Shy and a little spaced out, Canty met up with METAL after his hypnotising set opening Simple Things festival at the Bristol Beacon Bridgehouse stage. To the point and softly spoken, the artist sat outside in the wind with us in a quiet spot outside the venue in his billowing navy trench coat and stylish all-black ensemble of knit jumper and suit trousers. Just as stylish is his musical output, which is classic singer-songwriter indie magic with nods to Radiohead and Ariel Pink. All gentle like his own nature, Canty’s music will wash over you like your morning shower blowing away the cobwebs.
Particularly enchanting amongst his released tracks is Follower, which we discuss in detail. It touches on technology as well as paganism. When delving into it, of the rituals he might choose to share about, Canty lets us know he speaks to his ancestors but leaves us guessing how. Another theme in his music is gender, particularly in his latest EP Boyfriend/Girlfriend. The ordinary “two sides of the coin” as Canty puts it – masculine and feminine – live within this talented singer and multi-instrumentalist who has a beautifully androgynous style. The musician aspires “to explore the spectrum of male internal landscapes” on this EP tracing the truths that all too often get hidden. Far reaching themes answering contemporary questions, Canty’s output is sensitive and thought-provoking.
Let’s start at the beginning. What was one of the first gigs that really touched you?
Probably, my neighbour playing guitar to me when I was a kid.
That’s lovely. You grew up in Essex. Would you go into London for concerts at all?
Later on I would.
Any stand-out acts from that?
The first gig I ever went to was actually Sum 41 (laughs). 
Which acts on the Simple Things line up you are looking forward to seeing today?
Ziyad Al-Samman, George Riley and Jeshi.
You described live shows as “everything” talking on Amazing radio. How did it feel on stage today?
It was nice. It felt like a little holiday.
Your song Follower you have previously described as “a sort of pagan love song to self-checkout cameras and facial recognition,” (High Clouds). Are you interested in paganism?
Yes, a little bit. Are you?
Yes, a little bit. I’m up for some sage burning and going to stone circles.
Do you have any rituals that you do or superstitions?
I talk to my ancestors, does that count?
Yes, how do you do that?
It’s personal.
In Follower, you’re also talking about technology. What’s your relationship like with your phone?
Not amazing. I don’t like it. I don’t feel like I’m the one in control. I don’t feel like I’m the boss. But sometimes it’s nice. It’s a love hate thing, I’m sure it’s the same for everyone.
Yes. At the end of Follower there’s a vocal sample drifts in, saying, “I didn’t’ say anything, I didn’t do – I just like – it was about 6 in the morning…” I’d love some context for that audio and why it was included.
That’s my oldest friend Sophie Neville. That’s her talking about something that happened, where someone was in the street and it was just about her feeling intimidated or maybe a bit threatened in the street – maybe not even in a big way – I don’t know. Just that it was in a tiny way. I used to work in club nights and when I’d be walking home, I’d notice that – in the middle of the night, 3am or 4am – you see someone walking and sometimes you feel [trails off]. I would be very conscious about body language or just how I was in the street and how other people were at that time in the morning. Sophie I think is talking about a similar thing. In this song there’s something about technology, and this [sample] brings into focus the real world with a semi-stalker maybe. There’s a cross over. I’ve known Sophie since I was 4 so having her on there made me feel at home.
Boyfriend / Girlfriend EP explores male femininity and hyper-masculinity if I remember correctly. What drew you to these themes?
Just being a boy and not knowing what to do about it. Having the little battle between the two sides of the coin inside and wanting to explore them, to look at them a bit closer in order to try and maybe reconcile them a bit. Or maybe lose the hyper-masculinity entirely. Or wanting to take it to explore the spectrum of male internal landscapes. Wanting to be more gentle, kind, nice and loving but not feeling like you can do that.
That’s interesting. Have you ever tried to write from the perspective of someone else, like an invented character?
Yes, once upon a time. I like doing that, it’s kind of fun.
DIY praised your first single, Follower, writing “an uncanny valley of sounds and ethereal vocals […] paint a picture of a world just tangential to this one” if you lived in a parallel world what would you want it to be like?
Really friendly, I guess. Maybe I’d live in a parallel world where music was top of the priority list. Also, maybe no borders. Maybe everything is really brightly coloured.
Is social media a form of parallel world?
I guess it is, isn’t it.
It’s a place to act out a fantasy, a false or altered version of ourselves.
Social media?
Yes. Or do you think it’s quite honest?
In the end it can be both can’t it, in the end it’s quite honest, I guess. Because it technically does exist in this world. I don’t know, I’m frightened by it.
A lot of singer-songwriters find talking about their emotional world in their lyrics is a type of therapy. Do you have that kind of relationship with song writing?
I’m not sure actually. I think maybe a bit, but not – I don’t really know what it offers me.
Does it feel cathartic at all?
No it doesn’t. I don’t feel cathartic with it.
Finally, can you give us an insight into any new projects you are working on? You don’t have that much music out at the moment so I’m guessing you have more to come.
Yes, I’m working on an EP that should be out in April, it’s called Hahaha. The single coming out too. I did a radio mix for Noods Radio and the single is on there. I put it on my own radio show.
Do you do a show regularly for Noods or is it something new?
It’s new. Hopefully I can do it some more, it was really fun. It aired a couple days ago (22rd February).