The Phoenix Foundation have just returned from a one-month tour through Europe and the U.K., taking their recently released fifth double album 'Fandango' to international shores for the first time.
We got some phone time with frontman Samuel Flynn Scott, right before he shoots off again for their nationwide tour beginning this Friday. Here's what he had to say...
Hey there, how has your day been so far?
Well this morning I got my son ready for pre-school, and I've gone back to bed, and I've just been doing interviews from my bed.
Are more interviews planned, or do you have the rest of the day off?
This is the end really, and after this I'll probably go to the studio and start putting all our gear together for the start of the tour. We're flying up to Auckland tomorrow for a day of rehearsals, and then we'll be back into it.
How did the European tour go?
Yeah it was great! We had a good time over there. A tour's a bit of a full-on thing, you know, going on tour on the other side of the world, so if it doesn't go well you end up feeling a bit slated. You know, you start thinking 'oh what's the point, we're spending all that money' and 'blah, blah, blah'. But it was really good.
Were there any particular shows which stood out from the rest?
I really loved our Amsterdam show, we played in this awesome venue called the Paradiso. It was a little mini festival (London Calling Festival 2013) that Unknown Mortal Orchestra were also playing at. Amsterdam is just a great time all round.
How do you feel about the success of Fandango so far?
People seem to be really digging it. It's a bit of a slow burner album, but it's getting a good response. It's a double album you know, so it could have bombed really [laughs].
At what stage did you guys decide to go - "Let's do a double album"?
We had a lot of songs, and we actually dropped a whole bunch of stuff, it could have been longer. But it was the right tunes, the right pacing, which made it to the double vinyl. It wasn't a conscience decision to record enough stuff to make a double album. We were recording and recording, and it just seemed like a double album was the only option we had to put something out that made sense [of] the work we'd put in.
I understand it was recorded over various locations throughout New Zealand...
Well it was recorded in a barn in Featherstone, and Roundhead studios in Auckland, and a lot of it was recorded in our own studio (The Car Club, Wellington). We were just recording wherever we could, and [with] whatever we could afford.
Was there a noticeable difference in sound coming from the separate recording locations? The 'bush' and the 'city'?
Interestingly, it's pretty hard to tell what songs are recorded where, and I think that comes down to the mixing job that Lee Prebble did was really, really amazing. He took whatever we'd recorded and crafted it into a new sound. So it's almost like a new space created in the mixing that was what tied the whole album together. It doesn't really sound like this studio or that studio or anything, it kind of sounds like it's all on the same wavelength.
It's been described as Cricket test-match music, where did this come from?
I said that, and it was quite a flippant comment, I was just trying to think of a way to put a spin on how long it was, just trying to come up with something funny and 'throwaway'. But it got picked up by so many interviewers and the press. I ended up having to write a blog about the England/New Zealand test match series which was published in The Guardian. It's become a bit of a phobia for a lot of the press, which is funny because I love cricket, but there's really no association between the band and cricket; we're not some cricket band. But you know, anything that gets people talking about it (the album) is fine.
There's a lot of diversity on the album. There are poppy bits, long bits and trippy bits. Is there a specific aspect of the album that youare particularly pleased with?
Oh there are lots of bits that I'm really happy with, [and] how they turned out, but I think 'Sideways Glance' is a really excellent arrangement and recording. I'm pretty proud of the job that everyone did on that track.
The lyrics in 'Black Mould' are some of my favourites, they just roll so damn well with the rhythms of the track. Can you tell me a bit about the recording process...
Luke (Buda), was recording the demo of the music, and I kinda came up with the vocal approach, lyrics and the vocal timing quite quickly based on his arrangement. But I think the vocals came together so quickly because I was inspired by the energy that Luke brought to the recording of the demo. That's kind of the way it works with the band, once we've sketched a plan there's a bit of an inspired moment that can drive others to work quickly and come up with something good as well, and that's the joy of working with this band really. Everyone feeding off of each other's energy.
It sounds like a tight knit family within the band...
Oh it is. Sometimes it's 'happy families', sometimes it's, you know....[laughs].
Speaking of families, is it difficult juggling the band family with the actual family?
Yeah we're all in that boat, we're all in our thirties, and four out of the six band members have children. It's difficult, but we can shape things to work within our framework. [When] we go away on tour in Europe, we don't go away for three months at a time, we go away for one month. It makes it manageable.
So the final track on the double LP - 'Friendly Society' - is about the biggest thing you guys have ever done. Was it a journey to get to the final cut?
Well that track came together very easily. The recording was easy, and we didn't intend it to be so long, it just sort of happened. It's mostly a live take, and then Luke sort of extended and twisted a little bit with overdubs and things, and then [a take] of the band singing and chanting and playing percussion. Also [we had] Neil Finn and Lawrence Arabia jamming along with us, recording over the top of the live take. So it's pretty much just capturing a bit of a studio vibe, you know. It's a long, crazy thing, but it wasn't a super worked out progressive, rock music [track]. It captures a certain approach that the band has, a moment in time, I guess.
Is there a story behind the album title 'Fandango'?
Fandango means a useless or futile act. Well that's a modern interpretation of it, originally [it was] a Spanish dance involving lots of clapping or something. But you know, we thought the double album was a bit of a folly, so we wanted an album title to reflect that kind of sense.
And does the album artwork relate to the title at all?
Uhhh, well I don't know if it does [laughs]. We were looking through photos taken by my brother, and that's one of the things he sent through. We just loved it, it's E.T., but it also looks like a pre-European settlement utility or something. That's what drew us to it, you know, that faux-spiritual silliness.
Going back to the touring side of things; how has the new work been translating live? There's a spacious, psychedelic sound in there, has it been holding up in the live setting?
Yeah, it's great. I think the new album translates live wonderfully. There's a lot of room for experimentation, something to pull the audience into a strange, dark, psychedelic world. It went down really well in Europe and the United Kingdom, so I'm pretty excited about bringing it back to New Zealand. It will be really interesting to see how it goes down here but I think it's going to be a good time.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.