Fear Of Men have crafted a sound both lush and delicate, yet firmly melodic. The quartet hailing from Brighton have been building on the success of their collection of singles which has now been compiled on their release Early Fragments. We caught up with the band as they were wrapping up the recording of their debut album to talk about having fun at SXSW, touring in a horse box, and eating in Texas!
AMBY: How would you describe Fear Of Men’s sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
Fear of Men: This is always a difficult question for a band to answer! When people ask we usually just say pop music, or pop music with guitars or something like that. These days it’s so easy for someone to listen to a band and decide themselves!
AMBY: You have just released Early Fragments, a collection of your previous singles. When will you be releasing your debut record and is there a title yet?
Fear of Men: We are currently recording our debut record, we’re nearly finished!
AMBY: Mosaic is a wonderful song, what is the story behind it?
Fear of Men: Thank you! Mosaic is a song that took a while to come together. We actually recorded a totally different version of it months before that we were intending to put out on a 7″ but we got it back and it just didn’t feel right, or very us. Then time came to record again for another 7″ we’d agreed to do and we really wanted it to be Mosaic but we were still struggling to get it right. Then the two days before we were due to go in the studio I showed Jess a couple of chords and she wrote the verses almost immediately after that. We had a morning to work on it as a band and it just sort of came together which was quite a relief but also it’s nice to do something last minute sometimes, that fresh enthusiasm you have for a new track can definitely come across on record I think.
AMBY: You recently played SXSW in Austin, Texas. Tell us about your experience there.
Fear of Men: We ended up playing something like 12 shows while we were there so it was really hectic and by the end Jess was losing her voice (which wasn’t so great for the New York shows afterwards!) but we loved it. It’s rained for almost the entirety of the last year in England so just to be somewhere that was warm was such a treat for us. And Jess and I saw turtles in the river in Austin! The shows were more fun than I was expecting, I thought it would be really industry and people wouldn’t pay much attention but the audiences were really respectful and cool. Shows at places like the Mohawk club and Red 7 felt just like bar shows back home, they were a lot of fun. But similarly it was cool to play the big stages like the Fader Fort and the Gorilla Vs. Bear/ Yours Truly Hype Hotel show, they both looked after us really well and it was fun just to hang out at those shows and see all the great bands. We had a little dance to Empress Of before we played at Hype Hotel. It was really nice to meet bloggers/ writers who have supported us since very early on like Chris from Gorilla Vs. Bear and Duncan from the Fader.
AMBY: How would you compare UK audiences to ones in North American?
Fear of Men: It’s difficult to get an impression as SXSW is meant to be quite different from regular shows in the U.S. We didn’t really notice too much difference, people were really nice to us. The New York shows were really fun to play. The Festival we played in Mexico, Nrmal, just before we went to SXSW was the most fun. The audience were singing along, everyone seemed excited and up for having a good time, it was amazing.
AMBY: What was the best thing you ate while you were in Texas?
Fear of Men: We had a bad time in Texas for food, we were playing so many shows we were mostly just eating the free food at shows and for the most part that wasn’t every good! But the first night in Texas was the best, our friends took us to Polvos and we had Cerviche for the first time, it was incredible.
AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?
Fear of Men: The Smiths – The Queen is Dead, Neutral Milk Hotel – Aeroplane Over the Sea, Modern Life is War – Witness.
AMBY: What is the funniest thing to happen to you at one of your gigs?
Fear of Men: We haven’t really had any funny things happen at our gigs. One time we played a free show where they were giving out free drinks and couple of idiots were trying to wind us up – pouring beer on my pedals sitting on the stage etc. Jess asked them not to but when I looked down again one of the guys was trying to pull out the power supply to one of my pedals so I had to jump in the crowd to try and separate him from the pedal. Then it all kicked off a bit, Jess had a big go at them and the crowd got involved with dragging them out. It’s actually on YouTube somewhere, looking back it was actually pretty funny. Usually people at our shows are really respectful though and everything is cool!
AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?
Fear of Men: We’re excited to head back to the U.S. soon to play some shows there, we’re looking at going back after Summer. We’re also excited to get back in the studio and get this album finished. There was a time when the studio we have been using was fully booked up and we couldn’t use it but we’re going back in a couple of weeks and we’re excited for people to hear this record!
Also excited about the new Deerhunter and National albums!
AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?
Fear of Men: Sometimes I think people should try and follow the rule ‘If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ a bit more. I go on YouTube to watch a video by a band and there’s so many people saying nasty things and fighting with each other, it’s just sad. It seems like on the internet people love to voice negative opinions on things more than they like to talk about what they love. It’s not really a law though I guess… I’m not sure about laws – I’ll leave that to the politicians…
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Fear Of Men that nobody knows yet?
Fear of Men: We’ve probably mentioned it before but as we don’t have a van and our drummer Mike lives on a farm we actually tour in a horse box! It’s okay but it is pretty uncomfortable on long drives, the back seats aren’t really car seats, it’s just a long bench. We load out and everyone stares at us expecting to see a horse, but it’s just a load of amps!
Thank you Fear of Men, for giving us your answers!