Sally Hossack (Music)

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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by Evil Imp

Article19’s brand new music section kicks off with 27 year old tune-smith Sally Hossack from Leicester one half of the combo Phonek, with Joe Crofton, and a solo singer/songwriter and guitarist in her own right .

By day Sally is a lecturer in media studies at De Montfort University in Leicester as well as a freelance film maker and editor but by night, and any other time she has a modicum of spare time on her hands, her first love is definitely music.

“Out of all the things I do music has always been the one thing that I’ve wanted to do most.” explains Sally, “And my mum too, and my big brother so it’s a bit of a family goal actually. I think just to do it, not necessarily to attain any fame through doing it but just to make sure I’m producing [music].

I don’t think you can call yourself an artist if you don’t make art. Painters that don’t paint, singers that don’t sing, guitarists that don’t bother playing are not guitarists. They might play the guitar sometimes, but I wouldn’t consider myself an artist if I didn't do it all the time, you have to express yourself in that way otherwise you’re not practicing and if you’re not practicing then your not doing it so you might as well not.”

Life Long Endeavour

Music has been with Sally all of her life. Inspired by her mother, a pianist, whom she would listen to whilst sitting beneath the piano both while her mother played and taught other’s to play. Mentally making notes and singing songs until, in her teens, she finally selected her weapon of choice and began playing.

“I started playing the guitar when I was 16, I think I’ve always sung songs and played music all my life.


I play the guitar because I wanted to sing and not many people knew the songs I wanted to sing so I had to learn how to play them on the guitar so I could sing them.

I was very lucky to meet lots and lots of guitarists to watch and learn from, especially over the last ten years, which [has been] full of guitar playing. Then came gigging which was scary at first and then I just got slowly better. I do it on my own, I just go out with a guitar and sing on my own.”

It’s a heavily edited history for sure but the singer songwriter we present to you today is an assured and confident performer with an understated style free of the heavy production and over sweetening all too evident in a lot of mainstream music. Although the tracks we feature are from a solo acoustic session the same holds true for Sally’s work with Phonek.

As a songwriter the composition process is just as important to Sally as the playing and the performances;

“I think a song starts with either a really nice guitar riff or a little bit of melody or a couple lines in my head, or anger, anger normally works the best actually.” She says laughing.

“If I’m really angry I’ll come home, pick up my guitar and play it for hours to relieve the angst in my head, which is a bit cheesy, but that’s what music's for really. You can relieve the angst in your head and it’s really nice! When you’ve done that you sort of come full circle and learn the song to play out so it doesn’t actually contain that angst anymore.

It’s different with each song, sometimes it’s just a few lines that i’ve thought of and maybe texted to myself at some point so i’ll remember them. But some songs just come together as complete songs then I take them to Joe or whoever I’m working with and they completely change.

So you start with an initial story and then strip it down in the recording studio until you’re left with the really good bits that were in there originally. I think I’m getting better at the taking away process, the less is more thing. I was very keen to fill in all the gaps for a long time and now I don’t want to do that anymore, I really want to strip it out and make just one note sound beautiful as opposed to the five or six I was putting in before.”

As well as following a solo path with gigs and song writing Sally has been the other half of Phonek with guitarist Joe Crofton for the last two years.

“Phonek came about because Joe and myself have known each other for a long time but we both needed a new outlet for our music and I was beginning to get a little bit bored with what I was producing and so was Joe. So we took our musical styles and put them together and what came out was really beautiful, so we carried on.

It’s been about two years that we’ve been doing Phonek now and we’ve had various gigs, in fact we have one coming up in Manchester which should be absolutely amazing, I’m hugely excited about that.”

Talent Show

With the music industry being reduced, in some quarters at least, to nothing more than a TV talent show, with a heavy dose of irony on the word ‘talent’, Sally and her tunes are a reality check on the music artists out there honing their craft, plying their wares, making mistakes, learning from them and getting back on stage for another show. An attitude all to evident in Sally and Phonek’s attitude toward getting their music ‘out there’.

“You can buy all of the Phonek tracks from the website [link below] just by contacting us. We are more likely just to send you a CD at this moment in time because I would prefer people to listen to it rather than not or have to buy it.”

There is also a single called “Frequently Falling” under the name Noonakai that’s available to buy from Sorted Records on 7” vinyl at the link below. If you don’t know what vinyl is then look it up on Wikipedia! (looking now, Ed!)

Phonek will be performing at the Manchester Academy, Oxford Road in Manchester on Thursday 2nd March.

[ Phonek ]
[ Sorted Records ]
[ Manchester Academy ]

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