Ahead of his headline gig at Firth Hall on 28th April, Sheffield folk innovator Jim Ghedi talked with Exposed’s Charlie Sweeney about his biggest gig yet, the Sheffield music scene and what’s next for him.

So Jim, your upcoming gig at Firth Hall is set to be your biggest ever. Can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from this show?

I am dead nervous to be playing Firth Hall, actually. It’s one of those Sheffield landmarks and, growing up in Crookes, I always walked past it as a kid on my way to just about anywhere, so it is a bit intimidating. But I’ve made peace with it now. No matter the venue or the crowd size, I’m one of those artists where I’ll just do my thing as normal. I am just focused on delivering the best show possible, and my best shows are always in Sheffield, so it’ll definitely be a good one. I am currently in the midst of moving to Ireland, so it’ll be the last gig with the full band for a while, and as we’re currently recording the next album there’ll be a few new songs played. All in all, it’s sure to be a great gig.

Sheffield obviously means a lot to you personally then?

Definitely, yeah, as in I am from here! But whenever I go on tour to other cities it does make me really appreciate how special Sheffield is. In terms of music, it really does punch above its weight. It makes its own spaces, finds the best venues and just helps the artists.

Would you say that living here has influenced your career as a musician?

Sheffield has played a massive part in my music career. Without the DIY scene in Sheffield, I definitely would not have kept making music. They really inspired me to get out there and do shows. I grew up in these DIY collectives, like the Audacious Art experiment (who are now involved with Hatch), and they were really helpful. Everyone was doing their own thing, and this had the knock-on effect of new venues springing up afterwards. There were some other great venues operating at the same time as Audacious Art as well like Lughole and Delicious Clam. These DIY venues are definitely important for me personally, but are also so important for the city in general. The network of these venues is crucial for facilitating young talent, and the amount of effort they put it is really crucial.

Sheffield as a city is really interesting, as it is a very industrial city surrounded by this expansive natural landscape. You have all these factories and warehouses, and then practically next to it you have the Peak District. I have always loved this dichotomous nature of Sheffield, and it definitely inspired what I want to do with the music: bridging the heavy, industrial vibe with the softer sound of folk. I think this idea definitely came out of my time with the DIY collectives as well, where you had all this different music being performed in these huge, old factory warehouses. 

“I have always loved this dichotomous nature of Sheffield, and it definitely inspired what I want to do with the music: bridging the heavy, industrial vibe with the softer sound of folk.”

So was the DIY scene how you initially came upon your folk sound?

Sort of, yeah. Naturally, because of the DIY scene at the time, I was really into the experimental music, which had an effect on me in a creative sense, inspiring me to actually make music. However, as I got older, I sort of stumbled into folk music and just got really into it. I didn’t want to just copy these other folk artists, however, and so I wanted to try and marry folk with the DIY stuff I was into.

Have you got anything else planned for the future?

Yeah, so I am halfway through recording my next album. It’s definitely taken the longest so far, out of all my previous albums, just because I want to really give it my all and focus on this one. I typically don’t like setting deadlines for myself but I definitely want the album recorded by summer, so the wait shouldn’t be too long now! I think I have definitely done everything I could with the last album, so I want to give that some space and some closure.  I suppose the gig at Firth Hall will almost be a sending-off for that album, as well as showing off some of the newer stuff and some stuff that’s never been heard before.



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