It's appropriate that the first song Fenech Soler released from their recently released album Zilla is the bouncy single, "Kaleidoscope". Ben and Ross Duffy whip up brightly colored, electro-pop concoctions that seem to make everything feel just a bit lighter. It's a single that's as pleasant as can be, complete with a sticky, euphoric hook that'll bounce around in the brain for days. When we heard it, we knew we had to catch up with the brothers Duffy again. Perhaps you remember our acoustic session from a couple years back?
When the boys arrived for their session they were all smiles. Gear was in place, the cameras were rolling, it was great. Until it wasn't. Sadly, one of the band's amps fizzled out and we were forced to put things off a few days. It was frustrating, but they did make their way back to Sunset Park a couple days later, awarding everyone's patience with a magical performance of songs.
With an extra keyboard player in tow, Ben and Ross swirled catchy vocals, infectious beats, and shining guitar riffs together. They of course strolled through the aforementioned "Kaleidoscope", plus second single "Conversations", from Zilla. They also dusted off "Somebody", from their 2014 release Rituals. Watching the group transform what are essentially club bangers into something so intimate was impressive, proving Fenech Soler are a band that make songs sound enticing no matter what form they take.
I'm the singer in Fenech Soler. guitar and keys. Crumbling, my heart But under this tree I sit quietly waiting Wondering, when will my life fall back in line Tell me did we see anything at all in the woods last night Cause they have got me believing And now I don't even know my left from my right And I swear I can hear you A ghost in my mind And I swear I could see you, but Our love is a kaleidoscope I don't wanna fake this You're the one that gives me hope Visions in the darkness Love is a kaleidoscope I don't wanna fake this You're the one that gives me hope Visions in the darkness Love is a kaleidoscope Maybe, there'll be thunder Lightning strikes, there'll be cracks in the ground Somehow we get closer To working it out, there's a way around Tell me did we see anything at all in the woods last night Cause they have, got me believing And now I don't even know my left from my right And I swear I could see you But our love is a kaleidoscope I don't wanna fake this You're the one that gives me hope Visions in the darkness Our love is a kaleidoscope I don't wanna fake this You're the one that gives me hope Visions in the darkness Our love is a kaleidoscope I don't wanna fake this You're the one that gives me hope Visions in the darkness Love is a kaleidoscope I don't wanna fake this I don't wanna fake this You're the one that gives me hope Visions in the darkness Love is a kaleidoscope - The title of the record is Zilla. We decided it really early on and it became a phrase for us that meant a certain sound. We knew if something sounded Zilla. - I used to always love that name. I just thought it was so vibrant and kind of punchy. And Zilla means and we were searching, it means grand, big. And then I think with a band name like Fenech Soler. We thought we wanted something that was crazy but a lot simpler. So we... - As difficult to say which is. Yeah. - But yeah, so we think it kind of captured kind of the vibe and the colorful nature of the record. - So, the second song is actually...isn't a new song but it's one that we've kind of worked a very strict back arrangement of and it's a track called "Somebody. " It's quite privileged to be in a place to pick certain songs from albums. Because I always remember our first tours we could only play for like 35 minutes we only had 35 minutes worth of music. So, to now be able to kind of delve back and just pick certain songs and kind of strip them back and do that. So, we wanted to wipe out some... - To pick the good ones. The ones we think are very good. We've got a few to pick from there. Go, laughing Circle like a bird of prey And it hides the darkness Take a shot and walk away All I need Is a smile forever And I could be More than the face of a stranger And nobody, nobody, nobody Has to know that you care That I'm Somebody, somebody, somebody Something more than thin air Like a robot I'm frozen when you in the room As your stare Flies past me I've had courage but it all fell through And all I dream Is your smile forever And I could be More than the face of a stranger And nobody, nobody, nobody Has to know that you care That I'm Somebody, somebody, somebody Something more than thin air And nobody, nobody, nobody Has to know that you care That I'm Somebody more, somebody more And nobody, nobody, nobody Has to know that you care That I'm Somebody, somebody, somebody Something more than thin air - The record didn't really fall into place or click until we decided we'd just return time and there was a keyboard that our dad bought us and it was just there and I think you were just messing around on it, playing around on it and it just had some really kind of like faux vintage syths going on and we were like, "Sounds awesome. " We did a lot of the record just on this thing and so we just focused using this one keyboard and that kind of I guess gave it a bit of a sound, that was when it all kind of made sense I guess. Yeah, it's got this sticker of the band that we started when you got it when you were probably about 13. - Yeah. - Like on the side. Before we started Fenech Soler. It was a sticker of a little punk band. Time keeps ticking out of my hands Try to keep running as fast as I can but wo-oah I always land in the dust I wanna be in your love London calling lights in my eyes All the I'm giving all that I got I wanna be in your love Hanging by a thread I'm going out of my head, without you I wanna be in your love Don't wanna make conversation I wanna be in your love And right under your sun I wanna be in your love Don't wanna make conversation I wanna get messed up And right under your sun London calling, lights in my eyes All the world shimmers I'm saying goodbyes here I'm giving all that I got I wanna be in your love Hanging by a thread I'm going out in my head, without you I wanna be in your love Don't wanna make conversation I wanna get messed up And right under your sun I wanna be in your love Don't wanna make conversation I wanna get messed up And right under your sun Right under your run I wanna be in your love Right under your sun I wanna be in your love I wanna be in your love I wanna be in your love I wanna be in your love I wanna be in your love Don't wanna make conversation I wanna be in your love Right under your sun I wanna be in your love Don't wanna make conversation I wanna get messed up Right under your run - Thanks. - It's really nice to just get out and play shows and then hopefully into the summer some festivals. Yeah and getting the record out. It's going to be exciting for us. - For a lot of people we're new...whatever people didn't...hadn't heard of us before and we're just a new act and the record and the singles and what we do now live and it just being the two of us is kind of a refined version of what we were before and Ross and I have always written music from when we were very young and just always been in this band and so it feels natural. We had all this music and we wanted to just put it out there. So, yeah.
