An Interview With The Half Earth

Thursday, March 19, 2015
I was lucky enough to get a cheeky pair of tickets to see Lucy Rose last week at the Arts Club in Liverpool and in return I was asked to interview the support act, The Half Earth, for my university's Radio Music Society! Lucy Rose was just amazing and so lovely in person too- she also found it rather hilar when she asked who to sign my autograph to ('To Lucie Rose, Love Lucy Rose' hohoho)... Anyway, onto the subject of this post...the main man behind The Half Earth is Conor- vocalist, guitarist and other words, a real talented little so and so. I asked Conor a few questions (or several cause I'm nosey) about how it all began, his sound, and why a certain Kate Bush song inspired the name...

So, for those who haven't heard of The Half Earth before, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I started The Half Earth about two years ago. It was sort of my 'solo project' as I tried to be in bands for ages and I just got really impatient and I could never write anything with other people. So yeah, after my degree- I did Chemistry at Sheffield University- I decided I didn't want to do anything to do with that as a career! So, I thought yeah I'll do some music. Then my tour manager, and one of my best friends, Sam, said yeah come and do a show for me so he booked some gigs in Sheffield. I was incredibly nervous and did what I thought was a really bad show.

Was it a big crowd then? 

No haha it was a tiny crowd! But a high-quality crowd at the same time. There was a promoter there who puts a load of shows on in Sheffield and he saw me and he liked it.

Right place, right time then! 

Yeah, exactly! So then I got booked for another show at a much bigger venue, which I really wasn't I thought, well I better start practicing if I want to be better than last time! So I started taking it a little more seriously and working hard on my music and now two years on, I've released my first EP- Light Breaks In.

Buy EP 'Light Breaks In' on Amazon here or listen on Spotify here.

Do you feel like you've improved a lot since you started out?

Yes for sure, I was pretty bad when I started out! And now I also have another musician that plays with me, Ben (keyboard, synths & beats) - he's incredible and he's added so much to the live set because I was on my own for over a year and that was difficult... now there's way more structure.

Would you say it's more challenging being a solo artist? 

Not really, I like it. I like having full control over everything and being my own boss. I like working on my own. Sometimes I get so immersed in it that I forget to eat- like when I've written a song, I'm like 'I need to record it right now'! I start getting really excited about drum beats and synth lines and everything!

That's great you're so passionate about your music then... 

Yeah definitely! Well, for me, I think if you aren't passionate about your own music- no one else is going to be.

I completely agree with that! So, how would you describe your sound? 

I think it could be compared to lots of other music but I think it also stands on its own, I hope so anyway. I'm a guitarist. I play electric guitar but I don't generally like guitar bands so I try to move away from's more electronic, it's more about the production, it's big. I try and make everything epic...I don't like that word- actually, cinematic is a better word! Cinematic. Cinematic and always beautiful is what I aim for. If I write something and it's not beautiful then I throw it away.

Are you a bit of a perfectionist then? 

A bit yeah! It's one of the good things about working on your own though...if you don't like something you can just get rid of it without hurting anyone's feelings or causing conflict-you can be more ruthless.

Is there a meaning behind the name The Half Earth? 

Yes, there is, quite a big meaning actually! I came up with it when I was about 16- I didn't start writing music till two years ago but I thought if I ever get in a band, this is what I'll call it. So yeah, I'm a massive fan of Kate Bush and I listened to her a lot when I was a teenager 'cause my mum was also a massive fan of hers. When I used to live in Blackpool, we had a house near the seaside and the moon would pass my bedroom window so I'd sit at night and I'd listen to Kate Bush in my bed, as a teenager, looking at the moon...and there's a particular song I love by her called Hello Earth. The chorus goes 'Hello, Earth. Hello, Earth. With just one hand held up high, I can blot you out, out of sight.' 

So, I used to imagine myself sitting on the moon, looking back at the earth and holding up my hand and seeing half the earth peeking out the side of my hand...and I thought that was quite a good image. One of the hardest things is choosing a name but I thought at least if it has a meaning for me then I can never really get annoyed with it. 
Great story and so interesting- I really like the name! So as for lyrics- what influences them?

Erm, I have pretty much only up until recently, exclusively written about *long pause* I put it to my housemate the other day, people that I fancied. That was such a childish way of saying it! But, yeah they're love songs, they're kind of sad...but I'm not a sad person generally! I try to make the lyrics quite abstract. I always improvise my lyrics first time round so when I've recorded a song, I'll let it play and I'll improvise whatever comes out then I'll sort of find meaning in it afterward then I might change bits and structure it a little more but I like the lyrics to be quite freefall and I don't think about it too much.

So do the words or the music come first?

The music always comes first. I very rarely write down any of the words first, it all just sort of exists in my head for a while and I think that's the best way to be really because as soon as I start writing something down, I think about it too much- I like it to come naturally.

So how did you go from studying chemistry at university to a career in music? 

Well, I really enjoyed chemistry at college so decided to study it a degree level...then I enjoyed it less and less as time went on, which happens! I still live in the same city I went to uni in (Sheffield)...I love it more than anywhere on earth so that's a positive to take from it and I met some of my best friends from my course and university there. I only realised I could sing well about two years ago...I listen to Wild Beasts, a great band, and the singer in that band sings in a really operatic way, so I thought maybe if I tried I could sing like that too and I sort of developed that style.

What was the first record you ever bought?

I believe it was the first Gorillaz album, I was obsessed with that album when I was a kid...I still am!

And what's the most memorable gig you've played so far?

I supported Rae Morris at The Deaf Institute in Manchester, which is one of my favourite music venues. The sound was perfect, the crowd was yeah, definitely one of my most memorable.

Describe the Half Earth in 3 words.

Ethereal but immediate and...

is but part of it? 

Oh sorry ok, literally just 3 words haha- ok, we'll do that...ethereal but immediate! I like that.

All photos sourced from 'The Half Earth' Facebook page.

If you could meet with 3 musicians who would they be?

Thom Yorke, Bjork, and Kate Bush. We'd chill in a park on a lovely summer day drinking lemonade and we'd talk about music.

What's the best thing about being a musician? 

Getting to think about music, play music, and dedicate my time to music, without feeling guilty as if I should be doing something else. I get to spend my days trying out different sounds and experimenting so that's definitely one of the best things.

What's next for the Half Earth? Playing at any festivals this year?

I don't want to rush anything so I'll probably release a few more EP'S before I release an album- it's a good way to test the water. I'm still experimenting with sounds and songwriting and everything- cause it's still quite a recent thing for me. I'm looking forward to writing more music, playing more shows and just seeing where things take me and what happens...and yes, I can confirm I'll be playing the Live at Leeds festival this year. I'm really looking forward to it!

...anddddd that's a wrap for today's interview! I certainly enjoyed doing it, going backstage, meeting the lovely and very chatty, talented Conor of The Half Earth, and hearing all about his exciting music career so far. If you want to keep updated with what he's up to and where he's touring, just visit his Facebook page here. Till next time!