Way before Gaps was formed, Rachel and Ed met at school in Coventry (“we had an Electronics class together”). After university in Brighton, and sometime later, they were reunited through a mutual friend. That was fate starting the ball rolling, and the first baby steps of the Gaps.
I first had the joy of seeing the Rachel and Ed playing their minimal electro-folk in a very dark room at the Prince Albert. The audience were all captivated, quite possible hypnotised by Rachel’s angelic voice and their celestial beats. There was a lot of love in that room at that time for the duo, for not only was it their homecoming gig after a short tour, but their fan base has quickly multiplied after some beautiful releases and a big collaboration EP with DJ extraordinaire Maya Jane Coles. I caught up with the pair over a quick bit to eat to hopefully find out when their debut album is going to appear.
When did you both think to start a band?
ED: We have both been doing musical projects most of our lives, but we got to a point when we didn’t really want to be in bands anymore. One night we were hanging out and after a lot of red wine, Rachel played me some ideas. I had just set up, a studio is maybe too strong a word, but some recording gear and was looking for a new project. We started recording some stuff and it was kind of serendipity really. We made a deal that we wouldn’t make it a band and we would just write music, and then we got a bit carried away really.
How do you attack the song writing process, do you both sit down and spend a few hours coming up with ideas?
RACHEL: There is a process really, it’s like a factory in its way. I never really made songs, just little ideas. I would harmonise them and do a little bit of production, but I was never really that good at that. So when Ed and I started making music, I would give him these ideas and he started to craft these songs out of them. And we have kind of stuck with that. It’s a nice natural way of doing it. I sit down and write some bits, give it to Ed and he gets to work.
ED: What’s been nice for us – Rachel used to work the production as she played drums in a band, and I used to do the writing (in my band). Our roles have kind of flipped. I come up with how it all sticks together and Rachel comes up with the ideas. It’s not as regimented as it sounds, but there is a definite process. We quickly found that our strengths and weaknesses really complemented each other, with a nice grey area where we are ok to go back and forth.
Did you have an idea of what the Gaps sound was going to be like?
ED: We both sat down at the beginning and said, this is a Gaps sounding kick drum, this is a Gaps sounding bass and so on, which was really important. When Rachel first showed me her ideas, there was no intention of making them into records, they were written as she recorded. That was exactly what was so good about those ideas, along with everything else, and this was something we really wanted to keep. We have probably only ever rerecorded 2 lines ever, and the rest of it are those original ideas.
Where do you record your music?
ED: They are literally recorded onto the little microphone on our mac. It is tinny and thin, but that’s what those ideas sound like. We liked that, and we can add warmer synth and make the sound more complete. The technical side isn’t really the point, it’s more the idea and capturing the moment Rachel is in when recording.
What has been a musical inspiration when recording?
ED: When we first started writing the album, we realised quickly that what we were doing was different and exciting, but definitely a path that has been trodden before. As we were doing something with a similar idea of electronic with folk, we sat down and worked out what we liked and disliked on ‘King Creosote & John Hopkins – Diamond Mine’, a really fantastic album.
Is there a mind for how you play the songs live when you create them?
ED: We really didn’t want it to come across like other bands, where Rachel’s the pretty singer at the front and I’m the one at the back doing all the work. Because it’s not true, Rachel isn’t that pretty.
RACHEL: Thanks Ed. But in all seriousness, that’s not what we are about. It’s always been intuitive (to that song).
ED: Part of it is because that’s how we started as well. Never having any intentions to do it live.
RACHEL: But now, when creating a song, we do get excited about how it can fit into our live set. Now we are starting to think more about how our set works, in terms of the journey and its feel. What we really love is the writing process about how natural it is – almost like therapy. But we are starting to really enjoy the live side too.
How has the last tour been?
ED: It was great. It was really nice to get into that zone, as we haven’t done it before. It has taken a bit of getting used to, to see how to do our songs live. We have been doing our show with live visuals, which is a really important element to our set, linking our songs together and making it a bit more like a DJ set. Our music is deliberately repetitive and the visuals help people zone out.
When did you first meet Maya Jane Cole?
RACHEL: I actually met her back in the day at my house, when having a party, so it was quite natural seeing her again. I can remember, some years back, going into the newsagent and seeing her on the front of MixMag and think bloody hell, that’s the girl from the party. Then after seeing her at a festival, I messaged her congratulating on her set and how well she’s doing and how great it was to see her live. She was really sweet and we had a nice little exchange, and that was that.
How did you get to collaborate with her?
RACHEL: Years passed again, and the Gaps were releasing our first single. We were looking for a remix, and we had always really liked her sound. It was a long shot and unfortunately she was too busy to do it, but she did love our sound and asking us if we wanted to do something with her. We were like WOW, why not. So we did one song first, and then another. Then we were like, why don’t we do an EP. I really enjoyed it. It was quite surreal to be asked by her to sing on a track, being as I’m only used to singing into my mac.
The video to your latest single, ‘She Bears A Flower’, conveys the nature of the Gaps music brilliantly. How did you create it?
ED: To be honest, we didn’t have much to do with it. A friend of mine, Walt McNee, pitched the idea and absolutely nailed it on the mood board. It was one of those rare moments when we got it and we were both like, “That’s perfect”.
RACHEL: That white smoke is actually ink in water, and then very cleverly edited on top.
Is there a meaning behind the song?
RACHEL: All the songs are about people I’ve met in my life. It is personal to me. When I played them to Ed, he interpreted the lyrics to meaning something else. That’s the beauty of the music. You write it from a very personal place with the lyrics being quite abstract as well, everyone else can interpret what it means to them, which is nice.
What does the future hold, is there an album?
ED: We will be touring in April, and doing festivals in the summer. There is an album that’s almost ready to roll, which is exciting. It’s going to be out around the end of March. We are just finalising the artwork and doing press shots at the moment.
RACHEL: ‘In, Around The Moments’ (EXCLUSIVE). It’s so nice when you’ve been working on something, to release and get it out there into the universe