Jon Ouin of Stornoway: “We’ve played Stornoway twice”


OXFORD indie folk band Stornoway are set to release their coastal-influenced second album, and keyboardist Jon Ouin is excited by the prospect.

“We’re very happy to have it finished,” he says. “It’s been a while since the first one, so we’re happy it’s finally done. We produced the record ourselves, and production is part and parcel of our writing process in a way. It’s quite a seamless thing.”

While some bands find being in the studio a difficult process, Stornoway had a different experience.

“It’s something we enjoy,” he says. “We never find it boring; it quite excites us. The songs are usually written beforehand, but the process of arranging and producing them blend into each other. We feel like we’ve got enough ideas between us to carry us through the process.”

The album features plenty of references to the sea, the countryside and escaping the city.

“It’s something that Brian (Briggs, lyricist) has always been very interested in,” he says. “In a previous life he was an ecologist, which makes its way into the music a fair bit. He uses it is a backdrop to reflect what’s going on inside I suppose.”

The band’s four members are multi-instrumentalists, but the song always dictates what instruments are needed.

“We try to think about each song individually,” Ouin explains. “We don’t gratuitously add instruments for the sake of it. It’s always about following the original sketch of the demo and trying to maintain the feeling we get from the original song. Although we do enjoy playing around with different sounds, as I suppose we can get bored quite easily.”

In a surreal turn of events, the band recently found themselves playing on the remote island after which they are named.

“We’ve played Stornoway twice,” he says. “The first time, we felt a desire to bribe the residents with whisky, and in the end we won that room of people over. We went back the following year for a festival. It might be quite weird living in a place and a band turns up bearing your name, but we loved it.”

Australian fans of the band might not have too long to wait to see them in the flesh.

“We’re talking about touring Australia,” he says. “Last time we played Laneway Festival which was one the best tours we’ve done. We’d love to do it again soon.”


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