“I wanted to grab as much of the energy from my live show as I could” – hmv.com talks to Saint Raymond
For someone who’s barely 19, Saint Raymond, or Callum Burrows as he’s known to his mother and father, has achieved rather a lot.
His three EPs have sold over 85,000 copies, he’s played to packed arenas on a huge UK tour supporting his good friend Ed Sheeran and in 2014 with HAIM and he’s already filling decent sized places in his own right, with a sold-out show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire already on his schedule.
We chatted with Burrows about the making of his debut album Young Blood and why he feels ready for the big time…
How long have you been working on Young Blood for?
“Gradually for quite a while. There are actually even a couple of songs I wrote on there when I was about 15. I feel like I’ve been writing forever, a really steady process, but I really feel ready to put my album out now.”
When did you first become aware that you were writing for an album? Because you’ve put out a few EPs?
“As soon as I started writing the EPs I really felt like I was working towards a record, it was always the ultimate.”
Was it difficult to choose what to include? About half the tracks have been released before, but you want to make sure people have songs they know?
“Yeah, I wanted to give people value and I have re-recorded them all for the album. I just wanted to make sure I got the strongest album possible and I think this is it.”
Did you end up with lots of songs?
“At least a couple of hundred over the years, so yeah, plenty to pick from.”
You worked with some big name producers, guys like Richard Wilkinson who’s done stuff with Adele and Two Door Cinema Club, and Jacknife Lee, who’s worked with people like REM and U2…
“I spent the majority of last summer in Los Angeles, doing lots of sessions. I’ve worked with Richard for a few years and I knew we worked well, I was aware of Jacknife and working with him was an incredible experience, I got great things out of everyone I worked with.”
Have you been able to debut all of the album live yet?
“There are a couple that I’ve not been able to do live, but I’m excited to do now, it’s been good to keep some bag. Playing a lot of these songs live has really had an influence on how I recorded them, I wanted to grab as much of the energy from my live show as I could, I’m a bit rockier live.”
If you started writing when you were 15, you must have seen your writing develop quite a lot…
“Being within the industry for the last five years, I’ve learnt loads, so much. All the lyrics were written during my teenage years, so it really charts all the stuff that you’d expect to go on. My language has definitely developed.”
Is the album just personal or do you take on social or political issues?
“Nothing political, I’ve always stayed away from that, I wrote about what I knew, things that were directly related to me.”
Are there any lyricists you look to for inspiration?
“I’ve never tried to emulate or copy anyone, but I’m a huge fan of people like Bon Iver and what he does with his words.”
He’s a man with a very dark outlook, is that how you approach things?
“I tend to go the other way, I like to focus on the happier side of things, but I don’t know how I’ll develop as a writer.”
You spent the early part of the year opening for Ed Sheeran on his arena tour, what was that like?
“It was a real eye opener, playing to that many people was amazing. Those arenas are weird though, they’re so huge that you can’t really see anyone, so it’s actually not as nerve-wracking as small clubs. I learnt loads though, lots I can put into my own shows.”
Finally, what’s your plan for the rest of the year?
“Lots of amazing festivals. Nothing’s confirmed for the autumn, but we’ll definitely be taking the record out on the road for a long time.”
Saint Raymond’s debut album Young Blood is out now and available to preview on the right-hand side of the page.