Hello, what's this, a little extra episode of Happy Place, why not? It's to celebrate the launch of Happy Place, the album, which I'm so excited about. I've invited some remarkable and brilliant musicians that worked on the record to talk about their happy places and explore the stories behind writing each gorgeous track. And today, I'd like to introduce to you the wonderful Billy Martin. Let's go. Oh, Billy, thank you so much for chatting today and most of all, thank you so much for delivering the most sensational song ever in the form of Orange Tree, which, oh, my God, I mean, I must have joined Instagram about 50 times saying I really mean it.
I can't stop playing this song. I cry every time I hear it. It's so beautiful. Oh, no, I'm so sorry.
It's a good thing. It's a great thing. I love crying to songs. It's just it's lyrically so beautiful. The melody is stunning. Let's have a quick listen to some of it.
Now, I'm so bored of being sick, but it helps me breathe. And I'm alone like two doctors. Come help me, Chris. I don't know what it is, but there's something wrong with me. It tends to be a running thread in my songs.
I don't want to stray to a lot of different subjects.
And mental health is kind of like my main go to because it's always there. We always have it.
This one was written a couple of years ago, actually coming up north to my parents, maybe like every two weeks because I just wasn't settled in London and I wasn't I didn't know what I was doing. There was a lot of picking up random jobs and like trying to write and finding no inspiration. I just kept getting really ill, like physically ill. So coming up north is kind of like a really good form of therapy and songs tended to just fall out.
And there's no pretense up there. There's no one listening to you. There's no deadlines. And it's kind of no musical culture or industry or anything. That's actually just me and my parents.
So it's quite a nice natural way of kind of getting back into writing, I guess.
And then our industry just sort of fell out. I think I was just a bit fed up and like miserable of being miserable.
And it's not supposed to be such a dire song. It's meant to be kind of quite tongue in cheek. And like the last few lines on serious at all.
But it's like just you're feeling something and it's very important.
But, you know, carry on for ten days. I'm not dead.
I'll get on the road and use my legs. Minocycline. Going does keep the good times rolling. My friend is, uh. And I'm from Yorkshire, so obviously the Dales are pretty sufficient for me.
They do good stuff to me, like I've just been up this week and first time since I came down from lock down.
So maybe like late May, we were just walking around and we were kind of like, I kind of just want to open my mouth and, like, taste the air, like drink the air, because there's so much good stuff in it and you just don't get that elsewhere.
But saying that I have actually made good friends with London in the past year, I think that's also a sort of like active habit you need to get into when you're not from here. And it did take me a good three years to sort of get used to everything, the pace of everything and the fact that no natural space is yours.
Yeah, like where I'm from, you just walk out the back door and you maybe see, like, one of the dog walker and the rest of the rest of it is just kind of your playground. It's such an inherent thing. And I like through music as well. A lot of the stuff I was listening to drew inspiration from the same things. And my mum has a really strong connection to it and we'd always be off going camping and she writes poetry.
And that's always kind of like the bucolic pastoral setting mixed with some quite serious emotion. I think that's a really good bowl to play with. So that was kind of like the musical bed. I think I was just always drawn to that.
And the first album was I didn't have a lot going on when I was 15. So a lot of it is about nature.
I don't because I mean, I've been a fan of yours for a long time and I played you on the radio and you played a festival, which is our Copperfield really music festival, that we can't do it this year, which is just so annoying.
How do you think your your songwriting has changed since the age of 15 and or before, if you were, I'm sure, writing before that and and have your influences changed in that way?
I think the core groups will always be there in the the John Martin's Nick Drake's journeys, Kate, but sort of musical bed.
But I think my writing was a lot more observational and always from a distance. I would always distance my voice because it was just sort of like years of speculation because I didn't really have a lot of experience to to live on. So it's kind of like a running commentary on on, you know, other people's lives and and kind of like sentimental aspects of ideas I thought I had or other people had now, I guess. I mean, I'm still such a baby, but I guess things are a lot more direct and personal and kind of less floaty, you know, I just you just got to say it now.
You just got to say it.
Me and my husband, we talk about I'm desperate to live by the sea. One day I want to be in the sea. I want to go in it every day and just be in that, like, wildness.
