TeenCanteen’s singer and songwriter Carla J. Easton is looking forward to the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival more than most.
She’s recovering from a rather nasty illness which means that apart from a Darren Hayman support slot last week this will be her first time onstage for several weeks – in fact, she was confined to a hospital bed for much of that time.
We caught up with her on the ‘comeback’ trail, and firstly, asked how she was feeling.
“I’m still getting over viral meningitis. It’s now been just over two weeks since I was taken to hospital. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! I was in hospital for four days and when I was discharged the doctor said I had to cancel my immediate gigs (Rip It Up Festival, Solas Festival and the West End Festival All Dayer at Oran Mor).
“It broke my heart to do it as in all the years I have been performing I have never had to cancel a show. Thankfully everyone was very understanding and wished me well. Supporting Darren Hayman at Hug and Pint on 7th July and then performing at Doune The Rabbit Hole on the 15th have been something to work towards in my recovery.
“I could very well still have the virus at both these shows (and probably will) but the band who play with me know that we’ll be taking it easy at rehearsals and are supportive of my decision to get back playing (as is my doctor).”
Fortunately all the work on your next record was completed a while ago?
“The album will be coming out at the end of September on Olive Grove Records. So almost exactly a year since it was recorded in Canada. I’ll also officially be 33 1/3 years old which I like to think is some sort of alignment of the planets in my favour for releasing the album then.”
Yes, Canada – tell us more about how you ended up recording your album over there?
“I was in Canada in March 2017 for a Singer Songwriter Residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity where I met and worked with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire). He invted me to come back to Canada to record a full length album at his studio in Montreal so I returned in Sept/Oct last year.
“Since January I’ve been back out playing live and released two singles from this forthcoming album. It’s been great to put together a band for live shows with friends from other bands as well as playing more intimate stripped-back sets with my friend Paul Kelly accompanying me.
It seems like you have multiple projects on the go – with the TeenCanteen band, as well as Ette (the name under which the ‘Homemade Lemonade’ album was released). Can we expect to hear tunes from either live, or is it all about the new solo album?
“Ette was never a band – just me. It was an alias I used for my first solo album. Moving forward and to avoid confusion – as well as being more confident to put my own name to my material – I’m now Carla J. Easton.
“So the album in September is technically my second solo album. When I play live I do a mix of solo material with maybe a TeenCateen song here or there. I prefer to play new stuff or songs from my ‘Homemade Lemonade’ album as they are fresher and newer to me and I haven’t played them live as much.
“Having said that, I’m really proud of some of the songs I wrote for TeenCanteen and still enjoy singing them – particularly our first single ‘Honey’ and ‘Millions’ from our ‘Sirens’ EP that came out in 2017.
“So yes – still working with Ette but its a name change and as for TeenCanteen we are all having a break to focus on everything else we do outside of the band. For me that’s solo material, for Chloe it’s BMX Bandits and for Sita it’s her theatre and performance work. For Debs it’s the tiny patter of a BabyCanteen on the horizon!
And offstage this weekend – anything you’re particularly looking forward to seiing at Doune the Rabbit hOle?
“I can’t wait to see RM Hubbert and Aidan Moffat at Doune. Also Frankie Cosmos. It’s always great to see Broken Records play live too.”
Carla J. Easton plays Doune The Rabbit Hole on Sunday 15th July. The festival runs from Friday 13th with the likes of Dreadzone, The Beat, The Orb, Big Country, Aidan Moffat / RM Hubbert, The Levellers, Atari Teenage Riot and We Were Promised Jetpacks also on the bill. More at dounetherabbithole.co.uk