FAULT first spoke to lead singer and bassist Emma Richardson back in 2011 to discuss the release of their breakthrough second album, Sweet Sour for FAULT Issue 10: the Legacy Issue. From their early days touring as Fleeing New York in the late noughties, we knew that this was a band to watch, one that would stand the test of time. Here’s what we wrote about them back then:
From their relatively recent incipience in 2008, the female fronted, blues heavy, old fashioned raw and ready rock outfit are perhaps rivalled only by the Black Keys, both in terms of their ‘old school’ guitar-heavy style and their similarly meteoric rise to fame. In one dazzling swoop, these groups have utterly dismissed that old (circa 2006) adage that ‘guitar music is dead’ – with Emma Richardson, Russell Marsden and Matt Hayward doing so in particularly impressive style. The Brits have been ‘cracking the US’ in such an accomplished fashion that they have drawn comparisons from some quarters to rock legends Led Zeppelin. With their pulverizing basslines and soaring – yet oddly searing – vocals, Band of Skulls are a firm FAULT Favourite.
Now, three years later, we were pleased to get a chance to catch up with drummer Matt Hayward about the highly anticipated release of their third album, the brilliantly constructed Himalayan.
Welcome back to FAULT! How are you feeling about the new album?
Matt: We’re really proud of the record that we’ve come up with and we’re feeling really good about it. It’s been quite frustrating because we finished it at the end of last summer so we’ve had it in our hands for quite a while now but it’s finally upon us now so we’re very excited!
How does the new album differ from your last two?
We’ve said is that it kind of takes elements from the last two albums and makes a record out of that. Whilst we were writing and recording the last two albums we isolated ourselves out in the countryside in an old farmhouse and this time we decided to go in to central London and I think that definitely rubs off on the record. There’s an energy about being in London which is great, we were going in every day and then being able to leave the studio too which gives you a lot more objectivity about things, you can listen to your demos on the train home and all these little things which we never had before so I think that played a big part in the sound of it.
Do you have any favourites or standout tracks on the new album?
It chops and changes, it always changes by night really. It’s interesting that a lot of it is down to crowd responses, it’s funny the ones that you get different reactions from and not always reactions you were expecting. At the moment, we’re just really excited to play any of it really, it’s been such a long time we’re just itching to get going.
When we spoke about your last album you cited The Beatles, Neil Young and Bob Dylan as influencers, are these still relevant to the new album or have you found inspiration elsewhere?
We have a pretty strong rule in the studio that we don’t play a lot of current music whilst we’re recording because we’re keen not to have anything influence us too heavily.
We listen to a bunch of different stuff, there’s definitely a glam element to this record. When we got in to the studio we hung out for a few days with our producer Nick Launay and played our favourite records, there was definitely a theme of T-Rex swagger, and everyone bringing in Prince albums.
When you’re piecing songs together, creating new music do you envisage an ideal setting in which it will be played back? Where would you like your music to be heard?
For me, my favourite time is listening to music is on aeroplanes. I get a real kick out of it, that excitement and nervousness of travelling. You’re on your way to somewhere and to have a soundtrack to that sort of emotion is quite similar to playing shows in a way, it’s exciting it’s nerve-wracking, and full of adrenaline all of those wonderful things. If I could pick a place for anyone to listen to this record it would be getting a flight somewhere.
Are you thinking about playing the album out live whilst recording and writing?
Yeah definitely but we try and keep the two things very separate. We like to thing that making a record is like taking a photograph. It’s taking a photo of where you are at and what you’ve been coming up with of. At the moment we’re at the rehearsal studios piecing together how we want to do things live and it inevitably changes quite a lot which we really like. For us, going to see a band and they just sound like the records is not so exciting, it hasn’t got that element of danger to it.
Can you see another live album in the future?
Yes, hopefully a little bit further down the road of touring so we’re a bit more warmed up. Also we recently did an acoustic show last week which we hadn’t really done before. We do quite a bit of acoustic stuff for radio but we’d never done a show before. It was just something completely new, we had a string quartet and with us having never played with any other musicians but ourselves it was really strange but there’s definitely talk of doing something like that again on a bigger scale.
Speaking of working with other musicians, how do you feel about collaborations, is there anybody you could see yourselves working with?
We’ve never really talked about collaborating with other musicians, it’s never been put in front of us so we’ve never really thought about it but I’m sure it would be really interesting. It’s not particularly on our list of things to do. But if an offer came up then yeah sure, if Prince gives us a call then by all means…
What does the rest of 2014 hold for you?
It’s just relentless touring in front of us now. Next week we’re off to America then coming back to do some UK shows and then Europe, after that it’s back to the States and then Australia… we’ll be heading back in time to hit festival season which will be really exciting. So yeah there will be a whole lot of living out of suitcases.
Final question, what is your FAULT?
There’s no way to win this one! If I don’t say anything then it sounds like we’re just perfect… I guess we’re bad sons and daughters to our parents because we don’t see them enough as we should. Yeah we’re bad kids, we’re always gallivanting…
Himalayan is out now