Soak, known more commonly as Bridie Monds-Watson to her friends and family back home in Derry, Northern Ireland, released her debut solo album ‘Before We Forgot How to Dream’ back in May. The 14 track album delves deeply into the singer song writer’s personal life, shedding light on an array of teenage issue’s through the eyes of someone who appears far more mature than her age would suggest. With a distinct and compelling voice, she has captivated many and not long after her set at No Tomorrow Festival we got the chance to speak with the artists before she headed back on the road.
AMBY: Now, I heard you played a free skate show in Sheffield not so long ago…
SOAK: I played there in March and it was like one of the fullest shows on that tour. It was in a skate bowl and everyone just sat round the sides of the bowl and then for the final song they all came into the middle. It was free beer and it was just really really cool.
AMBY: How many of these shows did you do? And what was it like to play shows like that?
SOAK: I did two weeks of the skate shows and that was it, I probably wouldn’t do it again for a very long time though. It was very cool, the guy who makes all of our videos came Charlie and he’s really cool and he skates as well so we kind of just hung out the whole time and then at night we played a show. But some places because they’re actual skate parks and not actual venues would be dodgy places. We went to this place in Dumbarton and like the second we came in this 12 year old girl was screaming at another twelve year old girl saying “You fat bitch”, and there was like kids smoking joints at the front and we were just like “Fucks sake”, it was just so dodgy. We were just like let’s play five songs and get out of here. Like some fans came to the shows as well and it was fun to meet people and it was fun to do all that as well as free shows where people don’t have to pay, times are tough and all that.
AMBY: So when you showed up to these places, did you just set up right in the middle of the park as people skated around you?
SOAK: Most places whenever they knew we were coming they’d set of a section, or the park would be shut and quiet for us, it was really cool in all these interesting sort of surroundings with all the angular ramps and stuff. Some places wouldn’t shut down their parks and we’d be like we don’t really want to play in your park when there’s loads of kids skating around and falling over stuff like that. Also some of the shows went really good then the other 50% were like alright, none of them were dreadful though.
AMBY: That sounds like a good result then! So obviously playing these gigs for free it must be something you really love to do, has it always been like that for you?
SOAK: I love skating anyway so like it was just killing two birds with one stone kind of thing, and yea it was just really cool all over. It was something really interesting and a fun thing to do.
AMBY: Now its summer you’re playing a hell of a lot of shows and festivals all over Europe and elsewhere…
SOAK: Yea, it’s really intense.
AMBY: How are you finding that?
SOAK: It has been intense pretty much since I finished the album. I went straight on the road after that and I’ve got off a week home every month more or less up to now, but for the next couple of months it’s going to be maybe a couple of days a month. Which is cool, I mean it’s great that I have the privilege to do this as a career and be earning money from that. And now it’s really interesting because I think generally a lot more people know who I am, more so they do this time as opposed to last year, so a lot more people are coming to shows. We’re selling places out, people are freaking out when I announce song titles and that’s the best, that’s all you ever hope for. It’s a really exciting time right now and the album just came out so we’re going out on tour next week with a full band and I’m thinking people are going to sing back to me and it’s just really a cool time.
AMBY: Is there anywhere in particular you’re looking forward to playing?
SOAK: Just everything at this point is so good. I’m really happy with it. We’ve been building up a team for so long; since I was 16 really we’ve been slowly picking people and I’ve not been forcing myself to because of time or anything. We’ve got the sound guy, we’ve got guitar tech, a tour manager and the band, it’s just all coming together now and I feel very confident with it because I like everyone I work with. I know a lot of people don’t like everyone they work with, but for me it’s cool and I really like the people. I’ve been doing gigs with my managers and tour managers since I was about 16, so I’ve built up really good friendships with those people. We go off now for pretty much 5 months on the road and that’s maybe not so intense, but after the summer we have like 2 months with just no home time. But it’s going to be cool with those guys because I like them and we get on really well.
AMBY: So when you do finally get that time at home what do you like to do the most?
