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At the heart of English folk
Twelfth Day

5 Minutes with...Twelfth Day

We caught up with genre-defying duo Twelfth Day ahead of their gig at Cecil Sharp House on 27 November…

Tell us about some of the social issues that are explored in your music.

It’s something that we feel is being spoken about more in the media since the #MeToo movement. It can be quite a hard subject to broach but we think that using humour is one of the best ways to go about it.

We had a similar approach to our song about climate change. We wanted to write something that was motivating and fun, rather than preachy!

You’ve mentioned Prince as one of your influences – can you tell us a few more?

Our background is in folk and classical music. That gave us quite a genre-less approach to music from the beginning. We developed really open ears and pop music is a big part of our consciousness. We’re influenced by any music that is good and anything that touches us. We have a lot of influences from jazz – we love nerding out over harmonies. We also love Bjork and Beyoncé – she’s such a pioneer and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Beyoncé is one of those people in the mainstream who is still pushing boundaries. She’s always challenging her audience but still making them feel comfortable…

What are your thoughts on the categorising folk as a genre and also the current folk scene in general?

It’s interesting; you never really notice the change on scene if it’s happening. Fundamentally, folk music is any music that is made by the people and is about current issues. But now genres are being divided up more and more and seem to exist to sell things.

People seem to think of a certain things when they think of folk music but if it didn’t evolve and change, it wouldn’t be folk music. I now notice more people my age and younger experimenting with putting pop music in folk music. That’s seeped in because of the music they’ve listened to and it’s a really natural progression and it’s all part of the natural evolution of music, as long as it’s a subconscious decision. As soon as you start to think about having an ulterior motive to want to make something sound jazzy or like electronica it feels a bit different. I think there has to be a balance – an album should have a varied set of moods and it’s okay for that to be a conscious decision, but ultimately, folk music should happen organically.


Twelfth Day perform at Cecil Sharp House on 27 November. 

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