And I'm so far from the sea where I am, but I'm really craving that moment.
And I think because of this weird year and what we've all been experiencing, I think a lot of people are looking for something different now because all the other stuff we know doesn't work anymore. And we've got to look back to basically be a creatures of habit here.
No habit like none of this is has been done before. I know.
How how have you found 20-20? I mean, I'm sure frustrating on a personal level because you can't perform live, you know, how have you navigated it?
I think it's been the best year of my life. I actually have the best time. Tell me what's been going on.
There wasn't much going on for me before March and was kind of like in a writing and was supposed to record the album. And then and then the world said no. And at the time I went up to my parents for a weekend and it was my brother's 30th. He went down on the Sunday and I stayed on the Monday. And that was that was the end of the World Day. Wow.
So I was like, OK. I'll stay here then I have two pairs of clothes that's fine, lived in my dad's jumpers for five months and then, you know, spent half the year living with my rents, which is actually really lovely. And, you know, we got all the neighbors together and spent because it was so hot and and so kind of like tirelessly repetitive. I think everybody just sort of got a bit hysterical and it sort of just turned into like this weird dystopian farce.
And it was like every single thing we said was funny, like just anything I did. Lots of lying in the street, you know, chatting to the builders, making friends of the neighbors, doing street quizzes, playing badminton. Yes.
We got like a little tournament in the back alley, like a little post-war, you know, washing line situation after I actually had to convince my therapist that everything was going to be OK.
So the roles were reversed somewhat because you found joy in the simple things, which is what it's all about.
I was not coping well with constantly referencing myself against other people, and I feel like last year was I don't know why for some reason it was just pretty heavy on that.
And it was kind of like everything was just building up to this huge kind of release. And it just felt this might sound like very we were in love.
It just felt like there was a it just needed to happen. Like the world just needed to be on pause so we could kind of check in and then carry on at a normal pace.
And that's just not what we were doing. And it's okay to wake up and not have a plan.
It's okay to tell someone that you're actually free.
But there's this funny thing where you where everybody goes now you go, how are you? Oh, I'm so busy. I'm absolutely, like, rushed off my face. I I've got like six zoo meetings and blah, blah, blah.
And it's become this new way of like mega boasting about how important we think we are or something is really weird.
And it's only a new thing I think. No.
Shouldn't we be boasting about, you know, well, I've got nothing to do today and I'm really excited about it and I'm just going to enjoy my life.
But it's become this weird habit that, you know, a lot of people find themselves in.
It's really peculiar what I live in, kind of like permanent semiretirement, and that suits me fine today. I'm just going to sit and read. I've gotten into embroidery.
Oh, you know, it's all very old. I love and that is what suits me. But sometimes, like, we managed to do some recording for three weeks a couple of weeks ago, and it was all still Lockdown's was just me and my producer. And it got to like half, three every day. I was just falling asleep.
I just couldn't do like a day's work at, like a proper adult I love.
And let me think, you know, how do people do this all the time? How are we doing this before? I have no idea.
Talking to someone that goes to bed at half line every night. So do not fear. But it's the best. The best, the best. I can't stop.
Someone asked me to go out the other night and it was something that would finish at ten. And I was like, I got to do it.
You don't need to stay awake.
Yeah, but like half said, yes, you've got lots of smiles.
I just wake up early. I've turned into my dad. I used to think of my childhood.
Why does he wake up so early, so weird.
And now I am Minniecon. So that's good.
Billy, what joy is to you, you are simply amazing and I just really can't wait to hear what you do next in your career.
I'm such a fan and I love Orange Tree. Thank you for letting us put that on the Happy Place album. Thank you so much. You're welcome.
Thank you, Flora.
Oh, thanks, Billy. Well, Billy, I love you. You can hear the full track right now as part of the Happy Place album on Apple Music, Spotify and on a limited edition vinyl, which I've got a little press test, a copy of it. It's gorgeous. The full album features Emily Sun, Some Fender, Ludovico Renaldi, my absolute favorite, the gorgeous Amala and many more. What you wait for is so gorgeous it will relax you and just take you to another place altogether.
Go listen and look. I'll see you back here next week for more happy place. We'll see you then.