(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 2: Constant Follower

Constant Follower

Constant Follower is a Stirling-based band featuring acoustic guitarist/singer/noisemaker Stephen McAll, guitarist Andrew Pankhurst, Amy Campbell on backing vocals and synth, and Kessi Stosch on vocals and bass; hailing from Glasgow, West Yorkshire, Dunblane and Hamburg respectively. Constant Follower began life as McAll’s solo project back in 2017 as a platform for a long-gestating collection of spare and plaintive songs for acoustic guitar and electronics, but started to flesh out into a band setup after meeting guitar player Andrew Pankhurst at a gig and sensing possibilities for adding new dimensions to the songs.

They solidified as a three piece with Kessi Stosch taking on the role permanently; singer and synth player Amy Campbell joined to make the current four piece late last year.
Their debut album ‘Neither is, Nor Ever Was’ in collaboration with Kramer (producer of Daniel Johnston, Low and Galaxie 500 to name a few!) will be released on vinyl with artwork by renowned US artist Seonna Hong in March 2021 on Shimmy Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings worldwide.

“I Can’t Wake You / Altona” is out now.

What McAll Says:
“This is the video for our song ‘Altona’ which was made by Swedish/German artist Nathalia van de Kerst. It’s incredibly beautiful and translates the song perfectly. Nathalia gathered Super8 footage of me as a baby and her own plays on light and time to create something that is moving far beyond the confines of the song and making it more than its parts. The song doesn’t have many words of course; it flows like a meditation on healing, of time making things better. Nathalia’s visuals tell this story”.

His Mixtape:
“Way before Constant Follower, making mixtapes was an obsession which I got from my Uncle Tom. Whenever he’d visit, he’d have a new tape for us with all the best new music lovingly curated by him. The playlist written out in his unusual capitalised hand and it would have a showstopping title. I wrestled with some ideas for what to call this little mixtape of my influences, music I love and music that moves me. But I’m pulled towards a lyric from our current single which holds much meaning to me… so, here then is my mixtape, a nod to Uncle Tom, ‘Moments Last Forever’
Hopefully Uncle Tom will be proud and maybe you find something in there too.”.

Gareth Dickson – Snag with the language (2018)

Gareth is a friend for many years and maybe the biggest influence on my music. I’ve watched him grow as an artist from his first releases to this kind of beauty he makes today. His music’s a real reflection of what he’s like as a person; what does that mean? well, he’s also one of the best folk you could ever meet. He gave me the best bit of songwriting advice – make your metaphors concrete. I think I know what he meant.

Wingdisk – The Message in Mint (2019)

This is a 7” by Mark Tranmer (aka The Montgolfier Brothers aka GNAC). It’s got that perfect thing that I wish I could capture in my music. Something innocent like Pet Sounds that feels almost unachievable these days. I don’t understand why innocence and naivety are so scorned? Mark created music as The Montgolfier Brothers with Roger Quigley, who passed recently and was honoured through a special Tim Burgess’ Listening Party. Mark’s music has brought much joy into my life these last difficult months.

The Durutti Column – Requiem Again (1989)

Where did it all begin? The Durutti Column feels like he’s been with me always. I find it hard to listen to this now because it’s so filled with emotions from a moment in the past.

Hannah Georgas – Easy (2020)

I love the arrangement on this song. It has that seeming simplicity even in a busy arrangement when everything comes in towards the end. With my music it’s always a battle not to do too much. Most of my mixing is subtractive – taking out things to create space. I love Hannah’s voice, effortless and carrying so much emotion. The programmed drums are great – those wee fills!  This is from her new album ‘All That Emotion’ which I highly recommend.

Let it Come Down – Pennies (2020)

This is from a wonderful record by Kramer and Xan Tyler under their ‘Let It Come Down’ guise. In the age where people release ‘songs’ rather than albums, this is an album proper in the classic sense – to listen from start to end, in the dark, on headphones. Each track is deserving of time and pulls at me in unusual ways. Xan’s voice is just stunning on this, my favourite song from the album. I’m very much looking forward to working with Kramer’s genius on the Constant Follower stuff.

Alabaster Deplume – Visit Croatia (2020)

Healing music. Alabaster Deplume is an artist whose releases I wait for with anticipation. Always incredibly creative and inventive – his music connects with something deep and ancient. I’m aware of him through Lost Map – one of the best labels around and based on a remote Island off the West Coast of Scotland, my spiritual home.

Scott William Urquhart – Ballet Dancer (2020)

I recorded this for Scott. I wanted to capture the raw emotion of what he does, kinda lo-fi and ‘real’, creaks and all. It’s instrumental but never felt instrumental to me when we were recording, I hear his voice through the guitar. He’s been through a lot, and you hear that when he plays. A beautiful person with a lot to say. We’re working on a collaboration together at the moment.

Cinder Well – From Behind The Curtain (2020)

This is from the new release by Amelia Baker under her Cinder Well moniker. It’s beautiful. I’ve talked a lot about it. I think I’ve been listening to this more than anything else this last month. Sometimes I listen and the feels are too much though. I think that’s the mark of some music that is real – when it engenders emotion so strong you can’t bear to hear it. But, it’s the beauty and the hope that I find most satisfying about this album. The light with the dark. Gorgeous.

I Can’t Wake You / Altona is out now. Look HERE for more information on Constant Follower.

 

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