From their new ‘Milk & Peppers’ EP – out 2nd December on vinyl/digital from Precious Snowflake Records – smartly eclectic London trio (electronics, vox/guitar and cello), flies+flies (Jake Williams, Petwo Evans and Martin Kingston), share the EP’s electro reflective, subtly Radiohead-esque, title track. And discuss David Bowie’s life, internet radio and playing at Echoes in London on the 30th of November.
Ok guys…first up why did you call your project flies+flies? Any strange reasons?
Dan: I have to say coming up with a band name is far harder than you might think…We were finding it almost impossible to come up with something that didn’t sound abhorrently shit, so we took the naming duties further afield.
Jake: Our manager Tam was running a book stall at one of the ATP festivals at the time, and she left a bit of paper out overnight saying “competition: name our band & win a book’ or something like that. Someone wrote ‘flies and flies and flies,’ and for whatever reason that struck something with us. It was also one of the few entries that you’d be allowed to say on the radio, tbh. Someone also suggested ‘Tabasco Wank,’ but ho-hum, we opted for flies+flies in the end, and we’ve been left to rue the one that got away…..
Tell us everything we really want to know about your ‘Milk & Peppers’ EP
Dan: The song was written coincidently around the time David Bowie died. The song is about a bleak time in a man’s life. At a bleak time in David Bowie’s life he reportedly lived on red peppers and milk for a long time. I’ve long held him as my all-time, all-conquering favourite, but in particular he was pretty much all I was reading about and listening to for the first half of 2016, so that’s where the song took its title from.
Martin: We wrote it very quickly, around a central hook, just jamming it out in a couple of writing sessions. This is definitely not always the way it works out for our songs. Some take a year or so! When and how did you meet?
Dan: Jake met Nick, an artist andold friend of mine and our long-term visual collaborator, at some party in Berlin.Not really sure what transpired but I got a drunken 4am phone call fro Nick saying that there’s someone I should work with. The following week Jake came to an open mic I was playing at, Martin also happened to be there. They seemed to be pretty into it and we all got chatting and it just happened very naturally from there…
What inspired you to make music together?
Dan: After the three of us had met, it was clear that we had similar desires to build on the music we had separately been making – each of us coming from totally different musical backgrounds. Jake from a predominantly electronic one, Martin from a classical, folk and world music one, and myself from a mainly acoustic singer-songwriter place. We quickly took to the idea of forming a band with an identity crisis, and seeing what we could come up with!
Jake: Dan’s songs.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Dan: The music is in the end entirely collaborative. The lyrics come from me. We normally write around a hook one of us has come up with, although sometimes lyrics I’ve written lead me to a melody. It’s really music first though.
Jake: Last winter we were writing all together in a really cold nightclub where we were rehearsing. We got some great stuff done but it was pretty intense. Our first album is finished and mastered now so really looking fwd to doing some new stuff.. preferably somewhere with a heater. But yeah we come up with ideas separately or in pairs and then bring them to the table when we meet up to play and they evolve by playing them a lot.
What kind of music are you listening these days?
Dan: Too many people to be honest! I’m addicted to finding new artists, but there’s so much good stuff out there I’m not spending the time I used to on individual albums, which is a bad thing. I’m going pretty deep on Arca’s stuff at the minute. He played a massive part in Bjork’s latest album Vulnicira, which has been on my headphones a lot lately. I think Frank Ocean’s Blonde puts him fairly near top of the game also. But I always have some life-longers to hand too, be it Billie Holiday, Queen or Bowie. For various reasons they each provide me with great comfort, and I think music offers nothing more profound than some form of comfort.
Jake: I’m totally in awe with radio at the moment in all it’s forms. Being able to listen to all of the archived shows on NTS internet radio is an amazing way of discovering new music as they are all track listed on Mixcloud! There are loads but my fave show is prob TTB’s.. loads of fantastic weird soulful electronic music really well put together – props! As someone said to me the other day things are too bleak at the moment for really bleak music and getting more and more into this pop renaissance we seem to be having at the moment – the underground informing the mainstream for the first time in ages it seems. Just heard the WKND track with Daft Punk it’s amazing! Also loving Dawn Richard, Shura, Tinashe, Gaika… list too long to mention.
Who are your musical icons?
Dan: Prince, David Bowie, Bjork.
Martin: Giacinto Scelsi/Gyorgy Liget
Jake: Prince (everyone says that right?), Martin Hannett, Arthur Russell, J Saul Kane
What was the first album you purchased?
Dan: Dangerous, Michael Jackson.
Jake: True Blue, Madonna. Was really tempted to lie and say something made in the 90s so you don’t guess how old I am.
Tell us about your next show and why we should be there
Dan: It’s gonna be at Echoes in London on the 30th of November, and you should be there because we’ll dedicate a song to you if you come. And also cos it’s free.
By Fabrizio Belluschi ©FM
Photography by Nick Roberts/Marko Righo