Editor’s Note: This past spring, U.K.’s Smoke Fairies released their incredible album “Darkness Brings The Wonders Home”. The album is moody, whimsical, introspective, and impeccable. In this mental health conversation with Madness To Creation, Jessica Davies of Smoke Fairies discusses coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, the writing and recording process for “Darkness Brings The Wonders Home”, and their response to the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and around the world. Fans can find Smoke Fairies at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: How have you been coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Jessica: It’s such a strange time. At the start of the year it would have been impossible to imagine everything closing. We’re sad that we didn’t get to perform our songs at the festivals; we would have been playing Glastonbury this weekend which would have been fun. Overall though we’ve been very lucky and the lockdown has provided peace and tranquility.
Madness To Creation: What adjustments have you made with your social media accounts in regards to Covid-19?
Jessica: At the start of lockdown we had a lot to promote. We released a video, a 7 inch single, some podcasts and did some online gigs for charity. We find social media hard if there is nothing to promote so we’ve gone a bit quiet again.
Madness To Creation: Let’s talk about your music, I absolutely love the various moods that you have in your music, what is the writing process like for Smoke Fairies when they step into that studio?
Jessica: Thanks! A lot of it is done over many months before we get into the studio. One of us will start with the bear bones of a song and Katherine will record it and we’ll just play around with different parts and moods until it feels right. Some songs are trickier than others and have had many different versions. Right now we are working on some new recordings at home. We’ll usually lay down a main guitar and then experiment with other guitar parts. The harmonies are where it gets really fun. They can add a lot of texture and mood.
Madness To Creation: You’ve released “Darkness Brings The Wonders Home”, what was the most challenging and rewarding aspect about creating that album?
Jessica: The whole thing was a challenge. Writing took a lot of time… just working out what we wanted to be writing about took a lot of time. But recording was the biggest challenge, the producer we worked with really pushed us to be the best we could be, it was a hard process. Then we were set-back when our label weren’t able to continue with their commitment to release it and we had to work out a way to release it ourselves. Although it wasn’t the plan, putting it out in our own label has been hugely rewarding. It got to number 1 in the UK rock charts and we did that ourselves without any budget.
Madness To Creation: 2020 has been a year for the history books, what are a couple of lessons you’re taking away from this year?
Jessica: It certainly has. Hopefully to try and continue with a slower pace. I’m definitely going to savour every future meeting with friends and family.
Madness To Creation: Fun question, Boris Johnson starts dancing like a madman during your show how do you react?
Jessica: With horror!
Madness To Creation: We focus on mental health awareness and normalizing mental health conversations, what helps get you through the tough times and what makes you happy?
Jessica: Talking is definitely a remedy and it’s definitely good to have one or two people you can count on to listen. I’m also very into gardening. It’s a good way to quiet the mind. Having a pet is also great. It’s such a privilege to share your home and life with animals even if they are delinquent and jump in the fridge every time you open it.
Madness To Creation: What’s the first thing that you want to do when this pandemic is over?
Jessica: It’s actually quite hard to see the end. I’m not sure it will be over. I’d love to just go to my parents house and I had planned to go to Spain to see my sister so if I’m ever comfortable about doing that, that’s what I’ll be doing.
Madness To Creation: What is your perspective on the uprisings in America? I’m curious what you and your country thinks of it.
Jessica: Do you mean the BLM uprisings? The UK has systemic racism and the UK’s role in slavery and our colonial past is huge and runs deep. A lot of our cities, our buildings and institutions were funded by slavery. The BLM movement in the States has prompted a lot of discussion and protest about racism in the UK. It has been a catalyst for some tough conversations at work, with friends and family which has been a really good thing. I hope as a starting point we’ll change the way our history is taught. I know and understand bits and pieces but I have a long reading list and many more conversations to be had about it.
And there you have it! Check out the album “Darkness Brings The Wonders Home” via Spotify below: