Thursday, 26 July 2012

An interview with Fountains

Some songs take a few spins to get into. Some, such as 'Young Adult Friction' by POBAH and 'I'm so Unclean' by Evans the Death are songs you fall instantly in love with. 'Easily Led', the new single from London 5-piece Fountains is definitely in the latter camp. I've been playing it almost non stop all week. I caught up with Jonathan Head and Neil Bourke from the band.

Q:Your new single, Easily Led is fantastic. Could you tell us a little more about what the song is about?

JH: Thanks very much. I wrote the lyrics during the time of the London riots last year. I was working in an office job in Croydon at the time. I got stranded on the day it all kicked off, because the rioters had set light to the train station. I ended up getting a bus through Woolwich just as all the trouble was starting there as well – it was a scary few days. But the song is generally just about the way I was feeling at the time, and the way I perceived what was going on around me – socially, politically etc….though I think it was mostly just being miserable having to go to Croydon every day!

Q:The video is wonderful too. Who filmed it?

JH: We pulled in a massive favour from our friend; Dan Stetford. He does television and film production professionally on a large scale, and it was really nice of him and the camera man; Albert Van Der Meer to give up their time to do it for free. The whole thing was shot in one (very long) day in our old flat, and we pushed Dan to cut and edit it within something like 3 weeks to make sure it coincided with the release of the record – which is a very short time! We are happy with the results.

Q:Fountains seem to be quite new on the scene. Could you tell us who is in the band and how the band came about? Where some of you in Tracey's Love?

Bex Dean; Bass and Vox
Chris Haslam: Guitar
Darren Osborne: Guitar
Jonathan Head: Guitar and Vox
Neil Bourke: Drums

JH: Yes, all 3 of the guitarists were in Tracey’s Love. That was really our first attempt of putting a band together. Although we had a lot of fun with everything we did with that band, in all honesty we weren’t very good so we decided to take some time out to work on our abilities with our instruments and to construct more competent songs. We also added new members to the group (Neil and Bex), which really helped – as we wanted to have songs with a strong rhythm section.

Q:How do you write songs? Is there one main songwriter or do the songs come from jamming together?

JH: I would say neither really. Generally one of the guitarists will come in with an idea for a song and then the rest will then add their bits to fit around it. I write all of the lyrics, which again I just play around with and see what fits with what song. I think one of the most important thing is with our song writing is the re-writing process. Especially with Chris and Darren – once we have the basics of a song, they will listen back and listen back and make changes to ensure we get it sounding half decent. Which is normally the last thing you want to do once you have a song - you just want to play it, rather than keep changing it – but I am really glad they have that ethos – it makes all the difference.

Q:How biographical are Fountains' songs?

JH: My lyrics tend to start out more as stories or poems which I then adapt to the music – but yes I would say that they are mostly about things I have experienced or the way I feel about particular things. Which probably makes me seem like a really miserable person – which I’m not! I just find it a lot easier to write about the things that upset me, rather than those that make me happy. I would love to be able to write big summer time tunes like Spector or Voxtrot, but it just doesn’t seem to come naturally to me – and ends up all a bit of a cliché.

Q:The single has quite a classic C86 feel. Is that something you are aware of? What music inspires Fountains, do you like most bands have completely different influences?

JH: We get the 80s indie post-punk thing quite a bit, and yeh most of us do listen to a lot of those bands (The Wedding Present, Orange Juice, Field Mice etc) but we never intentionally set out to be some nostalgic indie pop band. I think it is probably because the band was put together in a bit of a rush (as we agreed to play some shows after just one rehearsal together as the 5 piece), so you tend to just fall back on what you know in those situations – and we know a lot about 70s + 80s indie music.
Though having our own identity as a band is something that is becoming more and more important (to me at least). People will always make comparisons with genres and other bands, and we are happy being a guitar lead indie band – but carving out your own sound, so that people know immediately that they are listening to a Fountains track is something we are keen to really work on. Though with most groups that normally takes years over 2-3 albums; like The Horrors.
But like you said; yes we all have different influences that we bring to the group (i.e. Bex is a classically trained pianist) which is key to creating something unique – and that we hope to explore further.

NB –as much as I love that c86 thing I wouldn’t say its our main influence. I am much more influenced by the more post punk side of things but saying that there is definitely still a nod to those bands in our songs.

Q:Who or what made you want to create music? Is it something that's always been inside you?

JH: I grew up in the Kent countryside, where no one was in bands (that were anything I wanted to listen to anyway). Then when I started university I met people with similar interests that were doing it, so I thought why not me – and gave it a crack!

NB – I started playing drums in secondary school – saxophone wasn’t cool any more and the kids had renamed it ‘sex-aphone’ – bad look. So naturally bands formed from drumming and I’ve never looked back!

Q:I was gutted to hear about you having to cancel the tour coinciding with the singles release? What happened there? Something about being let down by promoters?

JH: Yeh, basically because we are still a relatively new band, we had trouble booking a whole week of decent shows. So we had a schedule of some good shows, and some not so good shows – but then we were let down by some of the good shows by unorganised promoters, so we decided it wasn’t really feasible to continue with it – and we would wait until we hopefully get some better offers.

Q:What ambitions (if any) do you have for Fountains?

JH: Erm, I think like I said to continue to experiment with our sound to get it to a place that unifies the band – I know we have a lot more in us! We are planning to write and rehearse pretty heavily for the next few months (and possibly release another single later in the year) so that hopefully we can be the next one-to-watch indie band next year - and do all the festivals; indietracks, beacons etc.

NB – Like jon said we really want to get down to writing some pop classics haha

Q:Are there any up coming bands you've come across and we should know about?

We played the release show for the single last night, which we booked the line up for – and we had LostLeft and Fever Dream playing with. Both of which are definitely worth checking out.

Q:Finally, what is you favourite record, book and cheese?

JH: Record: WAY to many to choose from, but one that I can say had a real impact on me is Belle & Sebastian; If Your Feeling Sinister………but then also maybe New Order; Movement as well (if I am allowed two!)
Book: The Bell Jar; Sylthia Plath
Cheese: Applewood smoked cheddar

NB: Book – down and out in paris and London
Cheese – mange tout Bergerac Camembert
Record – owch. Don’t know if I can choose just one? Echo and the Bunnymen; Crocodiles had a big affect on me – and in complete agreement with New Order as well – but then again anything by the ramones could also cut it…

'Easily Led' is out now on Beautiful Strange Records:

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