Tanya Auclair on Origami, Her Rules, and Music of Minimal Means →

Tanya Auclair

Travel and movement have always been good catalysts for me when it comes to writing, whether its the rhythm of your stride or the random stuff you get up to or the newness of it all...

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Tanya Auclair Origami EP Artwork

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It was a long time before I started to really notice songwriting, it was fairly incidental, as long as it wasn't cheesy (though to tell the truth the cheesier the better circa 1998) I was OK with it. Fast forward to 2011 and an inbox full of rappers refusing to say what they think about anything of genuine import to them (let alone anyone else), and a matching set of female singer-songwriters whose sole preoccupation seems to be love, or lack thereof. Tanya Auclair is more of a gale of wind than a breath of fresh air in comparison, so I thought I'd check whether she's asexual or just being creative. - I’ve searched high and low but can’t find a single “ooh baby I love you/ you broke my heart etc etc”, is it safe to assume the inspiration behind this EP was not your love life?

Haha! Yes, zero tolerance on the smoochy time policy on this EP. I kind of set myself these little ‘rules’ before setting out on the record. 1) no love songs 2) write everything live before even sniffing a computer… The rules were really just tools to push my songwriting skills. Its easy to write about love, I wanted to get better at telling stories.  -

What exactly is a Sverige?

Sverige started out as an epic poem I wrote for my mates after we did a road trip round Sweden. Travel and movement have always been good catalysts for me when it comes to writing, whether its the rhythm of your stride or the random stuff you get up to or the newness of it all. That trip set me off, soon as I got back I wrote the EP Thrum. The lyrics ‘Hear that whistle blow’ is the call you hear when something needs to be done.


Your last EP Thrum was a solo effort but for Origami you've worked with other people, what prompted the change and how did the process differ?

With the first EP it was me locked in my room with a Zoom recorder, Fruityloops and some instruments. This time I just wanted to try the opposite. I wanted to write and record as much of it ‘live’ as possible, rather than it kind of living on the computer. This last year I’ve been working with the brilliant drummer Joe Allen, and more recently double-bassist Arista Hawkes – and its really been a time of exploring making music of minimal means, whether by myself, in duo or trio. They’re such sick players that I had to have them and their personalities on the record. Then Jack Allett got on board to record/co-produce and he was also really into the idea of keeping the elements minimal. We managed to blag 6 hours of downtime in a studio to record the core parts, then all the rest was done in friends kitchens and flats. This time I’ve also been lucky enough to collaborate with some great filmmakers - Will Hanke on the ‘Gabriel’ video and Eleni Savvidou on the trailer for ‘Origami’.


Whilst we're on the subject, your solo show involves an almost annoyingly impressive number of instruments, how many do you play (please list) and will the list continue to expand exponentially?

At the moment I’m playing Microkorg, ukulele, guitar, melodihorn, sticks, shaker and sampling my voice. I’m still having fun messing about with this set up, but definitely up for new elements, as long as it can fit in my granny trolley (what I cart all my equipment in) 


Your cover of "Gabriel" by Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett was rather beautiful, but if you could collaborate with anyone who would top the list?

Ingoma Nshya – the hottest drum troupe I’ve ever seen. They’re a company of female drummers from Rwanda – the first of its kind - traditionally women weren’t allowed to drum, but they broke the mould. Imagine being backed by 10 or 12 women dancing like cranes and drumming like thunder?! Powpow!


Purchase: "Origami" is out now on Bandcamp

Connect:  @tanyaauclair / tanyaauclair.com