Sean Lakeman — “one of the UK’s foremost musical masterminds” according to The Mirror — is interviewed in the Plymouth Herald about his work on The Levellers’ new album, Letters from the Underground, and, of course, Seth’s albums:

“At the time [we recorded Kitty Jay] no-one would give him any gigs,” says Sean. “We’d play absolutely anywhere anyone would have us – upstairs in village pubs, wherever, just me, Ben (double bass player) and Seth.

“It was quite good fun, actually, just the three of us in a van, playing the toilet circuit.

“Seth came up with this Dartmoor-themed concept for an album, but even if you sat him down in a room with a big button saying ‘record’, he wouldn’t know what to do, so it was left up to me to come up with the idea of how to bring this concept to life.”

Much was made in the national press of Kitty Jay being recorded in Sean’s Dartmoor kitchen for less than £300. “The kitchen was perfect, as it was all river-stone and slate, a harsh sounding gritty acoustic which really helped bring the songs to life.

“Seth has the attention span of a sparrow, so you’d have to fire him up with coffee and encouragement and he’d give you about 40 minutes. Half the trick of production is getting the performance”

Although the kitchen studio was replaced with more conventional surroundings for recording Poor Man’s Heaven, Sean continued his producer role on the new album. Though not, it sounds, completely free of at least a little record company meddling:

“There were lots of people with strong opinions on how they didn’t want Heaven to sound, and I worked on it until last Christmas, then left them to it.

“Fortunately, they didn’t change it all that much. There was a huge amount of pressure for the album to perform, so when it went to No 8 in the charts, there was a real sense of relief.”

Full interview: ‘Lesser-known Lakeman is making ripples’, Plymouth Herald, 15 Aug 2008 »