Kenilworth Arts Festival 2018 is almost here…featuring prize-winning novelists and acclaimed international musicians dominate third festival. We chat to S Carey ahead of his appearance.

 With Kenilworth Arts Festival almost here, organisers are preparing for a busy and inspiring 10 days - Thursday 20 to Saturday 29 September 2018!

 Taking place between Thursday 20 and Saturday 29 September 2018, the festival promises more than 30 events around the historic town, from intimate gigs in beautiful venues and interactive workshops, to panel discussions and inspiring family activities.

Kenilworth Arts Festival's Creative Director, Lewis Smith, describes 2018’s festival as “the biggest and boldest yet.” 

Key performances include pianist Zoe Rahman (21 Sep), US musicians Jesca Hoop (28 Sep) and S Carey (29 Sep), plus a host of very special author appearances - from food writer Ruby Tandoh and nature writer John Lewis-Stempel, to acclaimed novelists Kit de Waal, Mike Gayle, Donal Ryan and Kamila Shamsie - that'll keep any book-lover utterly engrossed.

Says Lewis: "With our third festival just around the corner, we're really looking forward to welcoming people to Kenilworth for our one-off concerts, talks and workshops.

"We've got artists and audience members travelling to the town from all over the country (and beyond!), so it's a fantastic opportunity to showcase the region at its best.

"There are so many highlights in our programme this year, from Erland Cooper's concert in the 12th century St. Nicholas' Church on Wednesday 26 September, to our Literary Weekend on Saturday 22 / Sunday 23 September, which will feature some of the UK's most distinguished novelists.

 "It's going to be a very special ten days."

In Conversation: S Carey

You’ll be appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival this month. Are you looking forward to the event?

Absolutely! We are always excited to play music / make music for new people, especially in a place we don't get to visit often.

Why do you feel it’s important to support local festivals such as this?

Well, its a great way to connect to listeners.... and for listeners to see artists in really small venues. It makes it personal. The smaller the event, the more we are all on the same plane.. in the experience together.

You’ve enjoyed a successful musical career having produced three full length solo albums, and have supported the likes of Bon Iver. Have you always wanted to be a musician?

Yeah. My whole family is musical so we've been doing it forever. I started singing in children's choir, and then took up drumming. I taught myself how to play guitar and piano throughout school and always was that sort of "secret" songwriter. Once I started touring with Bon Iver, I realized I had to pursue my own own songs. I was so inspired.

Your latest album, Hundred Acres, has complex and beautiful soundscapes throughout. Can you tell me a little about the process of creating the album – how you came to develop the music and the inspiration behind the tracks?

With a lot of songs and groups of songs, you just have to dive in start writing, even if you don't really know what its about. As the songs slowly take shape, you start to piece together what its about, where they're coming from, and what you are trying to communicate. At least for me, that's usually how it goes. It takes time, and I try to let things come to me and unfold. For this record I really spent a lot of energy thinking about the songs, and imagining the end sound before even tracking anything. In the studio, we then had to figure out how to reach the end, but it came together quite easily actually and a lot of songs surpassed my imagination for them.

How would you describe your new album to those who haven’t already heard it?

In a way, it's what I've been going for since I started writing S. Carey songs. It's very much song-focused. It's simple in a way, but beautiful sounding, and I think there's some depth there.

Having obtained a degree in classical percussion, spent time touring and performing your own songs, could you pick a career highlight?

Ahhh, there are so many actually. Performing around the world to varying sizes of audiences is one. I get a rush playing music for 100 people or 10,000, it doesn't matter. Looking back with Bon Iver, doing some of those sessions like the Air Studios and the Blogotheque in Paris are quite memorable.



For more information on Kenilworth Arts Festival, including the full line-up and tickets, see:

- What do you love most about performing intimate gigs?

I love how relaxed it is. There are no barriers between you and the audience and you all feel in it together.


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