24 September 2012
Fresh Meat Monday - Flutes
Would you care to introduce yourself?
I'd love to. My name is Godfrey Charlie McFall and I sing (and sometimes attempt to play guitar) in a band called Flutes. We released our debut single 'Auld Archie' at the start of September (2012) and have been startled that anyone has taken any notice of it. Now we're gearing up to release another song 'Sand' on November 5th followed by our debut eponymous album on December 3rd.
How would you describe the music you make?
Unsettling anti-wedding music full of heart and dripping with earnestness. We also sound a bit like Oasis (Peenko - trust me, they don't).
How did you start out making music?
I think each member of the band started out playing music when we were pretty young. I was a violinist, Andy [Bruce, bass, piano, organ, vox] is a classically trained pianist, Rob [Marshall, guitar, piano, vox] had a crack at clarinet and is a pianist, while Alex [Walker]...well he plays drums although I do remember him briefly attempting to learn the harp. All of us played in bands in school and university although it wasn't until I moved down south after uni and met Rob that we started to put the wheels in motion to form Flutes (that was 7 years ago). Rob had already written and released an electronic album [rjmarshall - Forever Minus A Day] when he lived in Japan and so I was more than a little intimidated when we met given I'd spent most of my musical years at the school of four piece 'no messing' indie rock. Luckily we managed to write a few half-decent tunes and played some acoustic shows in and around Oxford. A few months later we moved to London and started to play as a full band with Andy and Alex. Fast forward 7 years and we've managed to record 8 songs for this debut album. Almost a song a year. Prolific.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
It used to be that Rob and I would write fully formed songs (melody, lyrics, guitar) and then bring them to sessions at a wee room we rent in West London. A few years ago though we realised it would be better if we eached focused on our individual parts. These days Rob will send me guitar melodies and then I'll work on vocal melodies and lyrics before we meet up and try to work those ideas up into a song. Equally when we then bring the demos to Andy and Alex they focus purely on their parts (bass and drums respectively). Without fail, those two amaze me in the way they can interpret what we've written, tear it to pieces and then stick it all back together again. It's horrible and scary when you think you've lost a song through over-arrangement however we're all pretty honest with each other if we think something's not working.
We then demo as a four piece and up until we met Jamie [Savage, producer at Chem 19] didn't think much about anything after we'd got our individual parts down. He changed that for the better. After 8 days at Chem 19 we came away with the bare bones of the album and then set about tearing into tiny little pieces again. As we started to build it back up we realised we wanted to experiment a little more which was where the clarinet [Trish Clowes], cello [Louise McMonagle], trumpet [Jack Davies] and violin [Siobhan Anderson] all came from. We spent a few weekends playing around with ideas and then spent 8 more days with Jamie recording another 8 or 9 instruments across the album. It was cracking fun.
What can people expect from your live shows?
I wish I knew. We haven't played live together for three years. The hope is that we'll be able to get as many of our friends to play with us as possible to disguise the fact we've forgotten how to play the songs. We've now got a pianist and are seeking a third guitarist so we should be able to produce a bit of a racket. In the past I've been known to go a bit mental on stage but I reckon I'll have to tone that down as some of the parts on the album are actually pretty hard to play [I blame Jamie for that]. We're also hoping to have a choir at our London [Thursday 6th December @ Monto Water Rats] and Glasgow [Friday 14th December @ Nice N Sleazys] shows.
What are you all listening to at the moment?
I've made a vow to myself to stop listening to only Scottish music although it does fill me with pride how much absolutely tremendous stuff is being created North of the border. Outside Alba: I'm obsessed with a record by Sarah Jaffe called The Body Wins; I had a fanatical phase with a band called Daughter who recently supported Beirut on their UK dates; and I was recently caught weeping into a hip flask at a gig by a band called The Magnetic North who have written a beautiful album about the Orkney Isles based on a dream the singer Erland had [an Orkney boy himself]. Others non-Scots worth listening to: Au, VCMG, It's a Musical & Cheek Moutain Thief. From home, I fell for the Olympic Swimmers album earlier this year, think the new Twilight Sad album is tremendous and saw Errors, Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert lately - all of whom are writing brilliant tunes.
What can we expect to see/hear from you in the future?
I reckon I've spouted enough so I'll keep this short. We're hoping to record an EP next year. Something perhaps a little lighter. Maybe a disco record. Mika really likes us, so we'll see.