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Interview: Guillemots

Well, whaddya know, the title of the new Guillemots single (“I Don’t Feel Amazing Now”) might sound like a status-update from one of your attention-seeking Facebook friends, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a corker. And it comes from their third album, Walk The River, which has been hailed by many as the band’s best. Here’s a tête-à-tête we had with front-man, Fyfe Dangerfield, in which we enquire why the long face and find out about Guillemots’ new tour.

Planet Notion: Walk The River has had a brilliant reception from critics. At this stage of your career how important are reviews to you?

Fyfe Dangerfield: Not at all, really. I’ve stopped paying attention to press and reviews because it doesn’t really help. It’s just not relevant. You have to fight quite hard to make sure that you keep your own ideas and your own vision. When you first start off, of course you’re interested in that sort of thing, you want to know what everyone’s saying. But quite quickly you train yourself to zone out of that because, otherwise, it just ends up influencing what you’re doing.

PN: “I Don’t Feel Amazing Now” – why so sombre?

FD: Well, umm… it’s just a song, isn’t it. I can think of lots of reasons why you might not feel so great. Sure, to some degree, certain things have influenced the song, you draw on everything that happens in your life all the time and you draw on things that happen to other people. But I don’t generally see songs as documents of specific events… it’s just open-ended.

PN: Is the new tour different in any way to previous tours?

FD: Now we’re touring with three records out and we’ve got a lot more choice of stuff to play, so absolutely. I’m really enjoying being able to pick out the set-lists.

PN: You’ve just come back from touring Brazil and Argentina. Did you buy any local souvenirs?

FD: No, actually. I probably came back with some sand in my shoes but not much else. We’ve had local food in one or two places but we didn’t have any time to go to any shops. We were there for a week and we had five gigs in five days plus a day on either side… but we had an amazing time.

PN: Kudos on picking Kyla La Grange for your tour support. Do you usually socialise with your support acts before shows?

FD: Yeah, sometimes. I mean, it depends on whether we know them, I guess… but it’s nice to get some camaraderie going on.

PN: The music business has changed quite a bit since you guys started out in 2004. What advice would you give to young bands trying to break the music industry now?

FD: I think it is really important to just do your own thing. As soon as you start doing something which people are interested in, there’s always going to be opinions as to what you should do and what you shouldn’t do but you should just trust your instincts.

PN: What’s harder to write, a good verse or a catchy chorus?

FD: [ponders the quandary at length].  Ummm… I think probably the chorus. I find I’m quite good at starting a chorus but then the thing that comes hardest for me is the line that kind of wraps it up. FD: Verses I find pretty easy. But sometimes you write a song and you think you’ve written a verse and then you realise it should actually be the chorus…

PN: How did your solo cover of Girls Aloud’s “Call the Shots” come about?

FD: I just started doing it. It’s a great pop song and I just started playing around – I’d bought this loop pedal – and that was one of the songs that I tried out. It was quite fun to do.

PN: What did you make of our recent cover star, Nicola Roberts’ solo material?

FD: It sounds really good! I’ve not heard all of it, yet, but the stuff that I have heard sounds really interesting.

PN: Do you plan to do another solo record yourself?

FD: Yeah, I’m sure I will. There’s nothing in the pipeline at the moment, though. We’ve recorded some more new material as a band and we’re very excited about it. So for the time being I’m going to concentrate on that. I suspect “I Don’t Feel Amazing Now” will be the last single from the current album. We’re quite keen on getting on with it. We want to retreat for a bit, record more stuff and then put it out.

“I Don’t Feel Amazing Now” is out now on Polydor Records. The dates and venues for Guillemots’ current national tour can be found here: http://www.guillemots.com/#live

-Doron Davidson-Vidavski

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