FIZZ 2023 Press Conference
Music Mondays had the opportunity to speak to FIZZ through a wonderful conference held by *1824, a platform designed to connect upcoming artists to a large world of press opportunities via a community of journalists and bloggers that they have carefully curated. Here’s a look at our slice of the conversation with the talented quartet.
FIZZ is an enigmatic indie band hailing from London, often described as a ‘‘supergroup’’ due to the long, successful solo careers that each member has embarked on prior to forming the band. The group consists of four artists: Orla Gartland, dodie, Martin Luke Brown, and and Greta Isaac. The members have collaborated with each other throughout their entire friendship, often featuring or producing or playing on each other's records and rooming together during the gloom of the pandemic. Orla Gartland began her music career posting cover videos on YouTube before eventually diving into original songcraft as she entered the 2010s, with her first EP (titled ‘Laughing at My Own Jokes’) being released in 2011, followed by four more fantastic EPs over the course of the decade as well as a full-length album in 2021. Dodie, a singer-songwriter hailing from Essex, followed a similar pattern of releases with four independent EPs over the course of six years as well as a full-length studio album (titled ‘Build a Problem’) in 2021. Martin Luke Brown began releasing music at the age of 19, scoring a record deal off of the success of his debut single ‘Nostalgia’ before eventually settling into a writer-producer role, with credits on more than 100 songs since 2017 (including tracks from bandmates Orla Gartland and Greta Isaac). Greta Isaac is a singer-songwriter from Cardiff, specializing in folk music that combines “huge pop melodies” with “rich, organic instrumentation”, releasing projects such as ‘Pessimist’ and ‘I Think You’d Hate It Here’ and building a strong, loyal following from the quality and quantity of her output.
FIZZ’s debut album, titled ‘The Secret to Life’, released on October 27th of this year to massively positive reception from fans and critics alike. The album is a collage of musical influences from many different eras and genres, incorporating an orchestra’s worth of instrumentation and effortlessly weaving folk, indie, rock, metal, and pop influences throughout all 12 tracks that comprise the record. ‘The Secret to Life’ offers the listener an endless amount of detours, tempo changes, stylistic pivots, and genre mashups that never really hits the brakes, both in terms of energy and the perpetual showcase of musical talent and expertise. The atmosphere of the record was expertly captured by their producer, offering a raw, live experience that explores the musicality and creativity of each member of the group. It is a whirlwind of spontaneity and creativity that could only be made by decades of combined talent and experience, and it is clear that the whole heart of each member went into this project.
Music Mondays: How did this album come to fruition, and what inspired you to create this album? How do you feel that the final product evolved from the initial ideas you had for the record, if at all?
Martin: I don’t really know if it had much time to evolve, we kind of did it in two separate weeks. The first week was December of 2021, and we went and were just like, buzzing to be there. We didn’t know what was going to happen, and the producer.. He’s amazing, just an amazing facilitator of creativity. He set up the live room with like, all of these instruments and– I don’t know, I think most of us are used to working in these sort of dimly-lit London rooms with not very much in it [laughs]. So we- we’re just giddy, super-duper giddy for that first week, you know, running around and playing the drums and plugging in guitars and.. [just] noisy chaos, really. I think a lot of the big songs on the album came in that first week.
Then we had maybe six months, I think we went down in the summer of 2022 and sort of did the second half of it but it was kind of just more of the same, I think we had the best time the first week and we wanted to do exactly the same again and we did that. Naturally, you know, the giddiness only lasts so long– [laughs] Yeah, it’s not a sustainable emotional state to stay in, so we’d write a couple of really big songs then we’d go in the kitchen, we would all make dinner, and sort of chill. Someone might have a cry, or having a stressed out day. Not you, Greta. [Greta and Martin laugh].
Dodie: But then she’d go back in the recording booth and belt out a song as good as it gets, yeah. It was a perfect environment, wasn’t it?
