Vocalist Annie Rose Spayne and guitarist Phil Jones are the pair who make up De La Rose. Based in Brighton, the duo have been going from strength to strength and capturing the hearts of their audiences since launching earlier this year. Below, Nickie Shobeiry speaks to them both about their music and recently-released music video, Lay Me Down.
How did the pair of you meet, and what was it like the first time you played together? Phil: I came across an advert that Annie had put out looking for a guitarist. We exchanged emails and she sent me some ideas on a dictaphone. I really liked the tone of her voice and the style of song writing. Annie: Our first jam was pretty effortless. It went really quickly! We came up with some cool ideas so we immediately felt it was working. I think we knew there was a potential for a good sound - it was exciting!
What’s the inspiration behind the name “De La Rose”? Annie: My middle name is Rose and we both liked that name and the flower, so we decided to incorporate that. “De La”, meaning “of the” in various Latin languages seemed like a nice way to turn “Rose” into a band name.
What is your song-writing process like? Does one of you tend to write lyrics more than the other (and vice versa for the music), or is it more of a balance? Annie: Phil writes all the guitar parts and I write the melodies and lyrics. My lyrical inspiration usually comes from an emotion I have felt while improvising a melody. Or I may have a more specific idea about what I want to write about, and I hone the melody around that. Phil: We tend to do a lot of arranging together - jamming through ideas, figuring out structures, etc. I write most of the guitar parts outside of the rehearsal room. Once that’s done we decide together what we want to use.
You recently shot a live video in London. What was the experience like, and why did you choose the aesthetics that you did? Annie: It was a great experience – we both love being able to spend time working on the band as it’s our main goal. We shot the video with Red Kite Films, a Brighton based production company, who were really great. We wanted to make the video dramatic, as the song had quite a serious subject matter, so the dark theatre with shadowy lights, effects and a smoke machine brought that vision to life.
You are based in Brighton, but the video was shot in London. Why London? Phil: My friend’s uncle owns a small theatre in London so we were able to use that for the day. We didn’t have any time restraints so it was pretty relaxed.
What was the most surprising part of the video-making process? How about the most challenging? Annie: It was surprising just how quickly we were able to convert the theatre space into the setting for the video. When we arrived it was set up for a play, which was Alice in Wonderland themed! Phil: We had a few technical issues on the day with one of the laptops, which meant repeating the recording process. It was difficult, as we didn’t want to lose the initial energy and passion of the shoot.
Phil, what type of guitar do you play? What does it bring to your sound? Phil: I play a Moon guitar. It was handmade in Glasgow. It’s a lovely instrument – I’ve had it for ten years now. In 2014, I had guitar maker, Nick Benjamin, put a K&K Trinity pickup system inside it. This has added real depth to our live sound – the guitar has a very natural, pure tone. I get asked a lot about my guitar at shows (not many people are familiar with them). It’s funny because there are a lot of well-established artists using them: Paolo Nutini, Guy Berryman (Coldplay) – I think even Adele has a 0002CE Model! It’s a long list anyhow…
Have you both been influenced by any artists that we may find surprising? Annie: Two of my favourite bands are Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin, both having brilliant vocalists and great songs. Phil: I grew up listening to a lot of instrumental rock music, so bands such as Mogwai!
Can you share with us some of your favourite on-stage memories so far? Annie: Performing at The Brunswick in Brighton and Ronnie Scott’s in London – both had really great sound systems and the delivery of the songs was really strong. When the sound is good, the songs seem to reach another level and our performance is always better. Phil: We’ve played several shows recently where the audience have been totally enthralled with the songs, and the room has been completely silent for the whole set. You could literally hear a pin drop! Those are the shows I love. The audience really engage with the band and us with the audience. It’s pretty special.
What would be your ultimate venue to perform in? Annie: I think our ultimate venue would be The Royal Albert Hall. Phil: Definitely. I can’t think of a more iconic venue!
Have you been given any advice as musicians that you feel is relevant to all people – even non-musicians? Annie: Yeah maybe, one thing recently was “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” I think that’s good advice in general. Phil: I was never given this advice as a musician, but it’s a great quote from author Paulo Coelho: “People are capable at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
If you could both have any rider request, what would you ask for? Annie: Hmm, that’s a big question! I’d ask for Chinese food! Phil: Nothing beats a good G&T. That would be mine.
What’s next for De La Rose? Annie: New material! We’re spending a lot of time writing at the moment. Phil: We’re filming another video in London mid-September, and of course, more live shows between now and December.
If you want to find out more about De La Rose, you can check out their website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.