20 Questions: Haiku Salut

20 Questions: Haiku Salut

Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut, are set to perform at Indietracks festival on Sunday the 29th of July. They release their third album There Is No Elsewhere in September via neo-classical and electronica label PRAH on 7 September.

Haiku Salut have also announced a one-off live show featuring a robot orchestra as part of The Hexagon Experiment at the Centre For Life in Newcastle on 10 August where they will be exploring creativity in the age of robotics and artificial intelligence. They will be taking their celebrated Lamp Show on tour again later in the year (in which a stageful of vintage lamps are programmed to flash, fade and flicker in time to the music – see dates below). 

Haiku Salut consists of multi-instrumentalists Gemma Barkerwood, Sophie Barkerwood, and Louise Croft. Between them, Haiku Salut play accordion, piano, glockenspiel, trumpet, guitar, ukulele, drums, and melodica. They weave pulsing electronic elements into their intricate and evocative soundscapes. The band released their debut album Tricolore in 2013, to a warm reception, which was followed in 2015 by Etch And Etch Deep. We sent Louise Croft our 20 Questions.

Hi, how are you today, what’s the weather like?

Hello! I am great thanks, the weather is pleasant and life is good. 

How do most of your songs start life?

Some of our songs begin with a recording taken in the nearby woods that we manipulate to create a crunchy glitched beat, others start with a melody that might stick with its rustic piano sound or move to a deep and warbling synth voice. Our single ‘Cold To Crack the Stones’ came to surface using recordings from pulses emitted from lightning, courtesy of NASA’s website.

What was the first single you bought?

I can’t remember the first single I bought, but the first album I bought was a double whammy – Spice Girls and Aqua. What a time to be alive!

Have you ever been starstruck?

I remember being starstruck when we saw Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips taking a photo of us in our tour van (which was a ex Royal Mail van) at a festival. We didn’t know how to react so we stayed in the van and took a photo of him taking a photo of us..

The Royal Family: should they stay or should they go?

I am not a complete hater of the Royal Family however I don’t think it’s right to so openly display such luxurious lifestyles while so many people are lacking basic necessities. I think it shows the rich and poor divide in all it’s (un)glory. 

If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?

I’d love to work with animals, I feel so calm and content around them. In some ways they’re better than humans!

What’s your experience of being a female working in the music industry?

We’re lucky enough not to have experienced many difficulties within our journey in music, though I’m aware many female bands/artists do. There is so much positive action going on with making sure enough female artists are included in festival and gig line ups for example. There are also many amazing role models for younger musicians for look up to, to hopefully create a new generation of as many female as male artists.

Are you looking forward to playing this year’s Indietracks?

We LOVE playing Indietracks and can’t wait to get back this year. The lineup is amazing and it’s full of wonderful people. Also it’s in our neck of the woods! Our top picks this year are British Sea Power, Mighty Kids, Dream Wife, Night Flowers and The Lovely Eggs.   

What were you like at school?

Quiet, nerdy, rebellious

Who are your favourite new acts?

I love Idles and their political but loving passion, I’m looking forward to seeing them on tour later in the year. I’m also a big fan of Lump which is a collaboration between Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay from Tuung, they combine dream-like electronics with melodic layered vocals and it’s perfect.

Best gig you’ve played so far?

Opening the main stage when we won the Green Man rising competition was amazing, it was the first time we’d played such a big stage and it was (and still is) one of our favourite festivals. Our first lamp show at St John on Bethnal Green was also a memorable one, after a stressful set up the gig was so much fun and seeing how well the audience reacted to the show we’d worked so hard on was very rewarding.

What’s your favourite single?

My favourite single at the moment is ‘Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy’ by Anna Calvi.

What do you listen to in your tour van?

We like to keep morale high in the van so party tracks and nostalgia go down well. Last time we were in the van we played a game where we each had to pick a category of song choice, which included ‘first songs you learnt how to play’ and ‘songs you know all the words to’. We’ve also been known to play the Joseph Megamix one or twice, though you really have to be in the mood..

What were your favourite bands growing up?

I used to love No Doubt, Finch, Nirvana and Blink 182 as a teenager. I then got into the Mystery Jets, the Good Shoes and other bands in that genre during the mid 2000’s and used to love going round London and seeing them perform in different venues and in-stores.

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

I love Alison Brie and her role in ‘Glow’, she portrays such a strong and creative character. 

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?

I’m a fan of all of the above – Vinyl for listening to my favourite bands on record at home. CDs for blaring music out in my car.  Downloading and streaming for keeping up with new artists and storing music on my laptop. Although streaming isn’t the best from an artist’s point of view, it’s really great to have so much music at our fingertips and to be able to have access to so many artists. 

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

My favourite cover has to be ’Heard it Through the Grapevine’ by The Slits. The recording captures their raw energy so perfectly, it’s such a unique and poignant cover of the original.

Tell us about your new album?

‘There is No Elsewhere’ for us signifies the importance of occupying your space and being confident and grounded in what you believe in. In a climate of political uncertainty and of moral issues being heightened, we wanted the album to draw feelings of togetherness and community. We thought it significant to use a brass band to convey the emotion and triumph of how we can pull together to create hope amongst each other. We use a mix of electronic recordings, beats and glitches with accordion, guitar and brass to combine the humanistic elements with the unnatural sounds.

What was the concept behind your lamp show?!

We wanted to bring a visual element into our live shows and add a new dynamic. The idea was inspired by Dan Deacon’s live performances where he uses midi to control disco light strips and creates a party on stage! We worked with Robbie Newman (of Snug Recording Studio) to enable the 20 or so charity shop lamps to flash, flicker and fade in time to the beat as we trigger them. The sound and visuals work together in unison, the music becomes the soundtrack to the show.

What would be your dream collaboration?

We were lucky enough to collaborate with Public Service Broadcasting last year on ‘They Gave Me a Lamp’, which was a wonderful experience. We went to Ebbw Vale to record with them and have guested in a few of their epic live shows which has been amazing. We’re definitely up for working with different artists, it’s great to have a whole new perspective to the way we create and develop ideas.

Tour dates:

Sun 29 Jul – Indietracks festival, Derbyshire
Sat 4 Aug – Once Upon A Hill festival
Fri 10 Aug – Centre For Life, Newcastle
Mon 27 Aug – Greenbelt festival

** Lamp Show Tour **

Thurs 20 Sep – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Fri 21 Sep – The Great Eastern, Glasgow
Sat 22 Sep – More Music, Morecambe
Thurs 27 Sep – Deaf Institute, Manchester
Fri 28 Sep – Wirksworth Town Hall
Sat 29 Sep – Nottingham Contemporary
Tues 2 Oct – The Cube, Bristol
Wed 3 Oct – Hard of Hearing Centre, Oxford   
Thurs 4 Oct – Norwich Arts Centre
Fri 5 Oct – St John On Bethnal Green, London
Sat 6 Oct – The Haunt, Brighton
** Lamp Show Tour ends **

Mon 31st Dec – Town Hall, Louth (with British Sea Power)

Photo credit: Elly Lucas


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.