Folklore Tales with Leo Stannard
11th June 2018
Folklore has gone through a renaissance in recent years – no longer just a Glastonbury novelty, it’s a genre that culminates all sorts of music fans. Leo Stannard leads the pack of the latest gravelled voice lyricists, and Superdry caught up with the emerging star ahead of his backstage attendance at Field Day Festival.
You’re giving folklore a real freshness – how would you best describe this genre to a newbie?
Describing music is something I spend quite a lot of time doing but I’m still absolutely terrible at it. I think it comes from the singer songwriter world and then comes into contact with a whole bunch of other stuff. I guess it’s the evolution of the popular singer songwriter.
Your biggest inspirations and why?
Musically my inspirations are all over the place, from Neil Young and his masterful songwriting, to Kendrick Lamar and his brutal honesty and self-analysis, to Radiohead and their incredible soundscapes. But I find a lot of inspiration in everyday life as well and the various relationships I have with different people.
You’ve played at Glastonbury, which is pretty good going! Tell us some festival stories from it.
Well I had a pretty early slot, I think it was around 11:30, and with it being my first ever time at Glastonbury I was obviously out the night before exploring all the crazy things it has to offer. I had a dream that night that I hadn’t woken up in time to play the gig and had slept through. Thankfully, I just about made it and the dream didn’t become reality.
Artist no-one would expect you to be a fan of?
Action Bronson. We are from very different worlds but I think is first record is brilliant.
You sound wise beyond your years in your songs – let’s have some wise advice from Leo.
Well my current obsession is long distance running, I just love doing it for some reason. One of the best at it is a guy called Eliud Kipchoge and he said this which applies to many things outside of running, “In life, the idea is to be happy. So, I believe in calm, simple, low-profile life. You live simple, you work hard and live an honest life. Then you are free.” Basically, it’s so easy to over complicate life and clutter it with things that serve you no good, and that will then ultimately just make you unhappy.
Your song Home has us in a Grand Designs headspace – most ridiculous and obscene house and home you could have if money and reality was no object?
When I was doing some writing in LA I went to some pretty insane houses in the Hollywood Hills. But then again, I go to this house/shed in Southern Italy in a place called Maratea every year and that’s where I’m happiest so who knows.
Seriously though, what is Home about, away from the literal?
It’s all about making a new home in an unfamiliar place. For me it was moving from Leicester to London and building up a new kind of life in London to make the city feel like home with friends, relationships, career related things and everything else that goes into life.
What would you be lost without?
My headphones. When you live in England and sometimes your surroundings are not so spectacular, you need a bit of music to add some colour to life.
What’s on your musical bucket list in the next few years?
I get quite a lot of requests to come and play in South America so I’d absolutely love to do that. Travelling the world with your music is just the best thing. Also, I’m desperate to do Glastonbury again when it’s back up and running.
Your new track is called 5 Years Later – what’s it about, and what’s happening 5 years later?
It’s a love song about the passing of time. It’s about something that has grown, even if you didn’t really expect it to when it started, into something so good, and then looking back in awe at the time that has passed.
How do you see your music developing over the next 5 years?
I’m really trying not to think about it too much and just let it happen to me as my last evolves and as I evolve as a person. Also, music is changing so rapidly at the moment, who knows what the landscape is going to be like in 5 years!
You recently visited Superdry at Regent Street – what styles did you pick out, and what’s your general vibe?
I picked out a few really nice bombers and leather and denim jackets, a few cool shirts too. I love a well-made jacket and I don’t go for anything too crazy so anything well fitted and well-made is good for me.
Follow Leo Stannard on Instagram here