Guillemots frontman Fyfe Dangerfield has released his debut solo album Fly Yellow Moon.
I had a few questions for him.
Jenny May: Hi Fyfe, hope you’re well.
Fyfe Dangerfield: Hey Jenny! Helloo .. hope you’re good too!
Why did you decide to record a solo album?
I didn’t really decide as such, I just had some free time before Christmas 2008 and thought I’d book 5 days in a studio with my friend Adam to demo some of the songs I’d written that year. And in doing that we ended up with a big chunk of what became the finished record – I think because we weren’t trying hard to perfect or construct anything as such, it came out quite, to our ears at least, fresh and raw sounding. Obviously not raw compared to Shellac or something, but raw in a kind of unpolished, simple way.
Fly Yellow Moon features a refreshing mix of sounds, beautiful instrumentation and I’ve always been a fan of your passionate and honest voice. What was the process of deciding which songs would go on the album?
Well thank you loads! We just recorded a lot and then tried to get a tracklist that worked. A lot of the tracks on the bonus album (there’s another 10 track album included in the special edition, which will hopefully then be released digitally later in the year) are to my ears just as good as ones on the main album, in fact I prefer some of them! But there was a real sort of narrative, in my head, to the record, it was really important to me from the start that it started and ended with the tracks that it does. Which caused some debate in circles around me, but I’m glad I stuck to what I thought in this case. I think generally when you have a gut feeling like that it’s right.
Who are the musicians playing on the album?
I’m playing guitars, bass, keys and stuff, and there’s two different drummers – Jamie, from the Noisettes, and a guy called Matt Ingram. Both are very different sorts of drummer, and both are wonderful. . it was really lovely working with some new people – you realise how much influence it has, who you decide to work with. . both of them had a massive impact on the tracks they play on .. but at the same time, working with Jamie and Matt, lovely as it was, made me appreciate what a special relationship I have with Greig [from Guillemots] as a drummer. You get different things out of working with different people, and I’ll definitely work with both of them again in the future, but at the same time, Greig’s undoubtedly the most unique drummer I’ve ever encountered. It’s a lovely position to be in as a songwriter where you can play things with different people. It’s sort of like being able to suddenly change the interior of your house at a moment’s notice.
Anyway, beyond that, it’s then just some string and brass players here and there. Bernard Butler plays guitar on She Needs Me and Laurence the studio assistant at the studio where we were finishing off some of the stuff in 2009 whistles on “High on the Tide”, because I can’t whistle!
How did it work out that you would work with (some of) them?
Well Jamie I just knew from ‘the circuit’, if you like. . we’ve known the Noisettes for a while, and I did a Rock Against Racism thing with Jamie and Drew from Babyshambles a couple of years back. Matt, I’d done a demo session with Emmy the Great with him once, and also Urchin, where we recorded – which we got put onto by a friend of a friend – turned out to be his studio… and an amazing studio it is, one of my favourites ever. A little wee place, but the atmosphere there is great.
Why did you name the album Fly Yellow Moon?
It’s the first line of “So Brand New”, which I think maybe sums up the record the most if I had to choose one track. It just seemed like a nice phrase to attach to the record as a whole, it somehow fits the way it sounds, to my ears anyway.
Will you be touring as a solo artist throughout 2010?
I’ve just done 4 shows in the UK last week, which were really really fun – by the last couple I felt I was really getting into my stride. I’m hopefully going to America in March for a couple of weeks, and then maybe some more shows in the UK later in the year. We’re not quite sure yet, we’re just going to sort of see what feels right. I definitely hope I’ll be doing some festivals in the summer, probably the smaller, nicer ones!
You’re involved with another music project, Gannets. How long has that been going and who is involved?
That’s been going a good few years now. It’s Chris and Alex who were the old Guillemots saxmen, my cousin Steve Noble on drums, and Dom Lash on double bass, and me on keyboards. My main thing with Gannets is I want us to get a record out this year, it’s just hard finding the time to mix down the various sessions we’ve recorded. Playing in Gannets is great fun though. It’s entirely improvised, so some gigs are much better than others, but it’s worth it for the gigs where we really hit it. And it’s just very fun, it’s far from being a chin-stroking “new music” group or anything. I always imagine a tiger running into a 1920s business meeting or something.. it’s that sort of gear for me.
Watch “She Needs Me” video:
It seems you have a fascination with birds. A Guillemot is a bird, Gannets are birds. Is it a fascination or something else? When did this begin?
I love birdwatching, but the name thing is just because I’m terrible with names, and I guess it just makes it easier – “okay, let’s name it after a bird”.
I’m sure fans will be wondering when the next Guillemots album is coming out…? Will you be recording another Guillemots album? How’s it going?
Hopefully we’ll be starting to record in the next couple of months. We’ve got a bit more writing and rehearsing coming up and at the same time we’re talking to producers and trying to find the right person to work with at the moment. We’ve been writing for nearly a year now so have loads of stuff we’ve amassed – I think we all feel we have it in us to make something really really special but we maybe need a bit of help from someone to tie all our ideas together. I’m currently trying to write some songs for the band too – which I haven’t done for a while as we enjoy writing together so much. But I feel sort of ready again to try bringing in some stuff to Guillemots, so that’s a new challenge for me too.
If you could spend the day anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Oh, I can think of many places but that’s my secret.
Who would you love to see cover one of your songs?
Neil Young. That would send me through the roof.
Fyfe Dangerfield on amazon.co.uk
Fyfe Dangerfield on amazon.com
For the latest music, tour dates and more, go to:
Fyfe Dangerfield Official Website
Guillemots Official Website