Somojo Magazine

Jo Hamilton


Hi Jo, how are you?
I’m very well, thank you for asking.

Which instruments do you play?
I play acoustic and electric guitar, an instrument called the AirPiano, piano, viola, violin and some others which don’t get played as often as I’d like…  I also do a bit of programming when needed.

What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band?
I’ve always played with other people as well, and still do.  I love variety of sound, and people.

Do you work with the same musicians when recording as you do when performing live?
I haven’t done, but I’d like to.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
It’s like being on top of a mountain with a range of mountains around you, just as the sun is going down.  There’s a huge shadow of the mountain that you are on to your left, and the warm tones of the setting sun to your right, and a panoramic view as far as the eye can see…

What have you been up to recently?
I was up where my heart never leaves last week, in the highlands of Scotland, playing a wee gig in Inverness, and doing radio shows on the way up.

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
We have several new videos about to come out.  One featuring the AirPiano, which is the first instrument of it’s kind in use anywhere in the world, and some music videos for the next single, Think of me.  I’m off to Los Angeles on Friday for a week, as I have just acquired American management, so that will be exciting.  There are quite a few goodies in store actually.  I don’t want to spoil it for people…

Did you always want to be in a musician/singer when younger?

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Marilyn Monroe, highland folk songs, and classical music.

How long have you played your instruments?
I’ve always tinkled on the piano, since I was a little girl.  I was 12 when I first took up the viola, and the guitar I didn’t start until much later.  The most recent is the AirPiano, which I have had for around 6 months.

What was your first music making experience?
On the piano at home when I was about 6.  Just messing about coming up with tunes and chords that I liked the sound of.

What is your current equipment?
Blimey.  It’s quite a lot actually.  Live we trigger quite a lot of different sounds from a programme called Mainstage on a laptop which is triggered by keyboards, drumpads, foot pedals and the AirPiano.  Drums, electric bass, keyboards, guitars, and piano, is the current full band equipment list.

Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
I’m self taught on guitar and AirPiano.  I did have lessons on viola, piano and voice.

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
I’m really ok for equipment at the moment.  I feel quite overloaded.  On saying that, a beautiful sounding guitar wouldn’t go amiss…

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
No routines anywhere… 

Which software/recording process do you use?
I use Mainstage for live, and Logic for recording.

Jo Hamilton

Would you sign with a major record company?
I’m very happy with the independent label I’m with, Poseidon.  But if they had the right offer, then we’re open.

Do you have any new recordings planned?
I’m dreaming of them.  No dates at the moment.

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
I collaborate very closely with the producer, Jon Cotton.

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I do enjoy recording.  It’s always such a unique experience, sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes it’s a dream.

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
I haven’t tried to capture my live sound on recordings, though I wouldn’t mind doing that in the future.  I think live and recorded sound should be whatever you want them to be.  They don’t have to be the same though, no.

Do you have any favourite tracks on your album?
No.  They are all so different in mood…

Do you write songs/tracks only about personal experiences?
I like stories and other peoples experiences too.

Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
It is one of my very favourite pastimes.

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
With famous people, I wouldn’t mind having a chat with Imogen Heap, Bjork or MBD.  The Birmingham Symphony Orchestra would be a real treat too.

Who are your favourite songwriters?
I don’t have any.

Which countries have you gigged in?
Italy, Slovenia and UK.

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Japan, Australia and I’m hoping to tour the states quite soon.

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Through playing and radio play.  And through internet social sites.

Do you use any websites like ‘Reverbnation’ or ‘Soundclick’?
Yes, Reverbnation.

Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
I think so, but I’m not really sure.  It’s so overloaded now, it must be quite hard for music lovers to know where to start…

With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?
You just need to remember what’s important

How do you relax?
Very long walks.

What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
One of my favourites is playing at a knitting and garden tour of England.  Everyone in the audience was knitting.  It was a very pleasant and soothing backing group.  There was a knitting needle solo in a couple of songs too.

Do you get nervous before a gig- how do you calm down?
I can do.  Hide away and breathe.

What else do you do apart from being a singer/songwriter?
I make films for my music.

Would you like to be a full time working musician or are you happy with things as they are?
I’m a full time musician.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Not that I know of…

Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
I think so.  I like to keep all options open.

Is there anything you'd like to add?
I hope that everyone reading this is feeling ok, and I wish them luck in life.

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