We catch up with Vaughan Batchelor following the release of his debut album; ‘It’s Been Too Long’ Billed as Alt/Folk/Blues, the album draws on wider and varied influences with Vaughan bringing his own unique mix of English Folk, Rock and Americana. Vaughan is from Maidstone in Kent and has a lot of experience playing solo and in bands in his hometown. Now he’s branching out with a solo album, albeit one featuring some fantastic collaborations.

The album opens with ‘Cradled By The Clouds’, a folky opening showcasing Vaughan’s skills on the guitar and harmonica. The track warmly welcomes us in, but just as the tracks appears to be ending, it comes back to life in new form. Vaughan’s talent for structuring songs with unexpected reprisals and false endings shines throughout the album and this opener is a great taste of what’s to come. The opening track also sets a recurring atmosphere, listening to it I’m transported to the frontier lands of the Wild West. Later, ‘A Thousand Lives’ takes us back to the plains but with a slightly rockier edge, featuring a great rolling guitar rhythm and punchy harmonica.

Each time with these particular songs it feels like we’ve stepped into the next portion of a Western movie, at times we’re sitting by the campfire. Sometimes we’re trundling along on a horse drawn coach, whilst the end of ‘Skeletons’ takes us into some kind of wild west horse chase.

With beautiful, melancholic violin, calming vocals and some great finger picking on the 6 string, ‘The Garden’ stylishly leans into the English alt-folk side of the album. Picked as one of the songs to be released ahead of the whole album, it was a great choice and calls on the listener to stop what they are doing and just enjoy a beautifully written track.

The violin makes a return on ‘Flight of the Kingfisher’ Although starting with more of that classic English folk, the track is brought to another false ending before kicking back in with a more raw, American folk/blues feel.

With it’s raw and bluesy edge ‘Old town’ is possibly the catchiest track of the album. It is then followed by another fast-paced heavy hitter ‘Forces’ featuring more great work on the gob-iron from Vaughan and accompanied by electric vocals.

‘Conversation Killer’ takes us on a journey of rise and falls, with a change in tone and feel. Vaughan’s structuring talents are once again thrust upon us and this time with the help of his brother Alex on lead guitar. Alex makes his return on hard hitting and punchy number ‘Beg to Differ’

Alone Vaughan Batchelor would have put together a great album, but with finely selected collaborations, tracks including ‘Diamonds’ are taking this great album to another level again. Just as other albums might tail off towards the end, we see no break in form here. With this six-and-a-half-minute epic, a rocky 90s feel delivers another dimension to this fantastic debut album. With album closer, ‘Suitcase’ to come, the album goes from strength to strength. The last track caps off a great record with a final, personal flourish.



Happily, we were able to catch up with Vaughan to discuss the whole process.

It’s been just over a week since the release of the album, following on from the release of three singles in three weeks, how does it feel having it all out there?




It’s been previously unexplored land to me, and I’ve had to learn a lot about the distribution, publishing, licencing and social media marketing (a real time consumer) I feel that I can breathe now. It’s all done; released, printed and out there, but it does feel like it has left a void now. The release process takes up a lot of your time, so I am looking forward to concentrating on the music again.

The albums name, “It’s been too long”, does this refer to how long it’s taken to get the album out, is it simply a call back to the lyrics of “Old Town” or is there more to it?

Exactly that. It refers to both those reasons plus more. A couple of the songs are some of the first I ever wrote, I reckon at least 15 years old, so it has been a long time coming to get those recorded. I won’t go too much into the other reasons for the title, got to leave a little mystery, however I will say it surrounds wasted time and forgotten memories.   

We’ve got 11 finely crafted tracks to enjoy here, was it always 11 recorded or was there some whittling down, with more locked away?

I don’t know how finely they are crafted but they have been whittled down over the years. Many songs I have written have been forgotten. Lost to the void and some just weren’t that good. I only originally planned to record three songs when I first booked the studio time, and to be honest the process has been so consuming that I can’t even remember what the original three were! I just wanted something down that I could send to potential venues or promotors, so I could get gigs outside of my hometown and reach a further audience. As some of these songs are rather old and well-rehearsed, it didn’t take me long to get those three tracks down and I believe I ended up getting the core structures down for around 7-8 tunes on the first studio day. By that point I didn’t see the point in stopping and the album just grew from there. I didn’t realise how much time I was going to put into it at this point, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

Will further tracks be heard on another album, or are we taking a break on music production for now?

There are always tracks that are locked away and I could come back to or re-work. A couple, I think I would like to, but only if it feels right at the time. I find that some songs I write, find more meaning the further into my lifeline I tread.  Other than that, I have been working on some new songs, potentially for a new album, or for a band, but who knows at this point. All I know is I won’t wait too long this time to get them recorded and released, and I’m happy to be able to focus on the music again.

Tell us about the recording process, where did it all take place?

