Drongomala on Louis: At a stag party up on the Scottish island of Jura a friend of mine played me some demo tracks by Louis 'Oak' Anderson that he wanted me to hear (the island of Jura was where the KLF burned a million pounds).
I liked Louis’ fragile voice and it reminded me of the tightrope romance of Tindersticks. I ended up producing this EP for him and was lucky enough to get Iain Dixon on flute. Iain's Flute runs from Macbeth to Puck and he does things like turn down touring with Van Morrison. Iain has played with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchel and Primal Scream and is a leading light in the UK jazz scene.
I sang harmony to Louis and played ‘gypsy’ percussion on pizza boxes and Oxo canisters. I produced it using old BBC ribbon microphones for that warmth and natural sound.
The first mixes were ready. This was in 2006 and then the master tapes were stolen by a skaghead in Salford, Manchester.
I've finally managed to recover the sessions and mix it a couple of years later. Louis' voice has the sound of loss, anger and tenderness. His insistent metronomic guitar pushes the music forward yet the sound remains relaxed. Louis has a car boot full of songs and these are just the ones I wanted him to record.
The songs on this EP are predominantly about people and the simple lyrics delicately capture moments in his life. Louis’ mobile phone messages to me often says he's moving into a new caravan soon and he’s always heartbroken about a girl. When he came to Manchester to meet me it was the furthest North he’d ever been.
I hope you like it. It's was done Up North In the Coalshed
Drongomala, April 2008
Louis on Louis: I was born in Brighton on September 2nd 1981 and lived there until moving to Devon aged 1 and a half. It was the same year that Bob Marley died and my mum played his LP’s loads while she was pregnant with me. Mum used to sing me lullabies to help me sleep and Dad played his acoustic guitar. Living as a child in rural mid-Devon there were walks in the woods by the River Torridge, days at the beach, playing in open fields until the Sun went down.
I love all of that beautiful old original ska and reggae – it’s the early stuff that really gets me. If you’re a song-writer you have to listen to Bob Dylan too. Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and John Martyn have been very inspiring for me but more than anything it’s live music that inspires me most vividly.
Louis Oak Anderson, April 2008