Ten Fé and I initially meet in the forever busy The Monarch, Camden. With Ten Fé releasing their highly anticipated debut album ‘Hit The Light’, I am excited to disscuss their feelings towards the making of the album and their latest endeavours. With ‘Hit The Light’ already receiving gleaming reviews including from the Observer who state the duo’s craft as one of “sparkling songcraft”, it is already clear the duo are off to successful start with their first album.
Tell me about the formation of the band?
It was a very organic formation. We’ve been friends for about ten years, playing together, busking on the underground as well as being in other bands along the road. We realised that the songs we were playing were good so we had a quiet severing of ties with the other bands. Within a few months we had a nice bank of songs that we were really happy with. We gathered some money and began working with a producer called Luke Smith who’s worked with some great bands including Foals. We later produced an EP of demos with him.
Over the next year, we went on to produce our latest album. I guess the last year has been about allowing the album to breathe with a few singles. The main thing is we’ve been getting a great band together who we love. It was what we’d been searching for, for the past three years. Its great as we’ve taken a good chunk of the last year to play with them and get to know each other so it didn’t have a session musician vibe. Everyone has felt comfortable and free to offer ideas.
You debuted ‘Time’ in 2013 with critical acclaim, how did you find the initial process of building recognition?
Since Time, we went away for around 8 months writing the album and recording it before another single, so it wasn’t until we released that that we really started to build momentum.
How would you describe your style?
We look at each song so differently as we are songwriters. Since releasing ‘Time’ we’ve noticed that people try and put you in a box. It doesn’t bother us whether people put us in a box because the main thing is the songs themselves are seeds in which they grow from individually, therefore it’s difficult to say.
What was the experience of work with Ewan Pearson like?
Before we went into record with him we had a good deal of time with him. It was clear that despite we got to work with him after Jagwarma or as we like to think of him as an electronic magician, that he really liked our songs and the sound we’d gone for. Ewan didn’t want to change that which was great. We wanted a blend between the electronic and the live side of things like rhythmic guitar and drums. If we are honest with ourselves we would have entered the session with a different idea of how it would turn out, but what we produced was brilliant and we were thrilled. Ewan brought a balance, he’s a really balanced and intelligent guy. There are a lot of styles on the album and Ewan didn’t impose at all, he was able to take different songs and create a great end.
Talk to me about the character of Elodie and the formation of characters?
Elodie is a fictional character, however some of the songs on the album have a character based feel to them. Some are direct and some are character based. Some we wrote together and had an image in our head of how we saw the character and the mood within the song for the end narrative. We’d been watching some films around the time of writing songs, like ‘The Place beyond the pines’ which gave us an image in our head and helped create a story. Sometimes Leo will come with his songs, which are different to how I write, but it works out as a sort of individual together. We then tend to sing our songs that we bring to the table to one another and then we have a sort of process I guess.
What do you use as inspiration?
We listen to a lot of audio books, reading as well. Long-time favourites I guess include the Bob Dylan Auto Biography ‘Happy Mondays’ although we don’t listen to his music. Another would have to be Ernest Hemingway.
How does the creation of your videos work out?
They tend to be a free for all (laughing). Still a mystery to us…
Videos are obviously so important and a huge luxury but we are strong minded visually when it comes to aesthetics and how we want it to be. We do a lot of experimenting with-it. The video for ‘Time’ was probably the most natural, which was all that we ever wanted. I guess the two that were the most natural were ‘Time’ and ‘Overflow’ which were our first and most recent videos.
Upcoming tour and what you want to get from it?
It’s like a baptism and the first big thing for the band. We just want a good introduction for people and us, it’s the first solid cornerstone. We have the best managers and they have a long term thought with us which is great. They have such faith in us, so hopefully it will be the first of many. Ultimately we will take it as it comes.
Any challenging moments on tour?
Leo: I got my guitar stolen on the way to great escape. Say no more. We got shown the CCTV of it which tortured me.
Ben: I think mine was possibly the huge traffic jam from basically London to Berlin which the band got stuck in. They were supposed to be there at midday but got there 12 hours later ten minutes after we were supposed to begin.
Ten Fé begin their debut Album ‘Hit The Light’ tour on the 23rd of February in Rotterdam. They will then progress through Europe and the UK before heading to the USA to perform at Bannaroo. There is no question with Ten Fe’s catchy, strong vocal synth-pop that they wont have crowds at their beckoning over the next few months and festival season. Don't miss the opportunity to see the boys as it would be a big mistake.
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