2015 Artist Survey: Field Music

David and Peter Brewis on 2015's Best Albums, the Election, Getting Fired, Star Wars, and Earliest Musical Memories

Feb 19, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice
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For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, CHVRCHES, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, How to Dress Well, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.
 
Here are some answers from brothers David and Peter Brewis of Field Music. The British band's new album, Commontime, was released last month via Memphis Industries. David also fronts School of Language and Peter is in The Week That Was.

A shorter version of this interview ran in the Best of 2015 print issue, which is still on newsstands now. This is the full unedited version of the interview.
 
Top 10 Albums of 2015
We had to club together for this one and the placings are almost entirely random.

Slug: RipePeter Brewis: Most of my time in the early part of the year was spent mixing this and learning the drum parts. I've heard this album hundreds of times and I still can't understand how Ian Black wrote the thing.
Eleanor Friedberger: New ViewDavid Brewis: This is a cheat because it's not out 'till next year, but I've got a sneaky preview copy and she's just a great writer and singer. She creates a complete world with just a handful of images.
Galaxians: Personal Disco ComponentDavid: I think this might also have come out in 2014, but groove doesn't age and every time I listen to Galaxians I want to dance.
Bob Dylan & The Band: The Basement Tapes CompleteDavid: Again, this came out in 2014, but I've listened to this as much as anything this year. Much funnier and much more beautiful than I'd imagined from the songs that were already available.
Freeze Puppy: The Night AttendantPete: We first saw Tom Wilson (aka Freeze Puppy) when School of Language played with him in Bristol. He combines all the things I like about music in a seriously good but very playful and fun way. His previous album Animation is a masterpiece, and this just might be too.
Stealing Sheep: Not RealDavid: Definitely one of the best British bands around and easily one of the most adventurous and unique-sounding bands making pop music. It's nice to hear a band where all of the band's personalities and playing comes through in the music.
Frankie and The Heartstrings: DecencyPete: I've spent most of the last two years at home looking after my son and trying, where possible, to stay in touch with my friends. Most of the things I've listened to this year have been things made by my pals around the doors. It's how I've stayed in touch with them. The last Heartstrings album is a cracker and their best yet; everyone is on top form and their new man Ross Millard has proved the perfect addition.
Paul Smith and The Intimations: ContradictionsPete: I know Paul had been wanting to make a record with his other band for a while, so I was glad when this finally saw the light of day. The songs are great and I really love the production too; it's clear and the lyrics are to the front-where they should be!
Andrew Wasylyk: SorokyDavid: Andrew Wasylyk/Mitchell appears to be the busiest musician in the British Isles. As well as playing in the School of Language band last year, he also plays in the Hazey Janes and in Idlewild and has played in Electric Soft Parade. Somehow he's also found time to craft this elegiac solo album.
Metronomy: Love LettersDavid: Aw, crap. This was 2014 as well, wasn't it? Anyway, Metronomy are good. They've got a particular harmonic fingerprint which I like.

What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?
 
David: We made another record! We discovered a whole host of cool new drum sounds! None of the lows have been particularly low.

What are your hopes and plans for 2016?
 
David: I hope people like the record. I hope we go out and play really well. I hope people laugh at our audacity, so we have to make sure we have plenty of audacity. I hope I cope okay with being away from the family and I hope they're okay while I'm away.

With the launch of TIDAL and Apple Music in 2015, there are more streaming music options, but the same issues of adequate artist compensation persist. What are your current thoughts on streaming and which service would you most like to have your music on?
 
David: Streaming is here to stay and we've all got to deal with it. Most of these companies are in the early days of making a profit, so it's understandable that the royalty payments are underwhelming. Musicians (and listeners) will have to keep talking about it so when those services do make money, a decent chunk goes to the people making the records. It's not my favorite way of listening to music, but I want people to hear our records and it's not up to me to tell folk how to do it. With that in mind, I'd cynically have our music up on whichever site is most listened to.

What are your thoughts on Friday being the new global release day for albums? Is it helping or hurting album sales?
 
