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Friday, 29 May 2020

In Conversation with Fever...

Photograph by Patrick Mateer

In my humble opinion the British music scene is as strong as it's ever been. There's boss bands and artists popping up all over the shop and with streaming services dominating the industry, good tunes are only a click away. Fever have been on my radar for a while now and they capture the best of  British guitar sound with intelligent lyrics and huge hooks. We caught up with drummer Joe to talk tunes, tours and of course quarantine. 

MOU: Correct me if I'm wrong but you've been around just over a year? How do you think it's all going so far?

F: Well, we started playing shows and put out the first single 'Jungle Man' in October 2019, but we'd locked ourselves in the rehearsal room for just under a year before going public. We're more than happy with how it's going so far! When we were first looking at forming the band, me and James set out a few goals that we thought were realistic early doors. Without going into specifics, we've now hit all them targets, but then of course you're straight onto thinking about the next thing!

MOU: I'm really enjoying your three singles, what's next in line to be released?

F: Thank you! Pre Covid-19, we were looking to have another single out in July, but now we obviously can't get in the studio to record together, so we're not sure when that will eventually surface. We're still aiming to have a single out in August/September and hopefully another single, accompanied by a full EP towards the end of the year. We've got all the tracks ready to go, so it's just about waiting for the green light really!

MOU: "Jungle Man" sounds great live, is it an enjoyable tune to play?

F: To be honest, although it probably sounds like one of the simpler songs in our set, collectively it's probably one of the most difficult to play. It's the only song that James had already demo'd before starting the band, so for me it's a bit tricky, as I basically have to try and replicate the drum beat that was programmed on the demo. It's also the one song that we're probably slightly sick of playing in rehearsal, just purely because it's been around since the very first practice. Saying that, it probably gets the biggest reaction at our gigs, so that naturally makes it really good fun to play live!

MOU: I've really enjoyed your lockdown covers, what's been your favourite you've done so far and why?

F: Thanks, although they're James' baby really! From an outsiders perspective, I really enjoyed the first one James did on his own, which was 'Caravan Of Love' by The Housemartins. I just quite liked the simplicity of it and thought it was quite clever how he was able to do all four of the vocal parts himself. It also got a great reaction back at home, with the connection that song has to Hull!

MOU:  I was a fan of James' old band (The Fronteers) have you taken any inspiration from those older tunes when writing and recording these new ones?

F: Obviously, I wouldn't want to put any words in James' mouth on this one, but I think when we started he was slightly conscious of this not just being a 'Fronteers Part 2' sort of thing. Saying that, he was the co-songwriter that in that band, so it's inevitable that the way he writes and how he sounds vocally is always going to have some resemblance, as that's just him. Obviously he doesn't have to write for two voices anymore like he used to in that band, but we're also a lot more relaxed now about introducing things like vocal harmonies into our own music, which I think we maybe shied away from early on, to avoid any comparison.

MOU: You recently supported Blossoms before this madness hit, how was that tour? (it looked boss!)

F: Absolutely loved it! Ridiculous sized venues compared to what we're used to and also terrifying given that we'd only played just over ten gigs before we went off to do them shows! Saying that, the Blossoms lads and their crew put us totally at ease and made the full tour an absolute pleasure. Naturally, the last couple of gigs felt a little weird, as we all knew the end was coming, in terms of Covid-19 closing down the show, it was just a matter of when. We were lucky in the respect that we got to play 7 of the 8 gigs on that tour, although we were still disappointed not to play in London at Kentish Town Forum. We had loads of friends and family coming down for that last show and it was also the biggest gig of the tour for us. Obviously it was 100% the right decision for that show to be pulled and in hindsight I'm actually now quite pleased that we've got that rescheduled show to look forward to once this is all over!

MOU: What are the bands post lockdown aspirations? Where do you see it all going?

F: As soon as lockdown restrictions are eased and if it's safe to do so, we'll be looking at getting straight into the studio. Like I say, hoping for an EP out by the end of the year. That'll then be the majority of our current live set recorded and will only make the gigs better. Not sure when we'll be allowed to get back out playing live again, but hopefully there'll be a couple more shows with Blossoms and then we'd love to get out on another big support tour, as well as a big hometown show in Hull at some point!

MOU: What other bands are you digging at the moment?

F: Across the band, we've all got quite differing tastes really. I know we've all been listening a lot to The Strokes new album 'The New Abnormal' and Tame Impala's 'The Slow Rush'. Saying that, there's also some guilty pleasures on the pre-gig playlist like Billie Eilish & Harry Styles!

MOU: You've got a really solid sound can you see it changing and developing over time?

F: Yeah, definitely! We've seen a big progression since we brought Sam in at the start of the year, on keys and backing vocals. It's enabled us to create a bigger, thicker sound and not limit us to just be a 'guitar band'. Also, I think we've all grown up loving bands that haven't got stuck in a particular sound and that have evolved on each release, whether it be The Beatles through to the likes of Arctic Monkeys.

MOU: How would you describe the current state of British guitar music?

F: Being on tour with Blossoms in them huge venues recently has shown us that there's definitely still a market for alternative music to be taken to the masses! There's artists like Fontaines DC, Laura Marling, Michael Kiwanuka etc that have put out great records recently, they just don't necessarily fall into that classic 'indie' or 'guitar' category. To be honest, I don't think it particularly matters anymore that it's guitar music, as long as it's good music and there's always that about, it's just knowing where to look for it!


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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger