BIMM London graduate Comae Berenices has just released her absolutely stunning debut E.P entitled “Curse”, which is accompanied by a spoken word audio-book called “Tale Of Winter Lights”.
Having just completed a degree in Creative Musicianship with first class honours, Berenices decided to implement the release as part of her Professional Project module. As a record, “Curse” stands up as a beautiful collection of heartfelt, ambient acoustic songs and creative lyricism. It’s an incredibly impressive debut that’s over too soon, leaving you wanting more.
What makes this release even more unique though, is the fact that Comae decided to put it out it as part of an audio-book, interweaving the songs with a beautifully produced spoken-word story and tastefully layering it atop a beguiling cinematic score of piano and field recordings, which serve to draw the listener into a “Tale Of Wintery Lights”.
We spoke with Berenices about her inspiration behind the release, her influences and plans for the future recordings.
Where was the EP/Audio-book recorded?
The EP was recorded and mixed in the Roundhouse, they offer a lot of awesome opportunities for under 25s and for a student with a small recording budget, it’s a life saver!
The Audiobook ‘Tale of Winter Lights’ was recorded and produced at home, it’s a lot more DIY! I think the most important for me was to get the songs sounding as professional as possible, even if that meant having the audio book be a bit more ‘rough’ and completely done by me.
What inspired you to release the EP as part of an audio book, as opposed to just a collection of songs?
Well, my first dream job was to be a writer and music came later on. I ‘wrote’ my first book before I could read and just told it to my grandma so she could put it on paper for me. At that time, the only way I could discover new stories would be by listening to them so I would spend my time listening to audio-books. Even when I grew up, I just loved the music and the actors, it added to the experience. At the beginning of my 3rd year in BIMM, I already had the project of an EP but when I learned that we had to do an album, the idea of turning the music I already had, and the music I was going to create, into a story came to me very naturally. It felt like the only logical way I was going to be able to complete this assessment, be happy about it and still feel challenged. But as said in the question, the EP is ‘part or an audio book’, it can be listened to with or without it.
Is the “Tales of Wintery Lights” story autobiographical?
This is a tricky question. I wrote most of the songs first and they were all the result of a personal reflection or experience. For example “Earths to Come” was my worry of what the future held.
Once I had the bulk of my musical work, I looked at the lyrics (I also had poetry), and I wondered how I could take all of these very personal things away and turn them into a different story, give the songs to someone else in a way, to The Girl. What came out was something that wasn’t completely mine but still held in its core the essence of my reflective journey on self-love.
One can only wonder if a passion drove me mad and if I had to sacrifice things out of love. Some of it is true and some of it never happened to me, it’s up to the audience to choose.
Who are your influences?
I grew up with Kate Bush’s amazing work and her ability to write completely crazy stories with her songs and still convey emotions even though she definitely did not live all of this. I believed until I was ten that her dad had invented a weather machine and was actually taken by the government: I would cry every time I’d listen to Cloudbusting!
Bon Iver, Agnes Obel and Daughter were my main influences for the musical scenery I created.
I am also a big fan of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and her words had a huge part to play in his project, whether it is for the lyrics or the spiritual elevation her poems bring.
Do you have plans to perform these tracks live? If so, are there any gig dates you can tell us about?
At the moment no I don’t have any gigs lined up, but I do want to perform the songs live, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded with great musicians too and it should happen in the next couple of months.
Is this project a one-off, or do you think you’ll stick to the audiobook format in future?
This is definitely not a one-off but I can’t certify I’ll only stick to the audiobook format when it comes to my music. I loved woking with the artists who illustrated the book and it did make me want to develop more visuals. I’ve started writing my second EP and for now I’m focusing on my personal experience but maybe a new story will come out of it!