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Fyfe Dangerfield - The IndieLondon interview

Fyfe Dangerfield

Interview by Rob Carnevale

FYFE Dangerfield talks exclusively to IndieLondon about the forthcoming new album from Guillemots, as well as his own solo debut album, Fly Yellow Moon, and some of the inspirations behind the songs.

He also talks about his career to date, why he’s moved to continue pushing himself creatively, and which tracks he’s currently listening to and recommending to others!

Q. This must be a very exciting time in your career?
Fyfe Dangerfield: Yeah, I’m very busy at the moment but it’s kind of weird because my record’s out so I’ve been mainly dealing with new Guillemots stuff. We start recording really soon. We’ve been writing for ages and we’re at the stage of brushing things up and whittling down the list of songs.

Q. When do you anticipate getting into a recording studio?
Fyfe Dangerfield: We’re probably going to start in June. We were going to be in May but we’ve had a couple of complications.

Q. Is the new Guillemots album a mix of old and new? What can we expect?
Fyfe Dangerfield: We’re all really excited about it and it’ll be a bit of both. It’s definitely… bands always do the cliche of saying that the next record is the first true Guillemots record. But it’s certainly the first one we’ve had a decent amount of time as a band to play and write before we made the record. We’d been playing as a band for a while before the first album but only one or two of the things we wrote during that time made it onto the record. So, we didn’t have as much time as we’d have liked on our debut, and we didn’t have much time on the second album either. But this one felt like we’ve had a really long time to write together, which is exciting.

Q. Turning to your solo album, Fly Yellow Moon, you’ve said that you wrote it in snatched moments…
Fyfe Dangerfield: Yeah, it was kind of written throughout 2008 while I was busy touring with the Guillemots. I’d have an hour before sound check, or I’d be home and about to go out, so I’d sit down for 20 minutes or so and write something. It would just come out but that’s why I wanted to go into the studio and demo them. The demos then turned into a record. But it all came up about quite spontaneously. We didn’t do the whole record in one session, though. Some were brand new song that had no time spent on them, which gives them a freshness with the way they sounded. Other were acoustic, such as Don’t Be Shy, and there’s a bunch that we kind of did a few more things with and added strings to a few… I’m always a sucker for strings!

Q. What makes strings so appealing?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I like anything that’s a bit lush and dreamy… I just love strings. Maybe I should get over it though [laughs]!

Q. But they also add a cinematic sweep…
Fyfe Dangerfield: Yeah, they do. It’ll be interesting with the next Guillemots record, though, as we aren’t going to have the money to have strings. So, we’ve got to make it work with just the four of us. That’ll be more of a challenge but it’s good to have those limits sometimes.

Q. The new single, Faster Than The Setting Sun is released on April 26. What inspired that?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I seem to remember writing it after an arguement! It’s a song written from a place where things aren’t very good. I don’t really know, actually [chuckles]. With songs, you don’t really know what they’re about… you just feel something and shuffle your way around until the right words come out. But it’s a song about wanting to get away and having to come to terms with the way life is. I feel comfortable talking about music but as soon as it turns to the lyrics, I don’t know what I’m talking about [laughs].

Q. What can we expect from the forthcoming Bloomsbury Theatre shows (on April 27 and 28)?
Fyfe Dangerfield: Well, it’s basically the show I’ve been doing for the whole of the tour… it’s me with a couple of string players and it’s much more stripped down. I did one or two dates with a full band, which was fun, but I wanted these shows to be kept simple, which is also nice. The record was originally quite acoustic, so it’s nice to play a stripped down version of it. Part of the challenge then is to make it sound dynamic and interesting without a full band around you.

Fyfe Dangerfield, Fly Yellow Moon

Q. What kind of music inspires you in general?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I like anyone that isn’t afraid to make their own sound. I find it very inspiring when I hear a piece of music that doesn’t sound like anything else. I like the Wild Beasts and Stillness Is The Move by The Dirty Projectors is brilliant. The video is amazing too. It’s like a middle ground between R’n‘B and Arabic pop music and some Bjork thrown in. It’s a strange amalgamation of sounds. The collaboration between Flying Lotus and Thom Yorke is also great, And The World Laughs With You. Ilove it when different things come together.

Q. You’ve been quoted as saying that now you’re about to enter your 30s you still don’t feel as though you’ve achieved enough. Is that true?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I think it’s dangerous to rest on your laurels, to say: “I’ve done really well, now I’m going to take a two-year break.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I’ve done so far but I definitely don’t think it’s been anywhere near as good as I could have done. A lot of it is working hard. It’s easy in music to be complacent and just write when the mood takes you. But I want to keep working at it… And I’ve changed my whole approach recently. I’ve been writing loads this year and putting more into it… staying an hour or so after recording sessions to write new material. It’s taken me until I was 30 to realise that though!

Q. What’s been the most exciting or surprising response you’ve had to Fly Yellow Moon?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I don’t know really.. it’s always the more personal things. It’s more exciting for me to get an email from someone who is 50 or 60 years-ol saying that they’ve not heard anything modern that they’ve lined in a long time… until this. I’ve had several emails saying those kind of things… not word for word, of course. But when you actually connect with someone on that level, it’s more personal and it means more than reviews. In general , reviews tend to be written from some kind of context…. whether it’s what that person’s done before, or how you’re perceived. So, it’s nice when you get a pure response like that. I just hope the album will gradually get passed from person to person.

Q. Will you do more solo work? Or is the focus mainly on Guillemots again now?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I’ll definitely do more stuff for myself but at the moment it’s all about the band, yes. And the next thing will be pretty different anyway.

Q. Will you continue composing? I gather you’re writing for The Birmingham Symphonic Orchestra again?
Fyfe Dangerfield: Am I? I’m doing something… a big piece with a choir and maybe an orchestra. But I love orchestra music.

Q. How about composing a film score?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I’d love to do films…

Q. Have you put any feelers out?
Fyfe Dangerfield: I’ve been talking to one or two people. But instrumental music is what I hear in my head a lot of the time. I just ended up becoming known as a singer because I couldn’t find anyone else to sing them [my instrumentals/songs]. But I definitely want to do a lot more instrumental work as I move forward.

Q. Are you currently writing songs for other artists as well?
Fyfe Dangerfield: [Laughs] I said that in another interview… and I want to – I just haven’t really done it yet.

Q. What are the tracks you’re listening to at the moment?
Fyfe Dangerfield: Well, I’ve heard the new Kelis single is brilliant, so I’m looking forward to hearing that. There’s a track called Whats In It For? by Avi Buffalo… I heard that on 6Music and it’s really nice. I’ve also been listening to Doubtful Comforts by Blue Roses and then there’s the Flying Lotus/Thom Yorke collaboration I mentioned earlier, which is brilliant [And The World Laughs With You]. Slightly away from iPod territory… I was reading the Lightspeed Champion blog recently and they had a video link to a record by Theophilus London and a record they did with Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister. I think it’s called Flying Over Trees. I’m also looking forward to the new Villagers album. They’re on Domino and the album is called Becoming A Jackal.

Read our review of Fly Yellow Moon

Fyfe Dangerfield releases his new single, Faster Than The Setting Sun on April 26, 2010, and plays London’s Bloomsbury Theatre on April 27 and 28. His album is out now.

  1. Just checked out Fyfe’s recommendations and they’re cool. So is his album, get it. Can’t wait for new Guillemots either, or the London shows. This guy’s the new dude in music

    Simon    Apr 28    #