INTERVIEW: The Last of the Fallen Angels | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released last summer, Phase IV, the debut single by trip-hop supergroup The Last of the Fallen Angels, had more than a sense of perfect timing. Feeling like the ultimate soundtrack to a period of uncertainty and confusion, Phase IV was dark, menacing and highly artistic; the weight of its production and content sparking serious fan and industry attention and leading to many ‘what’s next’ conversations.

What’s next, as it happens, is debut album Radio Babylon, a down-tempo masterpiece held together like an imaginary radio show, released this month. Matching a variety of electronic textures with a broad spectrum of collaborators, Radio Babylon pushes the darkness of Phase IV into new spaces, including the Spiritualized-esque string-laden heartbreak beauty of Ocean and the Blackstar-era Bowie feel of Orpheus.

Fronting the collective, chief Angel Conrad McQueen talks of the unit as being “a collaboration project where I work with singers and musicians from all around the world to produce music that is thought provoking, fun and experimental. A recent feature said I was the dark glue that holds it together and I quite liked that.”

I definitely see LOTFA as a full audio-visual piece, and had a clear idea of the look and sound of The Fallen Angels from its inception

Collaborators include Peter Hook, who helped turn the Angels from their conceived Phase IV stage into a full-blown art project: “Peter Hook produced a single for me a few years ago and we kept in touch. After the success of the debut single, I was talking to Hooky about doing a Fallen Angels album in aid of Musicians Against Homelessness and he was really happy to get involved. He co-wrote and plays bass guitar on Kisses. With Hooky on board, I decided to approach some of my other musical heroes – Rowetta (Happy Mondays) and Brinsley Forde (Aswad) and other amazing singers and collaborators from New Jersey USA, Sweden, Ireland, Liverpool, Manchester and in the North East.”

Stacking up with music legend Simon Ellis (Spice Girls, Westlife, Britney Spears) on production duties, the next step was to take the collective pieces and create a full album concept, something that was supported by the insertion of DJs talking between songs. “So many DJs have supported me by playing my music, it was nice to ask them to record a few words and give the album a theme that runs through it. ‘You’re listening to Radio Babylon!’”. The introduction of strong music videos has also set the project apart.I definitely see LOTFA as a full audio-visual piece, and had a clear idea of the look and sound of The Fallen Angels from its inception.”

LOTFA will be touring the album with a few live shows, which will also feature singers Mark Dickinson and Victoria Owsnett as regular collaborators, which Conrad enthuses makes playing live much easier and more fun. He’s also already generating new ideas for future projects, and it’s clear that the Angels might last for quite some time.

The Last Of The Fallen Angels release Radio Babylon on 30th November.


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