“I realised I needed to change and open up…” - hmv.com talks to Loyle Carner
Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, best known as Loyle Carner, has enjoyed a good couple of years.
His debut album Yesterday’s Gone was both a critical and commercial hit, scoring him a Mercury Music Prize nomination and sales of over 60,000 in the UK alone.
After touring extensively in support of the album and becoming a firm favourite of festival season, it’s now time for Carner to follow up the LP with new effort Not Waving, But Drowning.
To help him out, Carner has enlisted some big-name special guests, with Jorja Smith, Sampha, Tom Misch and Jordan Rakei all making appearances on the LP.
With the album now on shelves, we spoke to the rapper about how he put it together...
When did you make a start on this record? Have you been writing constantly since the release of Yesterday’s Gone?
“It was after I got back from touring. I needed to chill out, so I took some time and then I worked my way back to being creative. It took a while to get there.”
Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do differently?
“No. For a long time, I was just trying to recreate the first album, which was a stupid thing to do. It took me a long time to move out of that headspace, I realised I needed to change and open up and respond to what’s happening right here, right now.”
What was the first song that came together for the album?
“'Desoleil (Brilliant Corners)', which is the track with Sampha. I knew that a keeper. Then ‘Carluccio’ came right after. That set me on the right path.”
You’ve got some pretty big guests on the album, Tom Misch, Jorja Smith, Jordan Rakei. Were these people you reached out to?
“They’re just friends of mine, so it just came from hanging out. I didn’t have to reach out to make it happen or get management involved, we were just hanging out and every now and then I’d tell them I had a track and ask if they’d be up for doing something. That was it.”
Do you enjoy collaborations?
“Oh yeah, they’re the most important part of making music. If you’re able to work with amazing people and to be open with them, it’s life-changing.”
What kind of record is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
“There is a theme, it’s about what it’s like to be a grown man in this society. It’s difficult, things are changing. This is about navigating that, falling in love, growing up, everything.”
How are lyrics for you? Are you always writing or do you need the song to be ready to put words to it?
“It differs from song to song. Sometimes it’s the words, sometimes it’s the beat, it’s whenever it comes to me.”
When did you settle on the title?
“I’d had the idea for a while. It was a poem that my Grandad wrote a long time ago and he left me his poetry book when he died. It was written in response to the Stevie Smith poem. My first album was based on the album that my Dad made, so it made sense to do this one in tribute to my Grandad. He was another wordsmith that I looked up to.”
You’ve got a busy summer ahead of you, are you looking forward to festival season?
“I can’t wait. I’m trying to work on the set now, there’s quite a lot of new stuff in there at the moment. We’ll see what goes down well and then tweak it from there."
Any festivals, in particular, you’re looking forward to?
“I’m really looking forward to Glastonbury. That’s always amazing to do and to hang out with so many amazing musicians. Parklife and Primavera should be good too.”
Are you booked solidly for the rest of the year?
“I’m very busy, so there won’t be much time for new music. But I made quite a lot around this album and so there’s plenty more to put out before the next record.”
Loyle Carner’s new album Not Waving, But Drowning is out now in hmv stores.