The Australian electro outfit discuss the inner workings of debut album So Long and Thankyou.
Moving to the other side of the world in pursuit of musical ambitions is a committed endeavour, but that’s precisely what Fairchild did. Originating from the Gold Coast of Australia, the six piece upped sticks to sunny ol’ Manchester in fair Great Britain to hone their electro rock sound whilst adventuring the northern hemisphere.
Manchester – well renowned for being supportive of its budding new musicians – was more than welcoming, and during their two year stay in the city, the band gained international attention which took them as far afield as the U.S and East Asia, playing in countries including China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore and tour the UK with the likes of Mutemath, MOTHXR and iconic 80s band The Human League.
After holing up with Catherine Marks, who has recently produced work by Wolf Alice and Foals, Fairchild have shared their debut album So Long and Thank You, which has been over two years in the making. Below the band discusses the writing process, retro vibe and personal sentiment behind the tracks; it’s been a long time coming…
You’ve not long shared your latest single ‘Fly’! Can you tell us a little about the track?
‘Fly’ is the only song on the album that wasn’t produced by Catherine Marks, and it’s the first Fairchild song to feature people who aren’t in the band, and that’s what makes it special. Moving to Manchester was hard, but leaving it was worse. Every time we hear ‘Fly,’ you can hear the voices of the friends we left in that city. It was that piece of Manchester that we can always carry with us.
Moving to Manchester was hard, but leaving it was worse
The roots of the track came from our guitarist Tim and we all worked on it together to finally finish it off in a session at Eve Studios in the UK. ‘Fly’ is a simple song about stepping back and accepting your lack of control in any given situation — that you can try relentlessly but at some stage you have to surrender and see things for what they are. Good or bad.
The track was unveiled to coincide with your debut album So Long and Thank You. Has the release of your album felt like a long time coming?
Most of the songs were recorded in 2015 and so we’ve been sitting on them for a while now, so yes it has! It feels great that we are finally able to release them as a collective piece, like we intended when writing them. We’ve been playing these songs in our live shows since then so it’s good that people will finally be able to listen without needing us on a stage.
Tell us a little about So Long and Thank You.
The songs on this album are probably the most versatile that we’ve written to date. Each of the songs were initially written by different members of the band, but in the end were all collaborated on together to produce the final product. We never felt restricted by genre and really pushed each other to present idea that would challenge us musically. However, we wanted them to feel live so it was important that we didn’t over do it and make it impossible to perform it all together in the studio. In this way, So Long and Thank You is basically a testament to our journey together as friends and as a band. Through all the ups and downs the only constants are that we are all still practically family and ready to take on the next chapter!
‘Fly’ is a slow building number and you’ve been playing with textures and arrangements on your previous singles ‘So Long and Thank You’ and ‘High As A Kite’. How have you been trying to challenge yourselves as writers?
It all comes down to sounds and the overall vibe of the track. Each of the songs have their own unique influence and vibe, so we spend a lot of time experimenting with instruments and sounds until we are happy with the overall result. This same format is used for the development of vocal melodies and lyrics, which further adds to what we want the track to feel like. For ‘High as a Kite’ for example, we wasted a lot of time trying to make live drums sit well, but in the end decided that the electric sound suited the vibe of the track a lot more and pushed the live drums way back into the mix to create this obvious difference in presentation.
What song on the album do you connect to the most?
I can only speak on behalf of myself, but I would say ‘Breathless’. I’m not much a lyric man but from a purely musical perspective, I love how the song moves and how all the parts come together through the song.
As mentioned above, the album was produced and mixed by Catherine Marks who has worked with Foals and Wolf Alice in the past. What was your experience like? Do you feel she helped elevate your music in any way?
Catherine is amazing and practically family to us. She understands us all individually and as a group so she usually knows what we are doing or trying to achieve. She has showed us how we can all be more comfortable together and inspire each other to get the best out of ourselves creatively and as people. We have also learned a lot regarding song writing, recording and mixing/mastering processes from her so she has definitely empowered us to be able to do much more on our own and be comfortable with what we do. This was the second time we did a session with Catherine and so we learned from the previous experience and prepared in a completely different way making the process much more natural.
The artwork was created by our guitarist Tim Voeten, who does most of our print and artwork. We love how it is simple but still reflects perfectly on the vibes we were going for with the songs. As you said, ‘bold and retro’! We never set out to make a “retro” album as such however it has certainly come out that way and so we wanted our artwork to reflect that interpretation.
So Long and Thank You is basically a testament to our journey together as friends and as a band
What do you hope listeners will take from listening to So Long and Thank You?
We hope that listeners will enjoy the tracks as much as we enjoyed writing them together. After all, our journey thus far has been all about each other and how we work and interact together as a unit. We want people to take from this album the parts that make most sense to them and interpret the musical and lyrical content in a way that is specific to what they are feeling at the time. We put it all out there for this record and want the audience to feel it, not just hear it.
You’ve previously toured with MOTHXR, Mutemath and The Human League, who vary quite a bit from one another. Did you find yourselves inspired by their performances in any way?
Always! It’s always great to tour with other bands because you get to see and experience how they work together and what they do to enhance their live performance. As a punter you don’t really get to see some of the preparation required and difficulties that arise when touring but it’s really inspiring to see how they handle it all. Another thing to note is that everything about the live performances of MOTHXR, Mutemath and The Human League are amazing and it’s hard to not be musically inspired by their level of talent.
Have you any of your own tour plans underway for later in the year?
We have only got a quick stint in Singapore planned so far, along with label mates Lyon Apprentice and Calan Mai so we’ll be focusing on preparing for that. As for other plans, they are still in the works and not much to report for now, but I’m sure we’ll keep you updated!
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We would just like to thank everyone who has supported us so far and been with us on every step of the way. Shout outs especially to our girlfriends and families and our manager Rhys Lyons for sacrificing so much to get this album together, and all the people out there who have been to shows or bought our music! We’d be nowhere without you all and this record is testament to the un-waiving support.
Fairchild’s debut album So Long and Thankyou is available now. Listen in full on this page.