Five Favourites: Fable

With acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, Rolling Stone and BBC 6Music’s Chris Hawkins, Brighton based artist Fable has recently made her return to music after taking some time out after suffering from depression and burnout following the loss of a close friend. Now an ambassador for mental health charity My Black Dog, her upcoming debut album is due later this year. Covering a range of poignant issues, the album is filled with heartfelt offerings that blur genre boundaries with a sweeping, dark majesty and hypnotic splendour.

Following the release of spellbinding recent single ‘Orbiting’, we spoke to Fable about the five albums that mean the most to her. Check out her choices below, and watch her video for ‘Orbiting’ at the end of this article. 

Radiohead – In Rainbows
This album crept into my life when I was in my early teens. It grew almost organically in my mind from a whisper of “Ah, this is agreeable, I’ll give it another go” to “I think this is the best album of all time…” Every song paints a picture in my mind – Thom’s delivery of profound nothingness is everything. ‘Nude’ is probably my favourite track with its glittering darkness that literally breaks me every time I hear it, and ‘Reckoner’ offers a cryptically wise piece of lyricism over the beautiful simplicity and a supernatural presence. I remember listening to it on the bus home from school feeling like the music understood me, not the other way around. And, if I could pick more, there are a few Radiohead albums that would make the list. The infinite possibilities of creative freedom that Thom displays in his writing is what I am constantly checking myself for.

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
Kate Bush is my inner child, she lifts my spirits and always tells the truth. My mum had the cassette and I would rewind ‘Cloud Busting’ for the line “… just saying it could even make it happen” – the open endedness and desperation in her voice is so moving, it’s hopeful and hopeless at the same time. I’ve definitely drawn from her work subconsciously, especially in my 4th release from the album that’s due out in the Autumn.

Gorillaz – Demon Days
The first album I ever bought on CD – I fell in love with it instantly. The theatrics of the intro setting the stage to drop straight into that filthy drum machine on ‘Last Living Souls’ is superb and the contrast between organic sounds and electronic are perfectly balanced. I love it when an album plays with the flow of time and really takes you on an adventure like this one does. I think Damon’s concept was to begin at dusk, take you to meet his demons with the last track representing the sun rising. When I heard that it all made sense. I used to go to countryside raves frequently and the last track ‘Demon Days’ would be the song I’d bang on the car speakers at sunrise.

David Bowie – Black Star
I’m still here wondering how this is possible – how someone can create such a relevant and stunning piece of work at 69, put on a staged musical production of the album, all whilst battling cancer. If anyone can, it’s Bowie, but it must have been exhausting. There is an urgency to the album which really breaks my heart. Here is a poet’s experience of mortality, documented in song. This album will always remind me of loss -I saw Lazarus the musical the night after hearing about the death of my friend and the music had such an impact on how I remember that time. It’s been really hard to pick a single Bowie album but this one will always be sentimental. 

Portishead – Dummy
There’s something really special about this album and it features in one of my earliest memories: I was 4 in my parents’ kitchen when I heard ‘Numb’ on the radio. Even at that age, this track completely enchanted me. Everything about it is an unsettling contradiction – it’s kinda like marijuana, in how it gets you loose and comfortable before unveiling the dark truths. Beth’s vocals are deliciously heartbreaking and reminiscent of Billie Holiday, who I also adore, along with the jazz influence. From that moment in the kitchen, they’ve been a huge influence on my writing. Their use of space and sonic contrast is so inspiring, it’s blunt yet silky and holds your hand through the haunted house of comedowns and urban decay. Everything about it is beautiful. My most recent single ‘Orbiting’ has had Portishead comparisons drawn in the press, which didn’t surprise me – I guess we’re having another societal comedown that needs a soundtrack.

Huge thanks to Fable for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Check out the video for recent single ‘Orbiting’ below:

 

INTERVIEW: Kynsy

Since the release of her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light‘ last year, GIHE have been big fans of Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist Kynsy (aka Ciara Lindsey.) Her lyricism offers a refreshingly honest perspective on the world around her, whilst her self-described “rowdy pop” sounds provide space for reflection and escapism, often within the same song.

