Kim Seviour

Kim Seviour released her first solo album “Recovery is Learning”, having by her side the renowned songwriter and producer John Mitchell (It Bites, Lonely Robot). Kim talked to Grande Rock about her debut solo release and her future plans among other things.
Kim Seviour pic

Hi Kim, I’m glad we have the chance to talk about your new solo album “Recovery is Learning”. It’s a quite captivating album on the whole. Kudos.
K: Thank you so much, I’m so glad that you like it!
Well, first of all, do tell us… which were the reasons that made you leave Touchstone back in 2015?
K: I left because of health issues (I developed ME/CFS). I had to move back to Bath whilst the band is based in Herts. I tried to keep up with traveling to rehearsals and with gigging, but sadly it got to be too much, and it was affecting what I could contribute.
Did you feel the need to take some time off to clear your mind or not?
K: I did, yes. I’d been with the band for 8 years, and I was planning to take stock and take time for a breather.
Did you have in mind to release a solo album, join or form a band at some point?
K: I hadn’t thought too much about it as I was focusing on what I felt I needed at the time. Then John and Chris from White Star approached me with the opportunity and I really couldn’t turn it down!!
Which are the main musical differences between your solo album and the album with Touchstone?
K: The musicians involved being different made it very different. Each member in Touchstone has their own style which creates the Touchstone sound. The people really do make it. My album was produced by John Mitchell, who again has his own style, which he brought to what I told him that I wanted to go far. There are definitely prog elements running through it, although all in all it’s more on the commercial side. Plus, being a vocalist writing a solo album, I instantly gave myself a few chances to showboat a bit more!
Do you feel more free musically now or not? Is this something that you wanted to do no matter what?
K: I always wanted to do this at some point. I loved Touchstone, but when being in a band, it’s like being in a 5-way relationship and there’s a lot of compromise. The great side of that is what we could collaborate together, but there were sounds that I wanted to play with and things that I wanted to explore which I didn’t feel I had the space to within the band.
How did the cooperation with John Mitchell (It Bites, Lonely Robot) in the music part occur initially?
K: I’ve known John for a really long time and he’s a very close friend of mine, and the idea was to release the album on his label, so he offered to collaborate. You never turn down the chance to collaborate musically with John Mitchell!
And after that, it was quite an easy decision to join John and Chris’ record label White Star Records, right?
K: I wouldn’t say the decision was easy, as I wouldn’t have classed it as a decision, it was a given!
Why did you choose to name your debut “Recovery is Learning”? What’s the meaning behind the album’s title?
K: The term is taken from Prof Jim Lucey, who runs a psychiatry unit in Ireland. He believes that a huge proportion of mental illnesses are completely recoverable, and that it’s just a case of learning new thoughts, beliefs and habits. I loved how optimistic this view is; I use this philosophy in my own life, and wanted to use that message.
Please give us a hint about each track…
K: “Chiasma”: It’s about the feeling that we can get when we disconnect from ourselves (our lights), and on realizing that's what has happened, committing to the journey to get back to myself again.
“Call to Action”: It basically says “I didn’t ask to be where I am, but I’m going to let go of all of the crap that led me here”.
“Connect”: When we’re trying to pull ourselves out of something, it’s like there are two conflicting voices in us; one which says “I’ve got this!”, and the other that says “You seriously think you can do this? What a dullard. Just stick with what you know”. It’s about navigating those voices and trying to choose the right one.
“Faberge”: I did something that I was so ashamed of, and dealt with it badly because I was overcome with fear. It’s about the mess that I created and wanting to do better.
“Mother Wisdom”: It’s that voice that we really need to hear sometimes, which basically says “Life is life, it's not necessarily good or bad. Just go with it and don’t be a victim of it”.
“The Dive”: The dive describes having to face up to the truth of ourselves. Learning about ourselves can be really scary when we don’t know what we’re going to find after pushing it away for years.
“Where She Sleeps”: “Where She Sleeps” is about innocence, and that child in us that says and expresses what she feels before experiencing parts of society that try and tell us not to.
