Interview: Bryde

There are some artists that just happen to have a very special place in my heart. Their music inspires me or simply lets get me all emotional – just when I need to be. And  singer-songwriter Bryde, let’s me do just that.

Some might know Bryde (pronounced Bride) a.k.a Sarah Howells as one half of the Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes. Sadly, they decided to take a hiatus back in 2015. It was during that break that Bryde was born, who now has two EPs out and is touring the globe with her music.

I met up with the London-based singer, while she was supporting Lewis & Leigh in Hamburg, to sit down, drink tea and have a chat about going solo, emotions, and who you should listen to.

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WLT: I have to ask: why choose the name Bryde and what does it mean?

Bryde: In all honestly I just came up with it. I don’t know, it just got sent to me. I didn’t want to use my own name and I wanted something to sound kinda like a solo project – and maybe sort of give the idea that it was a female solo act. So I think it sounds like a girl’s name…. But it actually means in Danish ‘to break’ – which seemed quite fitting.

So it’s been close to two years since you’ve taken time off Paper Aeroplanes and have created your solo project as Bryde. Why the change? Was this something you’ve always planned to do someday or more of a “spur of the moment” thing?

It wasn’t spur of the moment no, but it wasn’t something I was planning… I guess it was just something that I always had subconsciously known that I was going to do something like this at some point. But it wasn’t something I had really started to think about until 2015. Rich (Richard Llewellynthe second half of PA) wanted a break from Paper Aeroplanes. He just wanted a few months of quiet. And I just wanted to use that spare time to do something that I’d always wanted to do. So I started some solo stuff and started to on the  EP. Then it became bigger than that and I didn’t really want to stop it. It seemed like the right thing to do. Carry on with it and see how far it takes me.

Is it more daunting or liberating to do one’s own thing?

It’s really liberating. I’m really enjoying it! I learnt so much by working with somebody else like Rich. The two of us together learnt so much from the industry.  Making music, touring, recording, marketing… and managing money (laughs). Managing a business really! And I learnt a lot from Rich, but obviously there are always compromises when you are working together. And now I’m able to take all the things I learnt and just have my own ideas and really roll with it. And it just flows a lot better…

Your music now as Bryde, has a much darker tone to it than your work with Paper Aeroplanes. Was this a deliberate choice?

I knew it would be like that actually. It’s always been my favourite kind of music. My leaning. It’s kind of both intentional and unintentional. You can’t really choose what you’re drawn to.

I like the change. It sounds a little bad-ass, with some rock vibes but mixed with this ethereal essence too. I feel it has this artsy allure that just grabs you and gives you, how I like to put it, “all the feels”. How would you describe your music? Or what has been a favourite reaction to your music? 

Defiant. (Laughs) Yeah, defiance is a good word – I only just thought of that! I like bad-ass but I’m not going to call myself that… (laughs). I’ve had some really nice quotes. One was “ferral blues grunge” which I’m really, really happy with. The thing is…

… It’s just really hard to describe it yourself?

Yes, it’s hard to describe all of the songs with one phrase because they are all quite different. There have been some people who have said, “Your music is quite soothing” and I think, that’s nice but you must not have heard at least three of the songs because they are the opposite of soothing… (laughs). But that’s what I want, to express more than one emotion.

I’ve read that your EP’s have a theme. EP1 being “the psychology of a particular relationship”. And judging from your sound and lyrics your music is more sad and angry than “lovely dovey” – do you think it’s easier to sing and write about a broken heart (or when you’re unhappy) then about being happy?

I think I’m not inspired to write when I’m happy. Not because it’s not a wonderful and inspiring time. But there are certain positive emotions I definitely find inspiring. The word defiant is maybe a positive slant on anger or a positive reaction to a bad thing. So I guess in that way you get  positive sounding songs from negative feelings. But generally yeah, it’s cathartic (the writing process) and I go to it when I have need to express or need to process something that’s not that nice. And when you’re happy and content and laid back, you don’t want to get rid of that feeling so you don’t need to put it into something.

Do you have a favourite song of yours? 

It changes all the time. But I think my favourite song is ‘Less’ which is coming out next month. And I think that’ll be my favourite for a little while…

Was there a song that you found liberating to write or simply needed to be written?

‘Wait’. Yes, I think ‘Wait’ is sort of the one that came out. It was sort of like “Woah!”. It literally just came out on it’s own.

How come you’re “just” bringing out EPs? Just not enough for an album or is this intentional?

Well, yeah, it’s definitely deliberate. I mean if you just throw 12 songs to the world to a really new group of people who have just heard of you, then the moments over. I mean people can keep discovering it but you want the moment it comes out there to be some people waiting for it. So I’m going to keep releasing small collections of music until I feel that people know about me.

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Photo: Marla Geesing

EP1, EP2… you planning on pulling an Adele and to keep on calling your EPs in that manner?

I’m calling the next EP, EP 5 just to mess with you (laughs). No, I think I might just do singles for a little while.

So if you could just stop someone on the street and say: “Wait, you need to listen to this artist…” who would you choose?

Mere Child! Very very new. Or… I’ll give you someone very famous – The National. I’m obsessed with them!

 Finally, what is planned for this upcoming year? More music? A change of sound? How about tour dates?

The next single is going to be much louder. And I’m going to be touring with a full band from now on. Then there’s a small singles coming, we might have a slightly more electronic feel to a couple. Touring in April… Hopefully coming back here to do more dates in Germany and Europe in general.

All of which sounds very exciting! Thanks for the chat!!!

Check out Bryde on all her social media sites and stalk her music!

Photos: FB, twitter, Marla Geesing
Videos: YouTube
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