Fyfe Dangerfield
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   Fyfe Dangerfield - Fly Yellow Moon (2010)

Fly Yellow Moon
 01. When You Walk in the Room
02. So Brand New
03. Barricades
04. High on the Tide
05. Faster Than the Setting Sun
06. Livewire
07. Firebird
08. She Needs Me
09. Don't Be Shy
10. Any Direction

Fyfe Dangerfield is an English musician and songwriter, best known for being the founding member of the marvellous four-piece band Guillemots.
Their first album, "Through the Windowpane"(2006) experienced a nice chart success, with the singles "Made-Up Lovesong #43", "Trains to Brazil", "We're Here" and "Annie, Let's Not Wait".
In 2008, their second album, "Red", reached number 9 in the UK Albums Charts.
Two years later Fyfe releases his debut solo album "Fly Yellow Moon" on Polydor Records and shows all his melodic genius in ten sunny and brilliant songs that nothing on earth can eclipse...

Interview with Fyfe Dangerfield :

Fyfe Dangerfield

S: How and when did all begin with music? 

F: Well there was a piano in our house when I was growing up, and when I was about 2 or 3 I was trying to clamber up on the stool and play it, apparently. And Mum and Dad could see that I was really into the idea of playing it, so they found me a teacher, who then wanted to turn me into some sort of of mad child classical prodigy. So that didn't go very well. But then we found a lovely lady called Mrs Rack who just encouraged me along gently. I was just consumed by music really, since I can remember, it's all I've ever wanted to do. And the lessons were great, but the thing I enjoyed the most was just messing around making my own stuff up or playing Beatles songs.

S: What are the positive and negative sides of being a musician in UK?

F: I haven't thought too much about the specifics of doing music here really. I think maybe there's a certain cynicism in the UK that you don't get in other parts of the world, which on the whole I don't think is very positive. But I'm sure there's lots of benefits too.
S: Do you feel anxious before a show?

F: Yes, often...it varies loads from day to day, and what kind of show it is. Weirdly I'm often a lot more nervous before the smaller gigs. You feel a bit more exposed somehow. A lot of my nerves can just be to do with technical things too, rather than actually being in front of an audience. I think it's good to have nerves of some sort, they give you an edge, but too much and you just clam up, and that's no good. So it's a balance.

S: What musicians or artists had an influence in your life and in your work?

F: So so many. Everything you hear, see, taste even! It all has an impact. But if I had to name one act I'd say the Beatles, because I started listening to them very early on life, my eldest brother used to play me their records when I was just 3 or 4 and by the time I was 8 or 9 I'd gathered together virtually every song they'd ever done. And that's such an amazing world to delve into as a kid, and it's funny when you've known stuff that long, it feels like part of your bloodstream. I grew up in the 80s and frankly I think it's probably better I grew up listening to "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", rather than, I don't know, "Especially For You".

SDo you remember what was the first CD you bought?

F: No, I can't really! I think it might have been a Kula Shaker single, Tattva?! I was always going to the library and borrowing cds, then copying them onto tape and taking them back - that's like the early 90s version of illegal downloading. .. so I can't really remember the first thing I actually bought, it wasn't a massive deal really.

  Kula Shaker - Tattva    

S: Do you think the emotion is different between a song in English and in another language?

F: Well it depends what your language is obviously. I can't really discuss the finer points of different languages because I'm not fluent in anything except English. But I do love listening to music where I don't understand the words. Sometimes I think I should just sing in a made-up language, like Sigur Ros or the Cocteau Twins do, because words can really get in the way of things. But I haven't quite nailed that approach yet.

S: How could you define the music of Fyfe Dangerfield?

F: I have no idea.

: Do you agree with Victor Hugo who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?

