Published by Herne on December 18, 2012

Herne: You’ve released four albums and two sin­gles, what was the inspi­ra­tion behind them?

Fay: We have just released an EP, Mother Moon under our brand new dis­tri­b­u­tion deal which is our first release as a duo and can be found on Amazon/​iTunes etc. The inspi­ra­tion behind them all has been var­ied. Whis­pers in the Boughs and Fol­low the Fal­con were writ­ten between 15 and 20 when I was explor­ing Pagan­ism and the dark avenues of the mis­fit teenage mind.
Clear Fell was mainly writ­ten about expe­ri­ences of bul­ly­ing and depres­sion. At the time I was study­ing coun­try­side man­age­ment and see­ing metaphors between nat­ural his­tory and human expe­ri­ence in every­thing. I had an idea that things like bul­ly­ing can “clear fell” your whole self, and just like in clear felling a for­est you will grow back, but never will things be quite the same.
Hare on the Heath was where I got inter­ested in explor­ing the local his­tory of Charn­wood For­est and Coalville, and was also focused around a rather messy rela­tion­ship…

We’re cur­rently work­ing on an album together.….. but I can­not reveal too much yet!

Herne: You’re almost con­stantly per­form­ing, is there a kind of gig you pre­fer to play?

Fay: My favourite kind of gigs are later on in the evening. On a proper stage with lights — which makes it eas­ier to get into your “on-​stage per­for­mance alter ego”, and with as big an audi­ence as pos­si­ble who are into the kind of music we play. Hav­ing a good PA and a sound-​man who knows what he’s doing is also good as a lot of peo­ple don’t under­stand acoustic instru­ments well.

Lee: Its either fes­ti­vals or an impromptu per­for­mance in some unsus­pect­ing pub that we have gone into for a pint, leav­ing the clien­tèle bemused and not know­ing whether they had just wit­nessed some ran­dom folk­age or that there is some­thing sus­pi­cious with their beer.

Herne: What got you into music in the begin­ning?

Fay: Well my par­ents are musi­cians so I was brought up around music from the off. From the womb in fact. So I received a very good musi­cal edu­ca­tion and was encour­aged from the start to sing, which I did from as early as I can remem­ber. I had obses­sions with acts like the Eury­th­mics, the Bea­t­les and Pat Benatar when I was lit­tle, all of whom really taught me both how to sing and how to har­mo­nize. I picked up a gui­tar when I was about 14 after my sis­ter aban­doned her brief phase of gui­tar lessons, mainly so I could back myself. I very swiftly started writ­ing songs — mainly as a cop­ing mech­a­nism against school, but then to express my love of the nat­ural world, and my need to explore and find con­nec­tions.

Lee: When I was in my early teens I hated almost every­one and every­thing and so music was my only solace and I found that punk music expressed what I felt inside.

Herne: Fay, you have per­formed in musi­cal the­atre, do you feel this has influ­enced your music and per­for­mance style?

Fay: Def­i­nitely. It was my music teacher back then who really helped my voice develop by teach­ing me cor­rect tech­niques and how to get the best out of it. Musi­cal the­atre singing is very dif­fer­ent to folk, and it is good for your voice to be able to tackle a range of gen­res. When I per­form I feel there is a need to not just “play” some music, but to really “per­form” it… e.g. express, feel, move. I also use a wide range and a lot of “belt” which is not very com­mon place in folk.

Herne: Lee, you started out as a metal and punk gui­tarist, why the change of direc­tion?

Lee: I have only changed instru­ments really, I still see myself as a metal/​punk musi­cian. Bands such as New Model Army cross the bound­aries between punk and folk and there are quite a few new metal bands from Europe that are using folk ele­ments to base their music upon. From the other side of the fence a lot of folk music is quite polit­i­cal and angst from a work­ing class per­spec­tive which is essen­tially what punk is all about.

Herne: How did you both meet?

Lee: In a pre­vi­ous band we played on the same bill sev­eral times. I always wanted to play folk music, Fay sent me a mes­sage on Face­book, I accepted, sim­ple.

Fay: Actu­ally, one day I was walk­ing through the woods and found him under a hedge play­ing a fid­dle like some kind of dread­locked Pan, and I adopted him.

Herne: And finally, our ran­dom ques­tion, if you could be an ani­mal, what would you be?

Lee: I would be a wolf, but then I am a wolf at cer­tain times of the month due to my lycan­thropy.

Fay: I would be a Buz­zard because they can fly and be free. I used to fan­ta­size about being a Buz­zard and fly­ing away when I was lit­tle and every year wished on my birth­day to grow wings.

2024 Update: Cernawoda has disbanded since this interview.

You can follow Fay’s musical career on her website:

Fay has since joined the Pagan prog-rock band Spriggan Mist and you can find them here:

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