From the very first moment I heard Ever So Shy, the chorus was constantly ringing in my mind and I simply couldn’t complain! Just when I thought General Fiasco brought it all with their debut album Buildings, they were able to bring it to a whole other level with their second album Unfaithfully Yours, where they amazingly pumped up the energy and delivered brilliant lyrics and music. I really admire this band, so when their vocalist Owen Strathern answered some questions we had for him, I was absolutely pleased!
AMBY: You recently released your second album Unfaithfully Yours, so what has the band been up to lately?
OS: We have been playing a few shows here and there. Basically waiting to go on tour with Little Comets in October.
AMBY: How would you describe the progression from your first album Buildings to this one?
OS: I think its progressed in a variety of ways, musically we have tried to push ourselves on this record, as far as playing our instruments I think everyone really tried to step it up, you can only bash chords on your guitar for so long. Lyrically I tried to keep it as honest and direct as I always do, hopefully that has improved and in regards to the over all sound I think its moved slightly away from the pop punk feel that some of the tracks on the first album had. Slightly more groove orientated in places.
AMBY: Bad Habits is a great example of how heavy the band can get, how have people been reacting to the powerful sound of the new album?
OS: Yeah I think so, most of the reports back on the new record is that people sense we have done something different, I think a lot of people didn’t really expect what they heard but think most are having a positive reaction. Bad Habits is probably one of the heaviest tracks but on the whole the new record has a lot more layers than the first, a greater variety in tempo and mood.
AMBY: The Age That You Start Losing Friends is such a well crafted song, what is the story behind it?
OS: The groove of the track came together in the practice room. Edd was playing bass and him and Leaky just locked into the verse chords and I started to speak/sing over it, Stu started with his rhythm part and I played in the lead riff, its as complicated as I could manage while singing at the same time. It felt right so we left it at that, it was with out a chorus for a long time, I had the chorus line written on my phone somewhere and decided it would work with the song. Again the chorus came together very naturally and I just tailored the verse lyrics to fit in with the chorus line.
AMBY: The focus on songwriting is evident, was that a conscious decision or did things just unfold on their own?
OS: Its always been about the song for us, if you aren’t saying something then what’s the point. I think its songs that carried the band in the beginning, it wouldn’t a good move to steer away from that. We originally got signed when guitar must was really out of favour and I think it was the songs that caught peoples attention.
AMBY: What can people expect at your live shows?
OS: It’s changing slightly, we don’t feel the same way about live shows, originally when we were writing the first record every song was written to be played live and come across well in that setting, we now know there are a lot more things you can do with a show other than just play relentless loud driving songs. It depends on the sort of gig it is but we like to mix the set up with different little groups of songs, take the foot off the acceleration from time to time and let the song carry it rather than the frantic riffs. As long as we are playing well and the crowd are into it we don’t bother with too many tricks.
AMBY: I still play Sinking Ships to death, what are three songs that you can’t get enough of?
OS: Been listening to a Kodaline : All I Want such a beautiful song, a track off the new Two Door Cinema Club album called Sun and Ben Folds version of B*tchs Aint Sh*t.
AMBY: What is the scene like in Northern Ireland and what bands do you recommend we check out?
OS: It’s pretty Good at the minute, always lots of new stuff popping up. There is a singer song writer called SOAK check out a song called Sea Creatures, I think its one of the best tracks I’ve heard in awhile come out of NI. A band Elspeth’s album is really class also. There’s loads and loads, I could go on all day I’m sure.
AMBY: Which three General Fiasco songs have to be on everyone’s player?
OS: Been listening to Daylight off the Don’t You Ever EP a little bit. Not really sure after that, I haven’t listened to the new record in the last few weeks / months. Probably Bad Habits and Gold Chains would be the other two.
AMBY: What do you do for fun outside of music?
OS: Football, I love playing and watching football, I play a couple of games a week and probably watch a couple of games. Iv started to run over the last few months but I don’t think I do it for fun, its more forcing myself to.
AMBY: Who would you like to be most and least stuck with in an elevator?
OS: That’s a tough question, I don’t know if I should put myself in with a musical or footballing hero, maybe a beautiful woman or famous actor. I’ll go Natalie Portman being the person I’d like to stuck in a lift with and Piers Morgan the person I’d least like to be stuck with.
AMBY: And lastly, tell me something that nobody knows about each member in the band.
OS: Edd once won an Orange eating contest that won him a trip to Spain, Leaky auditioned for the role of Ron Weasley, got it, but then eventually turned it down after his agent advised him to do a Dairylea advert instead. And Stu Bell is allergic to cats. Maybe.
Haven’t had the opportunity of hearing this admirable band yet? Then take a listen to Bad Habits; it’s an extremely energetic and fetching tune. Check out the group’s tour dates as well here. And thank you very much Owen, for giving me your answers!