F: I suppose so. I definitely have some sort of pull to melancholy, it seems to run in my family somewhat. I don't know why - even as a kid, I've always loved ballads, for example, I've always been drawn to sad songs. And it's not to wallow in sadness, it's often when I'm really happy that I'll listen to them. But I suppose it's just that thing of being bathed in a feeling. A song I listened to a lot last year was "Send in the Clowns" - the Frank Sinatra version. I don't think there could be a better combination of song, singer and arrangement. It's just beautiful. But so sad. .  I do like happy, very up music too, but it's not so much what I tend to listen to at home.

S: When you write a song do you follow your heart, your brain or your hand ?

F: Good question! Well, my instinct is definitely to follow my heart. But I think it's an interesting question, because I feel like I wish I could be less emotional about music in a way. I feel like I'm into so many different sounds, so many different dynamics and tones of music, and I wish I could express myself in all of them more fully. But as long as I'm singing, I'm kind of limited because I don't have the kind of voice that, as yet at least, can really communicate certain emotions. I think maybe that was why some people didn't get on with our last record in Guillemots so much. Musically I'm really proud of that record but me singing songs like "Get Over It" or "Big Dog" just isn't particularly "me" - I'm singing about stuff I feel but somehow didn't quite inhabit the songs. I just for some reason seem to naturally fall really easily into singing either very soaring, uplifting kind of stuff or sad, reflective songs. And it is a gorgeous feeling when you're singing and really feel yourself letting go, opening up - I used to find it hard but I think in my early 20s I learnt gradually to stop being self-conscious and just open my mouth. And also to embrace all the wobbles and cracks in my voice, that was important too. So as long as I'm singing, the emotional connection with the music will always be a massive thing to me.
But on the other hand, I'm completely obsessed with sounds, arrangements and so on, and I guess that' more the brain side. But even then, I think very much in terms of atmosphere rather than the cerebral side of it. And that sort of goes through anything I do. I play a lot of so-called "experimental" music, where you just improvise with no set plan, you just get together and play and see what comes out - in Guillemots we do that all the time when we get together, we'll just play for hours and that's how we write a lot of stuff, but also in other groups, there's one I'm in called Gannets which is a sort of free-jazz-cacophony thing. But even then, it's very much about closing my eyes and letting myself go, even when I'm just playing keyboards - and just feeling yourself go on this sort of rollercoaster of places, emotions, images. It's very much that rather that rather than logically thinking "he's doing that, so I'll try playing this now". Or at least, the best moments are nothing to do with that. When you're improvising, by its very nature there are moments when you haven't immersed yourself in it and you are approaching it more cerebrally. But the aim is always just to get to the point where your hands are moving, or your mouth opening, in a way that you're not pre-meditating at all.

S: What is your favourite song of Fyfe Dangerfield and why?

F: Um. . .I don't know! It's really hard to answer, it totally depends what mood you're in. I'm very fond of "We're Here" from the first Guillemots album - scarily I wrote that song almost 10 years ago. "Sao Paulo" too, in fact most of that first record I'm really proud of. But different ones have different resonances all the time. On my new record, I would say that maybe "So Brand New" and "Firebird" are my favourites. But obviously I'm into most of them in one way or another or I wouldn't have done them, even if later I change my mind about them!

S: As musician, what is your feeling about Internet?

F: I think it's a really good thing, it's just not a replacement for, say, buying a piece of vinyl and taking it home to listen to. Or buying a poetry book, the scent of the paper, the feel of the pages. Those things really matter. But used right, the internet's great. Personally I think it's wonderful that you can, say record a track, and, the instant you finish it, have it available for the whole world to listen to. It's just a logical extension of the telephone really..

S: Was there a particular moment that led you to decide to immerse yourself in a solo album?

F: Not really, it had been building up for a while, I'd been writing songs in soundchecks, days off, here and there and somehow they all seemed like things I should do myself, not in Guillemots. They were just a certain type of song that I was writing, that I wanted to sound very simple . .a lot of them were solo acoustic ones, and the ones that weren't still just seemed different to what we do in Guillemots. I think I just needed to do something where I knew exactly how I wanted everything to sound. Recording our first Guillemots album was maybe like that a bit for me, in terms of knowing what I wanted, because I'd written most of the songs a good few years beforehand, but the band added so much to the arrangements compared to what my original demos sounded like, so that was a huge part of what that record sounds like. This one was more like doing the actual demos, but just in a proper studio. I had done some very very scrappy sketches of the songs at home, but often they were just a verse and that was it, and they still weren't all written when I got to the studio. So with some of them, what you hear recorded was literally the first time I'd ever sung the song through.

