Dirty Dozen: Ian Roland & Simon Yapp

Ian Roland & Simon Yapp are a roots and Americana duo of 12 string guitar and fiddle, from Brighton, UK, with: “…more hooks than a long line fishing vessel.”

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years? My name is Ian Roland and I’m from Brighton, UK. I am a singer and a songwriter and for the past two years I have been playing live with fiddle player and vocalist, Simon Yapp. Simon did some session work on my ‘How That Dust Jumps’ album, which was released in 2015, and since then we have been performing live as a duo in Folk and Roots clubs and venues in Brighton, Cambridge, London, Bristol and thereabouts. 

How would you describe your music?
Americana, Country, Folk, Blues influenced popular music.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
My big early influences were The Kinks and The Beatles, which my elder sisters introduced me to.  The Waterboys were also a huge influence, starting around the time of their ‘Pagan Place’ album in 1984. I also continually listened to Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’, as well as Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens and Bruce Springsteen around that period as well.

What are you currently promoting?
We are promoting our new release, the ‘Day Became You’ EP, which we completed in January 2017. It is produced by Nigel Stonier, who has produced and collaborated with Thea Gilmore, The Waterboys, Joan Baez, Martha Wainwright and Fairport Convention.

This EP includes new songs, ‘Day Became You’ and ‘Gravity Inside’, as well as a new recording of, ‘Shooting Star’. Simon and I travelled up to Manchester to record the EP at Airtight Productions Recording Studios. Séadna McPhail was the engineer and Alan Lowles mastered the final release. The EP has Nigel Stonier also providing multi-instrumental parts, as well as Séadna adding percussion, and Richard Young on drums.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I am very pleased with the title track of the new album, ‘Day Became You’. A Soundcloud listener described it as a split between Americana and Pop, which is what we had in mind to try and achieve. I’m also keen on ‘Gravity Inside’, from the EP, as well, with its Country Roots sound.

What are you currently listening to?
Currently I am listening to Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Sarah Jarosz, Robert Vincent, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
That’s difficult to answer…I’d have to make a compilation!

What are your hopes for your future career?
I plan to record a new EP later this year with Simon. I have some new songs written, which we are currently trying out on audiences at our live gigs.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
I recorded a live album with Simon in 2016 called ‘Suitcase – a live collection’. It would be great to record those songs again, and other songs as well, this time as a full band, with drums, double bass, cello, and have them produced and then be able to go out on the road and play those songs as a full band set up.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
When I play music, I get to go somewhere else emotionally, away from the day-to-day. When you are playing music with other musicians in front of an audience who are sharing that experience and enjoying it too, some sort of personal connection is formed with everyone there in that moment, which resonates deeply and which feels very special…

And the worst?
When you allow yourself to take things too seriously…

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Thank you! We hope you like our music.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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