Tarq Bowen is more of a mystery than the contents of a woman’s handbag. His talent would suggest he was a lot more successful than he actually is, the quality of his songs suggest a lot more than being recorded in his bedroom and his lyrics suggest more than a D in English.
Tarq doesn’t fit into one genre, but you can tell he’s influenced by a discerning music taste. He has been playing in London for two years as a solo musician, and recently moved here from Brighton.
Where do you get ideas for your lyrics from?
Nina Simone, Son House and Tim Buckley help to inspire. I feel this is where I become aware of my ego – I don’t know where these words come from. I got a D in English back in the day. My ideas stem mostly from the life I’ve had, whether I chose it or not. I’ve moved over 15 times in 22 years, with a mum who sold off her vinyl collection for food when I was 11. Those were sad times, but it helped reaffirm my writing.
You said you want to record an album yourself – why is that?
I’ve always been fascinated with the recording process – most of the tunes on SoundCloud I did in my bedroom. I’ve been in some pretty neat studios, too, but after four years of getting to grips with my own sound and recording techniques, I’m ready to try something fresh. I’ll be working closely with an up-and-coming producer called Skip Curtis.
What’s your connection with Shoreditch?
I first visited Shoreditch when I was 18, when I was roped in to play an after-party at the Queen of Hoxton for London Fashion Week.. That was before I was a bearded blues man with a passion for patience. I’m playing all over London, but most recently was Boxpark for an exciting new vlogging venture, Sqautters Den. They capture something quite different and the aesthetic is really special – old-time radios, chairs and carpets set-up for the gigs. They’ve turned Boxpark into a midday gig hotspot and I’m thankful to everyone who’s stuck around to watch it grow.
What are your plans for the near future?
I’m looking to tour and get my music heard. I have some cats out in L.A that keep telling me to get out there – my music has been a hard cookie to digest over here. It’s wishful thinking on my behalf too, as I want to record the album myself, but I’m lacking the right equipment as it stands.
Why do you think your music has been a ‘hard cookie’?
Everyone likes to have a comparative and it makes it easier to pigeonhole me that way. Matt Corby is a common name that people roll off but I have a genuine smile when someone says Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I will never sound like him though. Back to the point, I think it’s purely because the US don’t see it as some retro museum piece.
Have you ever been in a band, or do you prefer it being just you?
Too many! That’s how most musicians start – someone to jam with or hide behind, either way it’s easier to do it yourself. I’ve always preferred the Westerns where it was just Clint Eastwood, know what I mean?
What you want to achieve with your music – what’s the dream?
To release an album, tour it, share it and get that financial freedom my mum never found. I don’t need or want much, but maybe that will change.