Glastonbury 2011. As Fenech-Solers set draws to a close in a packed tent filled with people who knew and adored their songs, the bands four members experience a flood of emotions. Fenech-Soler had reached a point that all young bands dream about- huge label backing, play-listed at BBC Radio One, a sold out tour and a premiere set at UKs most storied festival. This set marked not just the precipice of major success but also, the beginning of their enforced break as a band. Lead singer Ben had been diagnosed with cancer. Incredibly, Bens diagnosis repeated that of his brother Ross, guitarist in the band, many years before. After the fest, Ben returned home for an operation and then three rounds of chemotherapy in as many months, which then required several weeks of recuperation. Thanks to Bens immediate treatment, he was eventually given a clean bill of health and the band set out to head back to work. A slot opening for Phoenix and Miike Snow on an Australian tour brought the band back together in the live setting for the first time. Is anyone still going to care about the band? recalls bassist Daniel Soler of the bands collective fear before the shows. Their nerves were settled when they walked on stage and were greeted by a sea of faces and a crowd singing along. That reaction really gave us the drive to push things even further. It felt like the start of a new era.
Inspired by the brilliance of their touring partners during the Australian tour, Fenech-Soler turned such devastating news into a positive as they focused on improving as a live band. After Bens recovery, Glastonbury 2013 marked their UK return. A show that would prove to be their resurrection and they celebrated their resurgence with three sets at the festival. We wanted to make this right because we know that it could so easily have been taken away from us, affirms drummer Andrew. We wanted to put something out that we were really happy with because we know how fragile it is both the industry and anyone involved. It could easily end at any time.
Determined to build on the foundations of their debut album campaign, Glastonbury was the initial spark that ignited their creativity to deliver their second album Rituals (released late 2013 ex US), a euphoric concoction of pulsating energy born from their dance roots mixed with a new found desire to push the pop elements of their sound to the fore. Their distinct niche is electronic-based music delivered with a beating human heart. I think the pop element is certainly something that wasnt calculated, but also something that we didnt decide to turn our back on, begins vocalist Ben Duffy. For us, its been about paying attention to what makes a good song. We havent been afraid to make a pop record. Its about connecting with people on a universal level while remaining true to our roots.
Those roots were initially firmly established when the Northamptonshire quartet first came to the attention of Daft Punk collaborator Alan Braxe in 2009, who subsequently signed the group to his retro-futurist Parisian label Vulture to issue their debut single 'The Cult of Romance. Subsequent releases 'Lies and 'Stop & Stare on the forward-thinking independent electronic label Moda only accentuated their growing reputation, as did their appearance on a Kitsune compilation the patronage of Groove Armada who took Fenech-Soler on tour and and had the band guest on their single Paper Romance.
With a stalled UK campaign, the band was unable to tour in the US properly. Their first release in the states will be an EP out on SO Recordings/ Caroline this March. The EP serves as an introduction to the band. The compilation features a Cult of Romance re-mix compliments of super-producer and early supporter Alan Braxe; an Alex Metric re-mix of Lies; their mega-hit Stop and Stare and the recently released dance track In Our Blood. In addition to this first EP, the band will have a special Record Sore Day Release in April featuring remixes by Yuksek, Gemini, Chainsmokers and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Their full album is due this summer. Having overcome a multitude of challenges, finally releasing their music in the US signifies the completion of Fenech-Solers rebirth. This time they can control their own destiny.