This week we’re continuing our artist insight feature – ‘NE Hot Seat’ – where we sit down with some of the region’s brightest talent on a monthly basis, shine a spotlight on their latest work and find out what they have planned next.
Next up we have Newcastle based indie Singer songwriter India Arkin, armed with ethereal sounds and honest writing, who has already made a significant impact in the Newcastle gig scene in the last year. With her newest single ‘What you call home’ (listen here) dropping April 22nd on Spotify and all major streaming platforms, we sat down with India to get the lowdown on her plans.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career in music so far?
So, I am an indie alternative singer songwriter. My music career so far has really taken off since the beginning of this year as I released my first single ‘Dashboard Dancing’ just over a year ago, which I felt I got more of a reaction for than I expected for a first release. I was in a band previously that was a steppingstone into the music world, because I had made friends in the St Albans music scene and visited ‘The Horn’ venue a lot but moving up North and writing with them really moved my on to writing properly. It’s all just started happening and the more I get enveloped in it while collaborating with other people the more exciting it gets!
What can you tell us about your latest release?
My latest release is my debut EP which is incredibly exciting, it’s called ‘No Innocent Bystander’ and it’s out now on all major streaming platforms. I think it is a massive step up from the tracks I had released previously. All of the songs were written throughout the pandemic and each song speaks to the ways in which all of us are responsible for the situations we are put into. I worked with my amazing producer (@louge.audio on instagram) on modernising the tracks that I had been writing over the last year or so and we really started pushing the creative boundaries of those songs which I am really excited to do more of.
What inspires you most when it comes to creating music?
That’s a hard question- I think I take inspiration from all over the place. I have the luxury as a solo artist to work with a rotating backing band, which has been really eye opening. At the minute my backing band is mostly jazz musicians which is an edge I had never really considered. Before that I had a drummer who was more into rock, and there are people down south that I have worked with which have changed it. I think inspiration can change situationally, as who you are around and what you are around means everyone brings a different take to it. Also, everyone I work with is great at their instrument, so working with them and spending time with them has introduced me to different sounds and insights. Every time I hear something I like I wanna take elements of it and use it, so I create this massive assortment of inspiration. Also, I didn’t realise how much of a community there was in North East music scene specifically- everyone knows everyone! I wouldn’t be where I am with writing if I was down south rather than here because you get invited to this gig and that gig, it feels like you’re stepping into a new scene.
How did you find the recording process and how did it shape your sound?
The way I write starts with me, in my room, dinkin’ on my guitar. I am a big believer that the best stuff you write comes from when you are feeling very emotionally intense, because everything you’re thinking of sits at the surface and spills over into creativity. It is basically me writing about things in my life. I used to take my songs to a guitarist I was working with and sit with them to write a guitar line on top of my own. When it comes to the recording process, I would lay out what I have got and give it to the band who would send me ideas. We sometimes have a document where I would say what I want and give them some reference material, but I feel I am developing a greater sense of what I want as I know more what I am talking about. We might spend some time tweaking that and then I take it to my producer who talks through how to achieve the sound I am after. I can’t thank him enough because he taught me about the importance of modernising my music, because I had strong songs, but I needed to stand out. There are many more creative ways of making sounds, but I think you need to push for something that isn’t that tangible but adds something. It’s not something I had considered before, and I wouldn’t have had that intent without him. I also think it helps that I haven’t had too much technical training, as it allows me a certain freedom from the structures of what is ‘right’.
What else can we expect from you this year?
Lots of exciting things are coming! Very soon, on the 22nd of April, I am releasing a new single ‘What you call home’. I think it is the heaviest track I have ever written and it’s a bit of a boogie. There is some more stuff coming this year, but it’s top secret. I have some upcoming gigs in the following weeks… I’m headlining on Wednesday 20th April at The Horn in St Albans and on Saturday 7th May at Little Buildings.
Where can we find you on socials and keep up to date on developments?
The best way to keep up to date with me is probably on Instagram as its where I upload most regularly and you hear song ideas and little bits and bobs:
Facebook: India Arkin music
Twitter: India Arkin
Tik Tok: Indiaarkin
Check out India’s’ top picks from the region in their personally curated playlist below.