Infectious melodies delivered by a voice steeped in honey: Rookes produces a sound that ranges from hymnal chants to confident pop numbers. The first of our London-based bands, Rookes' one-woman set brings heartache, vision and technical grace.

Rookes by Curious Rose Photography.jpg

Tell us a little about your project.
My project is called Rookes. It's meant to be the equivalent of a modern one-woman-band, i.e. Dick Van Dyke's character in Mary Poppins, but sophisticated and without the terrible accent.

It started when my last band fell to bits and I got my heart broken at the same time, which was more than enough incentive to start furiously creating something radically different to what I'd done before. 

What’s been your best moment as an artist so far?
There have been many. My first sold out show was in my home town last year; I had no idea it had sold out until I got onstage and realised that the room was full. That was a great feeling; mostly awe. 

How do you prepare for a gig?
I have a fairly intense rehearsal schedule in the run up to gigs, but alongside that, I drink lots of lemon, ginger and honey, try to get more sleep, and warm up my vocals properly. And I actively run away from people with cold viruses. 

If you could have anyone in the audience at Bang On fest for your set, who would you choose and why?
Two of my musical heroes, Fink and Wallis Bird, live in Berlin and if either of them came to my set it would possibly make my year. 

What does Bang On Fest mean to you?
Honestly, I'm delighted to be playing this festival. From where I'm sitting, Bang On works very hard to empower female talent so I'm honoured to be selected for the lineup. 

Bang On Fest is all about promoting women in music. Favourite female artist?
You cannot possibly expect me to name one? There are so many incredible women out there. A few rocking my world right now are Princess Nokia, Christine + The Queens, Kimbra, Bryde, Sylvan Esso, Amanda Palmer... seriously, though. Don't make me choose. 

What can people look forward to about your set?
Variety. I work hard to not let my songs sound the same, and simultaneously I aim to make my set fun to watch. So come along if you want to see and hear something different. 

Catch Rookes at Bang On Fest, April 7th.