[Interview] Fenech-Soler Make Their Way To The States
Next door to Exit/In, a historic music venue in Nashville, I shared a beer with Ben and Ross Duffy, the brothers and front men of Fenech-Soler, a pop indietronica group from the UK, currently on their first US tour.
Fenech-Soler has been a group since 2006 and their newest album, Zilla, was just released in February 2017.
“It feels like people have connected with us as a band, on this album, more than anything we have done.”
The new album received its name from a mutual friend of the group, Zillah, but they decided to drop the “H” for marketing reasons. The suffix –zilla is often affiliated with things that are large or impressive, which is what Fenech-Soler wants their newest album to encapsulate.
“It’s kind of turned into a bit of a genre for me and Ben. We use that [Zilla] to describe what we are trying to make; these colorful pop songs.”
On May 5, the band released a 360° music video for their song “Conversation.” When I asked how they came up with the concept, they mentioned they had seen the trend of 360° videos on Facebook and various platforms.
“Shit. If we could do a video like that…”
So, they linked up with one of their filmmaker friends, connected 10 Go-Pros together into a ball, jammed out in a plain white art space, and three hours later, they had the essentials to create the video for "Conversations,"
This is one of their first US tours and they’ve been pretty well received by audiences. They even sold out The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, but not every show has been as successful.
“Even though we have been a band for a long time, we’ve never ventured out in a van and just traveled and we should have done it a lot earlier in our career. You have to come out and do these shows. Whether there is one person, twenty, or five hundred, or six thousand, just being in a town playing, means something.”
Which has been reminiscent of their early days, back in the UK, when the group first started.
When discussing their style and how they’ve developed as artists, Ben described what they’ve been trying to accomplish.
“We like DJs and we like the euphoria that is very synonymous with dance music, but we’ve also always really loved bands and live music. We just want to find that balance.”
And Fenech-Soler did just that during their set. They set themselves apart from a lot of electronic artists, who normally rely heavily on special effects and light shows, by bringing the energy and stage performance of a live band to the genre.
The brother duo fed off each other’s performance. Ben, on vocals, had a captivating energy when he sang, but also played the synth, cymbals, and even the cowbell. His brother, Ross, also brought the passion of a guitarist with his performance and energy.
Tom, on keyboards, and Chris, on drums, kept the rhythm and contributed to the presence of a live band with their energetic performance and techniques throughout the whole set.
They featured songs from their new album, such as “Kaleidoscope,” “Conversations,” and “Night Time TV,” as well as songs from Rituals and their self-titled album. The band even performed a cover of “Control,” by Janet Jackson, an influential musician to the group.
It may not have been a packed out venue, but every person there was grooving and bobbing to either one of their favorite artists or a newfound love for Fenech-Soler.
After the set, the guys mingled with the crowd, taking the time to talk to everyone that stuck around after the show, and then went out to experience Nashville for the first time.
Fenech-Soler will be releasing a few more singles from their new album, continuing to tour the states for the month, and possibly working on another album in the near future.
Photos by Ryan Purcell for Bullet Music