Interview May 2011

Dorset Music Awards winners Fearnes’ feet have not really touched the ground since picking up the converted trophy at the O2 Academy in April. They were well deserving winners on the night and the crowd were right behind them after pulling out a top class performance. The band’s bass player Nick Bryson and drummer Darren Barret have taken well earned holidays. Vocalist Alex Beds and guitarist Adam Pulfer have invited us along to talk about all that is going on in the world of Fearne, promising to end the interview with a couple of exclusive acoustic new tracks.

Chinners: How did you build up to the Dorset Music Awards in the heats and the final you almost seemed like a different band, where did these changes come about?

Alex: Our image? We all normally wear check shirts as that is what we like to wear, we turned up to the quarter finals wearing similar checked shirts and thought if anything might look like we were trying too hard. We heard as feedback from the judges, that they thought we had not got an image. We re-thought what we were going to do and for our next album we are going to have a cover with a vintage photography. We changed our look and people at the events could identify us as we walked around and I think that was important, especially at the final.

Chinners: It almost seemed at the semi final and the final someone had sprinkled some magic dust on you all and you.

Adam: It was timing as well, I joined just over two years ago and Darren joined about a year ago. We were at the time when everything just clicked, everyone was really confident and we all knew what we were doing. The timing was just great and we all just loved every tune in the set, when you love what you are playing it shows. It was the 1st time when writing our set list that we had to leave some songs out.

Alex: Fearne have been around for a long time now, the band and the name has existed for about six years, me and Nick went from a folk band to being in an indie band to a pop band!! Now we are on the cusp of being a folk pop indie band, we know our sound and we are not ashamed of our sound, we’re really chuffed with it.

Chinners: There’s no pigeon hole for Fearne then?

Alex: I have seen all the videos that you have posted from the awards, and we sound quite a mellow band, and we were really pleased, we sounded quite polished.

Chinners: Where did all the audience come from, the support for you was very impressive?

Alex: The semi finals for us we had no problem selling tickets, there were people coming out of the woodwork that knew every word to every song. We also have to thank Constellation as all the people that came to see them also came to see and support us too. In the South of England we play everywhere all the time and have built up a good following. We had mini buses from Salisbury, Hythe, and Southampton come down for the final. There was a lot of prep and organisation getting the people there, they all wanted to be there. I know a lot of people have bought tickets for our gig at Mr Kyps in Poole on the 14th October already, we have that kind of loyal support. We are now trying to get a new set ready now, we are demoing new songs which we post some on and already over sixty people have downloaded them. The support at those gigs certainly made us up our game, because there was a lot of people taking serious interest in what we are doing.

Chinners: The noise at the final from your fans was phenomenal, and they were all chanting “We want Fearne We want Fearne”

Adam: I made a video blog of the night and looking back at it and it does not feel very real. Watching our fan base build over a year and watching build during the competition was kind of mind blowing. In that situation when you go out and play and people cheer for you, it was like you hold one of our gold cat’s in the air and everyone goes mad.

Chinners: I did mention in my review of the night, that you Alex were an unlikely sex symbol as dozens of bra’s were thrown on stage at you.

Alex: My girlfriend had a good laugh at that.

Adam: My favourite story about those bra’s is that we did the Boscombe Tea Party, and I had not opened my case since the final and I opened it and there was this pink bra in there!!

Chinners: That is so funny, very Rock n Roll….brilliant!!

Alex: The Awards were all quite surreal, we really have not talked about it for a while.

Chinners: How did it feel when they announced that you had won, did you know in your hearts the trophy was yours ?

Alex: I was so chuffed when I heard 1st that County Hospital had won the Endorse-it Festival, I was not at all a fan of them when I 1st saw them. But after seeing them in the heats, I thought that they would be great at a festival like Endorse-it , and I did not think that the Endorse-it would suit us. I thought that we had worked so hard on that gig that we had to get something out of it. When we got the Larmer Tree Festival and the Beach Break Festival, I thought at least it was all worth while and I remember being so relieved.

Adam: When we won the Larmer Tree I was just made up and like Alex relieved too. I cannot wait to play at those festivals, it should be just brilliant. I need to buy a car so I can drive to them.

Chinners: What do you say to those people that indicated that the Dorset Music Awards was fixed?

Alex: If it was fixed we would have won all the Festivals awards.

Adam: No way, it is not fixed at all. The organisers are locally known for being not only great music promoters and just great guys. I know it is definitely not fixed, they are just not that kind of people.

Alex: Who would benefit from it being fixed, the prize givers are still giving out prizes, Steve from does not benefit from giving a free photo shoot to any one particular band.

Chinners: What advice would you give to any band thinking of entering and looking to win next years Dorset Music Awards ?

