THIS Wednesday, Ethan P. Flynn brings his debut album tour to King Tuts, Scotland’s most iconic intimate venue, as part of a UK-wide tour.
Set to follow in the footsteps of many greats who came before him, it’s a fitting venue for an artist who has been moving with seemingly relentless momentum from a very young age. At 18 years old, he had already worked with David Byrne and secured a record deal. And in the five years that followed, he collaborated with the likes of FKA Twigs, Jockstrap and Vegyn while continuously working on his own craft, releasing ‘B Sides and Rarities: Volume 1’, a humorously titled compilation of his tracks to date in 2020.
Last month marked the arrival of his most accomplished piece of work to date though in ‘Abandon All Hope’ – an astonishing and remarkably complex record that delves into a wide scope of human emotion in a highly nuanced and insightful way. Deeply personal, it combines a love of traditional songwriting with the fantastical – revealing an extra layer of musicianship with each and every listen. And while there’s plenty of melancholy as its title suggests, there’s glimmers of hope too among the burst of melodies – Flynn sings of love, loss, navigating anxiety and coming of age in the 21st century with an emotional depth and intensity that feels incredibly rare.
So, ahead of his eagerly anticipated appearance at King Tuts on Wednesday, we caught up with the enigmatic songwriter to hear more about the album.
Get your tickets here.
For those not yet acquainted, how would you describe your debut album ‘Abandon All Hope’?
8 songs, 44 minutes of me trying to make the most straightforward album I could possibly make and totally failing.
Can you tell us about the recording process? Where did you record and when?
I recorded it in narcissus studios in west london in March, May and July 2022. I was trying to make a totally straightforward studio album which I’d never done before and will probably never do again.
You’ve said it’s a very personal album – what headspace were you in at the time of writing?
Funnily a lot of the time the headspace I was in was “I am actually making an album” which was kind of unnecessarily stressful. I think it kind of needed that urgency though. There was a lot of change happening in my life around the time I was finishing this album as well and change is usually a good breeding ground for creativity.
There seems to be an appreciation for classic, old-school songwriting but also a great deal of complexity to it. What was inspiring you at the time musically?
Musically I try to take what I can from basically everything I’ve ever heard rather than specifically zoom in on anything. But yeah there is definitely an appreciation for old school singer-songwriters on display here. I love Neil Young and Van Dyke Parks and Joni Mitchell etc.
What did you learn from your early years and working with the likes of FKA twigs and David Byrne?
I learned to kind of just take it all as it comes and not to idolise anyone too much. Being a singer is literally just a job, it can be quite an important job but it’s just the way some people are filling their time. I learned quite quickly meeting people on the highest level that no one is actually above anyone else.
When did it start to feel right to focus on your own body of work?
I’ve actually been doing this for as long as I can remember.
Can you tell us about ‘Crude Oil’ – how did this track come about and what inspired it?
It kind of became a bit of a joke to be like ‘what can I add to this that still doesn’t make it feel too long?’ so I was just trying a lot of stuff. Desolation and paranoia.
What can listeners expect from your live show?
I’m actually in the middle of rehearsals as I’m writing this. For the first time ever I’m actually trying to really recreate the songs how they sound in the recordings. I think the shows are gonna be great!
What are your ambitions as an artist? What’s next?
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that’s all it’s ever been about for me.
Photo by Danny Lowe