We caught up with Kynsy ahead of the release of her debut EP, Things That Don’t Exist, to talk about lockdown-learning curves, how working with co-producers and her band mates has helped to flesh out her sound, the underrated trait of humility, and to reminisce about the deeply humbling and emotional experience of seeing David Bowie’s cocaine spoon at an art exhibition in Brooklyn…

 

Let’s start at the beginning – who, or what would you say first got you into writing and playing music?
My Dad’s a musician, but he never really showed me any specific rock artists, maybe he was waiting for me to turn the right age, but I was always listening to stuff that was in the charts, even though I wasn’t that inspired by it. When I was having a really low point as a teenager, my Dad showed me this music video – ‘Rebel Rebel’ by David Bowie – and I thought it was amazing. I think I was at that age where you begin to realise that it’s actually okay and kind of cool to be weird. Bowie just clicked with me and I knew then that I wanted to be in a band and I wanted to write music like that.

David Bowie seems to have that kind of affect on most people. He’s definitely one of my favourite artists.

He’s an absolute hero. So many people I know cried when he died. I went to New York in summer 2018, and I went to see the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. It was really hard to get tickets for, but I somehow managed to swing it and I went and I walked around and I was crying the whole time. I got to see all of his famous outfits which was mad.

I went to the same exhibition in London at The V&A in 2013! Did you see his coke spoon too?

I remember that as well! I told my friend about it, it was mad. I was really hungover when I went to the exhibition, so I remember walking around feeling a mixture of being really emotional and being extremely hungover as well.

That’s a good way to approach anything in life.

Let’s talk about the singles you’ve released prior to your debut EP – ‘Cold Blue Light’ & ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’. They were both born from personal experiences. Would you say your song-writing process is usually autobiographical? Do you find it more natural to write what you know?

The majority of the time I do prefer to write from personal experience. I think you can be much more emotional and vulnerable, and you can connect with the audience more if you’re talking about a real incident that’s happened to you.

Congratulations on releasing your debut EP, Things That Don’t Exist. Talk me through your memories of making the record, and the context behind your latest single ‘Elephant In The Room’…

Things That Don’t Exist is a collection of four songs that I’ve worked on over a couple of years. The reason why I chose these songs is they’re all very different, they all have this high energy to them that I really like. Each one has their own personality, but I also felt they were kind of contrasting as well, and I like to create contrast and juxtaposition in my music.

‘Elephant In The Room’ is the first song on the EP and it’s a lot poppier than the other stuff. Lyrically it’s reflecting on a darker time in my life when I was using escapism to deal with my problems. I was feeling kind of alienated from myself and trying to run from myself. ‘Elephant In The Room’ is that known metaphor – something you don’t want to mention or talk about, but that everybody knows is a thing – so this song in particular is about being 18-19 years old with my friends, going through a dark time and partying too much and realising that it was something that had to stop, but no-one would ever say it out loud. When I was writing it I was reflecting on that, and I was using the song as a conscious kind of wish to not go back and make the same mistakes when trying to deal with my problems.

But there’s an element of hope in there too. All of the songs on the EP are a bit sad and melancholic, but there’s a glimmer of hope. I like to try and have a positive message, even if it’s only something small.

That’s definitely a good way to frame a song. What are your main memories of recording the EP?

I recorded most of the songs in a studio in my college before Covid, and one of the songs called ‘Dog Videos’ was recorded during lockdown, which was interesting. I had to email my band being like “can you send me a bass line? Can you send me some trumpet?” so everyone recorded from home and sent their stuff over to me so I could mix it myself. Then I got my friend Joseph to go with a drummer and record in a studio in London, then he sent over the drum stems to me and I had to compile it all myself and send it off to be properly mixed. I usually work with a co-producer, so it’s the first time I’ve had to do it all myself. I learned an awful lot, it was really stressful but really good at the same time. I was forced to learn how to bounce out stems and get into the nitty-gritty of the technology side of it.

Equally, I learned a lot from the co-producer who I worked with when I was working in the studio, watching how they work and how they think when it comes to arranging songs. So it was a combination of both of those things.

In future, do you think you’ll have a 50/50 split when it comes to working by yourself and working with other people on new material?

A bit of both, but I would lean more into doing it with people, especially producers. Right now, I don’t think I’m confident enough in my own skills to completely get a track together properly by myself. That’s not me being down on myself, that’s just how it it. I know I did it for ‘Dog Videos’ on the EP, but it was very stressful and I get into my own head a little bit. It’s so easy to do when you’re just starting out with producing, so you need someone else to turn around and say “that’s done” or “send me the stem, I’ll fix that,” instead of me trying to get into all of these technical areas. I do think I would lean more into working with other people. Their ideas can help to get you out of your own rabbit hole sometimes, you know?

I will probably always write and demo stuff on my own though. I will layer guitars and come up with bass lines and stuff like that. The initial ideas I will do on my own, but bringing those ideas to the band and the producer just brings it such a level higher. The songs wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for that group of people being there. You need those extra voices there sometimes.

