In this week's episode of Sister Ray Interviews our very own Oli Harper sat down with the dazzling Bingo Fury to discuss everything from his new single Big Rain, to Bristol's buzzing music scene and of course vinyl.
You can pre order 'Big Rain' here, out via Ra-Ra Rok Records.
Oli: How’s the response been to the single?
B.F: “Yeah, really strong, lots of support and the people who’ve come across it seem to really enjoy it, you can’t really ask for more than that at this stage, it’s very flattering.”
Oli: A couple of us here were really impressed when we saw you at the Windmill in June, how have you been finding the live shows so far and how important are they to you?
B.F: “The live shows have been really good and enjoyable. It’s nice to be back, it’s obviously a really big aspect of being in a band, live is the most enjoyable or instantly gratifying aspect of being a musician. Those shows have been really fun and most of us have the experience of playing in a band together before, I’ve been playing with Meg (bass) and Henry (drums) since we were 14 or 15 in various different bands so even though it’s a new project, we’re all familiar in communicating with each other live."
Oli: The rapport and sense of comfort between you onstage definitely comes across whilst still being unpredictable, it’s an impressive balance.
B.F: “I’m glad that comes across, with the style we’re playing, it’s important that there’s a lot of room for that slightly more chaotic atmosphere and performance because it lends itself to the music but it’s fundamental to have that stability, especially in the rhythm section which is why it’s good having Meg and Henry be so familiar with each other, to be a sturdy base for that more chaotic stuff to happen.”
Oli: What was the process of writing and recording Big Rain? Are you writing more individually now, is it less of a group thing?
B.F: “With that tune in particular, it’s quite a good representation of what the process is like generally. I wrote the whole first half of the song, the more ballad-y bit and then came to the band with the idea of the more chaotic second half but that was very much still up in the air and left room for everyone else in the group to input their character into it. Although it’s presented as a solo thing, it’s very much that the actual sound of the recording is totally dictated by the people I’m working with on the project, I fill the songwriter role but everyone has the space to input their own style. In terms of writing I don’t have this gridlocked thing, I’m more than open to other people’s ideas and collaboration, it leads me to take songs in a direction that I wouldn’t have thought of. My role is to initially have the idea and to establish a certain cohesive mood throughout the project as well as writing the lyrics.”
Oli: Thinking about the vinyl aspect, was it an obvious choice to press to vinyl rather than just keep it digital?
B.F: “The main reason for us doing it is that we were offered to do it. There was no particular ‘we have to do this on vinyl’ but it feels like a step up and a progression. Having people want to invest, it shows another level of investment. It was really flattering to get the opportunity. For some people it really adds to the whole experience and for me, getting to design artwork, as well as music videos, the more I can input a visual side to the character and the project overall, the more you’re getting out of it. I enjoy creating something that has some depth and something that people can really invest themselves in. Having a record and getting to make the artwork adds to the whole aesthetic of the idea.”
Oli: There’s a range of influences in the single, from Leonard Cohen to The Birthday Party. Are there any main influences that you look to?
B.F: “Too many to mention I guess, the whole thing kind of comes from having a slight obsession, lots of stuff goes in and then when it comes to writing songs you don’t really get the opportunity to choose what influences come out. You get to the point of making something when you understand what musicians have had an impact on you in that way that it doesn’t feel very conscious. But then people I would consider influences are Leonard Cohen, he’s someone I always go back to then yeah, The Birthday Party and The Pop Group and bands from that sort of era. A lot of bands native to Bristol which is where I’m from, there’s not much industry there so there’s less of a filter on people’s output. Like with punk, you had The Pop Group doing something totally different to what was going on in London and then you have bands like Maximum Joy and Glaxo Babies around that time too. Even now there’s so much good music there. I guess growing up, the biggest influence on making stuff has been going to shows. Seeing bands who aren’t even that similar to what I make like Giant Swan and the more industrial stuff, I just really like the intensity and take a lot away from the feeling even if the arrangement is totally different.
Oli: There’s definitely that intensity present in your stuff, especially the live shows.
B.F: “Yeah, the tune that’s coming out next (Happy Snake) probably highlights that aspect of the project more than Big Rain does, it’s got a slightly more in your face atmosphere to it."
Oli: We’re really looking forward to hearing that track, any background on it?
B.F: “It’s a slightly older song than Big Rain, it’s slightly dancier but also sounds like having a screwdriver put in your head. It’s kind of like a bastardised James Brown song or something.”
Oli: Do you have any favourite recent musical discoveries?
B.F: “In Bristol there’s stuff like Kinlaw & Franco Franco, I saw them the other night, it’s kind of abrasive hip hop with a guy who raps in Italian. I’ve been listening to a lot of Arab Strap recently, I think Aidan Moffat is one of the great lyricists, super entertaining.”
Oli: Whose music do you always go back to?
B.F: “I guess the big one would be Silver Jews, David Berman is a real hero of mine, particularly lyrically, he’s moving and hilarious in equal measure. That’s what I always go back to, usually their second album The Natural Bridge, I’d recommend that to anyone, at least for the words.”
Oli: That just about wraps it up, when can we next catch you live?
B.F: “We’re playing The Servant Jazz Quarters on October 6th, really looking forward to it!”