Edinburgh-born artist David Luximon-Herbert aka Vive La Rose kicks off 2018 with the release of his uplifting new single Rio Grande, out February 9th (2018) via Gestation Records.
At the root of Rio Grande is an intimate tale of a couple who crave to go off and see the world, but feel tied to their home life. Luximon-Herbert combines his emotive storytelling charm with cinematic soundscapes and feel-good musicality to capture something both joyful yet compassionate. The complex arrangement compliments Luximon-Herbert’s grit-filled lead vocal effortlessly. Fans of Nick Drake and Fleet Foxes will feel at home here.
Rio Grande is taken from Luximon-Herbert’s forthcoming album For She Who Hangs The Moon, out later this year. It features a mesmerising string arrangement by Colin Elliot (Richard Hawley/Slow Club) and The Up North Orchestra, drums by Nicky Francis (Mono Club) and was co-produced with Oliver Betts (The Duke Spirit).
In this interview feature, I speak with Vive La Rose about the latest project, influences, motivations, adapting to technology and much more.
Full Q&A along with links and music below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
I think it’s just a natural progression. I’d started playing as a bit of an acoustic singer songwriter, mostly because where I grew up, I couldn’t find anyone to form a band with! When I moved to London, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a group of friends who were all exceptional musicians, producers and DJ’s, and all very varied. The more you play with others, and the more your eyes are opened up to other artists and styles of music, the more you start to dabble. Over the course of this new album, there’s a quite a range of styles and genres, often within the same song, probably as a direct result of that.
How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?
I’ve been writing since I was around 18, so a little longer than I’d like to admit. However, under Vive La Rose, only for a few years. I released an EP “Don’t Move, Don’t Speak” in 2014, and we put the first single from this new album at the end of last year.
Who or what influences your playing and/or writing?
It all depends really and varies from track to track. Playing wise, simplicity and melody is what I look for. I don’t really care for showboating. I always think you can wring more soul and emotion out of one note, or create more tension and drama from leaving space, than you can from trying to prove how good you are at playing the guitar. Neil Young is the master of that on tracks such as “Cortez the Killer” or “On The Beach” and that is definitely something I try and keep in the back of my mind when I’m playing.
Also what motivates you to keep going?
I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s an addiction, but it’s most certainly an obsession. I’m not a big fan of “the meme”, but I did see one the other day that rang pretty true – “I didn’t come this far, to only come this far”. If I stopped writing or stopped chasing this romantic idea of how I want this to develop, I think I would probably have a bit of a system malfunction and just shut down.
Saying that, I think it’s really difficulty for musicians, as you get a little older, and your roles and responsibilities change, to continue to pursue a career in music or whatever, when you haven’t achieved a level of financial success to sustain yourself, let alone a family.
I am incredibly lucky to have a very supportive and understanding wife, who gave me pretty much free licence to go and give this record everything I possibly could. Unconditional support is a powerful motivator not to fuck it up.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
I just set out to make the album I’d always wanted to, and I’m pleased that now that it’s been in the can for a little while, in retrospect, there isn’t anything I’d change.
I knew that I wanted to stretch myself as a musician and as an arranger as much as I could. I had a bit of a mantra that compromise wasn’t an option. Everytime I started thinking “well, that’ll do”, I had to give myself a bit of a slap and roll my sleeves up.
What was the last song you listened to?
Laura Marling’s cover of A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. I’m a bit obsessed with Peaky Blinders at the minute, and that was the last track of the series. It’s got something undefinable about it, just a really lovely, defiant spirit. I’ve been listening to a lot of Laura Marling and Nick Cave of late, and currently have my head buried in a book of his lyrics.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CD’s? MP3’s?
Vinyl is a bit of a luxury. It usually means we’ve managed to carve out some time to just sit and listen without something else going on. I think most people would say the same though in that vinyls just sounds warmer and has a depth which is instantly engaging. But 9 times out of 10, I’m walking around with my headphones on.
How about this one… Do you prefer Spotify? Apple music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
As a listener or a consumer, you can’t really fault Spotify, the access that it provides and what that can open you up to. I’ve discovered so much phenomenal music as a result. As an artist, it’s shortcomings are well documented form a financial perspective. But as a friend said to me, it’s pretty much the last game in town. The listenership of some playlists far outstrips the great independent radio stations like BBC 6Music in the UK. However, there’s a prestige or a romance to being played on the radio and a sense of achievement that I don’t think can be replaced by winding up on the “November Acoustic Yoga Chillout” playlist, even if in real terms it maybe doesn’t provide the same level of exposure of financial return.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?
It’s difficult to say. My music is not exactly avant garde, but it doesn’t naturally fit into any particular genre either, so it can be a little difficult to pitch. I know people who class themselves as folk or blues musicians, and that provides very particular outlets in terms of radio or press. If someone asks me “what kind of music do you make” I generally get a bit flustered and mumbly and ask “Well, what do you think it is?”.
The main barrier is just time, or the lack of it. As an independent artist now, I think there is a greater demand to spend time on social media or basically doing admin. I always feel I should be spending my time trying to write and record a great record. If I get that bit right, with a bit of luck hopefully it will find the right home.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?
Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
Don’t quit. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll get where you’re supposed to go. Simple as that.