We catch up with Rosalie Cunningham ahead of her debut appearance at Cropredy 2022
Invited into the inner sanctum of the backstage area while we awaited the presence of the great one (“I’m the talent’s father,” said Rosie’s dad as we ligged with the celebs), we had the chance to catch Rosalie working up a quick arrangement/rehearsal with Ric Sanders who was primed to guest during her set while partner/band guitarist Rosco Wilson grabbed a few photos. It was then onto a quick-fire chat before she slayed Cropredy…
ATB: How are you as you’ve not been well of late and your Mancunian fans have sadly missed out of late with a couple of gigs having to be pulled?
RC: Yes! I lost my voice entirely for a couple of months and I’m still sort of recovering from that now, but I’m able to play a show like this thankfully!
ATB: The first thing we’ve been asking all the bands on the bill that we’re speaking to is their views on Cropredy…
RC: It’s huge! The biggest gig I’ve ever done and not really the sort of crowd I’m used to playing to. I’ve done a few things in the Metal world but this is an entirely different experience. It’s really family-friendly and there’s lots of great music but an honour to be doing it.
ATB: And apart from your hour onstage, there are hopefully some positive consequences that impact after playing here?
RC: I feel like they’re the sort of people who will stick with you in years to come so, no pressure!! And it becomes a sort of tradition and part of the family.
ATB: We were talking to Ric (Sanders) the other day and he was telling us how he was playing in your set after doing a turn on Two Piece Puzzle, but he also mentioned that you’d not met yet…
RC: Yes, that was it that you just saw. We met about an hour ago and that was the first time we’d done some playing together. Initially, he contacted me as he knows I was booked and on the bill for Cropredy in 2019 I guess off the back of my first album (with this solo project). He gave that album a listen and he loved it, gave me a call and I was buzzing about how much he loved the music. He asked if I’d like to contribute – which was ‘of course’ – so he played on a couple of songs.
ATB: Was there anything in particular that you could see him working on?
RC: There were two songs that were particularly folky which is a two-part story – Donovan Ellington and Donny Pt 2 and there is a part 3 coming on the next album – and they were crying out for a more folky touch and when Ric got in touch I’d just embarked on recording these two songs so it was perfect timing.
ATB: And it’s a whole new band you’re here with today aside from having Rosco on guitar…
RC: I’ve had quite a few different bands but this is only our second ever show together, which is insane, but they’re really really good. We’re planning to do a live album which is also insane which will be our third-ever show. (which has subsequently been postponed due to the ongoing bad luck that’s plagued the band with a drummer-related injury…)
ATB: And how is the solo path going?
RC: Well, it’s been a bit bumpy with so many things holding it back. It seems like a lot of artists have had the same story at the moment trying to get somewhere over the last few years…
ATB: We wanted to ask about your working relationship with Rosco because, for example, on Two Piece Puzzle, you’d talked about the precision you like while he’s a little more spontaneous…
RC: Well…he’s quite impatient, which is sort of a good thing although we set each other off quite nicely and the balance works; not to say we disagree on things because we do, but we both have a very different approach. His approach is a good influence on me…in terms of finishing things and believing in an idea especially if it comes easily and quickly when sometimes I feel I have to make it into a ten-minute opus while he’ll be happy to go with a three-minute pop song.
ATB: And songs evolve from a recorded version which is often only the starting point as you take it out, play it live and it becomes a different beast…
RC: Exactly. The songs that you’ll hear that we’re playing with this band aren’t exactly the songs that you’ll hear on the record and in a way, I wish we’d recorded them after we’d toured them but you’d always be playing catch up which is the curse of being a solo artist I suppose. The live album will capture a different interpretation of those songs.
ATB: Going back to the album, you took the unusual step of not having it mastered…
RC: No it wasn’t. It was recorded analogue and mixed completely analogue and mixed incredibly hot to tape (which is where some of the technical subtleties were lost on us…), so out of the studio, which is essentially a studio from 1972 where I like to work, it’s brilliant, and the limitations are perfect which for someone like me who can think forever, just to have sixteen tracks it can be ‘done! – this is the mix!’ It didn’t really need mastering in terms of volume. It’s slightly quieter than most commercial records these days and I wanted to keep the dynamics I’d created in the mix. I think we paid about three different people to master it and when it came back we were wondering what they’d done. And as was the case with most music back in the day, it was that quiet bits were quiet for a reason – to make the loud bits more impressive.
Rosalie and her band at Cropredy, August 2022.
Our thanks to Rosalie for sharing some precious time pre-show and to Stevie Horon at Iconic Media for setting up a well-organised interview schedule.
Rosalie Cunningham online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube
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An excellent, informative interview that brings back all kinds of delicious memories of an idyllic afternoon in my favourite field. Rosalie is spot-on when she says that the Cropredy crowd are the kind of people who will stick around once they’ve been hooked. I consider myself to be one of those who were, indeed, ‘hooked’ on that August afternoon!
Thanks, Mike and Rosalie! ….and great photos too!