Interview: Feldspar

Published on July 2nd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Rocksucker fired some questions over to Feldspar front man Will Green to find out a bit more about the genesis of their lyrical, sweetly harmonic folk-pop. In case you’re wondering, their press release describes them in the following terms:

“Drawing on storytelling influences from the folk revivalists such as Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, and Neil Young, but also referencing the sounds of acts such as Nick Cave, Radiohead, Laura Marling and Jeff Buckley, Feldspar’s debut release is the start of the dark side of the most recent folk revival. There’s no froth, no plinky ukuleles, and no songs about adolescent heartache. Feldspar write serious and beautiful songs with real meaning which will delight old rockers, young nerds, housewives, and regular gig goers alike.”
If that sounds like your kettle of fish, do check out this tile track from their forthcoming debut album The Flat and Paper Sky, and of course read on…

What’s the line-up of the band? How did you all meet, and how long has the band been going for?

We started playing together in late 2011. The band had existed as a much more folk-based outfit before then, but we wanted to freshen up the sound and broaden our range. So, to compliment the piano, acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies, we’ve added electric guitar, bass, and kit.

This gives us the range to have a live set that includes both very delicate, sparse acoustic songs to heavier, electronic blues-rock numbers.

How would you describe your music, if pushed?

The emphasis in our music is always on the songwriting. Will, the lyricist, is most influenced by the 60s folk revivalists, people like Leonard Cohen, John Martyn, and Paul Simon, as well as the writers who’ve followed them, such as Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley, and Thom Yorke.

Even though the lyrics are written in the songwriting tradition, we’ve always wanted to avoid being lumped in with the ‘nu-folk’ movement and all the plinky ukuleles, knitwear, and frothy lyrics about trees that implies. So musically we’re quite diverse, drawing on folk, blues, classical, and rock influences. At our highest aspiration, we want to make music that can be angry and loud but also tender and beautiful. We’re working on it.

Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?

We’re based in London and have been working in Diversion Studios near London Bridge. Our aim has been to release our album before the Shard is finished, so it’s going to go down to the wire.

Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?

We’re not signed. Again, it’s a work in progress.

Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like!)

We recorded our first album The Flat and Paper Sky earlier this year and we’re going to release it in two parts this autumn. The songs deal with big human questions about love, memory, death and desire but avoid literal interpretation, dealing instead in abstract images and juxtapositions.

We want the album to be seen as part of the darker side to the new interest in folk music: the songs take place late at night on city streets rather than in sunny meadows. More than that, we want the music and lyrics to be intriguing and to have enough depth that when people come back for a second, third, or fourth listen they keep finding new sounds, new lyrics, and new meanings that are exciting and entertaining.

Where can we hear your music online?

You can download “Shadow”, the first track from the album, at www.facebook.com/feldsparmusic.
And you can watch a live version of the title track “The Flat and Paper Sky” on our website www.feldsparmusic.co.uk. We’ll be posting the information about all our upcoming releases there as well.

Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?

We’ve had a lot of great gigs over the last year or so. At the moment things are getting bigger and better, so with each gig we’re getting more excited about things, which a good situation to be in. Our sold out single launch in May was a particularly good night, even though Tom our bassist got stuck underground on a tube for three hours beforehand.

Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)

We’re playing a few festivals over the summer which we’re looking forward to. As well as those, we’ve got a few London gigs which should be excellent:

Friday 29th June – Barfly, Camden
Thursday 19th July – Nambucca. Holloway Road
Monday 13th August – 101 Club, Tottenham Court Road

Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?

We are particularly enjoying a folk artist called Gary Stewart at the moment, he had just released an EP, he is the bass player for Ellen and the Escapades, also a band we like. Also saw Hey Sholay at the Camden Crawl this year and very much enjoy what they’re doing at the moment.

Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?

This question has wildly different answers from band member to band member. We’ve mostly been trying to game the system. For instance, if our drummer chose Steve Gadd would that mean he got everything that he’s featured on or just his solo projects?

I think we’re all agreed that we’d end up hating whatever we chose and we don’t want to end up hating Dylan or Hendrix. So, on that basis we’ll pick the solo projects of Bradley, Jo, Rachel, Hannah and Jon from S Club 7. Death would be a sweet release.

Will Green, thank you.

Artists:

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.