‘Listening to Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty whilst driving around LA was so inspiring.’ – Backstage with KT Tunstall at Standon Calling

A Grammy award-winning artist who chooses to live and create in the moment. Her anti-slick, pro-wild psychedelic pop has always proved the perfect antidote to the superficial side of the charts, and remains a huge lure.

We sat down with KT Tunstall at Standon Calling to get the latest on her new album KIN, her time spent in California and plans for the rest of summer, including OnBlackheath festival in London on Sunday 10th September.

KT, how’s your summer been?

Summer has been mental so far! Festivals are kind of my spiritual home as a musician. I feel like they suit what I do better than anything else, because you’re outside and it’s a joyous feeling.

Every time you write a new album, you’ve got more and more material to draw from. We’ve been playing festivals every weekend since May, and we go right the way through to OnBlackheath in September. We just got back from the Isle of Egg off the West Coast of Scotland, which was magic.

Is this your first time playing Standon Calling?

Yep! First time playing Standon Calling, and I could not be happier that we’re the same day as Grace Jones! The other great thing about festivals is that you get to see amazing acts all in one place.

Other than Grace Jones, is there anyone else you’re going to see?

I’d love to see the Editors, I’ve not seen them for a while and I love the Cuban Brothers! So I’m hoping to catch the end of them!

What was your approach when it came to recording the new album KIN?

It was interesting, because I thought I’d take maybe ten years out from making records – I’d gone through a whole load of difficult life stuff. I moved to Venice Beach in California, to concentrate on film music. I was doing that for about a year, and then listening to Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty whilst driving around LA was so inspiring, I just started writing songs.

My fourth album, the one before this, was folk songs – and I think if I was writing folk songs again, I’d probably have shelved it and waited. But I so wanted to get these songs out because they are all about having the strength to move forward, and entering a new chapter in life. There’s much difficulty in the world, and people struggling with modern life, and it felt like a positive record to make.

I was kind of removed from everything I’d known, so I was coming at the album from a very fresh and carefree place. Working with Tony Hoffer was a total dream, I’m a huge Beck fan, so it was very exciting to work with Tony.

The album features James Bay, so in the future is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with?

Oh my god, are you kidding? There is an endless list. Beck obviously, huge fan so that would be amazing. I’m a big fan of West African music, Ali Farke Toure and Tinariwen – I love the way they play guitar. I’m a big fan of a girl duo from LA called Deap Valley, so I’m really hoping to do something with them; I met them at Jools Holland and I think they’re amazing! Yeah there’s a huge list, Jack White, I mean who would you not want to work with? There’s so many people.

What have you got coming up for the rest of the year?

We’re carrying on with festivals every weekend for the next couple of months, but I’m also making a new record. I’m in the studio, working with Nick McCarthy (Franz Ferdinand). who’s now doing production. Our writing partnership has flourished too, so we’re doing a lot of writing together. The new record is sounding very raw, very rock-based – a lot of electric guitar. I think it’s going to be a very physical album this next one.