It sounds like you have the balance right. Do you have a favourite track on the EP? If so, why?

Probably ‘Dog Videos’ because I think I’ve been the most vulnerable with my lyric writing in that song. One of my goals as a songwriter is to try to be as vulnerable with myself as possible, just because I think that’s how you connect with people properly. It’s great to hear a song and be like “Oh wow, I feel like that too! Why does no-one ever talk about this?” I like the instrumentation on ‘Dog Videos’ too. I got a really good drummer and I got trumpets on it, which I never thought I’d end up doing. I have a really good friend who plays trumpet who I just hit up and asked if they’d play something for me and the next day he sent the stems over, which was really cool. I feel like I really hit the goal of opening up and being vulnerable with this song.

NME named you in their TOP 100 LIST, The Irish Jam named you as one to watch for 2021, and GIHE featured you on our Tracks Of 2020 list. How are you feeling about having the spotlight on you? Is it a bit nerve-racking or is it exciting?

Overall I’m happy with the attention. Everyone wants to work hard on something and for it to go well, and the main thing for your music is you want it to reach fans so that you can get a following through them. Everything in the press about me means I’ve been able to reach more people. Even with the NME thing, a few teenagers have messaged me personally about it and I just thought that was really nice, so I messaged them back to say thank you, because it means people are really listening which is nice!

I try not to think about the press stuff too much though, because any form of validation can mess up anyone’s head. Even though it is nice and positive, I don’t want to get stuck on it. In my head, there’s still a lot of work to do and I’m always trying to get deeper into the writing process and deeper into myself, that’s the main thing. They’re my main values. Trying to be a better writer, write like myself and trying to create meaning. The reviews are great and all, but they can really obscure your goals and style and I’ve seen that happen to people.

One of the down sides of today is because of social media – and the lockdowns as well – artists aren’t having natural interactions with their fans, they’re just seeing everything online. It’s so easy to slip into the idea that people are only liking this, or liking that. Obviously there’s no gigs at the moment either, so there’s no way you can actually physically see people’s reactions to your music. I think the main thing is just being aware of that and keeping on your own path, focusing on why you started making music in the first place.

I don’t want to come off super negative about it, but I think people will know what I mean. It’s just if people are telling you you’re great all the time, it’s going to get to your ego and your music’s going to suffer. Humility is one of the strongest personality traits you can have and it’s only going to do you good.

I think you’re right, it’s so important not to get side-tracked by other people’s opinions of you.

Finally, do you have any new artists or bands you’d recommend we listen to?

Sorry had an album come out last year and I listened to that a lot. I think they’re really cool, kind of like The Kills, I love the mix of electronic and rock stuff. Another band called Do Nothing. I went to one of their gigs in December in Dublin and unfortunately there weren’t that many people at the gig, which was bad for them but good for me afterwards because it meant I got to hang out with them for a bit!

I’ve been listening to a lot of Micachu & The Shapes as well, they’re kind of like sorry but more experimental rock stuff. Mica Levi is a producer and a writer and she is unreal, she’s someone I’d love to work with.

Thanks to Kynsy for answering our questions!

Listen to Kynsy’s debut EP Things That Don’t Exist here.

Follow Kynsy on Twitter, Facebook, Spotify & Instagram for more updates.

Photo Credit: Paula Trojner

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: August 2019

Summer’s nearly over, but we’ve selected some of the finest new music tracks to see you through August’s final weeks of sunshine and unexpected showers.Take some time to scroll through our track choices and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist link at the bottom of the page…

Bones UK – ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans’ 
I have Anthony & Elis of Noise Noir to thank for this B.A.N.G.E.R. I heard it during their DJ set for Siren Calling Festival and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. One of my favourite Bowie tracks covered in super cool style. I’m now an avid follower of Bones UK too. (Kate Crudgington)

Sui Zhen – ‘Matsudo City Life’
Inspired by the Japanese city of Matsudo – known by locals as a ‘sleeper town’ -, Sui Zhen’s latest single flows with infectious, ’80s inspired whirring hooks, alongside her luscious vocals. An utterly dreamy, synth-driven soundscape, it’s another slice of sparkling alt-pop from the Melbourne artist, and I cannot wait for the release of her upcoming new album, Losing, Linda, out 27th September. (Mari Lane)

