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Premiere: Eb & Sparrow Share New Video 'To The West' + Interview

Premiere: Eb & Sparrow Share New Video 'To The West' + Interview

Wednesday 27th September, 2017 11:53AM

Local alt-country icons Eb & Sparrow have released a moody new video for their single 'To The West' in support of their nationwide tour which kicks off this weekend. The beautifully shot video sees singer Ebony Lamb wrestling with domestic demons against the wild backdrops of Auckland's Hatfields Beach and Piha, and is a slow-burning teaser for their upcoming album due early 2018.

Check out Eb & Sparrow's new video and read our interview with Ebony Lamb chatting about the single, their upcoming tour, recording in the Wairarapa, and more.


Hi Ebony! So ‘To The West’ is from your upcoming third album, can you tell us a little bit about how the track came together?

A third album is a very exciting prospect, never thought we’d make even one and I’ve literally just signed it off yesterday in Melbourne. 'To the West' has been a long time brewing, I wrote it in the summer holiday’s just after Christmas year before last (2016) we were staying at Barry Saunders family home in the Wairarapa while they were away, we had such a great time getting outside everyday, hot hot days, finding the rivers, walking, sleeping, and I’d try writing most nights, and finally 'To The West' came out, I felt like it had been sitting there are very long time, blocking up the writing passages for at least a year, the relief was immense, pretty much cried afterwards. As always I held onto it for a while, shared it with Gram Antler who helped me arrange the structure and find much better chord progressions, but really it’s like a blues song with a deep yearning. Not much has changed there, that’s the music I relate to. I took it to the band and it just worked, and in the recording it was really great to work with new drummer Justin Barr and the whole band to get the feel somewhere between vulnerability and a bolder statement. Anita Clark (Motte) plays strings which I think grew the song to another realm, especially the end, we all loved that ghostly yet old-time arrangement sound of the strings layer upon layer.

The album itself was recorded in a big old homestead in the Wairarapa with engineer Brett Stanton at the helm. Why did you go off the beaten track to lay down this record?

Recording in a remote big old house in the country (Ahiaruhe) in early 2017 pretty much sets the tone for a great recording experience. Its unifying especially after all the touring we’d done. We needed to find a way for all of us to be together easily, finding ways to get Brett Stanton back over to New Zealand and also allowing time for our families. We were incredibly lucky that some very generous people searched out this place, and the family that owns it allowed us the use for free for twelve days straight. We had to find somewhere we could all stay onsite, spending as little as possible, working out the sound in each room, clean power, a separation from our normal lives, creating a studio and a control room through this jumble. Outside were huge trees and occasionally some stormy weather, you’ll never care about sound so much until you have to record! Mainly it’s the focus, we are all so busy, it was a very special experience we’ll never forget. I’d highly recommend it aye, you’ll also never know your band mates so well until your either stuck in a van or stuck in the country with the early morning coffee in your undies, they’re great brothers.

The video for ‘To The West’ is beautifully shot and captures the moodiness of the song so well. What did you feel like you really wanted to convey when you were coming up with the concept for the clip?

Movement was a core concept. “Moodiness”is a recurring explanation for our sound, and I’d say that's about right visually too. Mainly it’s pulling on an authenticity for parts of life. Domesticity, solitude, showing the outward expression of an inward thought, connection, I guess thats it really. As DOP Josh Yong really added a super level of technical expertise and an eye for grace. Originally we wanted another person to be represented as part of the project but it didn’t work out this time. I have vowed though that I’m not in the next visual representation, someone else can be the dancer.

Despite the title, the video was actually shot across the West and the East… with locations on both coasts. What made you choose Hatfields Beach and Piha to shoot?

It came down to weather, we knew we’d need an inside space that had character and was far away from any interruptions as filming is a kind of weird bubble that you step into. We also had a very limited timeframe I found Hatfields Beach has a house you can rent on 60 acres of bush leading down to its own beach access. It was quite a remarkable spot and such a great space, somewhat ‘otherworldly’ from a bygone era and totally New Zealand, yet in the distance is the whole of Auckland city. Josh really wanted the east in the morning and the west in the evening, and somehow we made it happen. In the space of half an hour we had a lightening storm, followed by a spring shower, full-on sun (which stopped us filming) and it was like that all day, crazy weather. Piha was a good hours drive and a walk to a special location, surrounded by Manuka trees and the majesty of the west Coast, it all makes more sense the west coast, once you’ve been down south.

The wardrobe for the video is gorgeous! I understand a couple of the dresses came from the new Kate Sylvester collection. How did that come about?

About a year or so ago we played a show at Leigh Sawmill up past Auckland, and it just so happened one of the key people in the Kate Sylvester Team saw us play. He said to ask anytime I needed anything. It’s the first time I’ve asked and I felt incredibly lucky, as that collaboration stemmed out of the music itself. The new collection is utterly beautiful and they worked really well with the movement.

You are about to hit the road to celebrate the release of ‘To The West’ with a whole raft of dates line up around the country. What are you looking forward to the most about touring?

Playing and the people. It sounds so simple, but that's the core reason anyone would want to keep touring, because touring is quite a slog sometimes but playing music together and sharing that with the people around New Zealand has been a gift that keeps on giving for the band and from what I’ve been told its the same for our audience. We are bringing along limited edition merchandise that will only be available at shows and playing new songs, which always breaths new life into the band… got some special covers snuck into the set that people won’t expect too. We start in the South Island and then head to the North, can’t wait to get on the road.

You can catch the band in action at the following locations around New Zealand.

Eb & Sparrow 'To The West' Single Release Tour:

Friday 29 September, Dharma Shed, Wairau Valley
Saturday 30 September, Blue Smoke, Christchurch
Sunday 1 October, The Playhouse Cafe & Theatre, Mapua
Saturday 7 October, Southern Fork Americana Festival
Sunday 8 October, Hawkes Bay Arts Festival
Friday 13 October, Lucky Bar, Whanganui
Saturday 14 October, Meow Bar, Wellington

Tickets are available HERE at UTR.


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Fri 29th Sep
Dharma Bums Club, Blenheim
Sat 30th Sep
Blue Smoke, Christchurch
Sun 1st Oct
The Playhouse Theatre and Restaurant, Mapua
Sat 7th Oct
The Tuning Fork, Auckland
Sun 8th Oct
Hawkes Bay Arts Festival - Pacific Palace Spiegeltent, Havelock North
Fri 13th Oct
Lucky Bar, Whanganui
Sat 14th Oct
Meow, Wellington

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