Interview: The Cornshed Sisters
Dig, if you will, a picture of me sat in a cafe. I’ve not really slept for the better part of four days and I smell like a medley of dry shampoo, egg and cress sandwiches and the bike racks from the 18.07 Cross Country train to Birmingham New Street. All justly so.
Sat across from me, four ladies as varied and lovely as a hotel fruit bowl. And twice as sweet. The Cornshed Sisters, who’ve appeared on a few radars across the region now that they’ve been announced as the support for The Futureheads new, vocally daunting, live tour.
“When we heard about that, we did some very casual suggesting to them. ‘Oh so, you’re doing a capella eh? Brilliant…And you’re thinking about doing some shows as well are you? Ace… And when were you thinking of touring? April? How weird, that’s when our album comes out’. Never fails.”
They’re an obvious fit for the shows. Whereas the ‘heeds are only just embarking on a throaty and theatrical diversion, the ‘sheeds have made the vocal harmony niche their own over the last few years, taking their harmonious cabaret from the quaintest corners of the North East to the corridors of BBC 6 Music and beyond.
“I suppose we always have a view to having loads of singing. If we’re not sure that a song’s going to suit us we just ask ‘is there room in this song for a million bits of singing?’, if the answer’s yes, then it’s a Cornshed Sisters song. We do other things as well. There’s the Night Witch side project that we’re just starting but that’s another story. All we can say is; it’s not a crime-fighting enterprise, it’s a hard-rocking enterprise. Political metal. Cape heavy. Coming soon.
“But a lot of bands use their vocals in really interesting ways these days, it’s just a question of emphasis really. Where other bands might be on all night trying to get their xylophone solos perfect, we just genuinely really love singing together.”
The band’s versatility is something that also sets them apart. “The lovely thing though, is that we can play this anywhere. Pop gigs, pub gigs, festivals, even the folk circuit. I mean, we don’t really consider ourselves to be a folk band, and I don’t think anyone in the folk scene considers us to be a part of it, but they still seem to like what we’re doing and like having us involved.
“There was once even an occasion when we were at the Seahouses Folk Festival, where we were in church and we taught our version of Prince’s When Doves Cry to a room full of pink-faced Christians. We had this vicar singing along to the “the sweat of your body covers me”. You never really appreciate how dirty a song is until you’ve managed to get an entire congregation to sing it back to you. It was a beautiful moment though, if slightly weird.
“Sadly there’s no documentation of this blessed event. But don’t worry, we’re as unthinking now as we were then, so we might wheel out Cop Killer in a nursery one day.”
The Cornshed Sisters debut album is available now, and they officially launch the album at The Central Bar, Gateshead on Friday 20th April.
- NARC & KYEO.TV Presents… The Cornshed Sisters