Spiritual. Philosopher. Songwriter. Dreamer. If I would have to tag Sandy these would be the chosen words. A man that proves that music can still be done for the pleasure of the self as well as for spiritual retreat from the World, is now releasing his new Album, his third complete work, keeping alive the dream of someday being able of living just of his Art. If Alternative Folk would have a hero, his name would be Sandy Kilpatrick!
Coming to Portugal fifteen years ago for a family emergency of his wife’s family, a Portuguese he met in University, it is at this same time that he ends up releasing his first single, after having work in the first years in Manchester pursuing his “Rock & Roll Dreams”. Nowadays his influences go from Mozart or even Choral Music to Alternative Pop and he is happy to be labelled as a Punk Happy or even Alternative Folk artist but honestly from what We grasped, Sandy is just an incredible Songwriter.
“An Homage to Nature” is what he tries to do with his songs, in a World considered by him as too corrupt and money-led, Sandy goes back to the roots, evades himself from this and through meditation and songwriting manages to attain the Nirvana many look for in other way less creative and productive ways.
“With My Music I try to do a celebration of the sublime aspects of Nature. A way to refrain myself from all this darkness of the World that nowadays is greater than ever. Other ways would be spending time with my Wife, my kids and… Yoga!”
His first released song when coming to Portugal was “Am I Welcome Here”, question that we decided to ask once again fifteen years after his arrival. “Socially yes, I always felt welcome although in the beginning, being in Braga and not knowing how to speak Portuguese it was a bit hard. Musically I believe it took more time. I think that Portugal is not like the UK where a garage band can turn into the greatest band in the World (ie: Stone Roses, Joy Division, etc..) and this is a stigma for which I don’t have an answer to. Maybe a question of scale?” to which we asked if it would not be a problem of the language used in music to which Sandy reminded us brilliantly of one of the Greatest of the Folk-Songwriting scene in Portugal, Old Jerusalem (that he considers to be one of his favourite Artists) and how he never got the deserved recognition for his work.
Influences? Well the obvious Van Morrison from which Sandy drinks a lot of inspiration as much as from Nature. For this new Album he went from North to South of Portugal and wrote in almost every place he visited with the songs flowing perfectly along with the places with beautiful scenery descriptions holding hands with great philosophy lessons. He even made a spiritual retreat in Geres where he went just with the mission of writing songs since the weather would remind him of the UK although is favourite place to be in Portugal is Alentejo due to “It’s dryness and lucidity where calm, peace and freedom meet in one place”.
For this new project Sandy had the collaboration of The Origins Band which he considered to be a beautiful complement for his music since the production of the songs was totally organic and the whole band just contributed perfectly to create a pure unique sound. Having toured already in the UK and even Latvia, he has now the dream of playing in Tromsoe’s Cathedral in Norway a location that could not fit best the Artist and his work. When asked who would he like to sing with, he added although he is not a fan of duets he would love to be on the same stage as Feist or even Patti Smith, which he considers to be one of the greatest artists alive projecting the “Protest Songs” in New York in the most “Poetical Spiritual Way that just blows my mind”.
So concluding, I think I managed to explain you the first 3 words I used as tags, except for the fourth one, Dreamer. And this was one of the most beautiful things I have heard when interviewing someone:
“I used to have Leonard Cohen coming to me in my dreams… and Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. They would visit me in my parents house for a cup of tea in different times. Cohen is always really quiet but Dylan was more open although he never revealed me any of his songwriting secrets. Once some article said my music was a combination of Van Morrison with the intimacy of Leonard Cohen and that blew my mind because I learned how to sing with Van Morrison album’s.”
If there is something that always captivated me in music is how it can be a retreat from the World we live in that can sometimes be so harsh, dark and not pure. Sandy’s music not only is this retreat as it will transport to the places he used as inspiration as long as you close your eyes and just listen to what this Spiritual Master from Scotland, friends with Cohen and Dylan as long as he’s sleeping, as to teach you. Forget about Yoga classes, meditation or even drugs to get away because Sandy’s new Album is almost Out and I promise you won’t need anything else to find your “Happy Place”.
Pictures of the Artist and Interview by @Bernassg