Q: “You Don’t See” is a love ballad yet heartbreaking at the same time. I find it fascinating how the lyrics aren’t just catchy but also hold so much emotion. How were you able to capture that emotion in the song?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONE: “You Don’t See” is a collaboration, me and Amber wanted to capture the “typical” feelings and emotions that a relationship has, we wanted to tell a story throughout the relationship. So, I suppose when you write a story, the emotions just follows, we wanted it to be in a “minor key” for a sadder more motive feel of the song to match the lyrics. I don’t think the lyrics would have been effective if the song was written in a major key.
Q: I love how easy it is to grasp onto the hook “You Don’t See.” Once someone gets the hook stuck in their heads, they have the chorus memorized. Knowing this song is catchy, where are you hoping “You Don’t See” takes off to? Where do you see it going?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: Writing “catchy” hooks has always been something important to me, I feel it’s the best way for people to get hold of the lyrics and for the song to stand out for others, choruses, especially, need to have a catchy hook. Me and Amber are just looking to plug it as much as we can and aim to build as much of a following as possible. Our contacts are limited at the moment, so all of the song is from us plugging it as much as we can to radio stations, blogs, playlists, etc. We don’t have the luxury of a label to promote it for us, so this song is a stepping stone or us to get noticed!
Q: What was the best part about working on this song? How long did it take?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: The song took a 3-hour session with Amber at Pirate studios (pre-lockdown) to write. We wanted a song that mixed with both of our genres, so it gave the listener an idea of both our styles mixed into this song. I think working with Amber was the best part. She’s mega talented, knows her style and has an amazing voice. She’s destined to go to the top in the music industry and it was an honor to work with her so early in her career and help shape her as an artist. The production side of it took several weeks and we went back into the studio for a final vocal take rather than the demo vocals. So, it was a relatively long process, probably in total to get it “release” ready I’d say it took 6 weeks.
Q: What impact does “You Don’t See” have on your emotions and what do you want listeners to feel as they are listening to it?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: When writing a song, I try and distance myself from the emotion of the song. We considered more about how it would relate to the listener, would they relate to an experience, etc.? I suppose we want the listener to reflect and relate. Ballads are all about listeners linking it to past experiences and this is the same.
Q: Who are some of your influences and how have they impacted your music career?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: I couldn’t speak for Amber but my personal influences consist of the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, Coldplay, and then I would say the likes of Dave and Stormzy are influences, too (Even though my music isn’t particularly similar to them). For this track, in particular, we referenced artists such as Lana Del Ray, Tate McRae and Hailee Steinfeld because that’s who sprung to mind when first hearing Ambers vocals.
Q: What does your life look like when you’re not working on music?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: When I’m not making music, I’m usually either playing a sport or watching football. I like having time away from making music, spending time with my family and friends, too. When I’m not making music, I take my mind off it and enjoy the time away.
Q: What’s the best advice you have ever received? And what did you learn while studying at BIMM Birmingham?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: The best advice I’ve ever received is probably to just work as hard as you can and don’t let the word “no” hold you back. We’re in a career where “no” is going to be more frequent then a “yes,” so, you have to accept that there’s going to be knock backs. You’ve got to pick yourself up and go again.
BIMM has taught me much more than they will take credit for. Just being around other artists and songwriters has pushed me to become better and the best I can be. The tutors have given me valuable advice and ideas on how to shape my songwriter career. Just being at the Uni has meant that I’m about ready to make a career in the industry, whereas three years ago, you could probably tell I was still learning!
Q: How has the pandemic impacted you?
ETHAN MUGGLESTONES: Just like everyone, not being able to get out and about has been hard, but on a music side, collaborating has been hard. Me and Amber would have got together much more in person rather than over zoom if the pandemic wasn’t here. It’s made sparking ideas a bit hard, but it’s also had its benefits! I think the gigging side has been the most affected. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get one stage again soon!
Interviewed by Taylor Berry