Behind the Music: Interview with Ebony Buckle

‘Through music I’m able to have a really strong connection to my imagination – I hope I ignite that in other people too.’

Following the release of ‘Wonder’, we chatted with Ebony Buckle to discover more about the track, how it sets out the journey of her 2021 album ‘Disco Lasers’, and why the online community she’s created plays such an important role in her development as an artist.

What are your biggest non-musical/musical influences?
Non musically it’s explorers of any kind, dancers, deep sea divers, astronauts., however, in terms of artists, it’s Kate Bush, David Bowie, Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap… I could go on but I’ll leave it there.

What is your musical background, and when did you realise that music would be such a huge part of your life?
I’ve been singing all my life. I studied classical music, then musical theatre, then I finally got the confidence to sing my own music. It’s always been a huge part of my life. 
Turning your latest release ‘Wonder’, how did you initially come across the story of 52 and when did you know you wanted to create a track based on it?
I was actually temping in a really boring office, and one day was reading a news site and came across an article about it. When I read it, I immediately wrote a poem in my email drafts while pretending to work on reception. That poem eventually became the song!
So did the use of this true story impact the songwriting process?
Only positively. I love finding stories and making them my own, reinventing them, or just using fragments of them to tell a new one. 
With your vocal range so beautifully emulating the frequencies, how did you go about deciding how to set the lyricism?
Nick and I worked out a basic chord structure and then I started singing the lyrics. It just sort of came out. I wanted it to be really slow moving, like we were floating through water or space! 
Similarly, how did you know when the accompanying textures were exactly as you wanted them to be?
We used a sample of the real whale call to create the underlying tone for the song, and then experimented with different organ samples to find the exact one we wanted. Nick did the rest of the instrumentation – he’s a genius at knowing what a song needs.

‘So often we expect artists to be perfect immediately, but everyone needs time to work out what they want to sound like.’ 

So what does an Ebony Buckle recording session normally involve, and how do you ensure that you are in the right headspace beforehand?
Nick and I will generally spend a little time playing the song and then we lay down piano and guide vocals first. Then guitar, drums and any other instruments followed by my main vocal and layered harmonies on top! It’s not always possible, but I try to go in with a calm open mindset. There’s also lots of tea and we ensure we take breaks to give both our ears and voices a rest. 
Reflecting on your career to date, the sense of musical development from debut ‘Dark Place’ to now is remarkable. What have been the biggest factors that have influenced this?
Thank you. It’s just time, practice, and keeping going. I think so often we expect artists to be perfect and amazing immediately,  but everyone needs time to grow, learn, develop, and work out who they want to be and what they want to sound like. 

What purpose do you believe music to have beyond entertainment?

Music is a universal language. It connects all of us. And it is a way to tell stories, which is think is so important. It’s how we share ourselves and understand others. 
Clearly your creativity doesn’t stop – or possibly start – with music, but how do you feel your skills in different art forms influence each other?
As well as being involved with music, I’m an actor, take my own photos, and have been teaching myself to use Photoshop. I think all forms of creative expression help each other and the more confident I am in my music, the more confident I feel about acting and visa versa. 
I understand that ‘Wonder’ is the first track of your album ‘Disco Lasers’, which will be released across 2021. What led to you taking this approach?
The album is an audio and visual experience, and I wanted to spread it out so that people could listen and experience each song while being immersed in the universe we have created. Also, with me being an independent artist, I don’t have a huge label or budget behind me so I thought separating the songs would help create some momentum leading up to the full release. 
And linked with this, why was ‘Wonder’ chosen as the opening track for this?
The whole album is about discovery, letting go, being ourselves and getting away from fear. I thought Wonder really expresses this. It sets up the whole album and the audience can travel through the universe from there.
How has building a community through Patreon helped your development as an independent artist?
My patrons are funding the entire ‘Disco Lasers’ release, and their support means that I am able to create tracks and visuals like ‘Wonder’. I can also keep growing and learning, and working with other creatives. Having direct contact with people who like your music is so important and we’ve started a creativity club called ‘We Are Wondering’. There, my patrons share their own creativity, whether it’s poetry, songs, photos, or stories. You can find out more by taking a trip to Ebony Buckle World here. 
And finally, what has music enabled you to do that may not have been possible otherwise?
I am able to connect to people in ways I never thought possible. I am able to express the truest part of myself and have a really strong connection to my imagination. I hope that through my music I can ignite the imagination of other people too. 
Thanks Ebony Buckle for chatting with Listen to Discover

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