“End Of The Road is one of the most beautiful festivals ever,” says John Grant, looking forward to his imminent return visit to Larmer Tree Gardens. “The crowd is really just heavy-duty music fans, and the setting is so special. I’m a tree freak, you know? I really love to be in amongst the trees. I know that might sound extremely basic but it’s an amazing thing.”
Like everyone else, Grant is excited to be out in the wild again. He recently debuted his new live show at Terry Hall’s Home Sessions in Coventry, which involves him getting more hands-on with the technology. “I can rearrange songs on the fly if I want to and remix them live. I’ve been working on a redo of ‘Queen Of Denmark’ which is really fun and nasty and gigantic.” But when his own set is over, who else at End Of The Road is he hoping to catch?
“I became familiar with her through working with Stephen Mallinder from Cabaret Voltaire. It’s choppy, full-on electropop – lots of really beautiful synth sounds and heavy beats. In a live setting, you probably feel it in your balls! The way she sings reminds me of Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Go’s. I imagine a show by her being something to really lift your spirits.”
“She’s got a really strong presence. I don’t wanna say the accursed word ‘folktronica’, so I’m not going to. But she’s got songs with structure and there’s beautiful, dancey electro vibes going on there as well. If you like Beth Orton, especially her later stuff where she went really electronic, then I might put Gwenno in that category.”
“She’s somebody that I would seek out and go listen to her set. I thought her album was really sexy and smooth. She’s got a beautiful voice but she uses it in a very simple manner with great rhymes and great lyrics. I know people want to hear more about the sun, but for me it’s getting too fuckin’ hot all over the place, so her music gave me a real sexy, cosy, rainy-day vibe.”
“She’s my pal, though we’ve never met; she did a lovely remix for me. I think she’s really great but I don’t know how the fuck you would describe her music. I would think of her as more of a classical composer, but with synthesisers – and I’m a synth freak, obviously. It’s very bright and shiny, like jewels sparkling. It’s kitchen-sinky in a positive way, there’s a lot going on, and you never really know what you’re going to get. I saw a guy playing a tuba on the video I was watching just now, and who doesn’t love a tuba? Maybe there’s a hurdy-gurdy and a giant Moog modular, or there’s just kitchen implements and a computer. These are all possibilities!”
“There’s a whole mess of them, about six or seven. Their music is really poppy and surfy with electronics going on, and it has a nice edge to it. They remind me of my friend Cate Le Bon, and Gruff Rhys – all that delicious Welsh music.”
If you’re heading to End Of The Road, check out the Uncut Q&As at 3.45pm each day on the Talking Heads stage, where our very own Tom Pinnock will be chatting to Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods (Sat), Richard Dawson (Sun) and more. You can read our daily coverage of the festival on this site throughout the weekend.