We speak to London artist August (aka Steve Hughes) following the release of his second single ‘ANIMAL’.
We’ve seen that you spent some time in a band last year, before deciding to set out on your own. Has it taken time to adjust to a solo project?
The mindset of being an artist rather than a band definitely takes a bit of getting used to. Being in a band is great but can be quite rigid in terms of needing to feature certain instruments. It feels like there’s a bit more creative license to experiment and try things now. I’ve always worked collaboratively in the studio with my mate, and producer, Eddy, and so in that sense the change up was easy.
Do you feel like your personal sound developed as a result of your previous experiences, or was this the style of music that has always resonated with you personally?
I think a bit of both, trying out stuff in previous bands definitely helped refine what I like and how I wanted to write and create moving forward. I also think lyrically I draw a lot from my past experiences. But I also feel there is a certain sound that is within me and a style of writing that I am naturally drawn to. I love big melodies that emotionally connect and I am always excited about trying to communicate powerful ideas in a simple way. That instinct often leads me towards more pop melodies than going too left field.
Your sound is quite electronic, although you do cite some interesting influences from Photography to Disney films. Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your latest style?
In terms of musical influences, the songwriting of Sia has been a big influence, she just seems to have so many different sections in a song that all feel like choruses. It means the song continually gets bigger and bigger. In terms of sound, LCD Soundsystem have been a massive influence; I love how on a song like ‘All My Friends’ can take a small idea and gently build layers until the point where it feels raging, yet the listener feels totally emotionally engaged.
Outside of music, London architecture has been a massive inspiration, especially the Brutalist movement. For a song like ‘ANIMAL’ written about London, I tried to encapsulate the power of these huge buildings that can feel both cold and austere yet so aspirational and beautiful. It’s that delicate balance that I wanted to write about in ‘ANIMAL’.
How did the name ‘August’ come about?
I had a song called ‘August’ that I always liked the title for but the song wasn’t very good. It was also in August of last year that I decided to try something different, so it felt like a natural fit. Finding a name is the hardest part of being an artist.
What’s next for you in 2016?
We’re releasing another single in a few weeks time and an EP. We’ve got a couple of London shows lined up but are also confirming a support tour for the autumn. I’m really excited about performing these songs live.
Have you got your eyes on any other artists at the moment?
I can’t wait for the new Bon Iver record, I’ve loved the few songs I’ve heard so far. I’ve also been enjoying Christine and The Queens record. I’m seeing my mates tonight Daunt play and they’ve got some wicked songs dropping…