Martin: Yeah, it didn’t feel like it evolved in a way that was like, cerebral. It was like, completely following the vibes. When we were up and giddy and [the producer] was just sticking up mics and capturing that, and likewise when we were a bit calmer in the evening and we wanted to just chill for the quieter songs, he’d facilitate that. Like, to the point where he’d literally come along and we’d be sat on the sofa with a guitar and he’d start lighting candles and incense sticks and things like that.
Dodie: Big party!
Martin: Yeah, [the producer] is the ultimate facilitator of whatever just happens, so I think– we think of the album and the sound really as just a time capsule completely because we pretty much did the whole thing in those two weeks. Whatever we do next, I think it’ll be a similar approach, just kind of whatever happens, happens. We’ll just make the time to allow for it to happen.
Greta: Mm-hm, yeah.
Music Mondays: We’re really excited to see how these ideas developed into a body of work, and especially your output moving forward. Our next question is, what new instrumentation or production techniques– things that were unfamiliar to any of you prior– did you incorporate on this record, and how do you want to expand your musical horizons?
Orla: I think, um, the studio that we recorded in in Middle Farm– it’s a place that’s best used when you’re recording live, and I think actually there weren't many, like, production techniques in a technical sense that were used. It was just sort of capturing live performance. Like in our own individual projects, we’ve all at different moments kind of indulged in like, production in some ways, and whether that’s kind of ‘in the box’ or not, it’s a little bit more intentional and exact and kind of modern. Whereas, I think, what this album celebrates– and feels very central to FIZZ now that we’re going to do live shows as well– is just like, live performance and energy and…
Yeah, I don’t think there’s any sort of fancy techniques, I think it was just about capturing a moment that– as Martin says– Pete, our producer, is so good at. [...] I think what’s really special about this album to me is that because we wrote and recorded it at the same time– there was no kind of separate demo-ing and recording process– I think, often, what you’re hearing on the final product or final version of the song is, you know, the first vocal or the second or third vocal ever put down for that song. There’s kind of like a magic naivety in that, there’s no overthinking since there’s no time to overthink. You can hear in so many of the songs, like, us all singing different notes to each other because we’re not even really sure what the note is, but it doesn’t really matter, let’s just go! So I think more than anything we’ve ever done before, I think it was a real, like, disregard of tech and overanalyzing and more of just a retreat to the joy of organic, live– like, all singing together and playing music together.
Martin: Way more holistic.
Greta: Really holistic.
Martin: Like, unlearning, if anything.
Greta: I think Martin said it earlier, but I think we’re so used to this way of writing and producing music which is like– you write with someone different every day, you go into a new studio every day, you write with a stranger and try to get a song in five hours and move onto the next one the next day. You don’t get time to tweak anything, you just like… I don’t know, it’s very fast-paced and almost like a kind of– I don’t know, [laughs] It can be kind of soul crushing sometimes, but I think with this… the way that Pete produces, which is very old-school, is a lot of recording to tape and capturing the atmosphere more than anything. I think that’s something that I hadn’t done since, you know, I was a teenager! Even though it felt like a retreat, it felt like coming back to making music in the way that we’ve always loved doing, so, yeah.
Music Mondays: That’s amazing. [We] think some of the most beautiful art can come from stripping things down, taking it down to the core, and pursuing your musicality as it is. Thank you very much, and we really look forward to seeing the results of the record.
FIZZ is a group of wonderfully talented musicians with long, successful independent careers who were able to synthesize all of their talents into this 12-track record, ‘The Secret of Life’. It is difficult to find a record that feels as joyous, fun, and spontaneous as their debut effort, but the quality of the record is impeccable and for fans of indie, pop, and rock, your repeat button is destined to stay on until their next release. Music Mondays is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to speak with FIZZ and get insight into how this record developed, as well as their insights into the efforts of their producer to capture the atmosphere and talents of all members involved, with a flurry of genres and live instrumentation that is sure to satiate the ears and mind of all who listen. ‘The Secret of Life’ is available on all DSPs via Universal Music Group– you won’t want to miss this grandiose, spectacular record.
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Written & Transcribed By xoarctic: twitter.com/xoxoarctic