Amelia’s Magazine | Owen Duff

Pin-balling my way through The Troubadour, further pissing off the already pissed off waitress whose path I continually obstructed, I started to lose sight of what the hell I had actually trekked across London for. This notion intensified further by the bitter sting of embarrassment that came after I had marched to front of the queue for the gig, proclaimed my name was on the list, preceded to walk in, only to be told I still had to pay. Having just spent the last of my cash on an overpriced drink, I managed to barter my way in with shrapnel and some pocket flint; and just when I thought my night couldn’t get any worse, Owen Duff took to the stage. Nay, I jest.

The moment the few bars of his first song were played, my seething melodrama quelled. This multi-instrumentalist first played the piano at just four years old, progressing onto cello, guitar and bass. When watching him chirp through the energetic Act of War, taken from his first EP A Tunnel Closing in, it’s hard not wish that he was sat at a grand piano rather than a Casio Keyboard, allowing him to fully demonstrate his obvious mastery. Having been compared to a bizarre hybrid of Sufjan Stevens and Dusty Springfield, Duff’s sound is one of complex melody and artful composition.

His range of song is practically bipolar, effortlessly jumping from jolly ditties such as Any Captain Worth his Due to the far more sombre Sepulchre. Probably best for those with suicidal tendencies to avoid this track at all costs. Undeniably, the highlight of the gig was ‘Morning Finsbury Park’, which enlisted the celestial tones of Ellie Gray. It was during this collaboration that you realised you might be witnessing the embryonic stages of a very successful musician. With a definite theatrical twist, this song floats with the softness that epitomises Duff’s signature velveteen sound.

As ever, you can find out more about both Owen Duff and Ellie Gray on the communicative/informative phenomenon that is MySpace. Just go to or

Categories ,EP, ,Gig, ,Live, ,Owen Duff, ,Troubadour

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Amelia’s Magazine | Owen Duff introduces special Easter tune The Resurrection (Easter Sunday)

Owen Duff-The Resurrection 4
Owen Duff talks us through his inspiration for special Easter tune The Resurrection (Easter Sunday).

I have an unhappy relationship with Easter weekends, as being a spontaneous (okay, chaotic) type I tend not to plan ahead, relying instead on a serendipitous collision of available friends, perfect weather and wonderful free (and ideally not-too-busy) cultural happenings which in fact rarely occurs. The time of year which most clearly illustrates the gap between my aspirations and reality is Easter. It creeps up, I plan nothing, and everyone leaves town. Such was the case a couple of years ago when I found myself completely abandoned on the long weekend, sauntering aimlessly around an East London that seemed less like a place than a time in the future when I and everyone I knew had died. To make matters worse it seemed that a lot of new people had arrived in the area who looked somewhat similar to people I knew, but only from a distance. Somehow that made the loneliness more intense, like the feeling when you go casually to open a window for a little air, then suddenly feel you’re about to suffocate as you realise it’s locked.

Owen Duff-The Resurrection
Owen Duff-The Resurrection 2
Being a songwriter the default response when faced with emotionally distressing circumstances is to sublimate, which I did, eventually turning that feeling into a song. It doesn’t solve anything of course but at least you end up with a song, which is better than getting nothing for your trouble. I recorded it last year – in my head it started out as a country song with Tammy Wynette on vocals, perhaps you can imagine it that way too if you really squint your ears.

Anyway, my favourite creative process in some ways is making videos, so I decided to make one for this song. I film most places I go that aren’t home or work, and have amassed hundreds of hours of footage, some good, some terrible. I knew I had a sequence I wanted to use which I’d shot in the Venetian lagoon, mainly on the “garden island” of Sant’Erasmo. Maybe it’s a swinging place in summer but come October, when we visited, it is bleak. On a desolate stretch of beach we found a pile of rocks, a kitchen chair and an abandoned velour slipper with gold embroidery on it. Anyway, the footage took some work but eventually a narrative suggested itself (the imperious cat helped), along with imagery that provided a counterpoint and in some cases an illustration to the lyrics. I made it turquoise (or teal?) for mysterious reasons! The journey back was magical, you’ll see it more or less unedited at the end of the video.

The Resurrection (Easter Sunday) is available as a free download from Bandcamp.

Categories ,Bandcamp, ,East London, ,Easter, ,Easter Sunday, ,Owen Duff, ,Sant’Erasmo, ,Tammy Wynette, ,The Resurrection, ,The Resurrection (Easter Sunday)

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