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- Posted on Feb 17th 2010 11:05AM by Chris Starrs
In late 2008, British-born Fyfe Dangerfield stepped away from his role as the leader of the popular indie band Guillemots to record demos of songs he'd written that didn't necessarily fit the profile of the band. Working with producer Bernard Butler (Aimee Mann, the Libertines, Duffy), Dangerfield spent five days hammering out the songs that eventually became his solo debut, 'Fly Yellow Moon,' which was released in January. Spinner caught up with Dangerfield in advance of his SXSW 2010 appearance.
Describe your sound.
I'm terrible at these questions. I suppose it's sort of -- it's such a mix. Some of the songs were written in the middle of the night and are sort of hushed and whispery. It's a whole range of things.
How did your band form?
The solo album came about because we had a bit of time when the Guillemots finished touring at the end of 2008. I booked five days in a studio with a friend just to record some songs I'd written. It wasn't specifically to do a record but just to record them and see what happened. And it kind of ended up being the foundation of the record. I haven't really got a live band. It's just me and a couple of string players, but maybe later in the year I'll put together a live band.
What are your musical influences?
There are so many. I always find it hard to say one thing because there wasn't a specific kind of music that influenced me. The obvious one, of course, is the Beatles, because I was lucky enough to grow up in a house that, between my parents and my older brother, they pretty much had all the Beatles' records on vinyl. When you listen to stuff when you're young, it gets into your bloodstream and you don't even realize you're influenced.
What's your biggest vice?
I suppose alcohol is the obvious one. Alcohol and my constantly unsatisfied mind, I think. I like it all, really. I do like a good bourbon. Can you recommend a good bourbon to try when I get out there?
What's in your festival survival kit?
Bourbon and toilet paper. I've not been to many festivals when I'm not playing. When we're playing, we get more luxury treatment in that we actually have a backstage area with an accessible toilet. It would be good if you could turn up on an elephant or something. That would help you get around and you wouldn't get muddy and people would get out of your way. I don't know quite how that would work – if everybody else brought an elephant too, it would be carnage.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
It was probably some girl in [Australian soap opera] 'Neighbours.' I can't remember, but it may have been [musician-actress] Delta Goodrem. I must have had a crush on everybody at some point. I did like Scarlett Johansson when she was in 'Ghost World,' before she was famous. I spotted her hotness early.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Cheesy pop songs. We keep debating this in the band -- what is cheesy? I just love every song with synth parts. I never consciously got into '80s music, but I do like big string and synth parts. I'm a sucker for them.
Tell us about your friendship with Sir Paul McCartney.
I wouldn't call it a friendship – I haven't met him yet. I'm obviously a massive fan, and a friend of mine who worked with Paul gave him a couple of our records and he said some nice things about them. He appeared on Radio One on the BBC and played 'Little Bear' (from the Guillemots' debut album, 'Through the Window Pane') and said he really liked the string arrangements. So I wrote him a note and thanked him. One day, when I was eating pizza, I got a call from a withheld number, so I didn't answer it. I checked the message later and it was him. I've kept that voicemail for quite some time now.
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