In addition to spinning through a few acoustic renditions of songs from their new album, Rituals, Ben and Daniel from Fenech-Soler also took the time to tell us about the release of their new album the thrill of touring America.
- This probably shows how long we've been a band but I remember the first time that we kind of thought "All right. Something might be happening here" was when... - when people came to shows. - when Alan Braxe from France, from Paris, sent us a message on Myspace. - That was a while ago, yeah. - That was a while ago but he messaged us on Myspace and said that he liked...he heard one of our songs and liked it and wanted to release it on his label. It was a real, I don't know, a real kind of bolster for us, confidence wise. So that was the first things. We were introduced to London kind of via this French label. With the name Fenech-Soler people thought we were French until the illusion of being this kind of very cool Parisian thing, the whole thing got blown out of the water and we were from this kind of farming village in Northampton. So that was the first thing I think for us that we thought "Okay, let's carry on. " - Well, I went to school with Ross and Ben but Ross and I were in the same year at school so we started a band together when we were like 13 or something. I think we were in a punk band at the time but then Ben... - I was studying. I remember I came back once and Ross said, "Me and Dan have started a band" and I was like... I thought it was a bit of a joke, really, at the start. And then they played me what they'd recorded and it was really good, so - Right from an early age, both myself and Ross we, like I say, instruments were lying around, like our father was very kind of did exactly the same as us, or we've kind of done the exact same as him. He was in an act with his brother and in the kind of country and bluegrass world and kind of toured America and I lived in Dallas when I was much younger and they were touring with Tammy Wynette and Charley Pride and Dolly Parton and people like that and so that was his world. This is... Mandolins have been replaced for analogue synthesizers and stuff but the ethos behind the music he's kind of passed down. So I guess that's how Ross and I got into music and Dan kind of lived at our house for a bit and we went to school together so Dan kind of got influenced a little bit by that as well. - We have a record that came out yesterday in North America. The name of the record is Rituals. It's actually the name of our second album, but we've never released a record over here. Most of our stuff we've done in Europe and the U. K. and so we wanted to kind of put our first record out here that was kind of both of the albums put together. - It's got a few from the first album on there as well. - All the ones that weren't that good, we put those to one side and just kind of made a super album, basically. Rituals. I guess like the recording process became a ritual for us. It was actually the name of one of the very earliest demos when we were writing and it kind of hung around. It didn't actually make the record in the end but it hung around just on our kind of like whiteboard in the studio for ages and it just became a work that we associated with that period and I guess everyone has their rituals. We felt people could relate to it and I guess sloganeering in that there's, for me, I like the way it looks, really. Quite simply, I liked the way it looked written down, so. We spent so much time in a very small, confined box and we labor over this thing for ages. I kind of lose track of what it sounds like. There are certain things that I know influenced us and me when we were writing but I guess we've always had... there's always a big electronic element to the music we make and we've always been influenced by pop music. We haven't been.... Melody and choruses has always been something that has attracted us in songwriting. We've never felt like we wanted to shy away from that as a band. So I think if you drew a line from the electronic world and the pop world, which there's a lot of people that do that, but in the middle... - Draw a line from... As Andy put it quite well the other day. If you draw a line from Soulwax to Michael Jackson, it's somewhere in the middle of that. - In 2011, all of that went on, testicular cancer and stuff, so actually at the time, it's one of those things, I guess it's more a kind of natural human reaction. I think you instantly go into survival mode even though you're probably not conscious that you are doing that and everything's... You just kind of say "Everything's fine. I'm just gonna get on with it. " And you do. You just go through the process that you have to go through and I think anyone would probably do that. In terms of how it related to the band, I think it pulled the four of us together closer. It was at a time that we were touring pretty heavily. We had to cancel a number of U. K. tours. We kind of went to Australia and toured with Miike Snow and Friendly Fires and kind of came back and then kinda took time off. The next thing we did was Glastonbury, so it was right in the middle of stuff, but the reaction from the people that were following the band and fans and people that follow us on Facebook was overwhelming so I think it validated everything we were doing slightly and it pulled us together and kind of made us stronger as a band. So in the end, it was okay, I think. - Yeah. I think your attitude was really just to try and take a negative and turn it into as much of a positive as possible so we were actually pretty productive with writings and new stuff and really the Glastonbury show was the thing, the sort of goal point, wasn't it? - Yeah. It actually postponed coming here and coming to America so it feels very, very nice to kind of come here. The music's a little bit old to us, but to everyone else it's new so in that respect, it just feels good to finally get over here and kinda crack on, you know. - Hey. This is Ben. - This is Daniel. - We're one half of the band Fenech-Soler. You're watching Baeblemusic.
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.