Friday, October 09, 2015
Interview :: Fossa
Following our recent Track Of The Day for London band Fossa's 'Silo', we now grab a few words with the men themselves.
This interview originally appeared in Norwich music blog Howl Shout Scream. For this and more music profiles, you can reach their site with a click here.
Words: Ross Cummins
Was a fantastic surprise to see Fossa are on the bill for the Norwich Sound & Vision Festival here in Norwich on Sat 10th October.
I’ve been following the progress of this band for the last few years so it’s good to see they are finally getting some good support slots. Things seem to be amping up a gear, so I contacted singer Louis Shadwick to discuss the bands recent exciting events:
You have a short tour lined up with Born Ruffians, how did that come about, you must be looking forward to it?
We’ve been really looking forward to these shows – it’s exciting to be heading up to Manchester for the first time as we’ve wanted to play there for ages. We received the offer through our agent to support them on the UK leg of their current tour and thought it was a great match.
Your lyrical style reminds me of Arthur Russell or Edwyn Collins from the 80s band Orange Juice. What are your main vocal influences?
I think the first male singer I really loved was Jeff Buckley – he could switch between soft vocals to full throttle pretty much effortlessly. After him it’s probably Elliott Smith. He didn’t have a classically great voice and always said he struggled with it live, but on recording he sang in a very soft stylised way and it’s one of the most distinctive voices to me.
On your new EP 'Static' you skilfully blend electronic elements with acoustic instrumentation which reminds me of Radiohead/James Blake. Did it take you a long time to find “your sound” or do you see your sound as still progressing?
I’m always looking out for new music and wanting to incorporate new ideas or influences into the songs we’re making. I think the moment a band settles on a sound permanently is the moment a band becomes boring, so I’d always want our music to be something that’s evolving – the challenge of making something that sounds new is what keeps me excited.
What process do you use for writing lyrics, does the melody come before the lyrics or do you layer your vocals over the instrumentation?
I don’t really have a set way. Sometimes I’ll scribble down some words when they pop into my head and then the music is written later. Other times both come together at the same time and it all feels very natural. I try and avoid waiting too long before joining the two together though, otherwise it’s easy to lose sight of what the song was intended to be in the first place.
The backdrop for your video 'Static' is really impressive. I like the noir quality / how it turns from night to day. Did it take long to film, I hope you didn’t stay up all night?
We actually filmed it in reverse to try and avoid having to stay up all night, but it took a long time to shoot anyway! The whole video revolved around that 45 minutes of twilight and catching the sun going down (or up), which meant packing in as many shots as possible into a tiny window of time. On either side of that we spent a long time getting the light right and making sure the moments in darkness looked as dramatic as the sunrise shots. We were all really happy with how it turned out.
Did growing up in London have an influence on your music?
I’m sure it did, but I’ve never really written a song about London… Saying that, being in such a massive city definitely used to get to me. I was really interested in how so many people wander through huge crowds every day but most of them are alone and don’t interact with one another. I think it definitely affects your psychology. People in the city are more detached and reserved than the people you meet outside it.
Are you looking forward to playing the Norwich Sound and Vision Festival, have you ever been there before?
Our drummer Joseph is from Norwich, so this is pretty much his homecoming gig… For the rest of us it’s essentially a first time experience that we’re all very much looking forward to.
At what point did you realise you wanted to be in band?
My first bands just sort of happened when I was really young and writing my first songs, and it just seemed the natural way to put them together. I’ve always arranged music for more than one musician, and I met Tom (on guitar) very early on, so it quickly turned into a collaborative thing. Then Will, Tom’s twin, got involved on bass and it all progressed very naturally from there.
What stand out gigs / festivals have you played this year?
We played a really memorable show with a great crowd at Koko London back in the summer, and also Liverpool Sound City was an awesome festival to be a part of.
Can you recommend any good albums that you are currently listening to?
I’m really into the new Beach House album. It’s a bit slower and less poppy than their previous stuff but once I got into it I’ve started to think it might be their best yet. And since it came out all of us have been listening to the latest Tame Impala record a lot. Slightly jealous of his synth collection.
What are your plans for this year and do you have anything to declare to your adoring fans?
We have a few exciting things in the pipeline but can’t say too much about those just yet.. After these shows we’ll be playing with Kins at the Sebright Arms in November which should be good fun, and there’ll be lots more shows over the coming months that we’re just lining up now. Other than that we’ve been working on tons of new material, which hopefully people will be able to hear soon.
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