Counting Richard Hawley and Simone Felice amongst her fans, and with acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and Clash, and a Scottish Alternative Music Award nomination under her belt, Katie Buchan – aka Best Girl Athlete – is now gearing up to release her new album in October.
We caught up with Katie to find out more…
Hello Best Girl Athlete! How are you today?
Hello, brilliant thanks!
You are gearing up for the release of your sophomore self-titled album, how was the experience recording this record? Did it differ from your debut?
Well, the first album was really DIY and pretty much recorded and produced in my flat, apart from the strings. The strings were quite a distinct part of that album and we wanted to keep that as the continuous thread. Pete Harvey of Pumpkinfield Studio, who also scores and performs with King Creosote and Modern Studies, did an amazing job again. He’s an important part of the Best Girl Athlete sound. Otherwise, we used the studio a lot more and had some wonderful guest contributions, including Rick Anthony (Phantom Band), Iona Fyfe, The Haggis Horns and a brilliant, young, Aberdeen rapper called Jackill. We also worked with a great producer, Alex McNutt, who played an important part in channeling the sound we were after.
When writing music, how does the songwriting process work in the band?
It’s a bit like building blocks really. Generally, my dad or I will write the basic outline of the song, and gradually add layers to it over time. We are fortunate to have a lot of talented friends who make contributions to the music. Sometimes there is a very specific idea about what we want done, but knowing that your contributors have particular talents, it can be really beneficial to the overall song to let someone input from their own instinct.
Do the lyrics you write have specific personal meaning or are they open to interpretation?
The songs I write definitely have significant personal meaning relating to any situation or feelings I have towards something at the time of writing. However, as time goes on, situations and feelings change; therefore when I play them or listen to this a while after the writing, I can even interpret them differently to what they were originally written about. To enjoy the music to the fullest, I think it’s definitely important to interpret music in your own way and relate it to your own life.
When younger artists like yourself create such incredible music, their age is often obsessed over. Have you found this to be a hindrance or is it something that doesn’t really impact upon you?
When I first started getting involved in music I was around 13/14, and I would definitely say that it was heavily focused on, but I never considered it a hindrance – it could even be used to benefit an artist. However, as I have gotten older, I definitely hope that people listen to the music for the music and not my age. I’m not a novelty act and I don’t see why it should be so surprising that a young person can have talents in a particular area.
Your father runs the label you are signed to as well as playing in your band, what is it like working so closely with one another?
I don’t really think about it to be honest. It’s just something I do and my dad happens to be a part of it. Lately, my dad has been playing less with me live and I’ll be moving to Glasgow soon and will be looking to get some new people on board.
Where do you think your sound fits in today’s music industry?
The idea behind the new album comes from the way in which many people, particularly young people, now consume music. I think there is less importance placed on albums, with people preferring to collect individual tracks. Each song here stands alone as a single offering but that’s not to say it doesn’t work as an album of course! The hope therefore is that it appeals to a broad range of listeners.
If you could play with any artist past or present, who would it be?
I would definitely play with Lana Del Rey. She’s been one of my favourite artists for a while now, after I heard her first album, Born to Die, and it completely blew me away. I love the use of strings that make her songs sound almost eerie, and her lyrics.
What is a Best Girl Athlete live show like and how much importance do you place on connecting with an audience?
I am known to chat a bit in between songs as I like to give a bit of context to the songs. I think it helps to get an audience on your side by giving a little bit of yourself.
What does the rest of 2017 hold for the band?
We’re playing a few shows with an American artist and friend of ours, Sam Goodwill, in September and obviously we have the new album coming out in October, so I’m hoping people will be hearing about us a bit more in the coming months. I’m also moving to Glasgow in September to study Law and am really excited to see what that brings. There will be a lot of juggling between music and studying.
Best Girl Athlete, the eponymous new self-titled album, is due for release on 2nd October via Fitlike Records.