Artist Interviews

Q&A: Field Music

By | Published on Thursday 11 March 2010

Field Music

Formed by brothers Peter and David Brewis and pianist Andrew Moore in 2004, Field Music recently returned after an extended hiatus sporting a new line up: Kev Dosdale and Ian Black are in, Andrew is taking time out. The band released their eponymous debut album in 2005 followed by a collection of b-sides in 2006, during which time they toured with the likes of Maximo Park and The Futureheads. After releasing their second album ‘Tones Of Town’, and then announcing the hiatus, both Peter and David went on to release solo albums. Now back together as Field Music, the band have just released their third album ‘Field Music (Measure)’ via Memphis Industries. We spoke to David to ask the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Peter had started playing drums and that looked like I cool thing to do, so I wanted to be in on the action. I took the pocket money I’d saved up to spend on a holiday in Yugoslavia, but which I hadn’t actually got round to spending (their currency had just been devalued), and bought a really cheap acoustic guitar. However, I couldn’t even tune it until Peter bought me a ‘How To Play Guitar’ book for my birthday that year. I was ten years old. We both ended up learning from the same book. The first songs we ever learned to play were ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Miss You’. Then we discovered Led Zeppelin.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
We’d had a break from Field Music for a couple of years, making records on our own, so mostly the new album was inspired by the idea of getting back together and really exploding the idea of what Field Music could be.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Well, that depends. Peter and I generally don’t write together. For me, a song usually starts from a little riff or melodic idea and I try to let that idea ferment in my brain and imply what else should happen in the song. It’s not always quite that easy though. Lyrics usually come in a similar way – one or two little nuggets which grow into a song, through some combination of sorcery and sweat. For this album, we started recording most of the songs with one of us playing the drums and the other one playing a guide guitar or piano. It’s not like we jut pile stuff on top after that though – we both tend to have a very clear idea of the arrangement from very early on the songwriting process. The difficulty then is trying to make our recording match the sound of the song we have in our heads.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
How long have you got? There are obvious things like The Beatles and Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. We both love Fleetwood Mac and The Band and Led Zeppelin. Peter’s a big Richard Thompson fan and I’ve really gotten into David Bowie over the last couple of years. We take a lot of musical ideas from jazz – especially Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk – and there are lots of harmonic ideas in our songs which are greatly indebted to them. And we’re both inspired by 20th century avant-garde modernist and post-modernist music; I’m yet to hear any rock band as heavy as the Rite Of Spring.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Take your time. We never intended to make music which reveals itself in one or two listens.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambition is always just to get better at what we’re doing. I think this is the best album we’ve made so far. It would be great to be able to sell a few more records and do lots of really great gigs and thus make enough money to live on, but if that’s not possible (or if it’s not possible without changing how we do things) then we’ll just get jobs and keep trying to make better music on the weekends.