INTERVIEW: Field Music | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Images by Andy Martin

Field Music like to keep it in the family; from their easy-going and almost modest approach to their success to their humble upbringing in Sunderland, the Brewis brothers are arm in arm in creating art without the smug persona and desire to rake in the big bucks. After dabbling in several separate side projects over the past couple of years in a bid to exude extra creative flair (particular highlights of which included Peter’s collaboration with Paul Smith on Frozen By Sight, and the funk odyssey of David’s recent School of Language album), the two hopped back into their most comfortable state to conjure up new LP, Commontime.

The elusive aura that surrounds Field Music is one many are eager to intrude, however as I sit nestled in the new relocated Pop Recs Ltd with Peter, David and David’s son Will (a big fan of the so-called ‘tap tap’ game, a definite percussionist in the making) they brush off any specification of the sort. Peter even begins to question the band as an entity in itself. “Who actually is the band? It’s confusing! There are several different set ups, we’re chopping and changing here and there, so I don’t think you can ever quite pinpoint us to a specific number or description.”

“We used to want to make the best album there ever was, but now we only care about our best album ever. We’re a lot more comfortable in ourselves too.”

Perhaps that is just the magic of Field Music; a project they claim that was never even intended to be a band, just a mere combination of all of their favourite styles of music, running the gamut between pop, rock, classical and jazz. “We’ve let ourselves be influenced by all of these various music styles; we delve into what we know and like and we will use that, taking a lot of recycled ideas juxtaposed with other things.”

After a solid 12 years on the musical front, the brothers are unabashedly neutral regarding the current day trade. “We know nothing about the industry today!” David chuckles, to the response of a sarcastic scoff from Peter. “We’ve been with the same label since 2006, no YouTube, no Spotify, the horror! I didn’t know what a YouTube was…” The statement is greeted by a mutual bumbling look of being feared old codgers. Their shared disaster of the discovery of MySpace, in which they both recoil in disgruntled unison, is one that should be lightly touched upon. Peter chips in that they’ve “always been on the fringes of the industry, however we’ve never considered it an issue because we are happy, and we can create our music here in Sunderland, where we feel most comfortable, so we’re very lucky.”

Commontime is a captivating, bouncy and excitable release, with a buoyant flair that entwines between every track, linking them with an unconventional flow of infectious guitar riffs, prominent backing vocals and experimental percussion. Lead single The Noisy Days Are Over focuses on the depiction of the moment in adulthood when it’s time to start putting away the Lambrini and begin calculating yourself an appropriate bedtime. This may sound like the kind of tune you would want shoved in the midst of a down-in-the-dumps playlist, however the Brewis’ echoed harmonies and electronic crescendos prevent the beat from dying out into a repetitive clockwork pandemonium. The addition of a schizophrenic saxophone is a palpable tell-tale of their instrumental exploration, but it certainly works. The common quality of the new LP is the introduction of rhythmic beats that outstand the remainder of the singles, with a larger focus on the drum tracks compared to previous releases, as evidenced on the Daft Punk-implicative boppy banger Disappointed, and the mellowed out funkadelic pattern of It’s A Good Thing.

Field Music MAIN Image by Andy Martin 3__1453463704_128.65.101.133

Indulging in the atmospheric depths achievable through their particular music style, Field Music combine their dry sense of humour and likelihood to pen songs about the modest aspects of daily life, such as traffic, life on the dole and families, a topic close to both of their hearts, with both brothers having sons in the time between their previous and present releases. “Our perspective has certainly shifted since becoming parents, not necessarily shunning everything else out in favour of being prime inspiration, but it certainly alters your viewpoint on the world,” Peter explains, much to the approval of David. “Most songs are about examining our worlds, and our inspirations can range from looking out of coffee shop windows and ruminating about what the world was or wasn’t. We aren’t the type to be rambling on about anything fantastical, don’t expect any sorcery and goblins, but we are eager to avoid clichés, or at least challenge them with awareness.”

Noting their heightened enthusiasm for creating music compared to when they began, the deterioration of the need to sing in their Mackem accents has faded, which leaves them less at worry about watching their vowel sounds. “We now have complete release to go into the studio and make music, and the process of making records can be depressing and stressful.” David explains. “We used to want to make the best album there ever was, but now we only care about our best album ever. We’re a lot more comfortable in ourselves too.”

They’re also big fans of their friends’ bands – Maximo Park, Hyde & Beast and Yellow Creatures to name a few – and are keen to venture out into the ever-changing North East underground music scene after been bogged down by album promo. As for brotherly competition in Field Music, there are glimmers, as Peter admits; “There’s always the little niggles that his sounds better than mine, but mostly it’s over who can play the drums the loudest…”

Field Music release Commontime via Memphis Industries on 5th February. The band play The Cluny, Newcastle on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th February.

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