Guillemots this week released their fourth album, 'Hello Land' - the first of four promised releases for 2012 and all released independently.
An eclectic mix of sounds and an exciting release from the Guillemots, the band have broken away from their record label and stepped away from their more commercial sound. We spoke to frontman Fyfe Dangerfield about why they wanted to create music without a record label, how record labels can stifle artists' creativity and whether the band can make good on their promise to release four albums in just one year...
Why did you make the decision to release your new album 'Hello Land!' independently?
It just happened naturally. I think we just felt a bit bored and I felt like I was just a bit lost in the music industry, you can get very lost in the music business. It’s not like I hate the music industry.
What led you to getting 'lost'?
I think it’s just you can get very immersed in it without even realising and there are so many patterns and waves that you expect to do things. I think we were just used to playing the line without realising. The one thing we were really getting frustrated by was this album cycle. You generally spend a few months at a time making a record and then you kind of sit on them for a time. It’s very hard to be creative, I think we started realising we don’t need to do this. We thought why not put out loads of music and do it ourselves!
Do you have any particularly bad experiences with previous labels?
We have never really had a bad experience really, we were lucky with our record labels are last three albums were released through Universal records. They always let us have creative control, well certainly in the music anyway. It was never a case of anyone telling us what to do. Everything you do will have to go through so many people it be approved, you’ll have an idea and then have to email someone and then that person has to email someone else. You just want to make music and get it out as soon as we can.
You're not the first band to promise to release several albums in one year. Will you be able to deliver?
I think so yeah! It’s a challenge to make music and make it good music. It’s about having fun and being yourself. I’m not going to allow myself to get too stressed about it. It’s definitely a challenge, I think with us it’s never been a problem about ideas. I think we found the perfect place to record in Norway.
Do you feel like there is a bit of pressure now that you have made this the target?
There is a little bit of pressure but like I say I’m not going to think about it. It’s not really that hard work, you just have to go make music.
Will the next three 2012 albums coming out be similar to 'Hello land!', or have their own sound?
They are not going to be the same, I don’t really know to be honest. They are just going to be music. They’re each going to have their own sound but I think the four of them will have a sound together as well.
Will fans find any commercial tracks such as 'Get Over It' on the new releases?
No we’re not really thinking about hit singles at all really but at the same time we are definitely not trying to go all experimental at people. So, I think there are songs on the album that could sound great on the radio, we not going to play music just to get it on the radio but if it can get on the radio and become really popular that would be great!
What are your thoughts on the current UK music scene?
I feel a bit estranged from the music scene. I have spent most of the last few months hanging out in Norway, or in my flat. I’m not going out in London four nights a week to clubs and things. I hear stuff on the radio but I don’t really know what the scene is.
Would you advise other frustrated bands to leave their labels and strike out alone?
I think the most important thing for a bands considering leaving their record labels is to keep an open mind, I think it’s difficult because you get surrounded by people, you know, who are very well meaning but everyone has an opinion, of course they do. You have to be head-strong and keep your own visions clear, because it’s very easy to get confused. You have to remember why you got into it in the first place. It’s amazing how many bands have gone through the whole process of producers and emerged sounding like something else entirely and that’s a shame.
It is very easy to get repackaged; you have to be very head strong and know what you are doing and remember why you were excited about doing it in the first place.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given from other artists?
I can’t remember one piece of advice that has really stuck. It has just been gradual realisation. The process of it is not to please me or the band; it’s to please other people. You don’t start thinking what do people want from us but it’s really helped me to think that I want people to listen to this music, to make them feel good. I think sometimes in the past I just felt like I was exercising my own demons and forget what it’s all about. I want someone to be able to listen to it and make them feel warm inside and smile! I think it’s the most powerful thing music can do.
What has been the career highlight for the Guillemots so far?
I think what we are doing at the moment maybe. I have lots of memories, like recording with a huge orchestra on our first record. We did a gig at Somerset House - outdoors and in the summer. There are so many little memories really. Some of the best memories we’ve had have been on the road.
Thank you very much, Fyfe Dangerfield. 'Hello Land!' is out now.