“Recovery is Learning”: As the philosophy which inspired the album, “Recovery is Learning” is about un-learning the damaging thoughts and beliefs that put us in crappy places to begin with, and how we’re capable of it if we let ourselves.
“Morning of the Soul”: Success! “MotS” is the feeling of relief and freedom that comes with finally just learning to be happy.
You did not only co-write the album with John, but you also produced it. So, how was the cooperation with such a talented musician and producer? Did you get the final result you had in mind?
K: I’ll be honest that John definitely did the lion’s share! I felt really lucky to have someone like John producing it and I trusted everything that he did. He was really patient with me, whilst I was telling him what I wanted in the tracks, and respected the flourishes that I wanted to throw in, even if sometimes he found them downright weird!
Do you plan to give any live shows in near future?
K: I really want to do so this year. I had planned to tour the album upon release, but I got pretty ill halfway through writing, which I have spent time since working on, so I had to be careful what I committed to. It was really gutting, but one thing I’ve learned is to just go with it, and doing so will enable me to do more, sooner.
Which are your expectations from your solo debut album and what are your future plans?
K: As it was my first album, I had no idea what the response would be; it’s all totally new ground for me. I wanted to get it out everywhere that I could, and use it to raise awareness of ME/CFS and mental health illnesses, and what anyone in those positions can learn to cope. I’m currently studying a Masters degree in health psychology, with my first work experience being to study emotional challenges and regulations in musicians. These are all passions of mine, so I’ll see what music this inspires and keep pushing!
Have you ever thought of going back to Touchstone at some point or that chapter of your music life is over once and for all?
K: It’s not something I think about right now. I love my boys, and the experiences I had with them were amazing. I would never take back any of it and I treasure it all, and I’m grateful for where it has all brought me. I’m focusing on different things now and I think my life is in a different place. Who knows what the future will bring, but for the foreseeable future it isn’t a possibility.
Time for our “weird questions”!!! If you were an animal, which animal would you be and why?
K: Oooh, I love weird questions! For sure I’d be a squirrel. They’re fun, curious, and playful. I love climbing trees, and apparently they hate the cold and love sleep. Yes, they are my spirit animals.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
K: That’s a difficult one as the bands I like are because of the members already in them. I’m a big fan of Paramore and I love their energy. I’d love to do stint with them!
Has the internet changed the ways music should be played and released or not? Is it a “divine gift” or a curse?
K: The Internet has been invaluable in being able to discover loads of music and to access it instantly. It’s also been great for smaller artists to get music out there more easily, although it also means there’s a lot of it! Sadly, it makes it harder for artists financially, so making a living from recording and releasing can be really hard for musicians. It can be both a good and bad thing, but I think that the net means that the industry has to change. Whether that will be good or bad remains to be seen.
Top 3 mystery movies of any era?
K: Easy! Fifth Element (Thuper-Green!), Jurassic Park and V For Vendetta.
Fill in the phrase… “Prog Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
K: People with the passion and courage to express their imagination in new ways. There are too many to name, but the men and women who evolve progressive music give their all or nothing selves to the pursuit, and are truly inspiring.
Which are the best 3 Prog Rock albums of all time according to you?
K: Pink Floyd – “Dark Side of the Moon”, Genesis – “A Trick of the Tail” and Muse – “Black Holes and Revolutions” (I’m a big fan!).
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
K: Queen – “Innuendo”. “The Show Must Go On” is the ultimate song of humanity and hope.
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in rock history?
K: Stevie Nicks and Freddie Mercury.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
K: I’d love to hit up the 60s. There was so much happening creatively at the time in music, fashion, makeup and self-expression. I’d also love witness the musical revolution first hand!
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
K: Freddie Mercury. As well as being supremely talented, he was known to be intelligent, funny, confident, and very warm and caring. I bet there is so much that can be learned from him.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, Kim. Wish you the best for the future to come. Take care!
K: Thank you so much for your time and interest in me and my music! Take care, and rock on 2018!