Ida Mae, comprised of Christopher Turpin and Stephanie Jean from the UK, is an Americana duo who recently moved from the UK to Nashville. On the brink of releasing their debut album, we talked to them about their musical lives and documenting memories with the Lomo'Instant Automat.
Welcome Ida Mae! Introduce yourself to the Lomography community.
We are Christopher Turpin and Stephanie Jean from the UK. We play acoustic Americana, British blues with lots of steel guitar and harmonies!
You are set to release your debut album in January of 2019. Tell us about that! How was working on it?
We had the honor of having one of our musical heroes Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ray la Montagne, Laura Marling) produce our debut record. We've always been a huge fan of the records he produces and his attitude towards making raw and honest recordings. We recorded part at Distiller Studios in Bath and part at Real World Studios in Wiltshire, both incredible settings to make music. The process was so refreshing. We recorded almost everything live with very few takes on each song. It was all about learning to let little things go in order to capture the energy of what is going on in the room, at that moment. We are very proud of what we came out with and can’t wait to share it.
What did you chose to document with your Lomography camera and what was that like?
We've really only just begun! So far we documented the beginning of our move to the States. We've been in touring bands since we were 19 but only got into film and instant photography in the past year or so. Similarly to the ethos applied to the record we were tired of taking a million photos on our phone then scrutinizing, cropping and deleting them! We love the idea of having the physical picture instantly. Having less control over the end product than shooting digitally is addictive. I love that if I take a bad picture I can’t fix it, then if I manage to capture something fantastic its even more fulfilling! And there is just something magical in the grain and colors of instant film.
How did you guys get started playing music together?
We were signed at 19 as part of a rock band and quit our degrees to go on the road in the UK and Europe, so we have been playing together for years. We wanted to start Ida Mae to play the music. Chris and I both loved and were initially inspired by. It's a more roots, and acoustic project with lots of harmonies and more love songs. We also got married a year and a half ago so touring just the two of us has been such an amazing experience so far.
You recently moved from the UK to Nashville. How was that and what are the biggest differences. Any things you miss most about home?
We did! Its been fantastic. We were really enjoying living in London but once we had gone through the Visa process we really felt we should make the most of them and move Stateside. A lot of our team is based out in Nashville so we decided to give it a go and have absolutely loved it so far. The US has always been an romantic idea for us as so much of the music we adore was born around us now. We've already taken ourselves on a few musical pilgrimages.
Also so many things still look like scenes from a film to us. Our manager still finds it funny that we keep taking pictures of painted signs and billboards! I mean Waffle House is so iconic!
What is your favorite part of playing music?
There are so many. Playing live is always an amazing experience. The adrenalin and energy from a crowd that is really into the set is exhilarating.
I also love being in the studio and creating something out of nothing! When you reach the point where you are overdubbing a tambourine to finish off a track and that morning there was just an empty session on protools or an empty tape reel is pretty cool!
Other than your debut album, are there any exciting things we should expect from you in the future?
We are going out on the road for six weeks across the US and Canada with The Marcus King Band which will be an incredible tour. Then we plan to be back in Europe for more touring late January, into February. So come see us on the Road!
Ida Mae will be on tour across the US with The Marcus King Band starting Nov 7th at The Cannery Ballroom in Nashville! Check out all the dates here.
Catch some more instant shots by Ida Mae first hand on their Instagram.