Chris Kee speaks to Winterfylleth collaborator, cellist Jo Quail, as her latest solo album, the brilliant Exsolve, sees its release.

Jo Quail may be a new name to many readers so we begin our chat with a brief introduction – who is Jo Quail? “I’m a mum first and foremost,” Jo smiles. “I’m also a cellist, composer and teacher from London. I’ve got quite an unusual musical career as I write and perform my own music largely and travel the world to play my concerts. I play cello and electric cello and use live looping and effects in my music. I also do session performances and recordings for a diverse artist base from opera to metal to hip hop and I love it all. I’m about to finish recording my fourth solo album which will be released in November this year and I will have a UK, EU and Australian tour to promote this work.”

Recent session work for Jo has included a performance on the latest Winterfylleth album, The Hallowing Of Heirdom. “Winterfylleth happened thanks to Sage at Heathen Harvest,” Jo explains. “Dan [-Capp] was casting around for a UK-based cellist and Sage put him in touch with me. Their album is stunning,” she enthuses, “we’ve performed it twice now to sold out crowds and it’s magic. The string arrangements are by Mark Deeks who writes exactly what is needed for each track, no more, no less and it’s a joy to play. That’s how I met Chris [-Fielding] too,” Jo continues, “at Skyhammer. I did a 12-hour day for Winterfylleth putting the cello parts down and I’d never met a more patient and encouraging producer before, which is why I went straight to Chris for my own record!”

So, on to that upcoming new album: “I loved making this record!” Says Jo. “I believe that an album is a snapshot, a sonic photograph of the music at that particular moment in time and we captured these three longform pieces in their most powerful and extravagant state. It is also a huge development for me compositionally speaking,” she continues, “because whilst it appears to be riff heavy it often runs at two different time signatures, and always at three different loop settings. One piece is in a really odd tuning which enables loads of harmonic possibilities when double stopping – playing two strings at once – otherwise rendered impossible, and the solo acoustic cello sections are structurally and harmonically much more complex than anything I’ve done before. So in short,” she concludes, “it’s a mixed bag! I really hope you’ll enjoy it!”

Exsolve is out now on self-release |
Jo Quail joins Myrkur on tour this December, check here for dates.

This feature was intended for publication in ZT issue 085, but due to lack of space it’s landed here for you to enjoy online instead. Subscriptions and single copies available here:

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