Fanfarlo are exactly what the increasingly dark nights and cold call for; a warm, quiet riot of a sound that will leave you glowing on the inside. Think how good a hot chocolate with all your best friends would be and then multiply that by ten and you’re getting the idea. I caught up with Justin from the band as they finished their US tour.
You've been touring and releasing bits and pieces for a while now. Why so long to come out with an album?
We had a lot of fun recording the singles in Simon's bedroom or small London studios, but these always felt like prototypes. So when it came to an LP we wanted to be much more ambitious. Sadly, in London it takes some time to get together the time and the money to make your dream record. We just kept working and working at it, knowing it would happen, and it did! It just took a while.
How did you guys meet?
I first saw Simon standing in the street with a guitar and a foot operated drum on his back with a large sign saying 'JOIN ME'. So I did. Apart from that; clubs, other bands, the Internet, the candy shop.
Playing for so long together now, do you think your sound has developed and in what ways?
The first songs were written and arranged entirely by Simon, so the sound has developed as people have joined and contributed. The other side has been developing the performance. You can do so much more with living breathing mammals than you can with gadgets from the Apple store. We want to create something really big on stage which means big sounds, big egos, etc.
I feel that Fleet Foxes hit the big time with a sound similar to you, but I heard you a lot earlier than them. Has the thought ever passed that they nicked it or do you hope to emulate their success?
[Laughs] I know those guys and they'd never heard of us till I told them. I think we actually sound quite different from them. They're a like a big powerful folk band with hymn-inspired melodies, we're a noisy mini-orchestra. They've done an absolutely incredible job and deserve every success. It would be wonderful to think that people might like our album as much as they like theirs!
You put a posting out to fans in Glasgow to suggest a place to play. What was the thinking behind this and how was the response? Did you find somewhere?
When you go on tour you often don't get to see the city you're in because you're busy soundchecking, sleeping, eating or some other mundane activity, and if you do, you rarely see the good bits unless you're hanging with the locals. This is a chance to see some of Glasgow, play a mini show in an unexpected place and basically just have some fun jazzing about in Scotland! Location is still TBC so keep sending in suggestions though!
Tell us about your new album: where you made it, who was at the desk and what do you make of it!
For the album we were lucky enough to go over to the states and record with Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). We really liked what he'd done in the past and he seemed to have a similar vision to ourselves.
The studio was in his attic in Bridgeport, Connecticut where there's nothing much else but a bowling alley, a diner and a very large supermarket. It was quite intense living altogether under the same roof for four weeks and spending 10 to 12 hours a day recording. Communal dinners, movie nights, ice hockey games, weekend trips to NY and New Haven and a knees up for the election of Barack Obama made it quite the bonding experience. Now that there is going to be a full-scale release we feel like proud parents watching our baby grow!
Finish this sentence; an evening with Fanfarlo is...
…going to happen in a place near you, very soon. And it's going to be out of this world. Bring your space suit.
Fanfarlo play ABC2, Glasgow on Wed 30 Sep.