Le Butcherettes – ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have)’ 
My absolute faves Le Butcherettes have shared their brilliant cover of The Buzzcocks’ classic and I’m hooked on it. The Guadalajara-born and El Paso/L.A. based group shot a live video of the song as part of their collaboration with Fender for their Vintera Series of guitars before recording a studio version for the single release. (KC)

Cat Apostrophe – ‘January’ 
‘January’ by Yorkshire-based radically soft pop band Cat Apostrophe is taken from their debut LP Lifelong Amateurism, which is out now via Everything Sucks Music. You can catch them on their tour across the whole of the UK hitting London on 26th August at DIY Space for London. (Tash Walker)

Babeheaven – ‘Seabird’ 
Babeheaven’s cover of 70s classic ‘Seabird’ originally by the Alessi Brothers, is incredibly beautiful and has left me gazing dreamily out of many a window with it playing into my ears… so what better reason for wanting to share that with you all. It is quite simply, heart wrenchingly, sublime. (TW)

Suggested Friends – ‘Cygnet’
I’ve been completely addicted to Suggested Friends‘ eponymous debut release over the last couple of years, and so I couldn’t be more excited to hear that they have just announced the release of their second album. To coincide with the announcement, Suggested Friends have shared new single ‘Cygnets’. With totally dreamy harmonies and the distinctive heartfelt crystalline vocals of Faith Taylor, it’s filled with an infectious jangly scuzz and stirring raw emotion, complete with some impressive rollicking riffage. Turtle Taxi, the upcoming album from Suggested Friends, is out 4th October. (ML)

Wyldest – ‘Mind Over Body/Slowdance’ 
I caught two thirds of Wyldest live at Siren Calling Festival over the weekend, and their shoegazey guitars and smooth vocals melted my ears. (KC)

Hurtling – ‘Summer’
I just can’t get enough of London band Hurtling’s new single ‘Summer’. Starting off with gentle, finger-picked melodies and the luscious, delicate vocals of Jen Macro, it soon builds with sun-drenched whirring hooks and immense beats to a fuzz-filled noisepop anthem. A scuzzy dream of a track, it’s impossible not to get caught up in its sparkling, psychedelic haze.‘Summer’ is out now, whilst Hurtling’s debut album – Future From Here – is out 18th October, both via Onomatopoeia Records. (ML)

Hannah Stewart – ‘Glaze’
The new single from California based artist Hannah Glaze is propelled by throbbing beats and gritty bass-lines. Filled with the smooth allure of Hannah’s honey-sweet vocals and a driving energy, it oozes an infectious danceability and fuzzed-out groove that we can’t get enough of. (ML)

Hana Vu – ‘At The Party’ 
I am hooked on LA artist & producer Hana Vu’s down-beat disco banger ‘At The Party’. It’s a song about ““spite and how truly meaningless it is” and I can’t help but feel any sense of spite evaporate when I hear her sultry vocals. She’s set to release a new EP titled Nicole Kidman/Anne Hathaway on 25th October via Luminelle, and I can’t wait to hear more from this talented nineteen year old. (KC)

TONI&MASH – ‘LTGFU’ 
The debut electro-house banger ‘LTGFU’ by Berlin-based TONI&MASH out via Black Diamond Records. Absolute tune. (TW)

Nasty Cherry – ‘Live Forever’ 
Nasty Cherry co-wrote ‘Live Forever’ with Charli XCX & producer Justin Raisen (Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon), so it was destined to sound cool. In their own words “‘Live Forever’ is a song about being unconfined, unrefined and self-assured” – here’s to that! (KC)

Cozy Slippers – ‘A Million Pieces’
Formed at ‘Ladies Rock Camp’ – a weekend event that introduces women to rock instruments and playing in a band – Seattle band Cozy Slippers are back with a brand new single. Contrasting popular culture depictions of romance with lived reality, ‘A Million Pieces’ oozes shades of the jangly surf-pop of the likes of Real Estate or Best Coast, whilst adding its own dreamy air of romanticism. Flowing with luscious melodies, it’s filled with all the sparkling, uplifting summer vibes. We can’t wait for Cozy Slippers to come over to the UK and play for us at The Finsbury on 8th November! (ML)

Delacey – ‘Emily’  
The from LA singer-songwriter Delacey is an ode to her best friend. Shout out to her for representing the importance of female friendship, especially when it comes in the form of reverb heavy electro. (TW)

Intaya – ‘Guaguancó’ 
‘Guaguancó’ by Venezuelan born, London based Intaya is a potent amalgamation of cross-cultural music, described as a commute to an electric Latin Caribbean Island in a London Tube train. Their debut EP is due out later in the year. (TW)