I ended up recording at a local studio called Make Some Noise, run by a local promoter who I have been working with for many years now. As I knew him well, I knew I would be comfortable in the studio, voicing any creative ideas I wanted to try. Although I’ve recorded with a couple of bands in the past and we bounced ideas of each other, this was the first time I had been in the studio on my own, so it was pretty much new territory, and I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted the recordings to be as natural and raw as possible, by recording as much live as I could. I had my Taylor connected to my Fishman amp, mic’d up, and connected via DI, using a mix of both tracks. Vocals were recorded at same time using a Shure sm7B. Although I play live with a harmonica strapped around my neck, I thought it best to overdub this to get the best possible sound. It also allowed me to play over parts of the songs where I usually would be singing, which I really enjoyed, as those parts are normally in my head. Once the first songs were down, it quickly evolved to recording an album I then started to think about what I wanted from the album. I’ve always believed that music should be a shared experience, so it was important to have some people close to my heart collaborate on the album without changing the overall essence.

Again, the collaborations were an important part for me, as I said before, music should be shared, and I feel it really brought the album to life. The lead vocals, acoustic guitar (rhythm) and harmonica were all me on the album.  I did play a little lead on the single ‘Old Town’ with my acoustic as well. Tom Ord has been a very close friend since school, and we have always been on our musical adventure together. The song ‘Diamonds’ was always one that we played together, and I almost forgot about it until a video of us playing it at a gig resurfaced. Then I knew I had to record it. Tom Ord was on lead guitar and backing vocals. During the final mix of ‘Diamonds’, luckily, Kate Luck, (please excuse the pun) a good friend of the engineer/owner of Make Some Noise Studios was visiting to see how the recording process was going. I knew her voice wasn’t too shabby from hearing previous recordings she has featured on. As we were mixing, I could hear her singing to herself little vocal lines and harmonies and I asked her if she would like to put something down and I was very glad I did. It was one of those magical studio moments that transformed the song into the 90s-esque track that you describe it as.  Then there was my brother, Alex Batchelor, on ‘Conversation Killer’ and ‘Beg To Differ’; he has always been a far superior guitar player than me, in my opinion, and again the album wouldn’t be complete without his input. Finally, there is the lovely Kate Ord, Tom Ord’s mother, I knew I wanted some violin, and she was more than happy to oblige. She had never played the songs before and when she turned up, she asked me what I wanted. I told her the key to the songs, she played over them once in the mixing room, and I exclaimed “I want what you just done there!!”. She was in and out of the studio in just over an hour and then there was just some minor editing and piecing together of the best parts. These were probably my favourite moments on the album and the recording process, I especially love how the harmonica and violin sits together at the end of ‘Flight of the Kingfisher’. Honestly if I had more time and money, I reckon there would have been a lot more musical collaboration, I suppose that will have to wait until the next album.    

How was the album produced? Self produced or collaboratively?

Yeah, I would say the album has been self-produced, however during the recording process I was definitely open to ideas from the other performers on the album. As I said they are close to my heart and I respect their musical intelligence.  

When listening to several of the tracks, including ‘Cradled by Clouds’, ‘A Thousand Lives’ and ‘Skeletons’, I picture myself in the wild west, beside a campfire or riding a horse through the dusty scrubland. Is there anywhere in Kent where the wild plains can be recreated for a music video? I assume you’ve got an appropriate Stetson hat?

You are not the first person to say that.  I’ve always loved the wilderness, campfires etc and the ideology that comes with its freedom, so I suppose that sound/essence has come out subconsciously and yes, my hat collection is growing, but I am yet to own a Stetson, although it is on the list.

You’ve asked others to help categorise your music into genres, designating a genre to an artist or album isn’t one of my favourite things personally. This album and its individual tracks certainly show that you utilise many styles and techniques. Any mad suggestions for your genre categories?

I always found defining genres difficult, so I thought I’d turn to social media for their opinions. I’m not sure how accurate or helpful any of them were, but a couple I was particularly fond of! ‘Turquoise scrounge-folk’ was a particularly creative option but didn’t think it would reach a large audience. I was also very fond of ‘Poetry in Motion’. Always nice to be referred to as poetic.

What’s next in promotion of the album? Many gigs coming up? If so, where can you be seen?

Gigs are rather thin on the ground with time taken up by album production. However, now it’s out there, I just need to finish writing my bio and then I’ll be sending my press pack to local radios, festivals for 2025 and other venues outside of regular haunts. BBC introducing is also an avenue I feel I must tread down.

Sound’s great, well I hope you can make the journey north to Merseyside so we can catch you live! Till then, where can our readers listen to the album?

You can listen to the album on most digital platforms; Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, YouTube etc. If listeners feel like supporting further, please contact me on my Facebook or Instagram, or email me at vbatchelormusic@gmail.comand purchase a CD. The CD version does have a beautiful poem written and performed by another brother of mine, Graham Batchelor and you also get all the artwork which I designed myself. If you don’t have the room for a CD (or don’t have a CD player) and would still like to support me, then the next best thing would be to pay for the downloads on Bandcamp. However just a listen and a follow is very much appreciated. I hope people enjoy it!  

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Tom Longman

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