The volume of emerging Scottish songwriting talent threatens to be overwhelming at the moment (it’s a good thing) but even then, some new acts manage to stand out from their peers. The gradual release of Cortnë’s Florescence EP has grabbed SNACK’s attention and with October looking like a huge month for the artist, we knew we had to speak with her.
SNACK caught up with Cortnë to chat cassettes, ghosting, DIY, and full-on summers.
Hi Cortnë, you’re about to release the Florescence EP, can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, so Florescence is out on Friday the 13th of October, I hope no one reading this is superstitious, it’s a four-track EP about feminism, heartbreak and modern relationships. I think my biggest influences for this EP came from artists like Lucy Dacus, Holly Humberstone, Lorde and Taylor Swift, especially in the lyrical content.
Florescence will be available on all streaming platforms as well as cassettes. The cassettes will include a little surprise 5th track for anyone interested in hearing some more music. There is a launch for the EP on the release date at the Glad Cafe in Glasgow, where I’ll be playing with a full band, which is very exciting!
Given the way artists release an EP track by track these days, it’s given you a chance to see the reaction from fans and others along the way – How has the reaction been for you?
I’m a really cynical person so it has been a really pleasant surprise that people are listening and even – dare I say it – enjoying my songs. It’s actually blown my mind a little bit. I think as an artist that’s all you want, people to consume your work and relate to it somehow.
I’ve been doing all of the PR on my own completely DIY alongside working full time so the response has been incredible for me, I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me in some way or another!
To me, it’s a collection of songs that sound intimate but at the same time huge in scope, and melodies. How do you go about writing songs?
Weirdly, each of the songs was written in a different way. ‘Lungs’, I wrote as part of a lockdown songwriting challenge where I thought up the initial picking pattern and worked from there. Sometimes before I write a song, I get this feeling ‘I have to write this all down before I lose this feeling’ and that is how ‘Angel’ was written.
‘Eve’ was written with a topic in mind, I rarely write songs like this as I don’t tend to like the results but ‘Eve’ just stuck with me. In ‘Ghost’, I wanted to write a song with something different from what I would usually do in the pre-chorus and a lyric-based outro.
‘Ghost’ is the last song to be individually released, can you tell us more about that?
‘Ghost’ was the most recently written song from the EP and it’s about the act of being ‘ghosted’ online and how it’s become acceptable to remove someone from your life with the tap of a finger without facing any consequences. I think there’s a lot of interesting psychology around that and how sometimes we would rather hurt someone by ignoring them rather than telling them how we really feel.
How do you feel now, as a person and artist, compared to how you were when you wrote and recorded the songs?
It’s kind of weird to hear them played back now as ‘Ghost’ was only written last year but the rest of the songs were written in 2021 and although it was only two years ago it feels like a lifetime. I think my confidence and self-esteem have grown a lot.
If you told me at the start of this year that I’d have been performing mostly solo gigs I genuinely wouldn’t have believed it!
It’s a lovely-sounding record, how was the recording and production process?
The EP was produced by Jamie Holmes and it was a dream to work with him on it! It was really nice to have someone contribute to the recording process and have an outsider’s perspective on the songs.
I also worked with a bunch of very talented musicians who played on the tracks such as Aidan Spiers, Ryan Hughes, Rosi Tudhope Moilidh NicGrigor, Sabrina Mandulu, Adam Frew, Drew Young, Jamie Reid and Jack Dorrian. I’m very grateful to them for playing on it!
Autumn is a good time for reflection, how was your summer, and have your festival shows made you think about how you move forward?
Summer was really full on; I think I’m still recovering! Belladrum was really fun, I ended up playing a surprise set on the Seedlings Stage as well as my scheduled set on the Bella Bar stage. I was on tour with Oscar Blue the week before that so it was all very intense but amazing.
I think the experiences have taught me that it is always important to find time to rest and recover before moving on to whatever is next.
You’re selling the EP on cassette. Is this a medium you listen to personally or something your fans have expressed an interest in?
To be honest it’s more for me. haha! I wanted to sell it in some kind of nostalgic way but vinyl was way too expensive and it takes such a long time to manufacture. I was shopping in Assai in Edinburgh and noticed they had a few cassettes on sale so I decided I wanted to have some cassettes of the EP available.
There’s a really limited number of them but they are clear with gold glitter and contain an extra unreleased and never played before song called ‘Sunday Service’. This version of the EP will also be available to buy on Bandcamp for anyone without a cassette player who would still like to hear an extra song.
You’re launching the EP with a Glad Café gig. Is there any added pressure to a show when it’s built around an event like the EP release?
I’m usually quite nervous before a show in general so yes, I definitely feel that there is added pressure when you’re the main act. I think self-doubt and nerves are all part of the creative process and part of being human. You can only do your best and try your hardest but it is especially nerve-wracking booking a show on Friday the 13th, haha!
What’s your line-up and live experience going to be for the gig?
I’m very lucky again in that I’ll be surrounded by some very talented musicians on stage. Playing with me I have Erin Ferguson on lead guitar, Adam Frew on bass, Drew Young on drums, and Corin McDonald on violin.
I love the Glad Cafe as a venue, it’s so intimate, the sound is always great, and the stage is a really nice size. We’ll be playing through all of the songs on the EP and some brand-new ones too.
Without wishing your life away, what comes after the EP and gig?
I’ve got two gigs in the calendar for Glasgow and Edinburgh next year and I’d really love to record and release some more music if time and money allows for it. I have another two EP’s already written and it would be amazing to get those out there, but first I’m going to take a couple of months just to relax and live a little slower than I have been recently.
Releasing music DIY is really fun but also very tiring so it will be nice to have a little break! I’m looking forward to coming back with a fresh mind and outlook.