1. Hi Jessie and Pete, can you two tell me a little bit about yourselves before you became a country duo?
J: My name is Jess. I’m from Devon in the South West of England and I sing and play fiddle, piano and a bit of guitar. I’ve always had a passion for music and started writing little poems in my early teens, which turned into songs when I was around 19. I even came runner up in a local competition for musicians when I was younger but I didn’t have the confidence to take up the prize which was a day in a recording studio. I found my confidence a little later and I love performing now.
P: My name is Pete. I’m originally from the South East of England in a place called Kent. It’s nice, lots of commuters who work in London. I lived in Leeds in the North while doing my degree in Music before moving to London and then moving to Dorset (where we live now) when I met my wife. I’ve been in bands since I was a teenager and even ran a record label with my best mate for a few years.
2. How did you guys become fans of country music and when did you know you wanted a career in it?
J: I grew up listening to it as my Mum has always loved country-but it was never huge in the UK so she was fairly unusual or so it seemed to me when I was little!
P: To be honest, I’m a fan of all kinds of music styles and have played all sorts before. I’ve always loved the storytelling in Country and the musicianship and it just so happens that the instruments I really love the sound of – guitar, lap steel, banjo, uke – all fall into that roots/country/folk sphere.
3. How did you guys’ formed your group and how did you come up with the name of your group?
Jess was in a country covers band for a few years and Pete joined when the previous guitarist left. We hit it off and started writing together.
The name took us a bit of time! We were kicking around loads of ideas but it’s such a heard thing to name a band! Eventually we came upon with Hengistbury which is after a beautiful bit of headland in our adopted home of Dorset.
4. What is the story behind your latest single “What Folks Don’t Know?”
P: It’s about my best mate. When we were living in London he had a really tough couple of years and a relationship that broke down. He needed a break and so decided to take a few months out to travel around the US and we met up in Nashville where we had an album to master. While we were there we obviously caught up about everything to do with his adventure and I was struck by the idea that with every new town he arrived in, he was completely anonymous, no one knew about anything he’d left behind in London and it struck me as quite an interesting angle.
5. Is there anything new coming up with your guys’ music for the rest of 2018?
Yes! We have pretty much finished recording our album which we are aiming to release around Mid-October. We just have to master, get the video for the 2nd single shot and go from there!
6. Who are some of your guys’ musical icons?
J: Dolly Parton, Dire Straits, Phil Collins, The Mamas and the Papas amongst other childhood influences-a bit of a mixture of genres. I also love The Corrs-they remind me of my own musical family and it made me feel less self-conscious about playing the fiddle which it wasn’t so cool to do as a teenager!
P: There are just so many! I love artists like Ryan Adams, Iron and Wine, Lord Huron, Johnny Cash, Ben Howard, First Aid Kit, and Elbow for their songwriting but also artists like Brad Paisley, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones for their guitar and lap steel playing. I’m sure there’s even more I’m missing!
7. Where do you see your music careers in the next 5 to 10 years?
J: I’d still like to be making music and singing. It’s a part of who I am so I imagine it’ll be something I do forever.
P: I’d like to still be writing, recording and performing with Jess. In terms of scale, I’m more interested in staying true to our art and continuing to make music we like and hopefully other people will enjoy it too. I also have a little plan to build something bigger – I’ll keep it relatively close to my chest at the moment but I want to build something bigger in the long run that supports other artists.
8. If you guys’ could sing with another artist or group who would it be and why?
J: Currently Maren Morris-she’s sassy. Or Lukas Nelson-his voice gives me shivers! From the grave…Jonny Cash-although we know a lot about his life I feel like he was an enigma and I think sharing a stage with him would have been an experience!
P: I’d love to work with someone like Ryan Adams or Guy Garvey but then I’d also be really interested to see what would happen if we partnered with someone completely outside of our genre – Dr Dre or someone perhaps.
9. Is there anything else you guys’ would like to share?
Thanks for having us and for creating such a cool blog!
Our single, What Folks Don’t Know is out now and our album will be coming mid October! We’re on instagram, Facebook, Twitter so come find us there for more details.
10.What is one of your favorite quotes?
J: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place.” – Unknown.
P: “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells” – Dr Seuss