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On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of fantastic musicians who’ve been intimately involved with each other’s lives and work for the past decade and a half: Cate Le Bon and Huw Evans.
Le Bon and Evans each have their own incredible discographies that wouldn’t have been the same without the other: They’re not in a band together, but each has been a key component of the other’s work over the years, starting when they were young and romantically involved. Though they’re no longer in a relationship, they’re still a huge part of each other’s lives. And as you’ll hear in this conversation, they like to give each other shit—to the point where while recording I wasn’t sure if there was some real hostility happening. (There wasn’t.)
Evans records under the name H. Hawkline, and this week he’ll release his fifth album, Milk For Flowers. It’s his most personal and intense yet, though strong emotions remain shrouded in what he once called “strange pop.” Hawkline first found a bit of fame in his and Le Bon’s native Wales as a TV presenter, but found his musical voice with a unique blend of classic-sounding songwriting flecked with psychedelic and folk influences. He’s worked with Tim Presley of White Fence a bunch; as you’ll hear, Presley even played a pivotal non-musical role in the creation of Milk For Flowers. Le Bon produced it, helping to shepherd some intense feelings onto tape. Here’s the title track.
Evans was there right at the start of Le Bon’s career, as you’ll hear in this chat: They were living together, and he convinced her to start playing her otherworldly songs outside of their house. He even had to come up with her stage name in order to create a flyer: What may or may not have been a reference to Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon stuck. The two eventually moved to Los Angeles together and continued making music: Le Bon has amassed an unforgettable discography—you know immediately when you hear her music. (Jeff Tweedy once said he could always tell when it was Le Bon playing guitar, which sounds like a compliment to me.) Le Bon’s latest album is last year’s Pompeii, a grand, height-of-the-pandemic record that feels like an amazing high-wire act, with saxophone, clarinet, and synthesizers all complementing her voice, guitar, and bass. And it’s a matter of some debate, as you’ll hear, whether Evans contributed any bass as well. Check out “Remembering Me” from Pompeii.
In addition to giving each other grief about song titles and bass parts, the two talk about their history together, about how Le Bon narrowly avoided recording a song that sounded like Jane’s Addiction, their different writing styles, and about how the story of Le Bon’s first gig was like “a shit indie film.” Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Huw Evans and Cate Le Bon for letting us in on their chat. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and be sure to check out all the other podcasts in our network, including Jokermen, Craig Finn’s That’s How I Remember It, and more. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
(Photo Credit: left, H. Hawkline; right, Ren Faulkner; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)