Bandwagon noun (pl. bandwagons) 1. A large wagon used to carry a band of musicians in a parade.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A few words from Fyfe

Guillemots on stage at RockNess

Family holidays in France usually involved in-car arguments about what music to listen to. But thankfully my sister came to the rescue one year when she produced two albums - ‘Through The Windowpane’ and ‘Red’ by Guillemots.

I don’t go on family holidays of the same vein anymore but if I were to I’m sure any family squabbling could be calmed by Guillemots’ latest album ‘Hello Land!’. The foursome is to release three other albums this year and the Norwegian countryside is their chosen recording site.

I was lucky to meet the mellow Fyfe Dangerfield this Summer at RockNess. And in case you were wondering, he was fashioning a slightly less lion-like mane than I’ve seen in the past!

Hello there there, Fyfe!

You’ve been known to use quite weird sounds in your music, like a typewriter. Are there any other sounds that you’d like to use in the future?

The sound of a golden eagle maybe, yeh.

Would you ever think about actually going out to catch one?

I wouldn’t capture the golden eagle but I’d capture the sound! There’s a lot of bird sound on our next record. We’re doing four records this year. On the summer one we’ve got quite a lot of birdsong already. There’s a bird called a yellow hammer and a fieldfare.

Why do you like birds so much?

I don’t know! My mum and dad got me in to them as a kid and I was stuck.

What’s your favourite bird?

Well, that’s difficult. I can maybe give you a top 20. I did see a bird called the black woodpecker in Norway that I’ve never seen before. It’s not my favourite bird but it’s quite exciting.

A black woodpecker!

What’s it like recording in Norway?

It’s just amazing. We’re hidden away from everything in the hills in our own little zone. It’s lovely. It’s gunna exhaust us this year but the Summer record’s sounding good.

Why did you choose four albums this year?

Well it started as “Let’s do something each season”. It began as an E.P. each season and then it turned into an album.

Is each one intended to reflect a season?

It’s not songs about the seasons but the sounds of them.

How many songs will you have on each album?

I thought it was gunna be eight on each but the Summer one’s gunna have ten I think. It will be somewhere between eight and ten on each one.

So you’re not struggling to get creative inspiration?

No, it’s not at all difficult to get things going. The hard part’s always finishing things.

The first of four albums this year

What would Guillemots be if it were a country?

Narnia I think.


It seems like quite an exciting place. I just haven’t found the wardrobe yet.

Are the Narnia chronicles your favourite books?

I don’t know. I read them as a kid. I should re-read them as an adult. I really liked them but I haven’t re-visited them yet.

What’s your favourite current book?

I really like Murakami, the Japanese writer. I’ve been reading a lot of his stuff. There’s one called ‘Kafka on the Shore’ and ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’…amazing. It’s the everyday world but there are always these sort of parallel worlds going on.

What do you think about tweeting?

I sort of tweet sporadically. My ex-girlfriend actually joined me on to it. I think she knew it’d be good, that I’d enjoy it but she just did it and then wrote to a couple of people pretending to be me! 

I think we have to be very careful with the way the world’s going with all that ‘cos your brain just gets swamped with shit. I’m not anti the Internet but I think you need to ration yourself. It’s dangerous otherwise.

What will the ratio of instrumental to vocal tracks on your new albums be like?

In a way I’m trying to do less vocal stuff but then it varies. I love both. I find it weird being known as a singer ‘cos I always wanted to do music but I never planned to be a singer. It was just that I wrote stuff and someone had to sing it. So I do try and make sure I do stuff that isn’t about my voice. And Arista is singing a lot more at the moment.

Do you think your fans prefer vocals to instrumentals?

I don’t know. You can’t pay too much attention thinking about what people want from you because you get lost. I don’t mean it in a shitty way, like “Fuck the audience”. I just mean I think people liked us in the first place ‘cos we were doing our own thing.

A few years after the first album was out I felt like I started listening too much to what people wanted us to do. 
It defeats the purpose of doing music in the first place, which is to make a pure expression of something. As long as we’re really genuinely enjoying what we’re doing I think that comes across and other people love it hopefully.

How does having members from four different parts of the world affect the band?

We’re a bunch of misfits and it helps us sound a bit different I guess because we didn’t grow up in the same culture. I think I purposely tried to find a completely odd selection of people ‘cos we fit in this strange way and we all connect with what we like in music.  

'Up On The Ride' from album 'Hello Land!'


Interview with Fyfe Dangerfield by Sophie Ellis at RockNess Festival 2012, Saturday 9th June 2012.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Little Comets Come to Life

Robert, Michael & Matthew at RockNess Fest

I'm overjoyed to report that my favourite current band, Little Comets, are on the new Radox ad. This should boost their fan-base to a more deserving figure. It's no surprise that someone has finally caught on to their catchy, feel-good tunes and 'Dancing Song' represents Radox's 'Come to life' slogan brilliantly. Good on you, lads!

I caught up with the trio earlier this Summer for an interview and a quick game of 'Would you rather...?'

Radox's 'Come to life' ad feat. Little Comets

What’s your earliest memory of music?

