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INTERVIEW: Accü, Plus Debut Album Stream
Lavanya Singh , October 26th, 2018 14:51

Stream the excellent debut LP from Dutch-Welsh musician Accü, plus read a Q+A on mixing in a caravan, Stewart Lee collaborations and more

Earlier in May, Netherlands-native Accü teased her debut album, Echo The Red, with the release of an electrifying single ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’. The aftermath of an ‘annoying’ lullaby stuck in her head, the stunning track put Accü as one to watch in the coming years. Now, she’s released her debut album, ‘Echo The Red’, available for streaming below.

The half-Dutch, half-Welsh musician, who relocated to the rural Carmarthenshire in Wales to work on the album, treats Echo The Red as a necessary mental reinvention process: “Echo The Red was a phrase much needed at a time when none other such phrases existed in the vocabulary of the tongue but did of the heart.”

“For me it is the 'thenceforth' to the brief 'ever after'. It is the pulling up of socks lubricated by tears. It is loved ones lost followed by the inflated chest. The inner shift and the outer mirror,” she says of the philosophy that shaped much of the album. “My made up motto for lack of better words, when I've learned loves that I wish to pass on, when I wish to echo their red. I echo the red.”

To find out more about the album, The Quietus caught up with Accü for a quick chat.

tQ: Can you tell us more about mixing the album in your caravan?

Well, I live in a caravan; that’s where I recorded the album. I actually mixed the album in a medieval mansion. My friend and drummer for my live shows, Andy Fung, was house sitting and asked a bunch of us to come along, so mixing it there wasn't part of the plan but sort of just happened. I was super stoked for that chance to come about: both environments are obviously opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both live in the same boat of unique occupancies.

The being in two very different spaces and state of mind, from the recording process to the mixing process just seemed ideal to me.

You mentioned that the phrase itself—‘echo the red’—is sort of an informal motto for you. What’s the story behind that?

It came to me after a significant chapter of my life came to an end. There were so many endings: my previous relationship, my old band, where I lived, the passing of two good friends and my beloved grandmother, the last grandparent. The shifts were fluvial, like entering a new stream, carrying with you new pebbles, leaves and dirt. But, I am not water. I carry with me what I please and pass on what I choose. I suppose it's about that choice: the wanting for others to experience the beautiful parts of previous echoes.

One of your tracks, ‘Did You Count Your Eyes’, was partially inspired by Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s essay, Women Who Run With Wolves. Are there any other points on the album that were inspired by literature?

There is one other that was completely inspired by literature: 'Fever Streams' featuring Stewart Lee. It's based on the book The Hill of Dreams by Welsh author Arthur Machen. I have worked with Stewart before and we are both fans of Machen's work. It seemed only fitting to collaborate together on a song. The novel is about a young man named Lucian who is near obsessed with his childhood memories of rural Wales, Caerleon. The Hill of Dreams is an old Roman fort where he has strange and sensual visions.

I had spent a lot of time in Caerleon years before, just as I was entering adulthood and entering musicianship seriously, way before even knowing of Machen's work and this novel. It was a space in time with a heart so young, where absolutely everything was bewitching. His recollections were eerily and comfortingly resonant with me. This very strange and magical coincidence was the very thing he often celebrated and mystified about, quite unbelievably enchanting in so many ways.

Aside from the ‘angsty, political female puberty’ explored in ‘Did You Count Your Eyes’, what other themes do you explore in Echo The Red?

I suppose the general matters of the heart at that given time. To put quickly into words, matters such as abuse, destruction, loss, escape, rescue, revolution, love. The last track of the record is the song of love and rescue and the sense of being in a calmer more loving chaos. Out of the hurricane into enjoying the exciting storms.

How did the collaboration with Stewart Lee come about?

Just two years before, I had made a short film and designed a quadrophonic surround sound soundtrack for an installation based on 'The Hill of Dreams'. I recorded Stewart in my late friend’s old studio. I have a recording of him pretending to be Arthur Machen's ghost at the end of the recording, whilst I was out of the room. I've not brought this up to him. Maybe I want it to be Arthur. Maybe it was Arthur.

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