Last year London-based songwriter Aislinn Logan released her debut EP in the form of ‘Lost or Gone’. Across its four tracks, the release wedded more traditional elements such as acoustic guitar and piano with an array of electronic and slaved-over beats. These layered soundscapes were overlaid with Logan’s unmistakable, strong vocals.
Still a relative newcomer, Aislinn Logan returned to recording at the end of 2016 to start work on her next release. We joined her in Draperstown at the hub of Glasgowbury and their Small But Massive studios.
Her first ever release, ‘Lost or Gone’ was nonetheless an impressive record and one Logan looks back on fondly. “It was nice because those were songs I wrote in the space of two and a half years at uni so it was nice to see them come to fruition eventually. It was recorded in a living room so it was definitely still rough around the edges. I was happy with the end product, it wasn’t perfect but what is?”
The living room production on the EP was the result of Logan’s collaborations with producer Carl Small, who helped bring Logan’s songwriting into fuller tracks in a fairly stripped back setting.“Mostly the last one was me and him in the living room in Stranmillis, figuring it all out for hours on end with lots of cups of tea.” It’s an arrangement and relationship that has no doubt produced results, with Logan stating the two are “a wee team”,so it’s no surprise that Logan chose to return to Northern Ireland to utilise their “winning formula” once again.
“We bounce off each other really well. He gives me lots of ideas and I give him ideas. Sometimes we argue about what we should do but we usually end up coming up with something we’re both happy with. I don’t really want to work with anyone that I’m not comfortable with. Carl knows how I work and we get on really well. It’s a good working relationship.”
Introduced by friends over a year ago, the two began to work together and liked where things were headed. Now though, in the new Small but Massive studios things are a bit different with added pressure. “I come over for the weekend to have a certain amount of time in the studio, so we’re very organised. We have to know exactly what we need to get done by the end of the day and then we can build on it going forward. The groundwork needs to be done here.”
The setting may be different but the collaborative effort is still evident. A different sort of release this time around, but the preparation remains similar, with an exchange of ideas and demos before recording begins. “I sent some through to Carl, and some he didn’t like. It’s good to get his input on that as well, and it’s good I think to sit and have a think about what you’re going to do before you come here to make best use of time.”
Much of ‘Lost or Gone’ is heavily enhanced by a range of electronic sounds. “We would have sat for a very long time and figured out what sounds worked and what didn’t. Sometimes it can be really time consuming, but a lot of that stuff was done in the living room. So I think more of those electronic sounds will be done in my bedroom in London and Carl will be doing it on his computer away from here.” From the sounds of it, Logan is keen to try new things once again. “I wouldn’t say the first EP was safe but it feels like there’s a little bit more room now to have a go at some different things.”
A Northern Irish native based in London, the city has influenced Logan’s songwriting and clearly leaves a lasting impression on her. “London is the most incredible place, it’s so diverse and there’s so much creativity there and things to see. It’s such a vibrant city and a great place to be.”
“It’s super saturated. There’s a bit of bravery that needs to come into things. There’s so many people there but at the same time the opportunities are there too. It’s perseverance and it does take a wee bit of grafting, and you can’t really get knocked down, because in London there’s a lot of people trying to do the same thing. You could easily get a bit overwhelmed by that.”
With a personal approach to songwriting, Logan says of the new tracks “one of them is around isolation in London, and that big change. They’ve definitely been influenced by that move.”
“And one of them is around doing something on your own terms and saying enough is enough compromising for the sake of someone else’s happiness. Saying that you’re done with that. It’s a bit moody and a bit angry.”So far Logan has experienced a fair few highlights in her fledging music career that include performing sets before Frank Turner and Eddie Izzard, and even a performance in front of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon. On top of that, a packed out show in a church as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in front of friends and strangers alike, would rank up alongside most artists’ high points. “I just decided to put it on and we packed the place out. We did it the Saturday night. It was great to see so many people come after standing in the rain in Edinburgh for three days straight handing out flyers.”
Not too many songwriters can boast an EP as well rounded and impressive as Aislinn Logan’s ‘Lost or Gone’, and with her new music ready for release this month, she’s aiming to reach new heights. “We’ll take it as it comes. I would like to continue growing and getting music out to more people. Hopefully I can keep progressing with each release.”