[This interview was originally published on April 2, 2010]
Last week I mentioned Fenech-Soler as one of the standout performances I saw at SXSW. They took full advantage of their audience (as a band should) in Austin, playing many many shows. One of which was fittingly at Vice for Hype Machine’s Lose Control Party where they won over an unfamiliar late-night crowd. Minutes into their set everyone was singing and dancing along, a club setting the band is quite familiar with.
Prior to their show I chatted with the band at Moonshine Cafe where we enjoyed a much needed break from the chaos and soaked in the sun (which was unfortunately rare that week.) Check out what they had to say below and keep an ear out for Fenech-Soler’s full-length this summer!
Where did you guys fly in from?
Ben: New York via Houston.
>You’ve heard of SXSW before I assume, have you attended before?
Daniel: First time in America for all of us.
Ben: It’s been great, the sun is shining. We played a gig last night that went really well.
> Where did you play?
Ross: Up the road actually, Latitude 30.
Ben: I think that’s where a lot of British bands are playing
‘People tend to love the heavy bass when they’re drunk.’
> Oh the British Embassy –
Ben: SXSW is one of those things that most bands, whether you’re here or wherever you are in the world, tune in and get a sense of what’s going on. Last year we paid attention to it but I think this is the first year we’re ready to come and be involved with it. So yeah we’re really excited to be here, it’s wicked!
> What do you expect or hope to get out of playing [SXSW]?
Ben: Meeting loads of people. Seeing new bands is also kind of key here. We’re definitely one of those bands that likes to go watch other bands, not just play and fuck off.
Daniel: Soak up the American culture, get some really good food.
Andrew: Basically eat a breakfast everyday that means I don’t have to eat for the rest of the day. That’s the general rule.
> Are there any bands you’re hoping to see while here?
Daniel: Miike Snow is playing tonight, definitely want to see [them.]
Ben: The Muffs are playing apparently. I used to really like them when I was 16, which was awhile ago. I intend to go see them. Holy Fuckas well.
‘We’re definitely one of those bands that likes to go watch other bands, not just play and fuck off.’
> Fenech-Soler had a hand in the new Groove Armada record, how did that come about?
Ben: Tom from Groove Armada came to one of our shows and liked what we were doing. We also know Saint Saviour who is now their singer. They sent over loads of unfinished material off their new album [Black Light], not really specifying anything but basically said “If there’s anything you can add production wise, just have a go with it.”
We did that for a few days and sent some stuff back. Paper Romance (although it wasn’t called that at the time) just kind of stood out even at that point. We did it quite quickly really and didn’t know it was going to be on the album, didn’t even know it was going to be the single! It’s been a really positive thing for us to not only see how they work but at the same time progress our name.
Daniel: They’re really good guys, obviously really established. It was great for us to play bigger shows and experience that with them, they’ve been really good to us.
Ben: Very supportive.
> How far along are you on your own material?
Ben: We’re pretty much finished with the album, we’ve just got some tweaking to do.
Ross: We’ve done it sort of DIY at home which is kind of how the band started.
Ben: We’re really excited, we set coming to America as a point in the calendar to really get stuff done by. We’ve probably failed. [all laugh]
Andrew: We’re very close though!
> Through the process were you testing out new material in your live shows to see what works?
Ross: There was quite a bit of that.
Ben: We’ve really be focusing on playing club nights and shows on the weekends so it would give us the week to work on the album. It’s worked well being able to test new material a few days after doing it and being able to see what works with the crowd and what doesn’t. It’s been a nice combination of going out and playing and then going back to work on the album.
‘We are a bit louder [in our live show.] It’s a bit more of a band than what you’d hear on the recording.’
> Play as you go.
Ben: Definitely. But there are a lot of tracks that are a totally different side than what people know of our music as far as the singles. There are some down tempo songs and a little bit more emotional, more epic sounding songs with different instruments. We’re quite excited for people to hear that side of the album.
> How would you describe your live performance?
Ross: We are a bit louder. It’s a bit more of a band than what you’d hear on the recording.
Daniel: More aggressive.
Ross: We’ve very much been involved in the club scene, that’s sort of where we started in the UK and stuff. We didn’t want to just play our songs, we wanted to perform them so it’s a case having guitar, bass, drums and bringing loads of keys and synths and doing it very live. That’s what we get the enjoyment out of, it just seems to fit quite nicely next to DJ sets and stuff.
Ben: There’s a lot of heavy bass, analog synths and that kind of stuff. People tend to love the heavy bass when they’re drunk! [all laugh]
> So what can we expect from Fenech-Soler for the remainder of 2010?
Ben: Our next single comes out in April it’s called Stop and Stare. It’s coming out on Moda Music which is a label we did our last single Lies with.
Ross: Busy playing, going straight through to the festival season.
Ben: Australia may potentially be in the cards with Groove Armada, we’re trying to push our management. We really just wanna go to Australia. [all laugh]
Ross: Lots of playing, lots of recording, remixing. We’re going back to do an Example remix, trying to work as hard as we can really.
> When can we expect the full-length?
Ben: The plan is for August, it will definitely be out this summer. I think everyone will stop liking us if we decide to put an album out next year.
Andrew: It’s more of a summer record and should be enjoyed in this kind of weather, so we’ll definitely get it out by then.