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Breathing Space started life as a solo album project by Iain Jennings, keyboard  and co-songwriter with Mostly Autumn.

For the first album and early live gigs he enlisted some of his Mostly Autumn colleagues before putting together his own touring band, retaining Mostly Autumn's backing singer Olivia Sparnenn as lead vocalist for the new venture.

The first eponymously titled album was critically acclaimed and the second has also needed re-pressing. The band appear at Cambridge Rock Festival, July 20.

Iain Jennings answered our questions...

What are you currently up to?

We have just released our 2nd album 'Coming up for Air' in October 2007. Since then we have been playing UK venues to promote this new release. CD sales are going extremely well and we have already sold out of the first pressing within three months.

Brief history of Breathing Space for those who may not be familiar with the band...

In 2005 I released a solo album entitled 'Breathing Space'. I was at that time playing and writing in 'Mostly Autumn'.

Since leaving 'Mostly Autumn' in January 2006, I have been working with Olivia Sparnenn (who had previously sung on my album) and Mark Rowen (Guitar) on this new project which is also called 'Breathing Space'.

Paul Teasedale (Bass), Barry Cassells(Drums) and Ben Jennings(Keyboards) joined forces with us to create the full line up that we have now. We have recently been working with a Saxophonist and Wind Synth player called John Hart.

Could you take us through the new album 'Coming Up For Air' (e.g. story behind the song, song writing process)...

I would prefer not to go into what each track is about. It is much better for the listener to put their own meaning to the songs.

Album reviews can be found on our website

The new album 'Coming up for Air' track listing:

Coming up for Air
When I Hold onto you
On the Blue Horizon
Time tells all the unknown
Rain Song
The Senses
Don't turn a Blind Eye
Head above the Water
Searching for my Shadow
Turn of the Tide

You have a very novel idea on your website, namely Meet The Fans which has pictures of fans and how may Breathing Space gigs they have attended so far.

How did you come up with this idea and how have the fans reacted to this idea?

The Breathing Space webmaster came up with the idea when we set up the new website. We are lucky to have an extremely committed and loyal fan base and some of these people come to all our gigs no matter where they are. The 'Meet the Fans' page is our way of saying thank you to these people and is also a good way for Breathing Space fans to get to know each other.

What have been the live highlights so far for the band and who ideally would you like to tour with & why?

We have just been supporting 'The Reasoning' at some of their UK tour. This was a highlight for me as it gave us an opportunity to play in front of a larger audience than we would have pulled on our own.

The two bands complemented each other but the music was different enough for the night to be interesting and very enjoyable. We are currently looking into some more tour supports and playing in Europe too.

What were your personal highlights whilst in Mostly Autumn and what prompted you to leave the band?

There were so many highlights for me in Mostly Autumn but certain moments stick out as being special:

Playing in the US, Europe and Scandinavia
Performing 'The Gap is too wide'
Signing the record deal
Supporting some superb bands/artists

Since becoming a Father my priorities had changed and needed to spend more time with my family.

How do you view the internet and downloads? How has the internet helped get your music out there?

The internet has helped Breathing Space get our music to people all over the world. These listeners may have never come across the band without this technology.

Before the internet arrived it was very difficult for unsigned bands to promote and sell their music abroad. Now we can send out band newsletters to vast numbers of fans without having to lick a single stamp!

I don't have a problem with 'downloads' as long as sound quality is not diminished or over-compressed, the customer gets value for money and the artists get paid!!!

Any good rock 'n' roll tales to tell?

Most of the ones I could mention are far too incriminating...Pass

How easy/hard is it to get gigs and have you seen any upswing in interest in Breathing Space and in more general terms, the rock/progressive live music scene?

Do you think it will continue to be mainly festivals and one-off 'event' gigs as seems to be the case at the moment?

Breathing Space are not involved with any agents so we get are own gigs. We are starting to play bigger venues and trying to organise some gigs further down south and up in Scotland too.

When you are relatively unknown and play original material it can be difficult to get gigs. Venues are unwilling to take a chance on an original band when they can fill the place with a tribute band.

This is frustrating for me but nevertheless we are doing remarkably well. We are lucky enough to have built up a travelling fan base that follows us everywhere we play. This means we can take more financial risks on where we play and can guarantee an audience.

A lot more younger people nowadays are listening to guitar based music which is essentially 'Rock' music. They love bands like 'Iron Maiden' and 'Guns and Roses' and this is really healthy for the music scene. When you play outside of the UK you realise that other countries are not as obsessed with 'fashionable' music and it is acceptable elsewhere to enjoy anything.

Message for your fans...

Rock and Roll is here to stay...


Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.

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