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Impact Interviews Fenech-Soler

Impact caught up with brothers Ross Duffy and Ben Duffy from electropop quartet Fenech-Soler in the aftermath of their vigorous set at Summer Party 2012. They filled us in on their plans for the future as well as their love for the Ghostbusters theme tune…

How do you feel your set went today? You seemed really energetic!

Fenech-Soler: We’ve been stuck indoors for about a month now making a new album, so when we get these small chances to play big shows like this, we just go absolutely mental for half an hour! We’ve been cooped up in a studio, so it’s good to get out and actually play.

We know your name is taken from one of your band member’s surnames. Why did you decide to choose it as your band name specifically?

FS: That’s a very good question! We ask ourselves that quite regularly. We did actually sit down as a band and try to think of a name.  To be honest, at the time when we were starting to mess around with electronic music, no one in our area was really doing it. So we felt that the name Fenech-Soler would stop us being linked to any scene. I guess it is ridiculous, but what do other band names mean? Like, Depeche Mode?!

How do you actually pronounce the band name?!

FS: Well there’s a few different ways; you can put a nice French twist on it if you want to sound suave! But we pronounce it ‘Feneck Solar’.

You’re quite a distinctive merge of indie-pop and electro, with synth influences. Would you say you’re more of a club-orientated band than one that belongs on the radio?

FS: We started out listening to a lot of DJs, our love for dance music started that way. But when we first started listening to music, there were also a lot of indie bands around. When we got into dance music, we regarded DJs in the same way as bands. So, we started off being inspired by DJs but we always loved the band setup so we wanted to do both together. I suppose it’s club music that can be played on the radio, but we try to keep a live band setup.

But you’re not entirely synth-orientated are you? We’ve seen that you’ve done a couple of acoustic versions, for example of ‘Stop and Stare’. Would you consider focusing more on acoustic material?

FS: Definitely! Fenech-Soler started off by playing synth music; we bought loads of old synthesisers and we were interested in the sorts of sounds that they made and got totally wrapped up in that. But we’ve also wanted to maintain that we’re a band. We love acoustic music; Ross and I are brothers, and we grew up listening to it. So any opportunity (like the Radio One Live Lounge) to take it completely acoustic is always a good thing.

You have often been compared to ‘new rave’ bands like Klaxons or synth-orientated bands like Metronomy. Do you think you fall into a similar category as them or are you individual in your own right?

FS: Yes, I’d say we are individual in our own right. There are always bands that are part of a contemporary scene. The test of those bands, and whether they sink or swim, is how they progress with their next records. Metronomy are a perfect example of, regardless of style and genre, just being able to write a great record. It is a privilege to be linked with those bands because we respect them and like playing alongside them. But what is most important is what you do with the records, so we are always putting pressure on ourselves to write good songs.

We’ve seen you’ve done a lot of remixes and covers of female artists, such as a remix of Marina and the Diamonds, and a Jessie J cover. Why, specifically, have you chosen female singers?

FS: Because they sound better! Especially from a remixing point of view; a good female vocal always sounds great. We did one of Sunday Girl as well actually. It just works! We don’t go out of our way to only remix and cover female-fronted bands, but it has just happened that way.

Do you prefer remixing songs or writing and playing your own music?

FS: Well, we haven’t actually done a remix for about a year and a half to two years now. We have been so focused on writing our own stuff that we haven’t had time to do one. But we will do another remix or cover at some point. It’s nice to write your own songs because making them sound good is better than making someone else’s song sound good!

You did a great cover of Everything Everything

FS: See there’s an all-bloke band for you! They’re a great band, we fully endorse Everything Everything.

If you had to pick your three main musical influences, who would they be?

FS: I would go for…Bruce Hornsby…the Ghostbusters theme tune, and…I don’t know! No, seriously, it’s the sort of thing where people say, “We listen to everything!”. But we listened to The Punch Brothers record on the way up here which is an American Bluegrass record and they are amazing, they were on Jools Holland recently, and that’s a million miles away from our style. We just listen to a lot of songs from back in the 1970s and 1980s, songs that stand the test of time. So, it’s hard to pick three really…Ghostbusters definitely though.

Hypothetically, if you could design your own tour, who would be on it?

FS: Funnily enough the other half of Fenech-Soler, Dan and Andy, are off to see Metallica tonight so they would have to go on the line-up just because Andy worships them! You don’t see Andy not wearing a Metallica shirt outside of the black shirt and white jeans we wear onstage. Typical drummer look! The best act we’ve seen at a festival was probably Prince, who we saw at Hop Farm…he is dead though. Ok, we will put him on the line-up, but technically it isn’t going to work! Then again, there was a hologram of Tupac at Coachella so we can bring Prince back!

You exploded onto the popular music scene back in 2010 with your debut album and particular hit, ‘Lies’, which the crowd went crazy for today. Is there another album in the pipeline?

FS: There has been an album in the pipeline for six months…that’s how long we have been working on this record. The idea is to avoid playing many festivals this summer, so in September we are going to be coming back with a new record and some new shows. We plan to do a small run of dates at some small venues around late September or early October and then next summer you shouldn’t walk too far without seeing us at a festival…we should be playing all of them!

In which case, we feel privileged to have you here at Summer Party!

We’ve only selected the best gigs in the country to do this summer and that’s why we’re here.

What does the future hold for Fenech-Soler?

FS: Just getting the album out and playing lots more shows really! It’s a really interesting time for the band because we are working with a new record label, who are fantastic. We are just very privileged to have the chance to go and make an album. We didn’t really do that last time; we just put all the songs that we’d be working on together and released them. It’s nice to work on an album as a body of work. We are very excited and can’t wait to get it out there!

I think that covers it. Thanks very much guys!

Sarah Dawood and Josh Levy 

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