Glasgow-raised, and now London-based, Neev first appeared back in 2019 with her debut single, Burning To Dust. Since then she’s gone on to enchant an ever-growing audience with her intricate take on modern folk and hard-hitting lyrics. Neev’s growing confidence was demonstrated on 2021’s EP, Currants, which she engineered, mixed and produced herself, a process she carried forward into her debut album, Katherine, set for release this Friday via Trapped Animal Records.
While previous Neev recordings felt more like a series of stand-alone tracks, for her debut album, she was keen to tie them together, the result is a record of identity and exploration, as Neev explains, “each song explores the different facets of an individual”. Throughout the record Neev looks at the multiple factors that go into making up a person, from how they interact with others, to their own experiences of gender, or the profession they do. That’s all wrapped up into the album’s title, Katherine is not just Neev’s middle name, but one she shares with others in her family, “I named the album ‘Katherine’ because it touches on the themes of family, identity and the different identities one person can hold within themselves”. Neev has been drip-feeding the world new music from Katherine since sharing the lilting-folk meets crushing envy of Green all the way back in November. The most recent offering is the sublime, Will I Change For You, which serves as the record’s, “little jolt of energy”, and an ode to the quiet-loud dynamics of many of her fellow Scottish musicians like Frightened Rabbit or Rachel Sermani, as it goes from a gentle ballad to a crescendo of horns, clattering drums and swaggering guitars. Elsewhere, Fast Patterns is a beautiful dissection of wanting to be there for someone while knowing you can only give so much, given a gentle urgency by the shuffling drum rhythm and the near percussive quality of Neev’s dextrous vocal delivery. Perhaps the record’s strongest statement comes with The House, it plays with the trope of the 50s housewife, “stuck at home with a very prescribed set of tasks and interests they were allowed to explore”, as Neev explores the idea of feminine dreams and her own relationship with pursuing the artistic life, “there existed a lot of women in history that weren’t able to explore who they truly were creatively due to societal constraints”. There’s an intricacy to everything Neev does, a songwriter clearly in love with their craft, and now, more than ever, sounding ready to invite everyone in to share her talents.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Neev?
I’m a singer-songwriter that grew up in Glasgow, I now live in a small suburb on the edge of London where I write and record music, play gigs with my band and play in a couple of other bands/ outfits. I decided to kick off my music project fairly late, after I finished a Human Rights masters at UCL and immediately hated my first ever office job. I gigged obsessively throughout London in 2019 and then recorded/ produced from my bedroom obsessively through lockdown in 2020. I made an EP in 2021 out of that time that I’m really proud of called ‘Currants’ and that led to the creation of my debut album.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
My first ever live performance in a public space actually came out of winning my school’s talent show one year, the show was somehow connected to a radio station that made all of the talent show winners across Glasgow perform in Glasgow’s George Square during the Christmas Winterfest. I remember wearing uncomfortable wedged shoes, clinging to my brother’s electric guitar that I was intimidated by because my acoustic didn’t have a DI and singing a cover of a cover – Pixie Lott’s take on ‘Use Somebody’. I was pretty petrified by all accounts, it might be the reason I didn’t perform again for a while!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I come from a long line of relatives that either worked in theater or TV and from the outside, both industries seemed far too stressful to be worth it, so those were ruled out pretty quickly! I think ultimately what drew me to songwriting was my love for music, words and performance. I like delivering the words I write and the way I perform my songs is really what gives each of them an identity. I also love collaborating and bringing people into songs through their own talents. Music feels like a really relaxed way of collaborating for me, I love being able to bring different ideas into a project and put them together piece by piece.
FTR: What can people expect from the Neev live show?
A range of dynamics is what I’d hope! Greg, my drummer, recently described one of the songs we were rehearsing as “essentially one long crescendo” and I love that. I think the use of quiet and silence and space within a song is just as valuable as the noise you make. So I’d hope for you to see and appreciate the quiet and subtle moments which make the louder parts more impactful and memorable.
FTR: What’s next for Neev?
I’ve been writing in a lot of different directions lately which I’ve found really exciting. It’s certainly a time of play and experimentation at the moment to see where the next songs take me. A lot of rehearsing with the band to try out some stuff, I suspect and also a UK tour in winter time to celebrate Katherine being out!
They Listen To…
Becca Mancari – Hunter
My new obsession! I love this whole album Becca Mancari is so good at pulling out masterful little earworm melodies throughout her tracks.
Before Breakfast – Chosen
So privileged to have met this lovely bunch of ladies and play alongside them. They’re mind blowing live and make it look so effortless. This might be my favourite of theirs and the music video is so charming too.
CMAT – I Don’t Really Care For You
Contains one of the best lines in a track I’ve ever heard: “I just spent sevеn hours looking at old pics of me, Tryna pinpoint where the bitch began, Somewhere after the Passion of Christ, And before I had an Instagram.” CMAT’s ability to make me laugh uncontrollably at her lyrics one minute then sob the next is mind-boggling. Her debut album has so much character, I can’t wait to hear what’s next from her.
Pip Millett – This Stage
I’ve probably listened to Pip Millett’s debut album over 100 times in the past three months, full of boppy, tragic and lovely moments. The whole thing feels like such a journey. The stage is a particular favourite.
Palace – All We’ve Ever Wanted
I’ve always loved Palace but this new song makes me particularly interested in where they’re going, really excited for their new stuff. A love song with layers and layers of texture, it really sounds like they’ve been playing with a lot of new sounds.
Katherine is out this Friday via Trapped Animal Records. For more information on Neev visit https://linktr.ee/neevmusic.