Monday, January 28, 2019
Newly formed alt-rockers Absent Fathers Sing & Tell on debut single 'The Vanishing'
Formed in Birmingham in late 2018 from the ashes of Brum veterans Freelance Mourners, the four-piece alt-rockers Absent Fathers (lead singer Liam Brown is also a published author, with his 2017 novel Broadcast recently being snapped up by a major Hollywood studio) make their debut with 'The Vanishing', released on January 3.
Who are you?
I’m Liam Brown, lead singer and guitarist for Absent Fathers. Other members are my brother, Aidan Gorbanzo, on drums; my cousin, Andy Oakley, on bass, and James Barber on keys and backing vocals. Our debut single also features inimitable singer/songwriter, Bethany Jean Conroy.
Tell us something about yourself and how you came to be where you are today.
We’re based in Birmingham, and all are former members of another group Freelance Mourners (2006-16). Over the years our musical tastes changed and we felt limited by the baggage of our previous band, so we decided to knock it all down and start again from scratch. It was the best decision we could have made: I’m now making the music I’ve been hearing in my head all my life.
Give us an idea of your musical style and influences.
When we started the group, I was obsessed with the New Order album, 'Power Corruption and Lies', so that was a big influence initially. Also, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Pixies, The Replacements, Buzzcocks, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse, as well as Daft Punk (there’s a fair amount of vocoder splattered across the new album!). I also like to think our sound reflects the paradoxes of the city we come from. Birmingham is sometimes pictured as a soulless concrete nightmare, haunted by the ghosts of heavy industry and gang violence. Yet scratch the surface and you find a genuine sense of community based on its blend of cultures. Drive around with your windows down and you’ll hear heavy metal, reggae, grime bhangra and jazz, all happily co-existing. That mix has always bled into the city’s best music, and hopefully you can hear it ours too.
Explain the production and writing process behind your songs.
The music is composed by the four of us bouncing ideas off one another until something sticks. I’ll generally go away and write lyrics to fit over the music. My day job is a novelist, and so I quite often find the themes from my books bleeding into the music. My latest novel, Skin (out May 1), is a dystopian novel, focusing on themes of isolation. I think that definitely comes through across the album, especially on 'The Vanishing'. In a way, it almost functions as a soundtrack to the novel.
Tell us a little about your new single.
'The Vanishing' is the first song we wrote as a new band, in our first ever practice. It just came out of the ether fully formed, like a gift. Like much of the new album, the lyrical themes are vaguely apocalyptic. I’m a big fan of storytelling through song, but I also like to leave room for interpretation, so the song has a fractured narrative, full of cryptic imagery like gasmasks, hazmats and gridlocked cities. We were lucky to be joined by my friend Bethany Jean Conroy on the bridge, which I really think lifts the song. She’s just got such a unique voice and delivery. As for the video, we shot it for about four quid in my cousin’s basement. Our drummer Aidan directed and edited the whole thing, so the fact it looks so good is all down to him!
Can we catch up with you at any forthcoming live shows?
Our debut album, 'Swimming Lessons', is coming out in February, so we’ll be looking to do a few gigs to support it. We’re also in talks with a promoter in Tokyo about a few gigs over there too, which is exciting. It would be nice to be big in Japan, but I’d settle for being average sized in Birmingham first.
How's the year looking, plans-wise?
Busy! We’re already deep into the process of writing the next album, and are looking to record again in March, so hopefully they’ll be another album out before the end of the year. We also have plans for two more music videos to support 'Swimming Lessons' that should be out in the next month or so.
Where can we hear more of your music?
'Swimming Lessons' will be available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and most other platforms on Feb 14. Think of it as a hideously deformed Valentine’s Day gift from us to you...
What social media platforms can we find you on?
You can stalk us here:
Instagram // Twitter