Monday, 30 September 2013

I WANT TO TAKE YOU TO PLACES: Our interview with the superb Fraser Ross!

Photo: New interview with Fraser Ross coming your way very shortly! AB Records
1 - What was your first musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the record industry?
"Organising a band of local kids to perform on cricket-bats and paint tins for the neighbours. We played on the veranda that faced onto the lawn, just like a real stage, and think we sold cups of cask wine, raided from the fridge. Pure class from the start. I just like writing songs so I guess it's the only industry that'll appreciate that."
2 - Had you been involved with any other bands prior to becoming a solo artist as Fraser Ross?
"Oh yeah! I play percussion in a thirteen piece Jamaican dance band called 'Newtown Rocksteady'. They're based in Wellington, New Zealand, where I used to live. Technically I might not play in that band at the moment but I still consider myself a part of it - heaps of my best friends are in it and I think it'll be a life-long bromance. Also played in Roy G & the Bivinators, which was my first grown up band. Maz, who is the creative genius behind it was a massive inspiration in getting me to view music as an 'actual' profession. I had amazing fun playing maracas in that band."
3 - Why did you choose to become a solo artist instead of forming a band?
"I liked writing songs and didn't really think I needed a band to get them across. Also, I used to be bad at organising people, and felt bad not being able to pay people for their time. I'm changing though, and I want to play with people more and more. There's something about combining musically with other people that's incredibly inspiring. I want to do it a lot. Also, touring is much more fun with a gang."
4 - How would you describe the sound of Fraser Ross?
"The rough presentation of deep themes in the Pacific-folk tradition."
5 - You have released two EP's to date. Your debut was called 'And Birds Do Sing'. Where did this title come from and what was it's relevance?
"It's an updating of a refrain from 'La Belle Dam Sans Merci' by John Keats, which is '...and no birds sing.' It's a poem roughly about a knight who falls for a mysterious and beautiful lady/fairy, who vanishes, and leaves him heart-broken. The whole album just seemed to be related in some way to a similar confrontation, and journey with the mysterious. The opening song became 'La Belle Dam Sans Merci,' a modern retelling of Keats' story, and it launches a journey of discovery for the ghost of John Keats, eventually concluding with a song that lays him to rest in peace in the natural world. I wanted to heal his ghost, so I had to make the title 'And Birds Do Sing'."
6 - Your second EP, "To Places", was released just last year. How would you describe the evolution in your sound between the two EP's and what influenced this second EP?
"I was playing with a band (all members of Newtown Rocksteady), and it's us interpreting my songs with electric instruments. They are all fantastic players so it sounds a lot more professional. We were also recording in Wellington's finest studio, 'The Surgery'.  Lyrically the songs are quite varied, I just wanted to get down the songs we had been playing that summer because I knew I was leaving for the UK soon. I wanted a record of what we were up to."
7 - Any new songs in the pipeline?
"In Glaswegian you could say, 'hunners'. Possibly not spelt like that, but quite a few, yes."
8 - When can fans be expecting a new single, EP or album?
"I'm off to the studio tomorrow to finish what will hopefully be a proper debut album. I've been recording it in the hills of Perthshire, in an old Schoolhouse, where there is no cell reception or houses, just hills, and grass, and sheep, and sky. You can see out into the hills from the recording studio, which is absolutely awesome for my vibe. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. I hope it makes people even more happy to be human."
9 - Do you have any 'rituals' before going on stage?
"Not as yet but I'm thinking about making some up."
10 - Any live dates coming up?
"This Saturday I'm playing a house concert in Glasgow. Should be on my Facebook. I also play every second Saturday in St. Andrews at One Golf Place. It's cracking. Once I finish the record I'll be focussing on playing live lots more."
11 - Who would be your dream collaboration?
"Joanna Newsom."
12 - Who would be in your dream super group?
"Robbie Burns in Radiohead."
1 - Favourite Beatle?
2 - Favourite band?
"Sigur Ros."
3 - Favourite new band?
"Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward & Fisher or The Nudge."
4 - Favourite song?
"Mr. Tambourine Man."
5 - Favourite album?
"Is This It by The Strokes."
6 - Vinyl, CD or download?
"If I had a house - vinyl."
7 - Style icon?
"Noel Fielding."
8 - Favourite clothing brand?

"Errr...Timaru Op-Shops."
9 - Favourite film?

"The Royal Tenenbaums."
10 - Favourite TV show?

"Curb Your Enthusiasm."
11 - Who would play you in a film of your life?

"Bill Murray."
12 - Favourite food?

13 - Football team?

"Wellington Phoenix."

Hope you enjoyed this feature on Fraser Ross! Check out our previous feature on The Most!
Check out Fraser here -
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