THE idiosyncratic songwriter tells EDWIN GILSON about responding to social turmoil and why her children are following in her footsteps

JANE Weaver’s music might provide an exquisite escape to her listeners but the woman herself has to deal with the same problems as the rest of us. “There are roadworks outside my house so I’ve got to move my tour van,” she says before our interview. Even an artist capable of the sublime is subjected to the mundane.

Since embarking on a solo career in the mid-2000s, Weaver has carved a niche for herself in the alternative world. She combines haunting, folk-y melodies with repetitive electronic rhythms. Her old band Kill Laura were on the record label run by the late Rob Gretton (“a really nice guy”), co-founder of Manchester’s iconic Hacienda nightclub and sometime manager of New Order. Weaver’s rich musical background has made for a wellrounded and, as she admits, single-minded artist.

“I like the camaraderie of being in a band but I’ve always insisted of being the songwriter,” laughs the singer. “Obviously that can cause some problems. It’s kind of awkward.” Modern Kosmology, Weaver’s eighth full solo album, was released last year to critical acclaim, cementing Weaver’s status as an artist who looks to break down conventions at every turn.

“You can get bogged down in the traditional way to write a song, which is why I like to challenge myself,” she says. “If I write a melody around a loop, it means I can get away from that verse-chorus-verse thing. When I started as a songwriter I always felt like I had to do traditional folk songs. But why? Songwriting should be a free-thinking thing where you can tap into all kinds of stuff.”  What gave her the platform to write in a more expansive way? “It’s just self-confidence, really. I’ve been doing music for more than 30 years. I live in my own bubble so it’s important for me to keep doing things in the same way.”

Weaver’s “bubble” came under fire last year, when the Brexit vote and the upheaval around that became impossible to ignore. In an indirect way, the social turmoil influenced the making of Modern Kosmology. “I find it hard to articulate myself and write something direct about topics like that,” she says. “But I was wondering what to do with all that sadness and energy. That was my take on the meaning of Modern Kosmology – taking the energy you have and creating something good.”

Weaver was born in Liverpool and grew up in Widnes, which she describes as a “chemical town with loads of horrible factories”. She’s been in Manchester for the last 20 years and says the music scene in the city is “always bubbling and industrious. Rob [Gretton] was always interested in keeping the industry in Manchester and saying that you didn’t have to go to London to get your music heard.”

An added bonus of the city is BBC Radio 6 Music being based there. Weaver is a favourite of the radio station and particularly DJ Marc Riley. Weaver’s husband Andy Votel is also in the music industry – he runs the label Finders Keepers. It seems inevitable that the couple’s two young children will be musically gifted.

“We’ve forced my daughter to play piano which has caused a lot of arguments over the years, but now she’s writing her own songs,” says Weaver. "I don’t pry, I let her get on with it. My son plays drums, too. They’ve always had music around them and come to the festivals I play at. They get dragged along.”

While life can feel like a drag sometimes, it’s forward-thinking music like Weaver’s that reminds us of the possibilities of human creativity. Although the singer admits that the life of a songwriter can be disorientating, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Being an artistic person is quite strange but music is always a great release.”

Jane Weaver, The Haunt, Brighton, October 22, 7pm,