A group of Confetti degree students have recently produced and launched the fantastic Confetti Album 2020.
We spoke to Pixie Styx – one of the artists featured on the album – about the story behind her track, and how she found the experience as a whole…
What’s your name and what course do you study at Confetti?
Pixie Styx, second year FdA Music Performance
What made you choose Confetti to study music?
When I applied to study at Confetti I was living in a hostel after having previously been homeless. Seeing some of the destructive behaviours going on around me I decided I needed to find something constructive to do with my time. I had always loved music, singing in choir at church and getting involved in all of the school musicals, so I decided to make music a bigger part of my life again. I had heard good things about Confetti so I thought I’d chuck my hat in the ring and apply.
Who inspired you to make your own music?
I come from a long line of people who had music as a central part of their lives. Not performers, but people who made music communally in their family lives and through their religions. When I was growing up everyone in the house could play something, and we would all sing together regularly, so it felt like a very natural step to start expressing myself that way.
What specifically made me focus in on telling family and local history songs was hearing “Tiny Giant” by King of Rome, and “Dublin Bill” by Paul Carbuncle. They are both family history songs by local artists, and both made me realise that the stories in my family deserved to be told every bit as much as these stories did. They were every bit as interesting, as poignant and accessible to people, as well as being important pieces of our social history. Histories so often end up being the stories of the Kings and Queens. I feel our working class ancestors have stories to share that can teach more to the average person today than the tales of the ruling elite.
How would you define your sound as an artist – by genre or anything else?
I’m predominantly a storyteller and an archivist. That forms the core of everything I’m working on at the moment. I’m trying (with a lot of help from my band mates Andy Duckering, Richard Mitchell and Ian Clegg) to root the sound of each song in the historical context of the story it is telling, bringing in contemporary instrumentation and technology where possible. So far this has led to a very folk-based sound, but I’m keen to explore more experimental techniques to bring a flavour of the relevant time period. I hope next year to try field recordings of Victorian knitting machines and use that to build the percussion for my song about my framework knitter ancestors.
What’s the story – and meaning – behind your track chosen for the Confetti Album 2020?
“That’ll Do” is my take on a story passed down through five generations of my family (so far!). My Great Great Grandma Charlotte Richards learned her tailoring skills from her Grandad and used them to keep herself going when times were tough. She would buy a suit from a pawn shop, take it apart, turn it inside out to hide the stained, worn outside and then sew it back up as a new garment. Then she’d flog it off as new and spend the money on gin, if the stories are to be believed.
If you could choose one place to perform this track where would it be and why?
Half way down Long Stairs in Nottingham. Unfortunately this will never happen because only the top third of the stairs still remains, but Charlotte and her Mam lived there in 1841 so it would have been a nice way to honour them. That said, local group “Notts History – Honour our Heritage” are maintaining what is left of the stairs and are looking at ways to open them to the public, so watch this space!
If you could be the support for any artist in the world on their tour, who would you choose?
Me mate Joe Solo, because I think he’d be a laugh to tour with, and because I’d also get to see him play a load more.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from the recording process on this track?
Always be nice to the sound team, they’ll make you sound better if you’re not a pain in the ass to work with.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t, find your own way. You find real magic off the beaten track.