Monday, 16 September 2013

Kat Healy - The Haunting

Back in January of this year I blogged Edinburgh singer/songwriter Kat Healy and had this to say - "It's not often a voice stops Ralph in his blog writing but  a track came on and it wasn't until it had finished that I realised I hadn't been typing, just listening. 

The track was 'The Haunting' by Scottish singer/songwriter Kat Healy.  Now being inquisitive by nature I went in search of more and lo and behold was on her new album Be Still Gentle Kind".

The independently released album which was nearly two years in the making has been well received by the critics and Ralph's featured tracks from it recently on his Radio KC Indie Show.

"Great songs!…Healy’s sound has a strong folk influence, inspired by classic singer songwriters. Her music sets out to reflect a changing country; creating a new pop folk tradition for a new generation of Scots”. The Metro"

Well the good news is she's just finished (being a perfectionist) the rather lengthy process of filming a video for the track and it's Ralph's privilege to exclusively reveal it here in this blog.  

The video, filmed and directed by RJAH, is a well thought out and crafted
visual interpretation of 'The Haunting'.  If you're a fan of Cat Power, you're going to love this!

Ralph had a quick word with Kat Healy and Ryan from RJAH about the process behind the video.....

Ralph: Given that it's taken a while to get the video made how pleased/excited are you with it.

Kat: Ha! Yes, it turned into a slightly longer project than first intended… life has a habit of getting in the way.

I’m pleased. Being filmed is definitely not my favourite thing in the world, it actually feels a little painful to have a camera pointed at me…but that’s part of the process and I really want to work on putting more visuals out there for my tracks.  I think it’s a healthy thing to be able to say to someone else ‘here, take this, paint your own picture/version’, it kind of becomes another piece of the puzzle, or an extended piece of work.  I never, ever, like to ‘tell’ people what my songs are about, or how they were inspired and where the story appeared from…it’s up to each person to feel their own way around the lyric or melody and take from it what they will. That’s the fun thing about writing and performing; you’re sharing something with an audience and it can be different each and every time.

I think the video has a pretty cool ‘ethereal’ feel to it; like old photos.  I like the camera/clock/time vibe that’s running through it… I think it fits the track.

Ralph: Nice to see Edinburgh featured (St James Court?) but where were the scenes in the wood shot & the atmospheric ones (looked like Mary Kings Close?).

Ryan: The woodland scene was shot in Craiglockhart, near the University campus. We were literally a stroll away from the buildings and the car park which thankfully we were as it was bitterly cold that day (there's even snow in the shots) which made shooting that sequence difficult. We filmed the rest of the 'realist' scenes in the Old Town but it was The Caves and the Bikram Yoga studio off Easter Road we used for the darker atmospheric shots. 

Ralph: Is the video going on Youtube before or after the release?

Kat: The video will be on Youtube Wed 18th Sept and the Vimeo will be up from Mon 16th Sept. Get sharing/tagging/tweeting and support RJAH’s good work!

Ralph: The song's called The Haunting and the video mirrors that perfectly, what was the idea behind using the retro camera?

Ryan:The concept evolved through the process of production. It was going to have a very distinct 'otherworldly' theme set within an abstract Alice In Wonderland style using mirrors / free-standing frames that would be walked through to signify the traveling between other places, worlds or dimensions. Using the camera, there was a concept of looking at physical pictures that would help tell the story but eventually that was dropped and I used the concept for another video. 

The retro camera was the 'device' we would use to initiate the traveling between the worlds, something extra sensory, like sometimes when printing pictures, people can see faces, figures or anomalies when it was not visible when the picture was taken. There was no conscious development of anything specific to do with the paranormal, as I would have objected to a literally reference to 'the haunting' but it was deliberate to feel ethereal and otherworldly.

It gave the camera a presence, an importance within the videos story line, giving it characteristics but cementing in my head that the camera is able to transport the mind, or in this case, the audience into something they've not seen before. The retro camera helped to tie the story together in the visual sense and allow us to link the very different scenes that we visit through the course of the narrative. 

Ralph: How difficult was it to find the theme to convey the nature of the song?

Ryan: It was definitely complicated. Usually, I listen to the song and I draft out drawings that instantly come to mind from what I am feeling. Many of the images help to map out the initial concept. The images dictated the emotions and the  story-telling helped to bring it all together, drawing from my own experiences at times to figure out certain feelings of loneliness, despair and sadness to where the images would help convey that. The song instantly strikes a chord in one-way and it's finding a suitable story to complement that visually whilst allowing some freedom with the storytelling. 