Adam: If you feel like you are working your hardest, work a little bit harder. There is so much hard work that the crowd does not see when entering something like this.

Alex: You have to be so gracious and willing to listen and learn from everyone all the time. When I walked in to the Bournemouth O2 Academy for the sound check, the 1st thing you do is go and learn everyone’s names, because if something goes wrong you know who to ask for help. there are allot of bands that turn up and they like to have their bubble, you have to get out and talk to people and mingle around the crowd. During the Semi-final I was the 1st person through the door with Tim Heywood and the last person to leave after the New Volunteer set. At the Semi-final there were a few scouts and a couple of people who were very interested in what we are doing and possibly wanted to look at working with us. I took 10 promo cd’s with me and handed one out to all the judges, when they introduced themselves to me. You have to go out show everybody that you really take it seriously.

Chinners: I think it is very important to have a connection with your audience. I always really love it when I see bands who come and sit at the merch table after their gig to chat with their fans

Alex: I sold 140 of our 250 tickets for the final and I new 200 of them, and I tried to speak to each of them to thank them for coming and those I did not speak to I texted or e-mailed to thank them the next day.

Chinners: So you got a big pile of prizes as winners, What are you plans for them?

Alex: We have got it pretty much mapped out now. The rest of the lads are all geared up for the festivals. I love playing them but I am not much of a camper.

Chinners: You can always book a Travelodge that is close by!!

Alex: We are using our prize at Conversion Studio’s with Josh, we are going to go there and set up in the morning and do a 3 track live session in the studio with an invited 20 people audience watching us and have a barbecue after, making a nice day of it, rather than having a really stressful day, where all you do is record the instruments all individually. We are going to make the most of that day, get the songs mixed properly on a separate day. Then we will redeem our prize from the disc manufacturing services, rather than get 500 cd’s done, they have told us we can have a 200 press of 7′ vinyl which would cost the same and then put that session on the vinyl. Everyone who came to the session will buy one, as we will do them at a special price, we will keep 40 back and send them out to record companies, also using the PR package. There is something so romantic about vinyl, I just want to make it stand out in our promo package. We got to make the most of this year by saying we are the winners as in a years time it will be someone else’s turn.

Chinners: I just have to ask where did your famous Chinese cats come from?

Alex: Well, it all started when after a gig we all would normally go and have a Chinese, our old drummer used to photograph all the Chinese cats in the restaurants and take-always, this is quite a while ago 2005-2006. We had these photographs and it was something for us to just laugh at, very random, Nick went and bought one of these Chinese cats and we decided to put it on our EP cover, everybody said that’s amazing. Then people just started buying them for us and we collected quite a few. Chris the soundman at Mr Kyp’s broke cat ‘Eric’ number one which was our original, and we have ‘Eric’ number two which sits on Nick’s amp.

Adam: My one is called ‘Little Eric’.

Chinners: Where did the name ‘Eric’ come from?

Adam: A Fan, a really avid fan, a guy who comes and sees us at virtually every gig, a semi retired guy called ‘Eric’ and he bought us one of the 1st cats, so we had to name it after him.

Chinners: Are they lucky cats?

Alex:: There were lucky for us!!

Chinners: What are your favourite local bands?

Adam: As we are gigging so much, I don’t get a chance to see that many bands, I love Alex Roberts, I really miss ‘El Paco De cebra’ a Ska band, university split them up!! ASP are great they are keeping Rock n Roll alive, they are just really amazing guys. Nick recorded their last CD and we listen to ASP when we are on the way to gigs.

Alex: I love ASP too, at school I wish I was a bit more Leopard skin and a little less denim.

Chinners: So rounding off, what does the future hold for Fearne, is there going to be a second album? I think everyone would like to know about that.

Alex: There will be a second album, hopefully before the end of the year. There is a strange thing at the moment, we have two types of songs , we have two distinct branches that have happened by accident. I have written in the last month a three part love story that is 12-13 minutes long, the one idea just kept coming. The second album is ready, the songs are there with also songs in reserve, so we have about 14 songs to choose from and we will be doing allot of the recording of that ourselves, the same way as we recorded our EP.

Two brand new exclusive live and acoustic tracks :

Fearne -Live Dates 2011
11th June Southern Lights Festival
12th June Southern Lights Festival
2nd July Christchurch Festival
29th July Tone Fest, Wareham(Fearne Duo)
31st July Tone Fest, Wareham
14th Aug Bournemouth Folk Club
27th Aug Purbeck Folk Festival
14th Oct Mr Kyps, Poole
30th Oct The Brook, Southampton

Interview by
Dave Chinery(Chinners)

Pictures and Video by
Alex Freeman

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