Jon & Abbie is a collaborative project between musicians Jon Sandman and Abbie Loosemore who, together, are creating laid back, luscious indie-folk music, sure to warm your soul on these dark, winter nights. Their upcoming debut EP will be out soon and they’ve already had a rather productive past few months with the release of three singles, created during lockdown. Expect rich guitar parts, undulating melodies and beautifully recorded production. That’s a pretty winning combination, but mix in their own unique style of delivery and a devotion to detail and you’ve got a duo who are sure to find an equally devoted audience, hungry to hear more.
Lockdown gave us the unique opportunity to start experimenting and sharing ideas.abbie loosemore
What brought you two together to form Jon & Abbie and how does working on this music differ from your own, individual artist projects?
ABBIE: We have always wanted to make music together, but it was never the right time. Lockdown gave us the unique opportunity to start experimenting and sharing ideas. I wrote the lyrics and sent them to Jon on a whim, and he started sending them back as tracks. We realised we had something good going and then wrote the EP!
My other band Maud are shoegaze, post-punk – so this was something really different! It has also been a completely different creative process as we wrote the majority of the tracks apart, whereas writing with Maud is a very in-the-moment collaborative ‘see what happens’ vibe. Writing with Jon was more introspective due to the environment we were writing in.
JON: I quite enjoy the challenge of drawing music out of nothing but lyrics – which is what we did here. Sharing is caring, sure – but I’m quite possessive of my own music.
What are your earliest memories of when music first had an impact on you?
ABBIE: My parents told me they played this album by Piers Partridge called ‘Bowl of Plums’ to me in the womb, which they claim to have had some effect… Not sure about that though.
JON: My memory is pretty terrible. I tend to live in the moment. I did love the Postman Pat theme, though.
It gave me something to focus on, when everything else was, well…out of focus.jon sandman
What are the benefits of working as a duo? Has there been anything the other has taught you?
ABBIE: Basic music theory. Literally.
JON: Collaborating on a new project was just what the doctor ordered, I think. It gave me something to focus on, when everything else was, well…out of focus. Thankfully Abbie provided plenty of material for us to work on together.
ABBIE: In all seriousness, Jon has taught me so much about myself. We were both in similar situations at the time and he listened, understood and we sort of dragged each other out of something which could have been quite an emotional rut. Like that scene in ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ when they are using each other as a support to climb up a deadly chasm…..
Has 2020 changed your approach to making or releasing music? How have you found this year creatively?
ABBIE: This has been the most creative I have ever been. I suddenly had all of this raw, visceral emotion I had never experienced before and no idea how to deal with. My only way of processing heartbreak, loss and grief was through writing everything down. Original…
JON: I’ll be honest: for me creatively, it’s been a dive. The music that I write when left alone tends to be pretty dark, but this year has been a little too low, even for me.
When did you decide to create an EP together? What can we expect?
ABBIE: I don’t think either of us envisioned a whole EP. It’s pretty special because it’s almost like a time capsule of all that emotion and I’m just glad that we managed to catch it all before it disappeared for good – or got turned into a shit book of poetry. It’s pretty revealing in parts, like any art is, so I guess you can expect the inside scoop on all of my secrets…
JON: Yeah, an EP wasn’t the plan. It just started out with one song. As a whole, the release is really interesting, I think – there’s a real mix of different influences that ended up in there. It was a great opportunity to experiment, within the envelope of Abbie’s lyrics.
What are some of your proudest musical moments or achievements?
ABBIE: Sending Jon a drunken video of me playing dog woof sounds on my childhood keyboard.
JON: I think, so far: ‘The Arizona EP’. It’s the first record that I would say I’ve ever really ‘produced’. I put a lot of work into it, and it turned out better than I thought it would. I’ve had lots of compliments about its production.
ABBIE: And playing live with Maud! Every gig is a proud moment.
Do you have a particular philosophy that you live by or that’s helped you stay level this year?
ABBIE: 2 for £10 wine deals.
JON: Not sure I’d actually pass that test, were you to actually use a level meter on me. As far as a philosophy that I like to live by? Well, I think that at the end of the day, everybody’s in the same boat. Muddling through, mostly. A little bit of understanding goes a long way!
I think grief has been a challenge for a lot of people this year.abbie loosemore
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in 2020?
ABBIE: Ending a relationship and learning to be alone again has been one, it has been a challenge, but also a blessing i think. I think the biggest challenge was the loss of a grandparent. I think grief has been a challenge for a lot of people this year.
JON: I’m with Abbie on the “learning to be alone”, thing. It’s been bittersweet.
ABBIE: Also working with Jon… Just kidding.
Is there any music that you guys have been listening to whilst creating the EP?
ABBIE: It started off with lots of Simon & Garfunkel, and then Julia Jacklin and Leonard Cohen inspired me lyrically. Being at home for months over lockdown brought back a lot of nostalgia for me, so I was drawn to the music I loved in my teenage years like Fleet Foxes, Foals and Elliot Smith.
JON: I haven’t listened to a lot of music recently, but definitely I think I had Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel at the back of my mind when I read the lyrics for the first couple of songs that Abbie sent me.
Do you have any strong opinions on the music industry? What has your experience in it been like so far?
ABBIE: I remember Maud were supporting a band once and they told us that we needed to quit all our bar jobs, go on tour and invest in buying merch. I remember being really angry about that because they were a much older band and disregarded the fact we were young and starting out. They were coming from a place of privilege which allowed them to drop everything and pursue music, whereas for lots of people that just isn’t feasible
JON: I actually have zero experience of the music industry, really. I figured out releasing music this year, since me and Chris had been sitting on Pylon Heights for a while, and I had an EP that I wrote while I was at uni. It feels a bit like shouting into the wind, but on the other hand it does feel good to finally get my music out into the real world.
ABBIE: Being able to create music in your bedroom though and release it on so many platforms has been a great experience, especially in 2020.
What are some of your career goals that you’d still love to experience or achieve?
ABBIE: I think playing live again would be the dream, with Maud and with Jon at some point. Funny how this seems like a goal that’s out of reach now!
JON: I’d love to be able to play on stage, have an audience’s complete attention, and be completely comfortable with that.
Who would be your ultimate person/band to collaborate with or support on tour?
ABBIE: Warpaint. Or Stevie Nicks.
JON: I’d love to collaborate with St Vincent. She’s a genius. I’m very jealous of David Byrne.
We win a Grammy. I get a penthouse in L.A.jon sandman
What are some of your hopes and dreams for 2021?
ABBIE: A vaccine, live music (seeing Foals), and also seeing Jon for a real life PINT.
JON: For our EP to be met with global, critical acclaim. We win a Grammy. I get a penthouse in L.A. St Vincent calls me up and says David Byrne can’t make it, and asks me to fill in for him. More Grammys.
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