Storm the Palace has an exciting new album out this Friday, Delicious Monster or Monstera Deliciosa, if in Latin. With that and gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh The Fountain thought it was high time we caught up with lead vocalist, Sophie Dodds, who not long moved back from London to Edinburgh and has seen a transformation of the band.
TF: A new album, how exciting, what has the reception been like to your music so far?
So far, very satisfying. We had a really nice review from Monolith Cocktail a few weeks ago, and a few others are in the pipeline, plus some radio play this week. It’s always interesting to see if people ‘get’ what you were trying to do. And so far I think they do, which means we’ve done our job right. I had a great conversation with my mum about the symbolic power of house plants the other day.
TF: How would you sum up your music in one sentence?
This is something I struggle with hugely, but at the moment we’re going with “radge-folk-geek-rock-baroque-pop”.
TF: And what inspired you to title it Delicious Monster?
The Latin name for cheese plant is Monstera Deliciosa, and I’ve had it in my head for a long time that I wanted to call an album that. I have a cheese plant I call Clive, and he’s become the cover star of the album and the protagonist of the first track and the video we’ve just released. As anyone who’s lived with me will attest, Clive has always had a kind of lecherous, amoral vibe.
On a less literal level, the name also fitted in with the theme of ‘domestic horror’ that was emerging from the songs we’d been writing. And it seemed like an appropriate metaphor for the burden of trying to do anything artistic, and the types of people who can do it successfully. There’s a really interesting article by Claire Dederer in The Paris Review that Willa (our bassist) sent me not long after she joined the band. It’s titled ‘What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?’ It starts by discussing the moral dilemma of loving Woody Allen films etc, but then expands to considering how you have to become a ‘monster’ in order to finish anything creative, and how this is difficult for anyone who feels bound by social and domestic duty (particularly true of women, of course). I’m no Hollywood director but I know that finishing a project has often brought out my mean side.
I’ve made the album sound uber serious now, when it’s actually very fun and silly.
In short, there’s a lot of reasons we called it Delicious Monster. I often find that I have ideas and then have to unpack them afterwards to work out why I had them. Like deciphering a dream. I’m doing that even now as I answer this question.
TF: Will you be promoting the album with a tour at all, will we have the pleasure of seeing you live?
We have two shows in the diary right now – our Edinburgh album launch at the Voodoo Rooms on October 10th, and a Glasgow show at the Glad Café on the 16th. We’ve got really great support acts booked for both (Urvanovic for Edinburgh, Faith Eliott and Peplo for Glasgow). We’ll also be playing a rather special Christmas show at Summerhall in Edinburgh on December 20th. We don’t have anything further afield planned for the moment, but we might try and line something up in the New Year.
TF: How did you all meet and form Storm the Palace?
Well I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs since I was twelve, but it took me until my late twenties to pluck up the guts to stand at the front of the stage. Once I’d started performing my own songs, various other musicians began to join me. Meeting our accordionist/keyboardist (and my partner) Reuben Taylor made a huge difference, as he has a wealth of talent and knowledge about how to make music sound great. We changed our name from Duchess to Storm the Palace around 2015 and that’s when it started being a Thing. After I moved back to Edinburgh from London we had to change the line-up, and brought Willa, Jon and Alberto on board. So we’ve gone from a band that was spread out across the UK to one mostly based in Leith. Which is convenient. Although ironically we’re much more international now as Alberto is from Madrid and Willa from Vermont.
Photo courtesy of Greg Ryan