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Column - Fantastic Four? Fyfe Dangerfield on why Guillemots are releasing a quartet of albums in 2012
If you're from Los Angeles, 50 years-old and your name happens to be Axl Rose, then it could take you exactly 15 years to get from one album to the next. That's not the life for Guillemots who in a surprise announcement earlier this week pledged to release four albums this year as part of a series. The first of which, Hello Land!, came out on Tuesday (8 May), so asked frontman Fyfe Dangerfield just what's inspired this creative burst that will see the band more than double their back catalogue in 2012.
Why do four albums in a year?
"It just kind of happened. It came about from having fun in the studio. I started realising when I was doing my solo record that I was producing a lot of material just having fun with my friends, I recorded a lot of tracks in about five days. I think the difference was that I wasn't trying to make an album I was just enjoying myself. I was really keen for us to have a process like that. I started to feel like, This is the best way to work, surrounded by people I know who're just having fun. It was really productive and we all feel like this year we're all going to concentrate on putting out as much music as we can. We had the idea of putting out seasonal EPs, and it just kinda grew from that. I thought of it more as a mini album, then when we looked back and it turned out to be around 40 minutes we thought this is a proper album!"
Do you feel any extra pressure about producing so many records in a year?
"The thing with record releases these days is you do press in the run up to the impact date, and, unless you're charting, about a week later it's over, you know? We all feel much more like 'Why don't we just put it out the way we want?', and over the coming months we'll do things to try and draw attention to it, but come July we'll put the next one out, and every album is leading people onto the other one. This first one is spring, the next one will be summer and so on."
Do the records follow a specific theme?
"They're not themed like concept albums, it's more like the feeling of them. The first track from this album is called Spring Bells, and as soon as I heard it I thought it sounded like the flowers coming out of the frost, and going on to the other albums I think we'll retain that mood. We've started at least half the tracks we need, but there's loads lying around, and we're probably going to start new ones when we go back to record in about a weeks time."
Can you tell us a bit about the first album, Hello Land?
"We had some new stuff on the record that was kind of specific to where we were recording. On our first album we had a string section, and we wanted that same richness of sound, but didn't really have the budget, so it was just a case of looking around for something more cost effective. We came across this Norwegian flute group and asked them if they were up for recording a session, so we ended up driving 12 hours in a day [from the studio in Oslo] just to record them!"
What was it like recording in the deep recesses of Norway?
"It was beautiful and exciting. In the village we were in we got the local brass band to record some stuff for us, and it's nice to have that sort of freedom. Our producer Jonas is a native of Norway, and has been brilliant. We're going to do all the albums in the same place, up in the hills, about an hour north of Oslo, recording in a barn. It's so important to be away from things, but we've done it in stints which has helped. Usually bands go away for about three months and by the end of it they're just sick of what they're doing, so we went out on little two week-at-a-time trips that really helped keep it fresh."
The sudden announcement of your release plans this week was quite Radiohead-esque. Did you have take a leaf out of Thom and co's book?
"Well not really, because Radiohead are one of the biggest bands in the world and when they make and announcement like that it's huge. We're not one of the biggest bands in the word! I have a lot of respect for Radiohead, but they're not the first band to do a surprise announcement. I remember reading about John Lennon when he did that single, Instant Karma, and he was just like, I want to record this and press it and have it in the shops within a week. Before the internet that was an amazing thing to do."
Joe Bishop @Joe_Bish
For more and their year of albums, head to Guillemots.com.
11:08 AM | 11/05/2012
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