In their words /// Vienna Ditto on ‘Long Way Down’

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Roaring guitars, out-of-this-world electronica and soulful female vocals…  What else can you possibly ask for from a superb song? Vienna Ditto give you all of these and even more in their single ‘Long Way Down’. Read on to Hatty Taylor’s story on the song’s birth, give it a spin and get carried away to another universe. 

‘Long Way Down’ was the first song we ever did together. I first met Nigel when he started teaching me guitar I was around 11 and was only singing to myself at the time. I nervously sang a song in front of Nigel during one of my lessons which he seemed to think was quite good.

Nigel went to University (my mum drove him) and I stopped learning guitar, but carried on playing basic chords and accompanying myself. About 7 years later I bumped into Nigel in the street, he said something like I bet you can really sing by now and as it happened I had had my first experience of a studio recently as a present from a dear friend of the family, at which I had recorded a version of ‘Ring of Fire’ and so we met up and did our own version which Nigel moulded into this beautiful eerie dream of a song and everything felt like it was as it should be.

He gave me a CD of instrumentals and demos to have a listen to and I went away and ‘The Twang’ which was what eventually turned into ‘Long Way Down’ caught me straight away. In the safety of my room I sang out loud to myself what I was imagining when I was listening to it, and began scribbling down words. I had begun my first office job having finished school and was feeling hopeless and disenchanted. A few days or weeks later I built up the courage to sing what I had written to my mum and sister, so I went downstairs, announced my intention and put the instrumental on. Quietly at first, I started singing. My mum and sister were dancing around, my mum saying ‘Yes!’ they were living for it. Feeling confident I presented it to Nigel and we recorded it.

Then they played it on Radio 1. My boyfriend at the time had given the demo to the local BBC lady, Linda Serck, who gave it to Huw Stephens. We got asked to play the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury after having never played live (I had never sung in public). It ended up being our second gig, and the first where the equipment worked. Our third was a Maida Vale session for BBC6 and our fourth was on the set of Hollyoaks – at which point we knew that megastardom surely beckoned.

Vienna Ditto’s debut album ‘Circle’ is now out via Ubiquity Project Records and available from BandCamp.

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