Robert: My mum and dad took home videos of me and Micky when we were like 5 or 6 just being generally quite naughty and they put a soundtrack over them so instead of us speaking to each other it would be music that they liked and associated with that moment. So a track called ‘Beautiul Boy’ by John Lennon. I always get a swell of something when I listen to that song and I think it’s cos my dad associated that with me and Micky when we were little.

Why do you guys think the North East is producing such good music at the moment?

I don’t know. There are a lot of really good bands. We were listening to Mammal Club yesterday. That’s just fantastic music. How somebody hasn’t picked up on that I don’t know.

I think Newcastle is quite an isolated place and the North East is pretty isolated so it has a real sense of identity in its music. And I think we notice a lot of North East music has the same melodic intonations from, like, Northumbria folk music. So if you listen to Sting or Dire Straits or, more recently, Maximo Park, you can hear certain phrases. It’s not that people copy each other, it’s just inherent, it’s like from the land. You almost inherit it.

You (Robert) use lots of different parts of your mouth to song and that makes you guys sound really distinctive. How did you learn to use your voice like that?

Robert: I’ve just always sang how I’ve sang. I didn’t used to be a singer. I used to be just a bass player who did backing vocals and then the singer left. Cos we’d already written the songs and it was somebody else singing our songs. And then when he left, which was in sixth form, no one else wanted to sing so I did! And from singing really bad Bon Jovi covers when we were 14. The more you do it the more you learn your way of doing it.

Did you ever have any lessons?

Robert: I did, I went for a bit cos I was having trouble a few years ago looking after my voice. I’d be able to sing in the house but when I went on stage I found my throat constricted and I found it really difficult to hit certain notes. So I went to lessons for a few months and learnt loads of vocal exercises. And I think more than anything else it was learning how to breathe properly and relaxing and singing loads. I’m quite relaxed on stage now cos I know that I’m not overstretching it. I think as a band we’re a lot more relaxed. I think we’re a lot more comfortable.

If you could only eat one colour of food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Robert: Green. It’s good for you. It would be harsh to do, so if you did it you might as well do it for healthy reasons. Or you could blend food together to make it green. Yellow food and blue food.

If Little Comets were a Disney character what would you be?

Oh dear…I don’t do Disney. What’s Monsters Inc, is that Disney as well? One of them, the nice on in that, the big blue one.

Sully! Why?

Cos he’s big, fluffy and blue. Is there any more reason to like anything!

The boys released their first album last year

Who came up with the idea of hanging the percussion instruments on a rope above you while you play?

Robert: I did. It’s cos we figured that if we had to pick them up you’d panic and just drop them when you’re finished with them. So you could smash them. So it was more efficient to string them up because then we’d get more use out of them.

I saw you had a book of knots before playing…

Matthew: Ah no, Biffy Clyro’s guitar tech was on the side and he was like “Do you want a hand tying your knot, like?” And I was like “Oh no I’m fine like, I love me knots, I quite like me knots.” And he was like “You’ll like this” and just got a book of knots out. I was like “That’s brilliant, we should get married!”

'Jennifer' from May's EP Jennifer and other short stories

We’ve got a quick game of Would You Rather.

Ohh we love this game. We’ve tested this game to absolute destruction.

But we didn’t want to go too filthy (normally we probably would)… We’ll start with some easy ones…

Would you rather…be a golf club or a cricket bat?

Cricket bat.

Would you rather…only ever wear orange or black?


Would you rather…be a king or a ninja?

A ninja.

Would you rather…drink a shot of someone else’s urine or a pint of your own?

Robert: A pint of me own.

Michael: I think a shot of someone else’s, depends who.

Would you rather…constantly be crying or constantly be sneezing?

Unanimous: Sneezing. I quite like sneezing.

Would you rather…only be able to shout or to whisper?

Unanimous: Whisper.

What’s the best ‘Would you rather…?’ that you guys have come up with?

Matthew: Oh no…not a good idea to ask us that question!

Robert: The one I’d like is would you rather go to prison for life for a crime you didn’t commit or kill someone and get away with it?

In the dressing room backstage at RockNess


Interview with Little Comets by Sophie Ellis at RockNess Festival, Sunday 10th June 2012.

Pulling at my heart-strings...

Duo Sam Sure (right) & Giacomo

Yep, that's right. He's a hottie. And I'm afraid I'm not referring to you this time, Giacomo. It's Sam who's looking unquestionably suave in the boys' new black & white video for 'I Need a Drink'. I heard (and loved) this number two years ago watching the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading Festival. They had a mad crowd that day and I've been waiting ever since to hear news that the lads have propelled their beats out of the studio to the masses. 

This hasn't happened (yet?) but I have a big soft spot for the boys. The release of their EP 'Low' on iTunes this week will hopefully send them onwards and upwards. There's a real sense of depth in their music and the interactive 360 degree video for 'Dark Inside' from earlier this year visualises the disjointed, heavy-hitting emotions in the song. Their new vid is a juxtaposition in its simplicity. But this is what makes it mesmerising. We're forced to really listen to the words being expelled from Sam's mouth and see the creases of expression in his face. Beautiful stuff.

Catchy & heartfelt - 'I Need a Drink'