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Music Interview

Guillemots

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Guillemots
With band members called Fyfe Dangerfield, MC Lord Magrão and Aristazabal Hawkes, Guillemots were never going to be an ordinary band. Their Mercury-nominated debut Through The Windowpane had many touting them as the new Coldplay, while even Sir Paul McCartney praised their musical bravery. However, rather than pander to Q readers and radio's bland tastes, the band's new album Red finds them replacing the piano ballads with '80s disco and '90s R&B. We called Arista from the band to find out more.

Your new single 'Get Over It' is a lot bolder and brasher than anything on your debut LP. Were you worried about how the fans would react?
"No, not really. What can I say? Deal with it! There's some softer things on the new album as well. but there's not much point in doing the same thing over and over again. It's a lot more fun and interesting for us, more than anything. Obviously we do think about whether our fans will like it, but you just have to hope they do. You can't stop yourself, you can't hold back!"

Your new album Red is written by all of you, rather than just Fyfe [Dangerfield, singer]. What effect did that have on the record?
"It's definitely a totally different process. We've always written stuff together and done improvising on B-sides, but in terms of an album this is completely different. Instead of Fyfe having it all in his head, we all had ideas of what we thought it should sound like. It was a lot more democratic. Also, our co-producer Adam Noble was very much involved in taking our ideas and fitting them together. That was a big, big job and took a lot of patience on his part, so I should mention him, because he's amazing."

The band members all come from quite different musical backgrounds. How does that affect the songwriting process?
"When we're actually playing and improvising, which is where most of the ideas for our songs come from, we can all just play what we want. When we put the ideas down on paper or record, that's where the differences come in. But we try everyone's ideas no matter what: we put them down, listen to them and try and live with it for a bit. Then we try and decide; if two of us hate it and two of us like it, we've got to work it our somehow. It can be quite time-consuming and that's probably why we've been so late in delivering the album."

Some of the songs on the album have a strong R&B feel to them. Where does that influence come from?
"'Big Dog' is probably the most obvious one with an R&B influence. We wrote that in the middle of the tour last year, when I was going through some weird on-and-off relationship stuff with my boyfriend. When we recorded it, the song veered from being really stripped down to being totally rocking and packed with full-on guitars and industrial sounds. I guess I'm the biggest sucker for hip-hop and R&B in the group, so I definitely brought that influence to the song. Thankfully, the others balanced it out so it doesn't sound too cheesy. It's one of my favourites on the album."

In contrast to the music, it's lyrically quite a dark album. Where does that stem from?
"I've never said this in an interview before, but Fyfe is in a relationship on this album and he wasn't on the last one, so I think a lot of it is to do with that. That kind of personal relationship brings a lot of stuff up... and you begin to see a lot of stuff about yourself. Plus, it's kind of about the state of the world at the moment and how there is so much stuff that isn't right. It's angst, I guess, and unease."

You've just announced a big UK tour. How do you cope on the road with three guys in the band?
"Last year was really hard. I'd never done anything like that before. It was quite a shock to the system with quite a lot of partying. I also got frustrated by technical difficulties during the shows, which was all quite physically straining. I'm really looking forward to it this time around, though, because we've got a girl called Ruthie Phoenix who will be joining us to play live. There will be another girl on the bus! I was worried that she'd be a girly-girl and that she wouldn't have a sense of humour, but Ruthie's perfect. It should be a great laugh and I'm not going to be doing loads of drugs and stuff, so generally I'm going to be a happier person, which is good."

Fyfe is an enigmatic frontman when he's onstage, but what's he like when he's not performing?
"Woah, I can't tell you that! He is really crazy, but in a good way. He's like someone that's talented and genius-like. He is weird. We're all quite weird, but he's really nice and kind, he's a good guy."

There's a rumour on the internet that you discovered the perfect musical note to give a lady an orgasm. Should women prepare themselves before listening to Red?
"It was a joke! It was in one of our first interviews and I didn't have anything to say. I thought I would be funny and it has just haunted me forever. It's a lesson in knowing when to keep your mouth shut. If you don't have anything to say then don't say it!"

Guillemots' single, 'Get Over It', and album, Red, are out now.

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