Sean McGowan Interview

With "lyrical dexterity and a knack for penning a catchy melody with laser sharp social commentary", Sean McGowan is the new troubadour on the scene. After packing out slots at Glastonbury and The Great Escape, Sean caught the attention of the legendary Xtra Mile Recordings (Frank Turner / Beans On Toast) and is now set to embark on a UK tour to celebrate his highly-anticipated new EP, 'Graft and Grief'. We caught up with Sean ahead of his Bodega show on 9th September...

Hey Sean! Your new EP Graft & Grief is released the day before you play in Nottingham, what can we expect from the EP and the gig?

Hello! It is indeed. The EP is a step up for me. Full band line up, with a fuller and more mature sound (I hope haha). The gig is gonna be energy from the off. We've managed to mould aspects of the solo set into it too. It's a fluent, fun and interesting set. Also, Notts has always been one of my favourite cities to visit. It's a Saturday night so it's gonna be a party!

You’ve recently signed to Xtra Mile Records which hosts huge names including Frank Turner, Beans On Toast and Skinny Lister, how does it feel to be the new name on the illustrious list?

I love Xtra Mile. Have done for a while now. We got together and chatted over what I was looking for from the future. Turns out our ideas matched and then the deal was signed. They're great people and have been so supportive. Match made in somewhere similar to Heaven to be honest. As for those you mentioned, they're all really good friends of mine. I've hung out and toured with them all for years now. It's nice to finally be part of the actual family. Rather than just the pissed support trying to make everyone laugh, haha! 

The September shows will be your biggest to date, how are you preparing for them?

They are and I can't wait. Same way as always. I've done this long enough now to know the difference between a good show and a show that needs improving. My band are the best musicians I know. They make everything so easy for me, we run the set until it feels right. The biggest thing for me is to make it fluent, it needs to feel like a journey. 

We hear that the EP is bookended with poems, is that where a song idea usually comes from and how old were you when you started writing poetry?

Ha! Yes it is, Gag Part 1 and 2! Songs can come from anywhere really. There's never a set routine whilst writing but some have definitely come to life via that route. I wrote my first poem when I was in Year 6.... so like 10 years old? I doubt it was any good. I've improved a little bit since, I reckon.

It’s around 7 years since your first gig and now you’re with a record label and finishing off a festival season on huge stages! Has your music changed much since you started?

The time really has flown, mad! 7 years is a long time. Especially when it covers your 'transitional' years from teen to adult. I like to think I'm more precise these days. And I definitely have more respect for a song as a whole as opposed to just caring about my lyrics. 

And finally, if you could only play one song on one stage for the rest of your life, what would you play and where?

That's a tough one. Probably 'Martha' by Tom Waits. It would have to be on stage at Southampton Joiners too! 

Thanks Sean, see you in September!


Sean McGowan will play The Bodega in Nottingham on 9th September - TICKETS

'Apple Core' is taken from the new EP 'Graft and Grief', released 8th September on Xtra Mile Recordings