Fyfe Dangerfield Interview
Guillemots front man, Fyfe Dangerfield, has just released his debut solo album Fly Yellow Moon to many gushing reviews (and a not bad one here at The Music Fix). He was gentlemanly enough to take time out from scoffing sprouts and quaffing champagne over the Christmas period to indulge TMF in a quick chat.
Were you trying to attempt anything with Fly Yellow Moon that you couldn't within a Guillemots album? Were you 'channelling' different influences?
I was just sort of having fun being in a studio really. I guess with both Guillemots records we were really consciously trying to construct something that really sounded like nothing else - which is a lot harder to do than hope to do, but it's good to try! Whereas with this record, I just wanted to focus on the songs really. In a strange way, it was quite liberating to not worry so much about the arrangements and sounds. I didn't want the record to sound retro, but I kind of wanted it to sound quite timeless and just use really classic intsruments - piano, guitar, bass, drums and so on . . . so I suppose that's how it's different to Guillemots. Plus about half the record is just voice and one instrument, so it just seemed to make sense to do it by myself.
What tracks are you most proud of?
I think maybe 'So Brand New' is my favourite - I'm really happy with the lyrics on that one and just had a great time recording it - it was so quick to make and such fun to sing. I like singing lower, I want to day way more of that.
Was there a particular reason for working with Bernard Butler on a couple of tracks? Were you a Suede fan?
I was, yes. I think those first two Suede records are great. Our paths have crossed a few times over the last few years, and there were two tracks on the record that we just felt could have a bigger sound in the mix than we had, and he'd expressed an interest in doing something with me, so it seemed like the right time. Most of the recording had been done by the time I met up with Bernard, but I did persuade him to add some guitar on 'She Needs Me', which is quite cool as I used to prance around at home in my room playing along to Suede records kind of pretending to be him.
I've always thought your vocals are a bit more 'expressive' than what we expect from male singers these day - your work on 'When You Walk In The Room' perhaps being the best example here. Who do you admire vocally?
That's a really nice thing of you to say, thankyou! I love so many different singers, but I find that often it's so much more about the inflections and so on in the way someone sings then the technicalities of their voice. It's often individual tracks that get me too, rather than everything someone sings. A vocal that blew me away recently is Thomas Feiner on the track 'Dinah and the Beautiful Blue'. That absolutely stopped me in my tracks. Also, Stornoway's performance of 'Fuel Up' on Jools Holland, and 'For Your Lover Give Some Time' by Richard Hawley, those are another two recently that have really got me. And 'Sweet Dreams' by Beyonce. Alicia Keys too. . . both those two are amazing when they go up high, they both have a bit of grit in their voices up there which is pretty hot to listen to. You should listen to Nina Simone singing the Sandy Denny song 'Who Knows where the Time Goes' too - on Spotify somewhere. It's a really bad live recording but beautiful.
Has work been started on new Guillemots material yet? Will there be a change in direction? Any thoughts on when it might be released?
We haven't started recording yet but hope to in the next few months. But we've been writing for most of the last year. We wanted to spend a long time, amassing loads of material, so that we had time to really work through everything that was coming out of us and find a sort of coherence, a direction we wanted to go in. I think we're really starting to get a sense of that now, but it's quite hard to explain. Sort of ... lost, but hopeful.
Who were your favourite artists of the noughties? Do you have a favourite album of the decade?
I'm terrible with these 'favourite' questions. Why don't I just say Bon Iver like everyone else? There's tonnes of other albums I love but that one is pretty haunting.
Any tips for next year in terms of new artists/bands?
Sadly, I'm pretty out of touch and haven't been out to see any new bands in ages. I'm hoping to have time in February to do that. So I can't really think of any new artists, except Stornoway, who have some songs that I just love, but everyone's on the case with them now anyway! I heard the Hot Rats covers record yesterday though. I guess they're sort of a new band. That's pretty cool... really cool actually! Actually, one record I should mention is 'Tradesman's Entrance' by the Courtesy Group. I've got a bit of a biased angle on it, but that's a new record that I DIG! Good Thursday morning music. It's on i-Tunes etc...
Will you be making any New Year's resolutions?
No, more general "I need to sort my life out, starting with my head" resolutions are my thing at the moment
A big 'thanks' to Fyfe from TMF!