The London via Fleet hypnagogic three piece sit down with us to talk about where they came from, their debut album The World Within Our Bedrooms and their love of Beach House.
Apologies if you’ve been asked this question over and over again but given that I’m also from a small town in the middle of nowhere, tell me about your experiences growing up in that environment?
It was an isolating place. Before I met Johnny and Charlie, I didn’t really know many people in my town at all. So I was spending a lot of time in my bedroom, making a more vivid and exciting world and more life that felt more like I fit within my own company. Meeting these guys as well, we found out we lived like 5-10 minutes away from each other. So it kind of became this triangular life of like, I’m here, Jonny’s there, Charlie’s there, just kind of going like this back and forth. We all just felt like we didn’t belong in Fleet at all, using music as an escapism and trying to make a world where we all felt comfortable. It just wasn’t too much of an inspiring place to grow up in and kind of having to find that motivation within ourselves I guess.
What sort of reactions did you get from audiences when you initially played on mixed bills across London?
We’ve had quite a variety of different responses over the years. You can get variation from that from a singular crowd specifically to see us as well. People have been honest and said it’s not for them but others who’ve been surprised and gotten into what we do which comes with the nature of being on a mixed bill. We’ve also had people give us feedback, shouting stuff like “MORE CHORUS” at Charlie. We get a lot of comparisons to acts like The Cranberries and specifically the Twin Peaks TV show soundtrack. We don’t get that as much anymore as I feel like we’ve evolved the sound. But we’ve rarely ever played with many bands that we share super common interests with. We did however play with a band called The Goon Sax where more things alined together. The funny thing is, we kept in contact with them and they’re now moving to London, we even ended up releasing our albums on the same day!
I think even though we ended up playing with more punk bands and aggressive shit there’s a crossover in interest when it comes to post-punk and slowcore where we fitted in more easily. A lot of people that were going to see the heavier bands definitely were already accustomed.
The track that stuck out for me the most was “Walking Talking Marathon”, where did the inspiration for that song come from?
That song was written over lockdown in about four minutes, it was all improvised. I had been watching this mockcumentary by a man called Peter Greenway called The Falls where he goes through a list of all these peoples names, the last which begins with F A L L, they’ve all been a victim of this thing called the VUE, which has made them have all these strange tendencies. They become obsessed with birds, have an extra sense of smell and start talking in weird colloquial languages. So I was watching that and all these words started popping out to me. I like to try and reduce as much friction between me and the melody and the song as I can. And if I have these words in front of me, my mind tends to pick them up and buttons of association and there’s associations in my head normally come from things that have been going on in my life and are a way of expressing yourself in a very abstract way. I had my Korg machine going and essentially not much of it changed apart from in post production where a few harmonies were added in later. I altered like one or two words but that’s about it. I was listening to a lot of Algebra Suicide at the time and wanted something more playful on the album really.
So would you say that the lyrics are mostly autobiographical? Or do they sort of exist in their own medium.
There are moments in there which are definitely about me. Maybe the bit about the clouds and losing contact with the party friends. And then you have, like a bit about falling in love and, and you know, “Let’s be a collective now”. And then going on to walking and talking marathon, which is kind of, to me, it’s kind of like having someone falling in love, having that beautiful back and forth. Because the sound kind of goes back and forth a little bit, and kind of meanders around those words.
There’s a few songs that incorporate stop-start elements in the structure, what was the thought process behind including those?
It’s interesting that seems to be something that some people pick up on, because I don’t think we ever really thought about that at all. It’s just like, you know, when you write a different song, I guess the process of songwriting, you write sort of sections of songs, and then you end up just combining different sections. It’s not just because we think, oh, we might combine this section, this section and there be different tempos and then, yeah, that’s quite boring. It’s true. It’s an honest answer. Like, when we were recording I didn’t even notice it that much really.
It’s one of the more interesting ways to write dream pop for sure, it reminded me a lot of Black Country, New Road minus the sheer abrasiveness and confusion.
I just saw it being mentioned in reviews quite a lot and, like “Secret Plan”, I guess. We thought a lot about the flow. So trying to view songs in a rhythmic dance the way I suppose. If you’re dancing through a song, it’s nice for the tempo to increase a bit and stuff and go around. Like in “What’s on your Mind?”, the end part where it does speed up a lot, we didn’t have that part until we got to the studio, we had everything else. And then it was the second song we were recording.
Do you take advantage of that in live scenarios?
I think we want to experiment a bit more with that, actually, we want to, I guess we’ve been thinking about it for a while of having our songs flowing more into each other live. It’s like turning the lights on sonically. The Orielles are a great example of a band who do that well, we’re always thinking of ways to present our recorded music differently live to bring about unique experiences.
How did you all get introduced to the genre of dream pop? These days it’s a lot more understood in the mainstream but 10 years ago I feel like Beach House were still fairly niche.
I felt totally in love with this girl when I was 15. And we would talk quite a lot, she recommend this album called Depression Cherry by Beach House. And then a week later, I was going to Brighton with my parents and we went to a record store and I saw it there. And I was like, “Oh, maybe if I listen to her, she’ll fall in love with me as well”. I listened to it. I really loved it. She didn’t fall in love with me. And then we stop seeing each other. That’s the story really!
Yeah I think people need to get over this worry of not seeming cool for getting into a genre through a big artist.
It’s a shame when people do that, they just want to be like “Ooh I listen to music that no one else knows about” and when they suddenly get big they deny ever liking them in the first place.
Pre COVID, what was the biggest show that you played?
We supported The Orielles at Manchester O2 Ritz in February 2020. That feels like a complete lifetime ago now!
Were the socially distanced shows weird for you?
Yes, I think we were all terrified. The whole time I was like “If I leave the venue now is it all over”? This was the first time we’d also played for over an hour, normally it’s like 35 minutes or whatever but yeah I was scared the whole time and never really had a chance to calm down. But I know it will get easier over time and to be honest I feel like when people watch us they don’t really know what to do with themselves standing, so a seated audience actually worked a lot better in our favour. At the same time though you can’t really feel the energy of the audience in the same way, it’s a lot more dispersed so I think we ended up feeling a lot more lonely on stage if that makes sense?
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I think just more gigging and recording really, there’s plenty of people that we want to see and it’s nice to have a human interaction in regards to people enjoying what we’ve made! Every time we rehearse we always stop what we’re doing to make sure someone at least has a phone recording for next time.
The World Within Our Bedrooms is out now, purchase here.