BY TARA McEVOY
Following her crowd-pleasing stint at this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, The Gown caught up with Gabby Young (the svengali behind the jazzy gypsy folk rock band that is Gabby Young and Other Animals) to chat operatics, artwork and her plans for the future!
I was a singer songwriter for six years before I put the 'Other Animals' together, mainly with friends and a little help from the Internet.
How would you describe the mixture of influences that have gone into creating the band's 'Circus Swing' sound?
Throughout my life I have been influenced by all sorts of music and have picked up lots of bits along the way.
You've previously spoken of having been interested in opera – what prompted you to make the transition from opera into a different realm of music?
It was all because of Jeff Buckley. I was set on opera until I heard his operatic voice –his twist, his own rock music prompted me to write my own songs. And Joni Mitchell made me teach myself the guitar.
Can you tell us a bit about your recent album, 'The Band Called Out For More'?
I'm really happy with this album, as I got to work with an amazing band and loved having Stephen (my boyfriend, guitarist and song-writing partner) producing with me!
You've got a very distinctive image – do you feel this is important in your role as a performer?
Absolutely – although it’s not essential. The dressing up is an added bonus for the band and audience, to really put on a show. It was important to have striking artwork for me and to collaborate with amazing artists, so our fans can get something to really treasure.
With such a strong fan base, have you ever had any crazy fan experiences?
Yes, one super fan once built me eight benches!
Do you prefer writing or playing live?
Playing live as I feel I'm born to be a performer. I love the surprises that the audience’s energy gives us every night, which collides beautifully with our own energy.
What has been the highlight of your time with the band so far?
I have so many, but I guess getting 42 people on stage at a packed out KOKO has to be a highlight!
What's in the pipeline for Gabby Young and Other Animals?
Much more touring in lots of different places and hopefully meeting lots of wonderful people along the way. Of course, we've started working on album number three.