It’s no secret that Fishing are on the up ‘ up! The Sydney duo have been slaying their live shows and have clocked in plenty of time collaborating with other artists. Russell Fitzibbon took some time out during rehearsals to talk shop about the album and performing as a band with two broken arms.
Today’s awesome, almost Wario-esque, illustration is from Sydney based Hawaiian hunk who goes by Agogwe, whose impish illustrations are an interpretation of his obscure outlook on life. Keep up to date with his Facebook page and browse his offish website to check out more of his amazing catalogue!
HAPPY: You’re playing a handful of shows around the country kicking off this Friday, how are you feeling?
RUSSELL: It’s our first proper album and also it’s our first headline tour really. So it’s a nice, and a bit of a challenge to figure out all the songs live. I’m really excited to see how it goes with crowds and how people respond to it. We’ve been doing these songs for ages so it’s actually nice to perform them for people.
HAPPY: It’s been almost two months since you guys released Shy Glow. How is life in the Fishing camp since you dropped your debut?
RUSSELL: Kinda like, really cool. It’s kinda exciting in two sort of ways; one we’re excited to have the music out and people are listening to it, especially when people say nice things. Not just saying ‘It’s a hot new release‘, but like people sending messages saying ‘Hey, I’ve been listening to your album a lot and it’s really nice‘. That kind of thing is awesome. Also it’s really nice to make new music and do new things. As a music maker you can just do anything, so we’ve been making all kinds of different things and figuring out what we’re doing next.
HAPPY: Did you have any expectations as to how people would receive it when you released the album?
RUSSELL: To be honest, it was kind of a strange process when we were making it. We really wanted to focus on something that was less about that media hype response. There’s a lot of hype on the internet and with music in general where we get accentuated with new music everyday. But we made the decision that we were like “We want to do something like that” – even if people were like ‘This is the coolest track from this certain genre that I want‘ or ‘This has that beat that I want‘, we wanted to make something people could listen to again and again. They could listen to it in years to come.
I think that people who come back and tell you that they’ve been listening to it at work all the time, or if they’re driving around to it while travelling, that kind of thing is a really great response to what we wanted to do with it, which is something people could actually live with and respond to as a person instead of as a music consumer. Which sounds super high end, I don’t mean it to sound like that! We just wanted to have something that we wanted to listen to.
HAPPY: Shy Glow has a lot of different styles and tones, from hip-hop, to pop, to electronica. Was it difficult to blend these styles together to make a cohesive album?
RUSSELL: In a way I think it was, but in another way I think it was difficult to leave it at that. I think all the way through we were making it we were sitting on ideas and doing things with the same ideas, like having new elegance added to it or take it away. New songs added and taken away. It’s been about tow and half years now I think the album has been in development. Meanwhile we’d been listing to so much different stuff that we were listening to now. Apart form the genre of music and the styles, we kind of wanted to not focus on what they were, and just focus on how the songs feel, how the album was progressing and what we were trying to do with each individual song. We really tried to open ourselves up to the story and not try to think about style, just to focus on making a vibe happen.
HAPPY: Can you tell me about production / writing / mixing process?
RUSSELL: It kind of grew out of different little snippets that we’d been writing and mucking around. That’s we’ve always written, just one of us creates this little loop or a little idea for a melody. Even like a little snippet of lyrics and we just build on that. We always try to build it where we feel it should go instead of having a particular idea of a song and then building it. That’s how the album grew up as well, just having these songs and having to sort ideas and think ‘What goes together?’. Just trying to build off one thing that led to another and led to another. That’s why I like some of the songs on there we’ve released previously. Like Watersport we’ve had around for a while. That was one of the building blocks of the album because we had it there and everything kind of built of that. IN that way, it spans a big range of influences and production styles.
HAPPY: What influenced the songwriting for this album?
RUSSELL: A lot of it is you hear a particular sound, like maybe it’s a texture of a sound. A lot of it is image based, if you’ve got this picture in your head and you build from that I guess. It’s mostly just feeling it out. IN terms of musical influences you look for tracks that you have a galvanising response with, it sticks with you and makes you feel a certain way. And you’ll say ‘I want to make a track that makes me feel the way I did that one time I listened to that track. So it’ that kind of thing, I know it sounds sort of wishy washy but that’s what music making is.
HAPPY: Are there any tracks that firmly represent the image of Shy Glow?
RUSSELL: I think Shy Glow itself – we had that idea for the lyrical melody written a while ago. It’s such a good example of how the album came together. We had this little sample and I was travelling in Chicago – it sounds like such a lame thing – I had this feeling when I was out one night taking it all in and I had this thought ‘This is how that feels‘. Then that led to making the track fit into that night time, hazy vibe, and that led to us thinking about Marcus for the vocals. His voice just make you feel like that as well. It all came from building off those things and making them connect together.
HAPPY: You have a few cool guests on the album – Jonas Nicholls, Marcus Whale, Alister Wright, Lavurn Lee. Why did you choose these guys to contribute to the album?
RUSSELL: Well, they’re kind of just people we’ve just been friends with and made music with them before. We’ve played a lot of shows with Marcus before, and Al is actually Doug’s brother of course. Jonas is another good friend. It kind of worked both ways in that we had the songs that we thought would really sit with that voice. I think it was also some of the songs we had a person in mind. Especially the song with Jonas, all the time we were making to we were listening to Sures and thinking about that kind of music and naturally we thought “This is a song for Jonas“. Whereas with Al’s songs we worked on it together with him. After he sung the original thing we went back and changed the song and remixed his vocals and changed what the song was and then came back to him and he sung more. So they came together in quite different ways, it was a very interesting process for all of them.
HAPPY: You’re kicking off your tour soon, what should all the Fishing kids expect?
RUSSELL: Well, it’s a funny thing. Al is back in town so we thought “Oh cool, we’ll get Al to come on tour with us and travel around with us and sing vocal parts and generally have a party” which would be great. But then last week he broke his arm at the snow, so we thought “Okay, we’ll get Al to just sing and not play anything“. And then on the weekend I broke my hand, which is pretty ridiculous and now we’re both in casts. So now we’re just splitting up duties and it’ll be the three of us playing everything out. We’re just practicing how we’re going to do it all and it’s actually really fun. We’re each playing pads, me and Al with one of them with our two arms playing all the parts. It’s really nice as a three piece, and also we have three voices. It’ll be really but hopefully in a good way (laughs). So Al and I are hanging out with matching casts looking like a pair of idiots.
HAPPY: Other than playing as a three-piece with four hands, what other plans do you have for the live show?
RUSSELL: I think there will be a lot of album songs, some raps, singing. More like a band performance than ever before.
HAPPY: After this album tour what plans are there for Fishing’s future?
RUSSELL: There’s lots of exciting stuff. We’ve just got back one remix which is really cool, I’m not sure I’m allowed to say who it is. So we’ve got other people doing remixes ands we’re working on a few remixes ourselves, and there a re some other projects where we are collaborators which will be great. And we’ll kind of immediately start to write the next album I think, which will be really fun, completely playing around with different music styles. We don’t know what it will be yet (laughs). We’ve been getting pretty heavily into pop music and we’ve been DJing a lot more, so there may be some Fishing club project happening soon (laughs). It’s really cool to do new stuff!
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