For the fourth in The Baker's Dozen series, Gitta De Ridder kindly took time out from the promotion of her upcoming 'For Everything A Season' album, set for release on March 23rd, to chat to RGM about her influences, her love of British comedy, David Bowie in Labyrinth and much more:
1. What is your earliest musical memory?
Ah, well…. I remember a general ‘always music in the house’ feeling as my dad always had something on. When I was little I remember hints of Jethro Tull, Andreas Vollenweider, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Beach Boys, and a whole other bunch of artists. And Sunday morning breakfasts with classical music. My granddad was an opera singer by profession, my dad sang too. We had a piano in the house and I went to kids choir from when I was 6 years old and started playing violin… tons of music. And I loved it! That said my violin practice could have been better haha. I never quite got the hang of that.
2. Do you remember the name of your first band?
Oooh yes, it was ‘Lakeside’ with the only reason being that when we checked into the rehearsal rooms we needed a band-name and the guitarist was wearing a shirt with that on. Such a funny random thing. I think I was 15 at this point.
3. Which current artist do you hear and just go Wow?
I’m actually finding this quite hard to answer, as there are just so so many wonderful things out there! I’ve been really in love with Agnes Obel’s records. And Rachel Sermanni’s. And there are definitely artists that continuously make me go Wow like Patrick Watson, and Anais Mitchell, or Bonnie Prince Billy, or Leonard Cohen, or Sufjan Stevens who just makes so much beauty. Or Iron & Wine who I had the joy to meet very recently. Such amounts of inspiration.
4. Do you sit down to write songs or do you wait until your mojo comes to get you?
I’m always writing whenever things come to mind, on my phone or notebook just for scribbles. I do plan time and sit down to write, some of the best tracks on the new record were a ‘forced exercise’ where I was also looking for inspiration in new approaches to writing.
5. Big venue or small venue - what's your favourite to play?
I have to say I don’t have that many comparisons yet ;-) as I haven’t played super big venues much. But I adore being up close and personal with an audience and think I prefer ‘smaller’ to say Hammersmith Apollo. As audience, I definitely prefer smaller venues. around 250/500 people max. The biggest I played must have been about 2000 but that was as a support show at which it’s usually hard to keep the audience drawn in anyway…
6. Who is the one artist you wish you could share a stage with (past or present)?
I’d say Leonard Cohen, although this is a very changeable view as I’ve changed my mind on this every 20 seconds already and I had to say something. Perhaps it’s most enjoyable sharing a stage with musical friends I already get to play with as they inspire me endlessly.
7. Bowie, Prince, Sinatra, Elvis which departed great means the most to you?
BOWIE and that’s because well, Labyrinth, and total youth love and still one of my favourite films and soundtracks of all time.
8. Is a saxophone solo ever ok?
9. Should music be free?
I suppose, should food be free? I say yes if we all get what we need everything should be free and all should be divided in a fair way. Sadly there’s always someone that still wants more than another. Perhaps that’s very marxist of me. And might require further discussion.
10. Can you remember the first record you bought and what have you bought recently?
Let’s bypass the elementary school music fashions here, hehe, but in my first year of high-school I latched onto Nirvana and No Doubt. Those discoveries set me off on quite a journey. Recently most of what I bought is from musical friends in support of crowdfunding campaigns etc. I tend to save a lot of records on my Spotify account, most recently Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’. I’m about to move into a re-build-truck-home with my man, so there ain’t much space for records there ;-) One day I’ll start myself a nice Vinyl collection. The first vinyl I’ll own is my own upcoming record, that’s actually true and I only just realised writing this. I say that’s a good start ;-)
11. What was the last song that made you cry actual tears?
My friend Stephen Hodd made a record called ‘Ode’ under the name of ‘Ragged Rebel City’ ‘Ode’ has made me cry many a time. Especially a song on there called ‘Breathless’ this record somehow being closely tied into my own personal life. I had the joy of having him produce my record too which was a magical thing.
12. Do you binge watch Netflix / Amazon / DVD box sets (any recommendations)? Do you have a guilty pleasure in Film or TV you’ll admit to watching and loving?
Don’t have any subscriptions or a telly but I do watch bits of Channel 4 or BBC iPlayer catch up, mainly comedy or documentaries or Black Books haha, seen that a few too many times now. Green Wing is good too! Funnily enough that was filmed partly at London’s Northwick Park hospital, which has Westminster Uni next to it where I did some of my studies. We used to have lunch in that cafeteria quite often, always brings back memories watching that. And actually during the making of the record we watched ‘Peep Show’ in our down time at the studio. So funny! Guilty pleasure, not so guilty at all, but I suppose I’m a total sucker for Disney and kids animation films. Best thing ever.
13. What is the most important thing to you that you can see from where you are right now?
If you mean as in ‘my eyes can see’ I suppose the whole room around me where I currently am and the fact I actually have a place to call home, unlike some. Moving in a few weeks is heightening my appreciation for a space that has been a safe haven during quite a turbulent few years.
If you mean ‘in the world around me’ I think the most important thing is that we all keep connecting to each other as humans separate from beliefs, backgrounds and circumstances. We’re all in this together.
Gitta De Ridder 'For Everything A Season' tour dates.