Onion Talking: Behind The Unicorn, Sue Denim

© Owen Richards

Earlier this year we spoke to comic Joey Page, about his years of trying to break the comedy circuit and bring the audiences to him, rather than waiting for the head-honchos to give him the nod. This time we  turn to the world of the music industry, and find out from Sue Denim what it’s been like for her to release her album off her own back.

Today is the official release of Bicycle – the first single to come from Sue Denim‘s long awaited solo project.  Sue  has been spreading her musical wings and is now releasing her debut solo album, Sue And the Unicorn, to be released on 13th August.  The album comes to us off the back of Denim’s fully independent label, Superhealthy, and we for one are fully supportive of anyone out there who believes in making a living in any medium independently. Velveteer Paulyne asks her the questions that can put any aspiring musicians out there at ease.

Since the project’s origins in 2009, Sue has used the power of the internet (myspace, twitter and even The Velvet Onion) to promote and release her experimental, unplugged songs.  Her raw, to- the-bone tunes and homemade videos have made each project feel like a personal gift; like a secret just between Sue, you and the Unicorn.

How have  you found developing such a different musical style with people that know and support you through Robots In Disguise?

The connections I’ve made during over 10 years working in the musicbBiz have definitely helped, but ultimately whoever I’m dealing with has had to love my new music too. Happily for me it’s been an amazing and very encouraging response!

Your fans were an important part of finishing the last RiD album, have you thought of  turning to them for help with this?

I did think about trying another fan-funded album, but one of the things with this is that the administration of it is MASSIVE and I am doing this totally alone. I decided not to go that route this time, to just go for a self-release on a small scale and see what happens. I’ll need my fans once it gets going, to buy the CD, the merch and the tickets to my shows! Thank you in advance!

What is your opinion of mainstream music today and how folk music has become far more mainstream in the last few years? Is there anyone that you like?

© Owen Richards

I’m not sure I have much of an opinion on mainstream music – I just don’t really listen to it! I imagine if I did listen too much I might not be too complimentary about it, so best not to get involved! Or maybe that’s where I’m going wrong! I think I’ll go and check out the charts RIGHT NOW!

As for new folk music. What exactly is it?  I’ll make up my own definition – since folk is music for the people isn’t it, then new folk must be CHART music – yikes – definitely going to check it out.

Can I please make up a new genre? No Folk! – I’m sure that probably has already been invented, never mind! Music that’s for the people but hasn’t reached the people widely yet…Me!  No folk.

Some newish folkish people that I like – Jeffrey Lewis (A Turn In The Dream-Songs), Jonathan Richman (O Moon Queen Of Night On Earth), David Wrench (Spades & Hoes & Plows).  They’re not that new or that folk but I like them a lot.

What is your inspiration when writing your solo music as opposed to writing for RiD?

My inspiration is pretty similar as it always has been.  Everything I feel and do and see and hear inspires me to write songs. I’m always writing. The one thing that I wouldn’t say inspires me in particular is other music. Of course I love music but I would say it’s not so far along on the scale of ‘One to Inspiration!’  It’s just in there with everything else.
My move to Wales definitely inspired the making of this album, although in terms of writing the songs, most of it was already written – except Superunicorn.

Your song-writing seems to be very much inspired by your surroundings and your day-to-day routine. Is that sometimes a grievance in an upsetting time in your life or do you still use those feelings as inspiration?

It’s a comfort in upsetting times. And it’s a joy in good times. Song writing is the best therapy!

What would you have done differently if you could start the album again?

I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I’m so pleased with it!

Who is your Unicorn?

The unicorn was conjured up a few years ago in Kreuzberg, Berlin. I was living quite a solitary life at the time and needed a beautiful imaginary friend! My unicorn is my love, my life, my dreams, ideas. I was awake all night and slept until the afternoon and the unicorn kept the same hours. I liked the idea that at 5am a white horse can look like a unicorn. I like the unicorn as a symbol. Something magical and mysterious. (NB The unicorn is not a mythical creature! There were no myths – people just believed in unicorns!).

I’m trying to live a more simple and superhealthy life these days and decided to go to bed early and ditch the unicorn! Now I’m just me, Sue Denim. I’ll be taking a unicorn on tour with me though!

What one feeling do you hope people get from ‘Sue And The Unicorn‘?

I hope people feel like they’re in an interesting dream!

Now you have the platform to plug away – what can everyone expect from your upcoming shows and why should people buy the album and come to see you?

You can expect me to play all the songs on my album and to sell some tshirts and CDs. It’ll be a very simple affair. It’ll have to be ’cause I’m travelling by train. I’ll probably be wearing some clothes and have a hairstyle. I’ll bring a unicorn. Why should people buy the album? Because it’s GOOD and worth the money and to support a truly independent label and keep it happening!

Sue will be travelling around the UK in September and you can find all her dates with ticket links right here!
Sue And The Unicorn will be available from August 13th and you can pre-order hereto get yours the instant it is released!
Plus remember to get your copy of Bicycle right here! Along with the B-Side Another Rainy Day!

A huge thank you to Sue Denim for taking the time to answer our questions.

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