Like A Villain – ‘My Hands’
The new single from New York artist Holland Andrews, aka Like A Villain, ‘My Hands’ is filled with glistening electronics and a hypnotic, haunting grace. Propelled by the emotion-strewn power of Andrews’ soulful vocals, it creates a poignant, ethereal soundscape.
Like A Villain’s upcoming album What Makes Vulnerability Good is out 20th September via Accidental Records. (ML)

BAD – ‘Sweat’ 
‘Sweat’ is a track so catchy it’s had me popping my shoulders all over London these last couple of weeks – the jury’s still out on those moves, but not on this track. Coming from NYC based duo BAD, described as Lizzo meets George Michael, this track is full of funk, soul and just enough of that throwback to Saved by the Bell that you need. (TW)

Roniit – ‘Foreign Tongues’
Self-proclaimed “Dark Queen” Roniit’s reimagination of Crywolf’s ‘Foreign Tongues’ is an ethereal, melancholy exploration of sound that gives me goosebumps. Roniit is a friend and frequent collaborator of Crywolf’s, working behind-the-scenes for the production of many of his photographs and videos. A true talent. (KC)

 

FIVE FAVOURITES: Velvet Volume

Sibling trio Velvet Volume have turned a DIY attitude and the power of sisterhood in to riotous sounds reminiscent of Veruca Salt, The Donnas and Sleater-Kinney. Comprised of twins Noa (guitar) and Naomi (bass), drummer sister Nataja, the Denmark-based band released their debut album Look Look Look! back in 2017 to crticial acclaim in their homeland, and are set to re-release the record via Nettwerk internationally. 

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is to ask them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with the Velvet Volume sisters to ask them about their “Five Favourites” – five songs which have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you watch the video for their track ‘Pretty In Black’ at the end of this post.

Last Shadow Puppets – ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’
Nataja:​ I always get very emotional when I hear this song. I almost always play it when we sit in the tour-bus, it sets the mood when we have been driving through Switzerland. The composition of this song is absolutely perfect, and I adore the way they manage to use such romantic strings alongside such extreme western guitar sounds. I don’t think that anybody can pull off such a sound, mixing so many different moods and genres together. Which is why I have so much respect for their songwriting skills, and I always try to pull it into our own songwriting process.

Grace Jones – ‘Walking In The Rain’
Noa: Grace Jones is one of the most important artists in my development as an artist. I remember watching her for the first time on Vh1, performing ‘walking in the rain’, wearing a dark suit illuminated by a spotlight. I was so persuaded by her energy and character and how she almost appeared like an alien-like creature. She had so much power and confidence that it almost confused her audience. I had never seen a female artist like that before! And then I just really started digging her whole career as a musical artist, actor, and model.

David Bowie – ‘Starman’
Nataja: Again, a professor in brilliant songwriting. Starman is one of my all-time favorite songs, mostly because it has the best chorus ever written… Period. In general, we actually have a saying, that comes from some of the more “epic” Bowie songs which we call “higher than life – feeling”. Especially on songs like ‘Heroes’ and ‘Space Oddity’. It’s the very emotional and sad but at the same time, happy and uplifting feeling you get when you listen to it. It’s is the “everything is sad right now, but it’s gonna be alright” – feeling, hahah… if you don’t get it, then just listen to the songs, and the feeling you get is THE “higher than life – feeling”. And it’s something we’re trying to incorporate into some of our own songs. It could be cool to give people that same feeling by listening to our songs.

The White Stripes – ‘Blue Orchid’
Naomi: I remember when my father played The White Stripes for me as a little kid, and I immediately fell in love with the energy and the power of just two instruments. It blew my mind! It was a huge inspiration for me. To experience how you can make two instruments sound like many, and make the music sound big, but yet minimalistic at the same time! I loved Jacks simple and powerful riffs like this one in Blue Orchid, and I definitely wanted to write riffs like that as well!

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood – ‘Some Velvet Morning’
Noa: okay the whole album is just a true masterpiece. But especially this song. It really captures the thing I love the most about the album. The very romantic and dreamy/dramatic vibe, in the lyrics and the grandeur compositions, – and then the very traditional female/masculine dividing in the melody and the responding/conversation between them, which we use a lot in our own songs. I really like to use both the masculine and feminine side, which kind of symbolizes the fact that we all carry both around in oneself, and we use it in both singing and playing our instruments!

Thanks to Velvet Volume for sharing their favourite songs with us! Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Daniel Aude

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut