Hello there: Potpurri

Sheffield-based Potpurri shared their debut single 'Eisenhower' back on Christmas Day 2019 and now they're here with their debut album 'First Dance' released via Bingo Records and settling in nicely on our racks. It's been a speedy and organic turn around since they started so we sat down with quartet to delve deeper into the who, what, where, why of Potpurri.

Where are you from and where did you meet?

Alanna: Potpourri is made of 4 friends, old and new. Lauren, Evie and Alanna met in Lancaster and knew each other for many years. The three followed each other to Sheffield and that's where the Potpourri magic began. Lauren met the lovely Emily one evening and the idea of starting a band felt right and was moved into the realm of possibilities.

Lauren: It was one of those beautiful moments when you move to a new city and you meet a person quite early on and you know they’re a pal for life. Emily was our beautiful person! I first met Emily at a Stella Donnelly gig in Nottingham - we just clicked!

When did you start and why?

Alanna: Before Potpourri we would often talk about being in a band and get excited over the many prospects of what we would do but it took a while to come into fruition. It helped that Lauren had some demos at the ready so it was just a case of working through it together and having fun in the process.

Lauren: We started the band to bag a slot at Bingo Records festival in June last year. We didn’t have any songs but we were so keen to play. To make matters more challenging we chose instruments that we weren’t familiar with! Potpourri was born from the overly optimistic minds of four friends who just wanted to play music together.

Evie: We'd always wanted to play music together and flirted with the idea of starting a band but were kind of procrastinating with it, then Lauren met Emily and got us a slot at Bingo Fest (Bingo Records' inaugral festival hosted in a barn in Lancashire) with 6 weeks to put the songs together (and figure out how to actually plug the guitars in). I think we were all fairly freaked out by the idea but it was the best thing to get us to actually commit to it.

Emily: I went to see Bikini Kill around the same time we started Potpourri and they talked about how anyone can start a band and it was pretty empowering. One of the loveliest crowds I’ve ever been part of. Everyone was really considerate and friendly, striking up conversations in the queue for the loo and offering fellow sweaty audience members spare hairbands!

Is there any inspiration or influence behind your music or even the aesthetic of your act?

Lauren: The band is very much an amalgamation of charming things we’ve steeped ourselves in over the years and all packaged in a lovely 60s atomizer! Personally it’s just everything I’ve ever wanted, an art project that simply cultivates itself aesthetically and for us to be inspired by each others musical progression.

Our aesthetic has the power to shape shift in tone and mood. We could be old dears, 60s housewives or undercover agents in some strange communist alter reality. It offers us strength as it gives us a sense of solidarity and there is also that element of being undercover which is comforting when on stage! It is also our licence to have fun, we stick one foot into the door of performance art, dipping our toes in and we like how it feels!

Evie: I think our name says a lot about what we're striving for; potpourri has a feminine, retro connotations which kind of sums up our aesthetic feel and at the same time it's also defined as a melange of things which encapsulates our approach - combining and experimenting with musical influences, styles and instruments.

Alanna: Honestly Meg White is my inspiration with her minimalist and repetitive style (embarrassing! Don't feel the need to share this).

Favourite acts at the moment?

Lauren: I love Peter Astor’s new music! I’m gutted I wasn’t quick enough to order the lathe cut. Two brilliant songs. We all love Big Joanie and I’m happy that we went to see them before all this!

Alanna: I'm an old fashioned gal, give me some Nick Cave, Gil Scott-Heron and Sonic Youth any day and I'm yours. More current stuff would be MIA and Tirzah.

Evie: Manc legends The Early Mornings, obsessed with Kit Sebastien at the moment and have a giant soft spot for Fontaines D.C. Also loving Arlo Parks.

Emily: I'm very much enjoying listening to Sault at the moment.


What have you been up to during lockdown?

Lauren: Fortunately me and Evie were together during lockdown. We had a lot of fun creatively but also cooked, drank wine and started to get quite good at running! My highlight was our weekly radio show ‘Legs Eleven’ which aired on Radio New Planet City. We had a lot of laughs. We released a video for our last single ‘Dearly Departed’ that captures the loneliness of the lockdown period as well as exploring the hopeful potential of creative work past and present. The single was released for the ‘Prole Jazz’ compilation raising money for the Foodhall charity in South Yorkshire - which provides food parcels to people in need during the pandemic.

Alanna: We managed to get a little performance in also as we were lucky to do some live sessions online for beans on toast and Pop mutations.

What are your plans for the future?

Alanna: In the future we hope to finally make it to our live session on Marc Riley and of course we are very excited about the release of our first album, ‘First dance’ on the 30th October. We have been collaborating with some amazing artists and can't wait to get it out there and share it with everyone!

Alanna: In the future we hope to finally make it to our live session on Marc Riley and of course we are very excited about the release of our first album, ‘First dance’ on the 30th October. We have been collaborating with some amazing artists and can't wait to get it out there and share it with everyone!

You can purchase 'First Dance' in store or on our online store.


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