WILL SERGEANT has seen his fair share of bands over the years.
WILL SERGEANT has seen his fair share of bands over the years. As the guitarist for seminal Liverpool post-punk band Echo and the Bunnymen, he’s played around the globe and developed an eye for spotting new talent. And now, in his hometown, he’s found it.
“Eva Petersen is the greatest singer to come out of Liverpool in the 21st century,” says Sergeant. “It’s just that not many people know yet.”
Petersen may be familiar – she started her first band, The Little Flames, in 2004, with Miles Kane, Mat Gregory, Joe Edwards and Greg Mighall.
They were signed to Deltasonic Records and toured with Arctic Monkeys, The Zutons and The Coral.
Petersen has always been one to watch, but now it seems that working with Will Sergeant could propel her to the wider audience she deserves.
“I met Will through Marc Riley who told me to get in touch with his friend Richard Hawley,” says Petersen.
“I sent Richard a message on the now unpopular MySpace and to my surprise he sent a message back. Then Richard called me and recommended my managers – Peasy and Pete from Porcupine Management.
“I called Peasy and then he introduced me to Will as they also managed the Bunnymen. Will and I got together on a few tracks and that was it – we recorded the album in Liverpool and Wales and it became a great collaboration.”
Petersen co-wrote her own songs with Sergeant, who plays guitar, keyboard and bass on all of the tracks, as well as taking the reins as producer.
“This is the first album I have written so it has been a great creative experience for me,” says Petersen.
The record is out on Porcupine Records this week. It includes eight songs, including a cover version of The Velvet Underground’s classic Femme Fatale.
The album was heavily influenced by Petersen’s love of dark cinematic sounds, particularly those of Ennio Morricone, soundtracks of the 60s and 70s – as well as the likes of Os Mutantes, Astrud Gilberto, Can, Daft Punk and Air.
“It’s called Emerald Green Eyes and it hopefully won’t be what people are expecting,” she smiles. “It’s a Kraut rock / psych/pop inspired record with the unmistakable wall of sound from Will.”
One track – Sunday Love Affair – shows flickers of Tales of the Unexpected and pays homage to sounds of Italian Giallo horror films of the 70s, while Little White Lies was co-written by Petersen and Guy Chambers.
“It was a great experience,” she explains. “Again, this was something my managers Pete and Peasy organised for me. Guy has this amazing studio in London with loads of collectible equipment and instruments, it’s an Aladdin’s cave.
“He used to burn this luxury candle, I think it was Diptyque, while you were recording, and he would make me really good cappuccinos so I loved it.
“I sat next to him at his piano while he sang songs we had written which was surreal – he is an excellent song-writer so it was a privilege to work with him, plus he loves Liverpool.
“He also has a great work ethic, he would tell me to go back to the hotel and write a new song overnight and then I would perform it in the studio the next day. I love this way of working so I really was in my element.”
Tracks such as Jewelled Moon and Too Late for Tears call to mind Can and Siouxsie Sioux with a hint of Roxy Music.
“I’ve written the album as if I am writing a film, and each song is a scene,” she says.
“The first single is Jewelled Moon. I am a fan of film maker Jan Svankmajer and I wrote this after watching his film Alice. I wanted a Kraut vibe to it and Will knew exactly what I meant and came up with the music – I don’t think anyone will expect this type of track from me.
“Similarly, I love the saying ‘no point crying over spilt milk’, and that’s what Too Late for Tears is about really. It’s deep but it’s also really throw away too.”
Petersen was born and raised in Liverpool to a half Scandinavian family and first developed a taste for great bands on long family car journeys when her dad would play Kraftwerk, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin on the car stereo.
She’s been in bands and has been a solo artist. How does it differ as a performer?
“The Little Flames was a close knit gang and we all had a good time on stage – there’s a lot of electricity between us.
“The difference in my performance is that it’s a lot more intimate, more intense and you can’t hide from anyone. It’s totally stripped down.
“This work is now my work, I write my own songs and lyrics – I didn’t when I was in the Little Flames. We always loved the dark side of things in the band and I still feel the same – it’s just amplified in my writing now.”
The months ahead promise to keep Petersen busy.
She says: “There is a UK tour next March, and I am currently involved in a soundtrack for London-based illustrator and film maker John Davide, he is an excellent artist and I love being involved in this. I will also be writing my second album too.”
EVA PETERSEN’S album Emerald Green Eyes is released this week. She plays The Kazimier on March 16.