Student Spotlight – Innes Collins
We heard you have recently released a new EP. What can you tell us about your new material?
My latest EP, “Onlooking,” is a lot of effort coming into fruition. I have been writing and working on my song writing long before my current Graded Unit Project was underway. In general, I wanted to be a lot more personal and insightful into how I see the world around me. Although similar in respects to my first single, “Calm Start,” the lyrical style I have adopted in my new EP looks more into idioms than linear storytelling. I personally attune more to writing in that fashion but that is why I have pushed myself to tell a story in a less simple manor. For example, the first track on the EP is not about a little “birdie” at all. The lyrics focus more on the idea of when you love something let it go.
Tell us about the bands/artists that influenced your latest release?
My main influences in music have not changed since I began my journey at Riverside Music College. The reason I started to learn guitar was from my amazement listening to David Gilmour, whether his solo musical works or his role in Pink Floyd. I was enamoured by his ability to convey emotion without saying anything, just playing his instrument. As well as David Gilmour, the main influences for “Onlooking,” were Paolo Nutini and Mac DeMarco. I studied their lyricism closely and tried to indulge in their habits of song structure as well. However, I constantly keep my own intentions in my mind when writing. I am very aware of the risks involved in being too closely influenced by other artists. I want my musical works to truly be my own.
For those that have never heard your music before- How would you best describe it?
The way I would describe my music, while keeping in mind the opinions of my friends and family, would be easy listening. I have tried to write very rock influenced music in the past; but I am never satisfied. When I let go of any constraints on myself, the music I create is very relaxed. For me this is a huge positive because although I wish to play rock music in a live setting, I love long jams with musicians that are slow and more about the feel than the energy. “Onlooking” contains a psychedelic influenced track in “birdie,” a pop-rock song in “learn by heart,” and a bedroom pop single in, “idios kosmos.”
Did you collaborate with any other artists on your new record?
Unlike my first single, “Calm Start,” I worked with several session musicians for this EP. Similarly, I still had the privilege of working with an exceptionally talented producer who both mixed and mastered the track(s). I found the experience of working with session musicians incredibly beneficial as there was a lot less pressure on my shoulders. Simply, I had more freedom to create music with friends than to complete a song for a deadline. Session work by Joe Lennon, Kent Murray, Matthew Swingler, and Monique Maurel helped me a lot. The help they provided took a lot of pressure off myself as I have said and will influence future decisions on whether to work alone or with the help of session musicians. I must also give plaudits to Kyle Macnaughton, a production student at Riverside Music College, who was present for the initial studio recordings and went on to single handily help myself with overdubs, lead vocal recordings and the actual mastering of the EP. I am awfully glad to have worked with Kyle and hope to create more music together in the future.
What was the process of writing, recording, and releasing an EP like?
As I have stated above, I was much more prepared for this years Graded Unit Project as I had continued to write songs over the summer break, over the start of my second year at Riverside. The main change for myself was the option to use session musicians and a professional studio. My first single “Calm Start,” was recorded completely by myself at home during the height of lockdown with the help of the talented James Fairlie. Who added excellent drums and synth aspects to the track I did not have the technology to add myself at home. This year however I could employ session musicians to write the drum and bass core of the EP, while writing and recording in a studio together without the hassle of sending ideas or files back and forth. I much prefer the way this EP was created to my original process. In terms of releasing music however there was no difference to last year. Only the prospect of performing live this year differs to my last year’s efforts.
Why did you want to study at Riverside Music College?
In all honesty I was not fully aware of the contents of the Riverside HND Music Performance course. The main aspect that inspired my application was the fact some of my exams are live performances. I had little live experience before attending Riverside and I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me. As I have worked my way through first year and I am now working through second year I have gained much useful knowledge and experience to make a living in the music industry. The most important classes are music business and live performance but there has not been a single class where I have felt there was no benefit to taking notes and passing the assessments. I am glad I decided to attend Riverside Music College.
How has the Music Performance course helped you – which skills, knowledge/classes have been the most useful for you?
As I have just mentioned above, I personally feel music business and live performance have helped me the most. In addition, however, both music theory and song writing have massively aided myself in the development of my own musical ability. I know myself since attending Riverside my song writing ability has grown and my knowledge of music theory has allowed me new avenues of music to try and play but mostly create. Similarly, the live performance classes and assessments have allowed me to be less stressed over gigs and even something as simple as playing for my friends. I used to be terrified to sing in front of even my family. Riverside Music College has helped me come a long way.
What are your plans now that the EP is out?
My plans now my recent music is out are no different to my plans last year when I had released new music: Continue to write new material and continue to look for new opportunities to perform. Since my journey began at Riverside Music College, I have released a single, and now an EP. My plans moving forward are to hopefully release a full album of new songs as well as create an acoustic compilation. I often write on acoustic and love the sound of two or more playing in harmony and would love to show my versatility. If you have not checked out my new EP, “Onlooking,” or indeed my first self-release “Calm Start,” the links to listen are below…