S: Did you go into this solo project with a clear vision of what you wanted it to sound like or it could take "any direction"?

F: Originally the idea was that it would be a very gentle, Nick Drake-y sort of acoustic record, more just songs like "Don't Be Shy", "Livewire", or "Firebird", but then things just happened I guess! There are some bonus tracks that we put out over here with the limited edition of the record and a lot of the ones on that are similar in style, and I guess I could just about have bunched together an album of stuff like that. But then songs like "When You Walk In The Room" came along too, and it just seemed a waste not to do something like that in a very energetic, noisy way. So once again I ended up with a record that does kind of flit around sonically! Which I know confuses people sometimes, but I grew up listening to Beatles records like "Revolver" where you have 3 songwriters and singers, all varying hugely between themselves and from song to song. So it's never really bothered me when an album jumps around, in fact I'm really drawn to albums that do that. The tracklisting on this record was really important to me - I really wanted it to start with "Walk in the Room" / "So Brand New", I just loved the contrast of those. I got hugely advised against that and did think about changing it but I ended up sticking to me guns, which was the right thing to do.

S: What are the core ingredients, to you, that "Fly Yellow Moon", "Through the Windowpane" and "Red" have in common?

F: I'm not sure really! They're all quite different records. Windowpane is very dreamy, and I think somewhere between yearning and nostalgic in its mood, and with that record I was obsessed with every tiny detail of the sound, trying to really create a world that a listener would just be able to dive into, where every time they came back to a song there'd be something new for them to find. With "Red", we just wanted to make a sort of modern pop jukebox, something that really surprised and excited at each turn. And mood-wise I think it's generally a frustrated record, there's a lot less hope in it. And then "Fly Yellow Moon" is kind of the flipside of that, it has dark moments but generally it's a very optimistic record. And musically, it was the first time I'd done an album where I really wasn't trying to make something original, I just wanted to focus on the songs. It was strangely liberating to actually do something where it could just be guitar, bass, drums on a track and I wouldn't feel like it needed Casio keyboards and brass and distant whispering or something to be interesting. And I guess I also knew that there'd be plenty of ideas like that on the next Guillemots records, so "Fly Yellow Moon" was almost me just challenging myself to make something pretty regular.

S: You recorded in 2007 the very nice duet "Lovers Dream" with the great Anna Ternheim, how was this collaboration?

F: I just got asked to do it, I think Anna had heard Guillemots and liked us and so we just met up - she said she loved the idea of one of the tracks on her album at the time being a duet, and it was up to me which one, and "Lovers Dream" just jumped out as the obvious one to try. I wanted it to have a sort of Serge Gainsbourg / Jane Birkin feel but sadly I'm not Serge Gainsbourg. Oh well. It was really fun though, we recorded it and then I went over and shot a video in which I like some kind of Gothic Willy Wonka. Anna's great, she's very sure of what she wants and yeah, she has a beautiful voice.

S: Can you describe what is a typical Fyfe Dangerfield's day?

F: God knows. It can vary. It can be full of activity or it can be spent in bed. Or both perhaps. Anything goes.

S: What are your hobbies aside music?

F: Food and birdwatching. And just making sure I see enough of my friends. I'm lucky to still be really close to a handful of people I knew as a kid or a teenager, and I think those relationships are really important to hold onto.

S: Are you venturesome person?

F: A nice word! I like to think I am, but I can be incredibly lethargic too. So it's always a battle. But yes, I hope so.

S: Where would you like to play in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?

F: I'd love Guillemots to play Sao Paulo in Brazil, because that's where our guitarist Magrao is from, and we even have a song named after the place. So that's one location that really springs to mind. We've just never been able to get it together financially, as yet.