David: This will be our first try. I don't imagine it'll make much difference. I'm sure everyone will get used to it pretty quickly.

Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?
 
David: I'm with the Duke [Ellington] on this one. There are only two kinds of music: good and bad. Most chart music is awful, but then, most indie music is awful too. If people are seeking out good stuff, genre be damned.

What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?
 
David: Trump is a bit of a card, isn't he? I'm totally perplexed that a single sentient being would take him seriously. On the plus side, it seems that Bernie Sanders is at least talking about things and also it's long past time the U.S. had a female president. Though our first (and only) female Prime Minister is probably the most divisive figure in British political history. Good luck! Seriously though, the two-party system seems to be letting down a lot of Americans (just as it's let down a lot of people here). I go to bed every night wishing for massive curbs on political donations and electoral spending.

Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift's 1989 (and then Father John Misty covered Adams covering Swift). If you were to cover another artist's album in its entirety, which would you pick and why?
 
David: I'd want to pick something that's kind of good but not as good as I wanted it to be. Like Hearsay by Alexander O'Neal. Or just something where I'd have no chance of recreating the soundmaybe Computer World by Kraftwerk or Never Too Much by Luther Vandross. Actually, scratch all of that. Bad by Michael Jackson.

Have you ever been fired from a job (be it a day job or musical one)? Why were you fired?
 
David: For a little while, Peter and I taught a module on a music degree course. I think we were little bit harsh with our marking and too willing to fail people, so we weren't asked back.

What's your earliest music-related childhood memory?
 
David: Probably insisting our babysitter put Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds on or maybe sitting in my mam's car waiting for Peter to finish some football summer school and listening to Actually by the Pet Shop Boys.

What outrageous request would you most like to put in your tour rider as a joke?
 
David: I would have said vegetarian Guinness but it looks like in a few months that won't be a joke anymore. Phew!

What's the most disastrous date you've ever been on?
 
David: My wife and I have been together for nearly 15 years, so all of my terrible dates can be written off as teen stupidity. Honestly, there were never that many.

Which Star Wars character are you most like?
 
David: R2D2. Mostly helpful but occasionally erratic; overconfident, under-skilled, and sarcastic.

Where do you see yourself in five beers?
 
David: Given that my little boy gets me up quite early every day, I imagine I'd be lying in a pool of boozy regret, cursing my aching knees and my throbbing, bloodshot eyeballs.

What's the lamest breakup excuse you've ever given or been given?
 
David: We've all done some version of "it's not you, it's me," haven't we? Even when it's true, it's quite lame.

FFS (Franz Ferdinand + Sparks) proved that collaborations can work. What other two bands would you like to see unite as one new entity?
 
David: I'd quite like to hear Richard Thompson play with Deerhoof.

Which moment from your past most haunts you?
 
David: Betraying my total ignorance of Irish names to a girl who wanted a CD signing at an inshore show. It was probably nine or ten years ago and I still feel embarrassed about it. Sorry, Aoife.

2015 is the year that Marty McFly traveled to the future in Back to the Future Part II. Beyond not having hoverboards, what most disappoints you about 2015 now that we're here?
 
David: Not enough fax machines.

Taylor Swift has been celebrated by indie rock fans and mainstream pop fans alike. Is she truly this generation's pop genius or is she a talented, if overrated, songwriter?
 
David: Honestly, I've only heard a couple of her songs. They seemed like high quality generic pop music, which I have nothing against, but it's not something I get excited about. The word "genius" is so overused as to be meaningless.

If your house were on fire, what would you grab as you were running out?
 
David: Child, wife, cat, coat. Also keys, which I would need to open the front door.

Which actor or actress would you most love to have in one of your music videos?
 
David: Michael Gambon.

What song will most unite or amp up the tour bus or van (à la "Tiny Dancer" in Almost Famous)? Which song do you love that the rest of the band or crew refuse to let you put on?
 
David: Anything from Queen's Greatest Hits (apart from "Save Me," which elicits a chorus of groans). Sonic Youth always gets vetoed because it blends in too much with the sound of the engine. Ditto My Bloody Valentine.

www.field-music.co.uk

 



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