When Spector’s debut single Never Fade Away arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago it immediately gave the impression that this was a band to get excited about so I was delighted to get the opportunity to find out a bit more about them. The guys over at Noisey caught up with the band at their recent single launch and were kind enough to share the video with me. It provides a revealing insight into the world of lead singer Fred Macpherson, his obvious overwhelming passion for music and gives a taster of the band’s live show.
Norwegian singer/songwriter Thomas Dybdahl has already conquered his home-country with a string of awards and collaborations already under his belt. July 4th will see the release of his worldwide full-length debut Songs, a heartfelt album exemplifying his haunting vocals. I caught up with him (in a virtual sense) to provide you with a brief introduction to the man behind the voice.
How would you describe your music for anyone who hasn’t heard it before?
I wouldn´t. I hate doing it, it´s almost easier for an outsider to do it. Sometimes I say something about my music and listeners tell me I am way off… that´s not how they perceive it at all.
How did you get into music?
Got my first guitar when I was 4, but didn´t start playing properly until I was 10. There was always a lot of music in my house (I had 2 older brothers) and Prince and Michael Jackson were big heroes, but it wasn´t until I got into Metallica that I started to get into guitar seriously.
I was a shredder!!?
Where do you find inspiration for writing songs?
Anything that gets me thinking or sets me on fire. A story, a movie, a book, a song, a picture, anything really. Basically anything that I wish I had thought of before they did.
Have you always written in English?
I have done a few songs in Norwegian, but English has always been my main language for writing. English and american pop music was what I grew up with and it´s a big part of how I think when I write. It´s more than a language choice really, it´s almost part of the genre. Has its own sound and “singability”. It´s like an instrument.
Being so successful in Norway , is it strange having to build a fanbase from the beginning again in places such as the UK & US?
No, it´s the same way we´ve done it every other place. Start from scratch and do concerts, interviews, work, work, work. It´s part of the process.
Are there any specific artists who have influenced you?
Lots. I cant get away from Bob Dylan, The Band, Neil Young, Springsteen and all the other giants. There are others, of course, Serge Gainsbourg, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch, Tim Buckley. The list is endless
Are there any current artists you’d like to collaborate with given the chance?
Gillian Welch, I LOVE YOU
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
I am gigging like a mother”#%# this year, so that´s basically it. It´s a hectic year, but thats so much better than not having anything to do!
A few months ago I featured Friends Electric‘s latest single Something You Should Know. Since then things have been going rather well for the band with them being Radio 1′s Introducing band of the week complete with a slot at the Big Weekend next month. Add this to the fact that they have already had support from the likes of Ellie Goulding & Frankmusik, this is a band really starting to make a name for themselves. I caught up with the Welsh quartet in London to find out a bit more about them and their music.
First thing how would you describe your music because obviously you’re quite a new band so for people that don’t know much about you? Richard: The best way we describe it is electronic music played live by a band. There’s so many acts in dance music where you just get two guys sampling stuff. So the only thing we wanted to do and we felt really strongly about was to really get the live feel to it so live drums, live bass, me and Dan both play keyboard. We try to keep the human element, add that to the dance music and make that our sound.
How long have you actually been together as a band?
Dan: The four of us have been playing together for years, probably since we were 14 but the band has gone through so many stages. As far as Friends Electric playing the music we’re playing now and writing the songs we’re writing now probably about 4 years but before that we used to just jam together. We used to play a lot of guitar based music; being from Wales it’s hard not to do that.
So did you all go to school together?
Richard: We’ve been close friends since we were really young, Dan and Dean used to live next door to each other so they’ve grown up together and then the rest of us met in school.
Is the name of the band actually taken from Gary Numan’s ‘Are Friends Electric’?
Dan: It is taken from it but it’s not like we’re crazy fans.
Richard: We are fans of Gary Numan but it’s more because we thought it would fit our style of music.
Dan: We jut thought it was a cool name. It was that point that every band’s had when you’re saying this name, no, this name, no, and you’re just sick of thinking of names and you’re like what do we do. So Matt turned up at rehearsals & said check this out, Friends Electric and we just said yep done.
Is there anyone in particular that’s a big influence to you?
Dan: I think it’s music right across the board. We all share a house, so you come in in the morning for breakfast and you don’t know what’s gonna be playing. You could walk in one day and it’s Michael Jackson, the next day it’s some really cool motown stuff. There’s no one artist or artists or genre that we try to be like, we try to take the best bits of the best styles of music.
You’ve had quite a lot of support from BBC Introducing. Is it really as simple as uploading your music?
Richard: Yeah it is. At the start of November we uploaded it and the single was coming out end of November Within 3 or 4 months we got the call saying you’re gonna be the Introducing band for this week and that was it. It literally is as simple as that and obviously we’re greatful that someone else was into the music.
Dan: It probably seems for a lot of bands that it’s not that simple because it turns into such a big deal if it works, that you think it can’t be that simple, nothing’s that simple, but it is and then you go through the stages of it. They’re so supportive because they’re there to find new bands.
Richard: It’s a great team of people at Radio 1 and they’ve just got an amazing passion for new music. There’s always gonna be a constant stream of new bands and I think that they’re the people to start with really.
Dan: And they’re so encouraging and enthusiastic with new bands it’s great.
Are you actually headling the Introducing stage at the Big Weekend?
Richard: Yeah we only found out today. Are you nervous or excited?
Richard: We’ve only really know for about two hours so we haven’t really had time to digest it but we’re really excited about it.
Dan: We’re not thinking about headlining or whether we were on first we’d play the same songs with the same energy.
Matthew: We’re just privileged to be there really. Must be nice to have that sort of support
Richard: It’s the ultimate compliment really.
One of the biggest problems bands seem to have is songwriting. Do you have any particular process at all?
Dan: You never really stick to one process. Sometimes it’ll be just a piano part and a chord structure, then put a vocal over it. Or you could start out with a vocal idea. A writing process we’ve stumbled upon is to just let the song build itself. If it needs to do something we’ll let it do it, whatever feels natural. If it feels like it should die down a little bit and go quiet then that’s what happens. There are certain things you can do to help the song along but there’s only so far you can do that stuff. You can try and get a vocal out by humming stuff that turns into words but there comes a point if you’ve done that for too long then forget it and start something else.
Is remixing something you’ve always had a passion for or has it come from being electronic?
Matthew: It goes hand in hand really. When we started producing our own stuff we were lucky enough to get offers to mix for other bands and it’s a really fun thing to do, taking other people’s music and adding our own spin.
Richard: We hadn’t considered it to start with but as Matthew said it’s something that comes with the territory of being an electronic band. We were lucky we got to work with people like The Noisettes, Ellie Goulding and Kylie, when we were asked ‘do you wanna do this remix?’, we were like ‘of course we do’.
If you could choose anyone to remix your music who would you like to give it to?
Dean: Daft Punk!
Matthew: I’d love a Daft Punk remix
Richard: Yeah, the Soulwax remixes are always incredible.
Finally, what plans have you got for the future, are you gonna tour at all?
Dan: We’re of to L.A. in about two weeks to play a couple of showcases, we’ve got Radio 1′s Big Weekend happening, then we’re doing a Maida Vale session for Radio 1 & a couple of festivals. We’re doing Wakestock up in North Wales with loads of shows in between and hopefully an album by the end of the year.