We caught up with China Lane (formerly Hester & Holly Rose) after their gig for the Coffee House Sessions Tour!
The Coffee House Sessions are a series of live acoustic and semi-acoustic performances from some of the UK’s hottest singer song-writers and acoustic musicians.
Join us every Wednesday in the Terrace bar from September to see newly signed artists perform live for free!
Last year we were joined by the likes of Seafret and Hudson Taylor to name a few…
How have Coffee House Sessions been for you so far?
It’s been interesting, different to what we usually do. It’s really picked up towards the end of the tour.
How does it differ to other tours you’ve been on?
Our first one was quite hectic considering we were such a new band. It was around the O2s supporting someone much bigger than us so we had to write an EP within the space of two weeks. It was fun.
Have you managed to visit anywhere new through this tour?
Yeah, down south like Bournemouth and Bath. The best thing about the uni tours is building connections and being able to come back at the end of the year and put on shows.
Do you take inspiration from other artists?
We do, like Oh Wonder, Daughter, The XX, Ben Howard. The new sound is quite electric but nothing like what they’ve got. It’s just a bit of everything.
Do like to take music that doesn’t sound like yours and find ways to put your own spin on it?
Oh Wonder sing in unison and we sing in harmony so we might have a go at singing in unison a bit more and try things out. But we need to keep the harmonies as that’s our signature move!
You’re from Manchester, how has living there been as it has quite a big music scene?
There is a big scene but we’ve only done about three shows there. We’ve done the rest of our shows are Europe, in Germany and Prague. It’s good to play there but our main fan base is in Germany.
What’s taken you to Germany?
The artsy city of Berlin. We went in the summertime and just didn’t leave.
Do you reckon that German music has had any influence on you at all?
Not really, as everyone’s kind of international there. The Germans do say that they don’t have enough good music there. Germany is like the hub of music right now, other than London.
Do you think that that gives your music an advantage over there then?
Yeah, they love English music and English people. They really take a shine to us so that’s a good thing about Germany.
You played your debut single ‘Promise’ today, could you tell me about that?
Considering we do a lot of busking, it’s about what we see on the streets. So a lot of prostitution, trafficking, all of that crazy stuff. We just took the idea from that, it was what came to us at the time when we wrote the song. It’s about her wanting to escape from the life that she’s living. It’s not sung bluntly about it, it still could mean many things. People say things to people in situations like that “just get a job” and “just stop doing it” but it’s not that easy. The video has a deep meaning actually, there’s a big twist at the end so you need to watch the video to understand.
How much did you have to do with the video?
We planned out the storyline and the storyboard then our director helped us elaborate on the scenes and stories. It was very independent, just us and him really. It was shot on a very low budget. We got to act in it as well, that was fun! It came out much better than we could’ve hoped on such a small budget.
Have you thought about being in more videos after that?
Definitely, we really enjoyed it. I don’t think we’ll ever get an actor in our music videos.
Did you do a lot of busking before this?
In our home town yes. Not lots though. We made our own CDs at that point, got them off the laptop and sold a few.
That’s what it’s all about though isn’t it?
Exactly yeah. After that we got with a producer and now we have an EP out and are working towards our second single. We’re also doing a rebrand so it’s going to be a band name change, sound, it’s going to be different. We’re going to unveil it at The Great Escape festival. The name that we found actually came from where we shot our music video in Manchester.
You did some acoustic sessions for an EP too, is that going to be included?
That’ll be left there but won’t be played at shows anymore. We might busk it, who knows.
Could you tell me about the next single coming up?
That’s kind of dancey. We wrote it quite a long time ago and only recently thought it was one of the best songs we’ve written. We changed from acoustic guitar to electric, then from electric to a new version. It’s going to be very different. There’s been four different versions of that song and we’re almost at the end version now. We’re excited!
Have you got an album in the works yet?
We’re just going to be doing it single by single. We find that’s the most effective way – single, tour, single, tour. We’re trying to get some support slots as well and would like to get BBC behind the new songs. That’s our main aim!
Do you have a vision for your sound and where you want to be?
We just want to be on the mainstream, playing big shows. We’d love to be able to tour UK and America, and be able to sell out a lot of the shows. That’d be a dream. We don’t care about being super famous but just to be able to sell out venues would be a dream come true for us. We want our music to be the one that people want to listen to! To create something like that and get 500 people to turn up and want to listen to it is amazing.