WE TALK Tours, Festivals
and Electric Fields WITH Scottish
By the time they released debut album ‘I Am An Island’ in 2014 the band were already filling rooms across the country, and they followed the record up with another critically-acclaimed release when they dropped second album ‘Open Book’ in the summer of 2016.
With support from the BBC and various support tours under their belt, Fatherson are now no strangers to a headline tour themselves and continue to win listeners over with tightly-constructed yet anthemic indie-rock songs that get stuck in your head for all the right reasons.
Fatherson’s next foray into the Scottish music scene is Electric Fields. The band actually headlined the first ever edition of the festival when it started out as a one-day event four years ago, and it’s grown to new heights since then, with a lineup including Frightened Rabbit, Dizzee Rascal, Kate Tempest, Band of Horses, Jackmaster and many more set to play at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway over the Friday and Saturday this year.
We caught up with drummer Greg Walkinshaw of Fatherson to chat about life in the band and on the road since the release of ‘Open Book’ and preview their homecoming gig at Electric Fields, which runs from 1-2 September 2017.
Shall we start with what you guys have been up to since the release of ‘Open Book’ last year?
“Yes! The album came out last summer just at the start of festival season and we spent a lot of time touring that and built up to a big Glasgow show at Christmas. This year we did a big two month tour that mingled support and headline stuff and this summer we’ve spent a lot of time out in mainland Europe playing a lot of European shows and supports and festivals which has been great, and we’ve managed to squeeze in some time to do some writing as well. It’s been pretty full on.
“They’re very different beasts [gigs abroad]. We’re just starting to make our footpaths into mainland Europe and these festivals have been a great way of doing that. It’s weird in a way. You go back to being the new kid on the block again as oppose to when we play in Scotland and places in England. It makes it feel totally fresh again and it’s been brilliant to travel. Going to all these new places has always been a big attraction for us.”
We actually caught you in Berlin earlier in the year. It was great. There were a lot of Scottish people there.
“Yes, that tends to be what happens! I didn’t know there were so many Scottish people everywhere. Even the weirdest places, you turn up and there always seems to be a Scottish person there. We seem to have spread far and wide!”
Were there any nerves about the writing and creative process for the second album?
“We tried not to worry about it too much. I think you can get a bit in your head with the second record but we just tried to approach it the same as we did with the first record. We put together a bunch of songs that we loved and hoped people would like it, and the reception has been great. This record has taken us up to playing The Barrowlands, which is one of our favourite venues ever.”
Turning our heads to Electric Fields - am I right in saying you guys played the first ever edition of the festival?
“We did, yeah! Four years ago we got offered the headline slot there when it was just a one-day thing with two stages. A lot of our friends were playing. I still remember the day really well. It was really fun.
“The festival had a really good vibe and even then we knew it was onto something. As a fan of music and the Scottish music scene it’s amazing to see how the festival has grown. It’s turned into this beast, this powerhouse with a great lineup, and everyone has so many good things to say about it. It’s great to be back now that it’s turned into this big thing.”
“You want all the mechanics to work, you want everyone in the touring party to have a good time, obviously you want everything to run smoothly. It’s quite hard to quantify but it’s sort of the same as being there as a punter. I’ve been to loads of festivals as a punter and similarly loads playing with the band and it’s just the atmosphere. If it’s the same backstage as it is in front of the stage then everyone is having a good time, everyone is excited to be there and that’s what can shape a festival! It’s not about the booze or the rider, it’s all about how everyone is feeling and what the vibe is… and hopefully sun!”
What was it that’s helped Electric Fields in particular grow this far do you think?
“It’s a hard thing to pinpoint! I know Nick Roberts, the organiser and a good friend of ours for a few years now, works so hard trying to learn from what has worked and what hasn’t worked in previous years, and the line up is really, really great and it was great last year too.
“It’s a well curated festival in terms of the music that’s put on. It’s not just jumping on all the ‘hypey’ bands - it’s picking good acts who will put on a good show; bands that appeal to the demographic of people who actually really enjoy music. Which for me is perfect!”
Do you normally get the chance to see many shows when you perform at festivals?
“I always like to try and take a walk around the festival site if we’ve got the time for it, just to get a feel for the place. And then if there’s bands we want to check out we’ll try our best! We went out to try and see a lot of European bands when we were playing out there because obviously it’s totally different. We did a show with Kings of Leon as well which we watched from the side of the stage. That was amazing. I think it’s important to see as much as you can.”
How do you approach a festival slot differently to a headline or a support slot?
“It’s a sort of weird one with festivals. Certainly with something like a homecoming festival at Electric Fields, which is what it is for us because we’re not playing a lot of Scottish shows this summer, so this is our big one.
“With headline sets in a venue you know people will know at least a few of the songs. With support tours you’ve got half an hour to play out the hits and try and convince everyone. Festivals sit in a weird middle ground. There’s going to be people who know you and people who don’t, but you’ve just got to give it everything. It’s always fun and if there’s a good atmosphere you just need to play off that and make sure everyone is having a good time!”
Finally, what’s next for the band then? More of that writing you mentioned hopefully?
“We’ve been working hard on the writing side of things so we’re going to be continuing to do that more, yeah! Then we’ve got a few more shows over summer, a few bits and bobs we can’t talk about just yet... but we’re going to be busy and playing shows. That’s the plan!”
Find out more about Electric Fields and get day or weekend tickets at the official website