Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
An interview with Admiral Fallow
Admiral Fallow are, quite probably, a new-to-you band – albeit one landing in your in-tray or inbox today with a debut album already under their collective belt, 2010’s superbly acclaimed Boots Met My Face. As such an achievement should suggest, this Glasgow-based ensemble has paid its dues several times over, sleeping on floors on tour and making the most of meagre resources to further a cause that’s earned them comparisons to the likes of The Delgados and Midlake and attracted plaudits from such high-profile individuals as Elbow’s Guy Garvey, King Creosote and Guillemots’ Fyfe Dangerfield. Now, with the release of Tree Bursts in Snow – produced and mixed at Glasgow’s famous Chem 19 studios by Paul Savage (Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub), and mastered by Greg Calbi (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, The National) at Sterling Sound in NYC – the five-piece (regularly swelled to a larger collective live) is ready to take the next step: from the recommended column of several critics’ reviews catalogue and into the hearts of the wider public.
How did you come up with your name?
Just before releasing our first album we decided to change our name. We only had a short window to come up with something. Sarah fired us a bunch of suggestions via email and Admiral Fallow seemed the strongest contender. I’m a great believer of the idea that the music makes the name and not the other way around. After all, Radiohead is a pretty crappy name, but what a band.
Describe your music in three words
It’s Pop Music.
Tell us about your songwriting process
Generally I’ll take an idea in some form to the others; having perhaps home demo’d it beforehand so I can remember how it goes. It won’t always be a full song, sometimes just a verse and chorus. We’ll then work it up into the full band set up, trying out different grooves and instruments. For the most part, it all comes together fairly quickly.
What do you want your music to achieve?
As long as people keep enjoying the records we make, we’ll keep doing them. We’ve been very lucky to have played in some incredible venues both here in the UK and over in the US, which we’re very grateful to have done. We’ve also had the pleasure of opening for some of our favourite artists, which is a real treat. As for what we want it to achieve, I reckon being given these opportunities is a fine achievement and we’ll happily carry on as we are.
Which bit of music gear could you not live without and why?
I’m not all that precious about specific gear though I really like the instruments I use. It’s really boring but I guess a tuner of some sort. I’m the least punk person you’re likely to meet and it f**ks me off when stuff’s out of tune. The tuner would need to have a mute thing on it too. I don’t want to hear the tuning. What a dickhead.
Name your top three music festivals
Glastonbury – No description necessary. We’ve all seen it on the telly. It’s even better in the flesh.
SXSW (Austin,TX) – It’s actually more an industry type of affair, so it’s not the most punter friendly. That said, Austin is an incredible place and will always have a special feeling for us with it being our first ever show in the states. Unbelievable food too.
Insider Festival (Aviemore) – Quite simply the greatest tiny festival I’ve ever been to. It’s the only festival I’ve stood in the rain consistently, for three years running, and never complained about.
What’s your favourite track off your new album, Tree Bursts in Snow, and why?
I’d probably say ‘Oh, Oscar’. Like a lot of our songs, it started as a sketchy little number which I took to the band with no particular form in mind. It’s very simple with only a few short verses. The arrangement came together very quickly and naturally in the rehearsals leading up to making the album; I believe we had only played it a handful of times before we came to record it. Songs on the same album with more complex arrangements had rightly taken up the majority of our time and energy during the recording process and so, with only an hour or so remaining on one session, we set up the room to try to get a sound for ‘Oh, Oscar’. I was feeling very tired and, having had a couple of wines with dinner, also more relaxed than I perhaps should’ve been. All five of us set up in the same room together, playing ‘as live’, and we ended up using the very first take. I like it because it’s not perfect. It has little flaws in sound and the vocal is slightly unsure of itself, the lyrics having only been finalised minutes before recording. For me personally, it was a lesson in what can be created when you’re not feeling any pressure and you’re relaxed. It was a nice way to work.
What was the idea behind your music video for The Paper Trench?
The idea for the ‘Treeman’ video was pitched to us by the director Greg Davenport (he also directed our wedding band video for follow up single ‘Guest of the Government’). We got a few different ideas through but his was the most interesting sounding. It all rested on the ‘Treeman’ costume looking as good as it could, so we were slightly worried about it in the run up to the shoot. We were so happy with the outcome. The reactions of the folks he meets as he makes his pilgrimage from Glasgow’s East End out to Loch Lomond were totally natural with no ‘actors’ being used. We got a lot of positive feedback from it.
Which album would you recommend the track skipping generation listen to from start to finish?
It’ll read like a politician’s answer but I’m a believer that every album should be listened to in its entirety. After all, it was made to be listened that way. Of course, if the listener thinks it’s not for them by track three, they’re probably best giving up.
Who would win in a fight: a moustache or a beard?
Beard. It’s bigger.
What does the future hold for AF?
We’re playing some shows through Europe and then over to North America, which we’re all pretty excited about. Then there’s a short UK tour in December with a headline show at The Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow – the only Scottish date – on the 8th December.