Awkward Branches

by the partae

Where are you currently based?

Mike is in London & Phil is in Bristol.


Being long term friends, how did the Awkward Branches collab come to be and how did you arrive at this point?

We met working at events – mostly weddings – at an old chapel in Peckham and quickly learned that we were both musicians. Phil suggested collaborating on something and went round to Mike’s to record some pieces. The early demos were quite proggy and ambient, but we also seemed to be drawn to quite bouncy, catchy melodies, so we soon moved towards more pop-oriented structures. Over the years we’d occasionally work on things together, in-between other projects, and the loose ideas eventually coalesced into something tangible – songs that kept speaking to us until it was time to put a name to them.


What’s been happening recently?

Aside from releasing our debut single, we’ve been working on remembering how to play the songs together. It’s been a while since some of them were recorded, but they’re still in there somewhere, at the end of a neuron!


Your single ‘A Frame (Not a Window)’ is out now via Tip Top Recordings, what influenced the sound and songwriting?

I don’t think we ever talked much about shared influences at the beginning; there was something quite instinctive to it. We’ve undoubtedly unconsciously stolen ideas from all over the place and there are certainly crossovers in our tastes – too many to mention, but especially anything dreamy, with good interactions between guitars and synths.


How did you go about writing ‘A Frame (Not a Window)’?

Musically, this was actually one of the earliest pieces we worked on; Phil had the main guitar part already worked out, and Mike added some keys and percussion. We both had this instrumental version of the track on our phones for years, and never tired of listening to it. It always felt like a song-in-waiting, so eventually Mike added the vocals and it came together quite satisfyingly. 


Where and when did you record/produce/master and who did you work with?

So far we’ve recorded and produced everything ourselves in Mike’s bedroom-studio, over the course of about 6 years. For the final polish on the track we turned to the trusty ears of Mathew Keightley.


How did you approach the recording/production process?

Tentatively at first; we had no plan and everything was quite instinctive. Phil kicked things off with the guitar parts and Mike added to them with keys, percussion and eventually vocals. In terms of production, we’ve tried to keep things quite simple and tangible and not add too many layers, as much as it is tempting.


What or who influenced the concept for the music video?

Mike made the video, initially inspired by a craft-paper collage Phil had made as a potential EP cover. We wanted it to have a tender, hand-crafted quality – slightly clunky, like the Mr. Men animations – despite it being a largely digital affair.


What do you like doing away from music?

We both thoroughly enjoy watching the worst Stephen Segal films ever made, which happens to be all of them.


Who are you listening to at the moment?

Mike: Beth Orton’s new album and Blood Orange’s latest EP.

Phil: caroline’s self-titled debut album


What’s planned for the remainder of 2022 going into 2023?

We have a few more songs that will form our debut EP due out in spring, we’re some new things, and hope to feel confident enough to start playing live soon.


Favourite food and place to hangout?

We like nothing more than heading to a little place called The Couch, sharing two of the largest pizzas Dominoes will provide, a bottle of the reddest of red wines, and the inevitable sense of dread that follows.

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