Getting to know ambient composer Tiny Leaves

Composer Tiny Leaves a.k.a. Joel Pike has released his latest masterpiece, an album titled ‘Alone, Not Alone’ which speaks on the isolation period and its consequences in the days of Covid.  Pike’s work is renowned globally and has seen support on KEXP, WQXR, BBC6music, BBCRadio3 by Lauren Laverne, Hannah Peel, Gideon Coe, Stuart Maconie, John Kelly (rte), and Chris Hawkins, as well as featuring on New York’s Newsounds by John Schaefer. The composer has announced that he will be doing a virtual tour, and you are invited.

Find out the details about the tour and the composer below.

Can you tell us a bit about you?

I am a composer and father of four living in Shropshire. I can see the hills from my studio window which is pretty nice. I have created four albums and a few other releases. I love performing live.

Can you tell us a bit about your music for someone who hasn’t heard it before?

I write instrumental music using piano and guitar as the main melodies and arrange strings and other percussive elements over the top to create soundscapes. I try to make music with feeling.

How and why did you make ‘Alone, not alone’?

I made ‘Alone, not alone’ in my garden shed studio over three and a half years. Initially, I was producing fresh material following on from my previous album, Notes on Belonging. Our country was going through Brexit and my wife and I were having our fourth child. It felt like an intense time, so the album material came about as a response to this and a way in which to find meaning, hope, and solace. I also wanted to create an album that flowed from start to finish as if it were one song with many textures and moods. I mostly wrote it sequentially to introduce a new practice to my composition where I didn’t begin the next piece until the previous one was finished. It was released in February 2020.

Does it tell a story?

I feel like it’s a journey through the human landscape, with all of the feelings that we live through in our lives. I don’t want to impose too much meaning onto the music, though as it is up to the listener to write their own stories. I hope it somehow offers empathy or encouragement.

Where did the title come from?

Alone, not alone is the feeling of being isolated, and yet there is a sense that we are all in this together and that actually we aren’t alone in any of it. I’m interested in the busyness of everyday life, where there are moments of being fully alone, and moments of utter chaos (with four children and everything else!) I’m fascinated by the way that this theme has been reflected, globally, as the entire world has had to retreat into isolation, but, despite this, there is this feeling that we are all in this together, and small kindnesses around the world have shown this. I couldn’t think of a better time to perform this album, as its theme is solitude and togetherness, which is exactly what we have been living through the last six months.

What has lockdown been like for you?

Ironically, it has been extremely busy in our house. We’ve moved, and have been homeschooling the children, which has been mega challenging at times! I have been working on new music projects and done a bit of lecturing as well as much DIY!

What’s the heart behind the tour?

My original tour plans for the album were put on hold due to Covid-19, so I did a series of live gigs from home showcasing some of the new tracks early on in lockdown. I really want to raise awareness of the album and to perform these tracks live. I also want to do something positive with venues and promoters as we’re facing pretty stark autumn.

Who or what inspires you?

Listening to music, past, and present, from the Books to Arvo Part. Birds. Walking in a landscape, which has been the Shropshire hills lately. Art and printmaking. Cooking good food whilst listening to podcasts or radio.

What are you currently working on?

My new project is about the AONB that is the landscape of the Shropshire hills and it’s past and present history. I am venturing into choral work for the first time. I am also running a Kickstarter campaign to coincide with the tour to see Alone, not alone pressed to vinyl!

Where can people go to find more?

You can find me on the website and Instagram.

24th September, Brighton – Melting Vinyl 26th September, Leicester – Magic Teapot 2nd October, Newport – Le Pub

7th October, Shrewsbury fan special + more TBC

Ticket links and info on Tiny Leaves socials 

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