Freshman Featured Interview
The place where we feature Singer-Songwriters, Bands & Instrumentalists who record and/or perform with our instruments.
Louise is a published Singer/Songwriter (Chrysalis Publishing) and has released numerous recordings of her songs as "DAWNINGS", "A Band Called Quinn" and previously "Hardbody" on Sony Records, Neon Tetra Records & Tromolo Records.
She has been playing Freshman guitars for many years now, in fact, pretty much since her career took off.
We caught up with Louise, as she's recently been involved in an international lockdown collaboration album project called "Gates of Light", from which a new single has been released, entitled "WALK ON".
Louise is one very talented and hard working musician, who has proudly used her Freshman guitars on her recordings and also at her gigs/concerts over the years. We are immensely proud to be part of her journey, as we are with all the musicians who use Freshman guitars and Freshman ukuleles in their musical output, and of course, we are thankful and indebted to them.
Here is the interview with Louise.
Q: Hi Louise, how did you first become involved in music ?
:"I really wanted to be like my older brother Shug who was ten years older than me and a punk who played guitar. So I got my first guitar (a Kay guitar) for my ninth birthday and started learning to play Clash songs."
Q: What instrument/s did you first learn and did Songwriting/Singing come at a later stage ?
"I learned to play guitar first and then penned my first song at ten for Halloween; it was called Halloween Midnight and got me lots of sweets (candy) when I went guising with my guitar! "
Q: Did you first perform solo then progress into joining bands and performing that way ?
"My Mum recruited me into a christian folk group who played at mass every Sunday so those were my first performances. Later on I played with bands in school and then my first band after leaving school, Hardbody, were signed to Sony Records after playing just ten gigs."
Q: Who inspired you initially, musically and which bands/artist music inspires you now ?
Initially I was inspired by the music my older brothers and sisters listened to; Bowie, Lou Reed, Blondie, Bob Dylan… At the moment I am inspired by Bicep, This Is The Kit, Cate Le Bon and older stuff like Nico, Vashti Bunyan and Sandy Denny.
Q: Do you write as a band or on your own, with the guitar ?
"I tend to write on my own with my guitar, but also I co-write songs usually writing the vocal melody and lyrics for a track written by another artist."
Q: What led to the formation of "A Band Called Quinn" and any plans to do more albums / concerts etc ?
"A Band Called Quinn was formed when Bal (my husband and long term musical partner) and I recruited trumpeter Robert Henderson and bass player Steven Westwater for live performances. It’s an amazing line-up to play with and we have played some great gigs together. No plans at the moment to gig again; Steve is now a props-master for films (!) But never say never… "
Q: How many albums/singles have you released and what is your songwriting process ?
"We’ve released around six albums and eight singles. I usually get the music first and then I get an idea for a vocal melody and start improvising with words and sounds over it. I always keep a note pad and pen by my bed in case words pop into my head during the night, which they usually do when I’m writing."
Q: When did you first hear about Freshman Guitars and what model do you have?
"I first heard of Freshman Guitars when I bought one from Southside Music in Glasgow after Charlie there recommended them. I was intrigued by the thought of guitars being made in East Kilbride (in Glasgow), as I grew up there. The first Freshman I bought was a large bodied black acoustic, I also have a Freshman electric guitar, a Freshman Apollo acoustic guitar and a Freshman ukulele".
Q: Which songs of yours features your Freshman guitar ?
"Most of my recordings feature my Freshman guitars and ukulele".
Photo credits: B&W Stewart Bryden
Main photo (with guitar): Julie Howden
Q: Why choose the Freshman brand/guitar to help you convey your music/songs ?
"They are really lovely guitars, which are inspiring to play and write songs with."
Q: You’ve recently been involved in an excellent international collaboration project “Gates of Light”, which resulted in the release of a single called “Walk On” from the album. How did that come about and did you sing/play instruments on it ?
"I have appeared on many Kid Loco records and in 2019 a collaboration I wrote with Scott Fraser was released on Andy Weatherall’s Birdscarer Records featuring a remix by the great man himself. Bal and I met film director and photographer Tim Saccenti years ago in New York through a mutual friend. When lockdown happened everything stopped but with the support of Creative Scotland’s Open Fund we were able to collaborate remotely with these incredible artists which was very inspiring. We drafted in Kramer to master the album and after hearing it he immediately offered to release it on his legendary Shimmy-Disc label! I play all of my Freshman guitars and uke on most of the Gates Of Light album and sing on all of the tracks."
Q: It's been a tough year for performing musicians – How have you coped and what’s planned for the future ?
"We have been very lucky to have been supported by Creative Scotland, Help Musicians UK and the PRS Foundation Fund; without their support, I don’t know how we would have coped. Our first single with Gates Of Light, Walk On, and the album are out on the 26th of March on Shimmy-Disc.
Freshman Guitars wish Louise every success for the future