Having spent the last year travelling the globe, supporting Bruce Springsteen and Haim, releasing critically acclaimed EPs and signing record deals, Nottingham man Callum Burrows is certainly not your average 19-year-old.
The man behind the jangly pop anthemics of the recently Asylum signed moniker Saint Raymond, Burrows is currently working on his debut album. We caught up with him and he embarks on yet another whirlwind year of making a name for himself.
Can you tell us a bit about how you first started experimenting with music?
Well I have always been really into music. I first started experimenting when I got a guitar aged 7. I taught myself a few songs, started singing and playing a few gigs and it all went from there!
How did your work as Saint Raymond begin?
I started off just playing acoustic gigs around Nottingham in local venues- just me and my guitar. Then things grew quite gradually from there. After self- releasing my first EP things started growing a bit. I put a live band together, which I think adds a new dimension. Having a band in the live setup is always how I imagined my songs to sound, so it’s great to be at that level now.
What made you choose that moniker?
Well, Raymond was my granddad’s name and the Saint comes from the street that I grew up on. I put them together and got the name!
So it’s been a pretty whirlwind year for you hasn’t it, what would you say has been the craziest thing that has happened?
Selling out Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, my home town, was a great moment. As a Nottingham local, it was a massive deal for me; I grew up watching bands there.
Has the pace at which everything has happened been kind of daunting?
Not really, to be honest. I haven’t really been focusing on the pace of everything, I have kinda just been going with the flow of things! I guess if you over think everything, it could become kind of daunting and overwhelming but at the moment I am kind of just focusing on things day to day, or week to week and enjoying everything as it comes
Has it been a steep learning curve?
Yeah, I guess so. When I look back to where things were last year it’s pretty crazy how much everything has grown in such a short time. I have definitely learned a lot so far from doing more gigs, more touring and spending more time in the studio.
Does it feel like it’s real?
It really doesn’t! Especially being so busy I think sometimes you can forget to take it all in. I’ve spent some time in LA recently and it’s been amazing. I definitely feel very lucky.
How did the record deal come about?
I released my first EP Escapade independently and after it came out it did quite unexpectedly well: it definitely exceeded my expectations. Things really kicked off from there… I met with Asylum Records and it seemed like they really got me and got what the music is about so I was really happy to sign with them. I then released my second EP Young Blood through National Anthem at the beginning of this year.
Can you tell us a bit about your EP Ghosts and how it came together?
Ghosts has a mixture of new and old stuff on it. The lead single from this EP is “Everything She Wants”. It’s a song that I have been playing live for a few years but I never got a chance to release it properly so I knew I wanted it to be on this EP. Then on there you also have “Ghosts” and “Brighter Days” which are relatively newer songs and also my cover of Paul Weller’s “Engish Rose”, live from a session I did at Maida Vale recently.
Did you start off with an idea of what you wanted it to be?
As a lead up to the album, I wanted this EP to be a bit of a progression from my last release. I wanted it to have some big, anthemic moments on there. I feel “Ghosts” really encapsulates the transition into summer and festival season.
What’s the most important thing to you as an artist?
Making music that people will enjoy. It’s simple, really. I like making songs that I think people will relate to. I like songs that are generally upbeat; ones which make people feel good and have a bit of a dance to. Whenever I hear people singing back my songs at gigs, that’s what it’s all about for me.
What’s your favourite thing about creating music?
There’s lots of things I love about creating music but my favourite thing is probably the moment when a song is finished and you have a sense of pride over what you’ve just created, then taking it out and playing it live is just a bonus.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It can be anything really. Some of my songs are about personal experiences, and things that have happened in my life but a lot of inspiration can also come from my friends, family or generally just things that I see around me. It can be the simplest of things.
What musicians do you admire? Contemporary or otherwise?
Loads. Growing up I listened to an eclectic mix of stuff. I’ve got a few older siblings so there was always an array of stuff blaring around the house. Everything from dance music, pop to stuff like Oasis. At the moment I am really liking people like Hozier, The 1975 and Bombay Bicycle Club.
So you’re working on your debut album presently, can you tell us about it?
Yes I am currently working on my album. I can tell you that it is coming together nicely! Still a lot of work to be done and decisions to be made, but I am definitely happy with the direction it is going in. It will have a few songs on there that people will recognise but just as many new ones. I’ve been out in LA recording it.
Who are you working with?
At the moment I am working with Jacknife Lee who is a bit of a legend. He has worked with some of my favourite acts (The Hives, Bloc Party, Weezer).
Who do you want to work with?
Justin Vernon. That’s the dream. The guy is a musical genius.
What does the rest of the year hold for you?
I’m going to spend the next couple of months finishing up the album and it’ll hopefully release later this year. There’s also plenty of festivals to get my teeth into this summer.
Saint Raymond’s new single ‘I Want You’ is out on August 24.