Focus: The Firrenes | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
We are The Firrenes (the name rhymes with ‘beans’!). We are a melodic rock/pop band based in Edinburgh.

What is it you do?
We write, rehearse, perform and record original songs with interesting arrangements – with the occasional cover thrown in for good measure.

How long have you been doing it?
The Firrenes were launched in November 2016 – so we’ve been together for almost exactly five years. We’ve had a couple of lineup changes in that time, so the current lineup has been together since summer 2019.

What inspires you?
We are inspired by the great British and American songwriters of the last sixty years or so, across multiple genres. The achievements of rock and pop artists such as David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse and Tom Petty are a source of constant inspiration to us, along with composers and lyricists from the theatre and classical worlds – for example Stephen Sondheim. We draw inspiration from records such as the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper and Bowie’s Blackstar. The standard of musicianship on those recordings, coupled with the inventiveness and stylistic variety of the arrangements mean that those albums never seem to tire or age.

Tell us about your music.
The Firrenes’ music draws on a broad range of influences, encompassing 70s rock, R&B, burlesque, art rock, blues and classical. Our songs’ subject matter ranges from the deeply personal to the highly political, and we always try to say something interesting about the world we live in and the people who inhabit it. We’ve got songs about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the financial crisis alongside breakup songs and elegies for departed friends. We love the power of allusion, and try to come up with songs that work on several levels. But most of all we are suckers for a good tune and a memorable lyric. We try to write songs that people will want to listen to more than once!

When recording our debut album ‘Door Too Wide’, we had the privilege of working with some of Scotland’s finest classical players, including members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. An old friend of ours Ricky White joined us on pedal steel from Indiana, USA. (In this day and age, geographical separation presents no problem!)

Since the launch of our album in late 2018, we have played to full houses in Germany, England and Scotland, and enjoyed extensive radio airplay across the globe. We were astonished and delighted when Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury Festival, turned up unannounced at one of our Edinburgh shows. It turned out he was holidaying in Scotland at the time, and the gig had caught his eye in the Scottish press.

What have you got coming up in the future?
We’re playing at the Green Room in Stockton-on-Tees on Saturday 27th November this year, supported by Hartlepool singer/songwriter Alistair James. In 2022 we’ll be playing more shows in Scotland and England, and heading back into the studio to record two new singles (‘Marie-Caroline’ and ‘Roseanne Walking’) for release later in the year. We hope to work with Scottish filmmaker Kallum Corke on two new videos to accompany the singles, which should be a lot of fun.

Where can people find out more about you?
Read all about our Stockton gig at TheFirrenes.com/stocktongig. Or visit our YouTube channel, or Spotify artist page or our website… Or just search ‘The Firrenes’ and you’re sure to find us.

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