As part of Kettle's student life series, music editor Lorna Holland interviews a selection of up-and-coming bands and artists about their student days and how the student years shaped their music. This time, she had a chat with electronic pop duo Meadowlark.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
We are an electronic pop duo from Bristol, UK, and have spent the last few months working on our debut album.
Where did you go to school and university?
We both attended schools, colleges and universities in Plymouth, Devon, which is where both myself and Kate grew up.
What were your experiences of university like?
We both had very different experiences at university. I studied Film Arts at Plymouth College of Art, a far step away from music which was only my hobby at the time. I came out with a first class with honours degree and instantly went into directing music videos; it was through that field that I met Kate. Kate dropped out of university when she was offered a record contract for her solo career (prior to forming Meadowlark), she decided to take a risk which ultimately paid off for her. Fate works in mysterious ways. If she hadn't left and I hadn't finished my course, we may have never crossed paths.
Tell us your fondest memory of your student days.
For me personally, it was all about meeting other creative people. I found at school people really repressed that side of themselves, perhaps because it wasn't 'cool' to learn, but when I got to college I was surrounded by people who just wanted to make awesome films and talk about awesome films all the time. That kind of energy was infectious.
Tell us about the most embarrassing moment of your student days.
I performed my first ever gig in my assembly hall for a Battle Of The Bands competition and decided to do the whole thing in a genie hat stage prop from an Aladdin play they were doing at the time. We played a bunch of Nirvana and Green Day covers… when I see photos now I just cringe.
Did you study music? Did you find it helpful for your career?
I actually struggled with music at school. I've never been one for theory in any subject and there was so much of it at school that I just couldn't get into the subject. I found that learning music myself at my own pace was far more beneficial. I think it all depends on the person you are. If you can absorb all different methods of learning then definitely pursue it at school, but if like me you have the attention span of a goldfish and need to do practical things to stay focused all the time then maybe take it up in your own time.
Did school help to shape your music career in any way?
I was very fortunate at my school (Lipson Community College in Plymouth). They allowed us to use the school's facilities whenever we wanted, even at the weekend. It's where my first ever band would go and rehearse. They really encouraged us to pursue music, even if it wasn't our chosen subject. We had a great music department at the time.
In your opinion, is it better to study music or focus on getting practical experience?
Depends which field you want to go into. If you want to create your own original music and become an artist then practical experience will definitely toughen you up in the right way. If you wanted to become a session musician, playing for other established groups then studying music would be the right way to go.
Do you think it’s important for aspiring musicians to study music?
No, I think it's important for aspiring musicians to follow their gut instincts and their hearts. If education falls into that for them, then absolutely, but if they have a feeling that they should just get out there and start making waves, then that's okay too. It's all about the individual, there is no recipe for success in this industry.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians or young people thinking about studying music?
Never give up, every time one door shuts another one opens.
Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your music?
Major thanks to Meadowlark for joining in with our student life series!