S: Are there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?

F: God yes, many things. But probably just the same fears as everyone else. I won't even start or this interview will never end!

S: What is the best moment and best place to listen to your music?

F: For me personally it's usually at 2 in the morning in the studio when we or I have just done something, usually with red wine and roll-up in hand. For other people, well it's entirely up to them. It's very touching when people write and say they've got engaged and they're using one of our songs at the wedding though. That's lovely. It's mad to know that something you've done will have a place in various people's hearts in that way.

S: As our website is related with Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say some words about them?

F: Well the Manics were just a massively important band to me as a teenager. I first heard them when I was about 15, a friend played me "The Holy Bible", and just totally blew me away. The thing is, with the Manics everyone always goes on about the lyrics and the ideology and their look, and I did get completely immersed in that - I started making my own spray-painted t-shirt, and writing long diatribes in my bedroom and so on, and I think they way they spoke to outsiders really gave me a hell of a lot of confidence to do my own thing and be myself at school when I have might have been too scared to do that otherwise. But the thing that actually hit me first was the music - it was the track "Yes" from the Holy Bible, the first track on the album, that I think maybe a friend put on a compilation tape for me, and I just found it so exciting to listen to. The sound of it wasn't like anything I'd heard - at that point the only guitar stuff I'd really listened too was much more produced stuff like Suede, Radiohead and that whole Britpop scene, whereas this sounded really wiry and scuzzy, much rougher. But it was the combination of that and then this very pure, quite boyish sort of voice singing this melody that wouldn't stop moving around and yet always seemed to tug at you. James's voice is just this beautiful instrument, it really is, whatever he sings I just seem to find it really moving. But not just moving in a sad, melancholy kind of way - it is a very melancholy voice but it's also got a real call-to-arms feel about it. I don't know, obviously I'm prattling on like this now but at the time I just heard it and it made me feel very alive and excited, so that's all there was to it I guess! But yes, that really hit me and from then I went on to discover all their other stuff. I think I'd just about caught up with their old albums by the time "Everything Must Go" came out.
It's quite mad now because I've ended up meeting James and Nicky a few times at festivals and so on, and they've both always been so friendly and welcoming, and both said really nice things about Guillemots, and so I'm in this weird position where I'm standing there having a chat with someone that I've read books about! But, well, people are just people aren't they! But yeah, they'll always have a big place in my heart.

S: I know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?

F: Oh man! It really is so hard to answer. I think I would say "Please Please Me" by the Beatles. Just because that early stuff of theirs reminds me of being tiny, and maybe that would be an important thing to keep holding onto if I had just one cd!

The Beatles - Please Please Me
S: What was the last song you listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be the next?

F: The last song was "Stylo" by Gorillaz, which I really love, I'm surprised how much I do actually. I just love the sound and the groove of it, it's so relaxed. The next will be a new Guillemots song of some sort of as I'm going off to rehearsal straight after finishing typing these answers!

S: Can you tell us the name of one French song, or singer, or band?

F: LE FLOW! A compilation of French hip hop that I got when I was about 18. Not strictly a song, singer, or band, but a very fine record. I love hearing rappers in French, it somehow impacts me more because I can't really understand what they're saying, so you just listen purely to the rhythm and tone of the words. 

S: And say something in French?

F: J'adore les croissants almandes, et le cafe noir. Et maintenant, je part chez moi et je vais a un cafe pres d'ici et j'achete un croissant almande et un cafe noir. Oui, c'est vrai.
That's terrible isn't it. Oh well. I can't remember any of the tenses anymore. I need to live in France for a bit, then I'd be okay again!

S: What are your plans for the nearest future?

F: Make an amazing 3rd Guillemots record, hopefully. Write some better songs. And train myself not to worry as much about certain things. YEAH!

SAnd finally, what’s the most important thing in life for you?

F: Hope.

MANY thanks to Fyfe for the interview!

More informations about Fyfe Dangerfield:

- on his site:

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