Here at amazing we couldn't be happier to bring you Field Music, playing live for The Amazing Sessions.
Made up of the musical powerhouse that is Peter and David Brewis, plus Kev Dosdale on guitar and Andrew Lowther on bass and keys, they came in at the end of the UK tour and played us two wonderful tracks from their newly released fourth album Plumb. Out via Memphis Industries
Amazing Radio's Head of Music caught up with David and Peter from Field Music in The Amazing Sessions studio immediately after they recorded their session.
You've just played two songs for us, is it tough for you to leave your studio hangups at the door and treat recording here as an actual live session?
Pete: I think it's always a pretty bad idea if someone says to us 'Yeah you can have another take..' because we probably would when we've got the choice. We've gotten better at being able to say 'it's live, it should have that energy'. We can save the perfectionism for the months and months in the studio.
You play live as a four piece but you do the album just the two of you together, is it interesting to have those guys come into the studio environment with you and start playing?
Pete: We finally get to hear the details of all the nice things they're playing – on stage we don't get to notice. That's how it's been for me.
Dave: Yeah I think that whenever we do a studio session it's nice to actually hear what Kev (guitar) and Andrew (keys/bass) are actually doing. And I'm always pretty chuffed about it.
You've just got back from a U.K tour for the new record. How was it for you? Do you guys enjoy going out and playing the new stuff live?
Pete: We do yeah, when it's only 3 gigs at a time, piece of cake!
Is that just how you choose to do it now?
Pete: Pretty much...we're not really, you know, we do everything ourselves when we're away on tour and I don't think we're particularly into the idea of being away from home for weeks on end, so it makes sense for us to kind of, keep enjoying it if we're not away for too long.
Dave: The U.K is a pretty small place so we can do a meaningful tour across 6 or 7 or 8 dates which means we're not away for a long time and it means we're not totally worn out, and I mean this time around the gigs have been great. Actually all of the gigs sold out which is a first for us, especially given that we're playing some places we've never played before, where we've never played headline gigs before. So yeah, all good! If all touring was like last weeks touring then I could find myself really getting into it.
Famous last words now. Don't let anyone at the management hear that because they'll have you out doing 26 date tours with no stops!
Dave: No, no, no. They know us too well! Everybody involved in the Field Music web – they know what we're like.
You've played us some songs off of the new record 'Plumb'. It strikes me as a more concise piece than your last one, obviously, which was a double. Was that a conscious decision, do you ever go into the studio with a plan?
Dave: It's a vague plan, it's not like a detailed, you know, it wasn't a concept album or anything, generally we were thinking let's not do it like we did it last time, and because we both have all of these fragments of music on dictaphones and scribbled pieces of paper and some of them grow into full 3 and half minute conventional songs, but we have a lot of those pieces of music that don't grow into conventional songs, this is the record where we thought 'well, what can we do with these pieces of music which are nice, which we really love, and we think are as good as anything else we're doing but they're never going to be a 4 minute long song – so what do we do with them?' And this was the record where we found out.
I was going to say it kind of does have a 'second half of Abbey Road' feel to some of it, with 30 second snippets coming in and out.
Dave: That IS a good record isn't it? Actually I've just been getting into the SMILE box-set that's just been released and again, I mean that is very much made of fragments of music that all fit together and occasionally repeat further down the line – so it's not without precedent, it's not like we've done something so far outside of the 'Rock-Sphere' that people can't take it, and so far the response to the album has been pretty good, so I dunno, people aren't as daft as sometimes you might assume they are.
I think the other thing that strikes me about the record and you guys is that you don't tend to write lyrics about the same things that perhaps most other bands do – is that something you enjoy doing - like 'Who Will Pay The Bills?' (above) for example, it's not about matters of the heart always with you guys.
Pete: Well, I mean they are still matters of the heart but I think matters of the heart are deeper than just 'hey baby I love you, I wanna, you know, get into a sleeping bag with you...' or something like that..
Oh I really like that track actually...
Pete: Sleeping bag? Zz Top? (Laughter) But yeah, you can, you know, talk about the things around that, I would hate people to think that what we did was devoid of heart, it's just that it's sat in a different context.
Dave: Almost all the songs, all of the songs maybe are about our relationships with each other, or with our wives or partners, or with our families or...
Pete: Our pets.
Dave: I haven't written any songs about the cat yet... but it might happen, we are very close! Yeah so, they all feel quite personal to me, it's just that we don't, they're not just 'come on' tunes...
Pete: Are you sure?
Dave: A couple of them might be...
Pete: That's for the next record I think.
People have written about stuff like that, with 'Who Will Pay The Bills?' and obviously there was the Guardian piece a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't want to go over that ground but I wanted to get how you felt about the piece when it came out... I wouldn't have expected that headline to come out and for it to be almost a campaign piece... I doubt you left the office thinking 'Oh right, yeah, that's what that's going to be about' so how did that strike you when you saw it?
Dave: I was surprised by the headline and I think it puts everything else in the piece in kind of an inappropriate context. I mean, we were just trying to make the point that, actually in a positive way, we choose to make less money in order to make our music and actually we probably could make more money by doing different music...
Pete: Could we? Possibly.
Dave: Certainly we'd have more chance of it if we made music that was more 'commercial.' But then again, people who run indie record labels, people who run indie record shops, people who do the press for bands like ours – they could also make more money by doing other music. It's something which spreads right across the music industry – lots and lots of people, actually in lots of walks of life, are choosing to make less money to do something they really, really care about. But yeah, when they put that headline on, it just starts to be about our personal finances, which are really boring actually, completely boring.
No totally, I thought it was interesting and a lot of people picked up on it, but in quite a positive way, so it's not like you came out of it whinging, I just thought that it raised some issues that perhaps you didn't go in there to raise.
Pete: I'm not sure what issues were trying to be raised there to be honest, I just think it's misleading, you know, it was something that I said, hypothetically, and I'm embarrassed by it frankly. There you go.
Dave: I think we've always, we have tried to be honest about the economics and the mechanics of trying to do a band, it's the same as trying to be writer or anything like that, and the way we've approached doing our band, and our relationships with the music industry, we see as being part of the process of what we do. But, when you strip away some of the context of it, I really hope it doesn't come across as us whinging 'cause we don’t make enough money, because...
Pete: Because we do – you know, we do, we get by, we get to make music for a living as opposed to other things.
Dave: We're very lucky.
Pete: Very fortunate.
Dave: We get to make our music, exactly how we want to do it.
We'll get back to the music 'cause it's much more interesting. We're all about new bands and new artists, and I just wondered who are you guys listening to at the minute, who you like, is there anyone out there who you think we should check out?
Pete: We had Stealing Sheep away with us on tour and they were fantastic – really really excellent so if you get a chance to see them, or hear the records I would really recommend that.
Check out more from Field Music on the excellent Memphis Industries' amazingtunes.com profile,.