The dark low-key de-saturated look of the video was paramount to conveying the feelings and eventual thematic concerns of the song. It's a much more delicately told story which required more work in defining the images. But, the overall look of the video was strictly maintained through the course of the shooting and contains some of my favourite shots that I've captured to date.

Ralph: Looking forward to the live shows?

Kat: Yes! I always love playing live shows, but the last 6 months have been really fun and I’ve opened up in my set a lot; it’s like someone switched a light on (finally!).  I like to make everyone in the room feel as though they’re part of it; make them laugh, make them cry…I  try to create a real sense of performance and dynamic.  

I used to think it was about getting up on stage and singing really well, and focussing on getting through the set, saying the ‘right’ things.  Then it was, very kindly, suggested to me that when I thought that way I lost my personality, that people didn’t really get a good sense of who I was.  I kept thinking what a huge waste of opportunity!?  I’m so lucky to be up there singing and sharing my work with all these amazing people, why ruin it by being so serious and hiding behind the mic.  I started to share more about my life and the everyday stuff... and suddenly people started to come up to  talk to me afterwards, and they feel like they can share their stories with me too, which just blows me away.  I’m much happier and relaxed now, it feels like I’m on the right road.

Ralph: Any other new material coming soon ?

Kat: Yep, I’m recording a new EP which will be ready by the end of the year.  It’s so warm and up-close sounding, very woody and delicious.  I’ve got 2 ‘hookier’ tracks on it too, which I think make it sound more appealing.  Those who’ve listened to the bounces have all said that my writing is really starting to shape up, which is cool, I’m pleased that’s coming across.  I write a lot, and if I was more focussed and structured about it then I’d probably be putting stuff out quicker and more consistently.  That’s what I’m aiming for over the next 12-18 months.  I guess it’s just getting into a rhythm and letting go; it’s too easy to be critical and keep holding on to stuff in the hope that better things come along afterwards.  The trick is to keep churning it out, that’s how to move forwards and to develop.

Ralph: Who'd you most like to share a stage with & why?

Kat: Emmylou Harris.  I have been listening to her earlier work a lot recently, I just find her work and career totally inspiring; she’s timeless and a wonderful example to follow.  I’m a sucker for a good duet too, and I just think she nails them, whoever it’s with, every time!

Ralph: Favourite venue played and festival/venue you'd like to play?

Kat: Favourite venue - has to be The Caves in Edinburgh it's pretty hard to beat!  I’ve been so lucky to open for some brilliant acts in there (Colin Hay, Passenger and quite a few more!) .  At The Caves, if the crowd gets carried away with the bouncy-reverb acoustics, it’s just a joy to play.

Where I’d like to play - Union Chapel, it is just so beautiful with its incredible gothic architecture, and completely stuffed full with creative atmosphere… it’s on my ‘to-do’ list.

Ralph: Mars Bar or Snickers

Kat: OMG - I’m a Snickers gal the whole way… in fact I have some in my cupboard at home right now.  I can’t handle Mars Bars!?  They’re too sickly.  Snickers have the added nut-factor too, which is just delish.  I’m also a fan of the occasional Topic bar.

Upcoming gigs are.....

11th Sept @Nice n’ Sleazy, Glasgow (Fakefrown Acoustic Sessions)
17th Sept @Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh (supp Mick Hargan, Rachel Ann Weiss)
25th Sept @Nice n’ Sleazy, Glasgow 7.30pm (Fakefrown Acoustic Sessions)
26th Sept Edinburgh, venue TBC 7.30pm (supporting Trace Bundy)
11th Oct @The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 7.30pm (supporting Nick Harper)
13th Oct @Nice n’ Sleazy, Glasgow 7.30pm (supporting Ahab, Fakefrown)
19th Oct @The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh 7.30pm (supporting Nick Harper)
6th Nov @Nice n’ Sleazy, Glasgow 7.30pm (supporting Jake Morely)
7th Nov @Mugdock Music Festival, Mugdock Country Park Theatre
Opening for JJ Gilmour (tickets will sell fast and are scarce!…)
    Bookings go live on 1st August 2013 All tickets £10 Tel:      0141 956 6100 Email: website:

    22nd Nov @The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh 7.30pm (with Tomlin Leckie and Erin Todd £7)

    23rd Nov @The Victorian Bar, Tron Theatre, Glasgow (supporting Lou Hickey) this is with ‘The Stripped Sessions Presents…’

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