' mash had been eaten, I was happy to get the bill and go for a wander, Roxanne on the other hand ordered a plate of jellied eels, before I had to endure her slurping down these slimy, jelly laced delicacies, I asked her a few quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, coffee, coffee
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither, thank you.
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Don't really care as long as there's free wifi
Fry up or Sunday roast?
Can't I have both?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
Roger Daltrey (The Who)
CD or Vinyl?
Vinyl. Seriously, has anyone ever answered CD?
Car or Motorbike?
Acoustic or Electric?
Berlin or London?
Oasis or Blur?
Shower or Bath?
Horses for courses
Glastonbury or Isle of Wight?
Haven't been to either
Nirvana or Foo Fighters?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Each to their own
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
Not qualified to answer.
God or Google?
As I said above, her new EP is due out on September 22nd, if you would like to preorder it, you can do so by clicking HERE