If David Lynch collaborated with Bowie and Aleister Crowley this would be the resulting music video. In essence ‘Little Girl Scientist’ is an autobiographical look at the dark pseudo-spiritual underbelly of Hollywood from the perspective of a fleeting visitor. The tourist in this instance is none other than Kieran Leonard and the song captures the smokey essence of dimly lit rooms, incense candles and chemical relaxants perfectly. Both hypnotically chilled out and mildly terrifying ‘Little Girl Scientist’ leaves you wondering how the story ends. Like all good art, it’s impact lingers even after its moment has passed and the words and melody haunt your waking minutes like the auditory equivalent of Rosemary’s Baby. We spoke to Saint Leonard about his forthcoming book, single, tour and album(s?). Seems he’s too busy to start his own religion….for now.
Your music tends to have a cinematic storytelling quality, do you have any ambitions to spend more time in front of the camera?
At the moment no, not particularly, of course if David Lynch were to express interest… – I Would definitely take his call. Outside of that.. I have my hands full with spreading the good word live and with The Horses. I subscribe to the hedonistic notion of making one’s own life a film that you very much enjoy taking the leading role in, -although there have been moments recently when I have called upon the great script writer to explain.
As a music artist, your words are hidden amongst music, as part of a band even more so. In which case, whats the low down on ‘A Muse’, is it your first sashay into writing literature instead of music?
Ahh well no it’s not my first – I have published a novel previously under a pseudonym.
‘A Muse’ however will be released under my name. The low down… well it’s your standard run-of-the-mill Faux-classical, arch-gothic, who-dunnit, psycho-magical, existentialist , tell-all romance novel. Very much a companion piece to the album ‘Good Luck Everybody’.
I wrote it in around 45 days in a cabin just outside of East Nashville when I had essentially fled Los Angeles mid way through recording the album the first time round. My relationship meltdown and subsequent nuclear bender made it necessary for me to skip town for a while. I had sort of lost my mind …and the book initially was simply a way of ordering my thoughts and taking stock of the nebulous and extraordinary turn of events that had taken place over the previous six months. It has turned into something a little more realised and structured now – and I am equally proud and terrified of it.
In the video, Sophie Kennedy Clark attempts to conjure Saint Leonard wherever he may be, including “up a tree” a line delivered with the faintest smile. Is there more to this seemingly throw away remark?
Yes there is.
What is your history with Jonathan Meades?
He’s my friend and an artist who I admire greatly.
Why did you self-canonise when sainthood and in fact the concept of monotheism would seem contrary to you own personal belief system?
Well… it’s one of those jokes that if it needs explaining doesn’t really function as a joke anymore.. a cursory examination of my output thus far will lay to rest any perceived contrarianism there. (insert crying emoji face here)
Julian Cope once sang that “like a pig pulling a cartload of sausages, I draw my own conclusion” referencing his necessity of using automotive transport, similarly you are overtly opposed to the homogenisation of society due to the over reaching power of various forms of corporations and social media, how do you align this to your requirement as an artist to engage via social media?
Richard despite how much I am enjoying this … Excuse me I just have to take this incoming phone call on my Apple I-phone 7s – oh it’s a dual face time – don’t worry it has fully integrated audio visual connectivity to my Google home drive and I can take the call in the shower, if necessary, on my internal Samsung screen system – actually if you have a moment wouldn’t this convo’ be more engaging and ‘punchier’ over a Twitter Q & A session – or if you’d prefer I’d advocate doing a direct Facebook Live to whichever preferred content provider your magazine has an aggregate ‘paid-click’ deal with? Hang on… I just need to attend to this perfect Aeropress home brew for my Russian Blue (it’s all she will drink these days) , be right with you, my insta’ of a 1920’s stethoscope tangled around a French 14-fingered garden rake is really blowing up right now…
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It has been over two years since Underwood Milk was released now, do you get much chance to record (and sometimes re-record) new music? Anything new in the pipeline?
Well despite touring and live commitments I record almost constantly, – in fact I am in the studio right now – I reckon the new album will be finished before the year’s end with a view to release early 2018. I have got the next two records pretty much written, it’s just a question of which songs go where, and also, with the pace of change culturally and socially it’s a Sisyphean task to keep writing relevant responses to what I see happening around me on a day to day basis. I find I am influenced greatly by conversations I have with my friends and then I realise I have to write a new song to investigate a particular sentiment or often I write a song just to explain an idea to myself… when I began demoing the new album I had 5 songs finished… the shortlist is now around 30… I am literally just about to release a 7 minute cover of Barry Manilow’s Classic ‘Copacabana’ – will that do?
When are you touring next in the UK?
We have a run of dates late summer to accompany the next single. They will be announced shortly.
And finally, if you could ask Saint Leonard any question, what would it be?
What the fuck is wrong with you?
and the answer is?
I’d say some kind of compound Post-traumatic stress disorder accompanied by an innate self-loathing narcissistic neuroses.
Raising as many questions as he’s answered the enigmatic and charismatic Saint Leonard never disappoints with his unique take on indie folk art rock. Little Girl Scientist is the third single taken from the brilliant album ‘Good Luck Everybody’, review here: http://www.gigsoupmusic.com/reviews/album-reviews/st-leonards-horses-good-luck-everybody-album-review/