SOAK: When I go home I sit in my room because, like basically, my room is such a man cave, it’s unbelievable. Because I’m young and have a job, I have nothing to spend my money on except for stupid shit. So I’ve got like a PS4 in there and a stupid TV and shit like that. I think I like that because when you’re on the road and stuff like that you’re in front of people and you have to perform, not just the songs but as a person you have to be a bit more enhanced. And with interviews and things you always have to share more about yourself, so when I get some time off I’m like, me time, and I don’t want to talk to anyone. I think what I mainly do is when I come home I automatically go straight over to my mates house and be like what’s up? What have I missed? One thing I’ve found out is that people only tell you so much when your away, it’s when you get home they’ll be like oh, well this happened. So all of my friends are in school and that’s like weird. It’s strange how different their lives are. Obviously I have to be professional, excuses don’t really count in music and those guys can just be like, oh I’m going to pretend I’m sick and not go to school today. Our lives are so different but the friend group I have now is the friend group I’ve had since I was really young so we’ve all grown up together and those guys get really excited for me and really happy for me, but they don’t treat me any different and I’m not like a dick and are like, I can’t talk to you anymore.
AMBY: It sounds like you have a really good relationship with all your friends back home, do they often get the chance to come to gigs and see you play?
SOAK: Well this week the album came out, so a couple of my friends rented an apartment out and they came over for that. Also some of them do merch sometimes when they’re not in school. So a couple of them did merch this week for a couple of shows and next week when we do a full Irish thing I know like four of my mates are coming on the road, it’s going to be fun [laughs]. We even have two supports for that tour as well, there guys I know really well and they’re going to play and it’s going to be really cool. There’s probably going to be 20 of us backstage at one point so it’s going to be really good.
AMBY: Do you find that there’s ever any added pressure at shows when you know your friends are there as well?
SOAK: Not really when my friends are there because I know that they don’t care if I fuck something up or I have a shit show, they don’t care. But like if I have a good show they just get so excited and after they’re sort of like, “we have to go buy all the drinks”, they’re just so supportive in absolutely everything I do. They even get more excited than I do about a lot of things, and if I told them right now that I’m sat outside James Bay’s dressing room they’d be like, “no fucking way! That’s so sick!”
AMBY: So, as you’ve mentioned the albums just come out, can you talk us through that?
SOAK: The albums called ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ and I’ve kind of being writing it not consciously since I was about 14. “Sea Creatures” I wrote when I was about 14, and “Blud” I wrote when I was 16. It’s just kind of a really strange documentation of significant life events that I’ve felt that I had to write about. The way I write is that I kind of write when I feel like I have to explain something, so I can understand it better. So I sit down and sing and play till I have everything written down, that’s how I kind of understand a lot of things that I think, if that makes sense.
SOAK: So yea, since I was 14 the guitar was actually the first thing that I was motivated enough to stick with. I don’t have many hobbies except that and skateboarding, so I’ve just been doing that since, as my way of talking about things but without directly talking to people about them. And all of the songs there are written from 14 to 18. The album title ‘Before We Got To Dream’ means a time before people have to like…when reality becomes a really important part of your life where you have to…specifically in the creative industry where artists can’t provide for themselves through their art and have to take up a second job on the side. Usually that second job becomes that person’s entire life, so it’s just about people sort of losing hope or losing faith and growing up, and that’s when I wrote it so…
AMBY: Your song writing is very personal and tells a great deal about yourself; do you ever find that surprises people when they listen to certain songs?
SOAK: Yea people always come up to me after shows and are like, “this song really means so much to me because I interpreted it as this”. They don’t usually say it like that of course; it’s usually more like, “this song!” But yea, I get a lot of interest from people’s opinions on songs and stuff and how they’ve affected them, it’s really cool to hear, and I think that’s what keeps it really relevant for me.
AMBY: So what sort of songs do you think have affected you and have had an influence on the way you play?
SOAK: Definitely when I was growing up my parents played a lot of really good music. So I grew up on a lot of like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and lots of great things like that. So I think that really sculpted me when I came to about 12 and was really trying to find my own music taste.
AMBY: Yea, I noticed that you have a Pink Floyd’s, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ tattoo there on your wrist…
SOAK: It’s the only band tattoo that I have, I mean there’s no way that you’re ever going to be like, “oh what a shit album”. The only thing I don’t like is the marketing shit, where they brought out t-shirts and that with dark side of the moon on the front, and some of the people that wear these have no idea what the artwork on these t-shirts even mean. It’s like people wearing Nirvana tops, all over again [laughs].
AMBY: Definitely, well thanks for speaking with us Bridie, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.
SOAK: Yea, cheers.
Thank you SOAK, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Jacob Flannery |