Interview: Fossil Collective
Fossil Collective are going from strength to strength with a new EP out just before they go on a UK tour in October. The Leeds duo, made up of David Fendick and Jonny Hooker, have already been on tour with Radio 1 favourite Benjamin Francis Leftwich, who is also signed to record label Dirty Hit. Dave tells SKRBBLR how Fossil Collective works, how they’ve already had attention in the States and what attracted them to new record label Dirty Hit…
Can you tell us a bit about Fossil Collective and how you were formed?
Well, Fossil Collective is primarily myself and Jonny Hooker but we also have other people coming in and out of the group all the time, which is the whole premise of the Collective really. Jonny and I have both been in bands together and separately as well and what we wanted to do was be part of something where the sky’s the limited really. In the past we’ve had the usual guitarist, bassist and drummer but with this we wanted the freedom to use a collective of local musicians so we’d have someone playing the strings then someone playing the slide guitar. That’s really what the Fossil Collective is about.
What do you want fans to experience when they come and see you?
It depends on a variety of things, for example the size of the venue. When live we have many different forms, for example when we support Civil Wars in October it is going to be very stripped back. It is going to be myself, Jonny and Zane who is our lead guitar so it really varies but when we go on our headline tour later in October we will have full 5 members. It varies from gig to gig and it makes it interesting for us so we’re not doing the same every night.
So do you think in the ever-growing market of aspiring musicians this will set you apart?
Yeah, I’d like to think so. What we want to do is try and make it as enjoyable as possible for ourselves really. I think that really comes through if the band is enjoying themselves so I think yeah it should help us against other emerging bands
We hear you’re pretty big in the digital music world overseas in the States? How did iTunes single of the week in USA come about?
It’s a crazy story really. A previous band we had together had a little bit of success and we had been filming with a guy called Damon who had a little record store in LA and he was very supportive of us over a few years. We were hand making CDs and sending them over to him to sell in his shop so we built up a friendship with him and crazy enough he became the Head of Alternative Music at iTunes. It’s not to say it wouldn’t have gone on Record of the Week without him, it’s just we had that initial contact with them, which helped.
You recently covered Frankie Goes to Hollywood Power of Love… what made you chose this song?
The label first asked Benjamin Francis Leftwich to do a couple of covers to put on Soundcloud, Hype Machine and various blogs that kind of thing, and then thought it would be good for us to do them as well. The first one was Power of Love and the second one is a surprise we are doing next month for when our EP comes out. The idea was we wanted to a quintessentially British song and for it not to be an obvious choice like Neil Young or something. We wanted to represent a British northern band and play a passive song. A song that people listen to but don’t really appreciate it can be interpretive as a modern song as well. To be honest it is one of my guilty pleasures really. A song I appreciated when I was younger and when I approached the band with it I think they thought I was mad.
So, are you allowed to give us a little hint on the next one then?
I’ll tell you this it’s a Portishead song, that’s all I’m telling you so it’s a song that some people will know but you will have to hold on a little longer I’m afraid.
You’re signed to a fairly new record label, what was the appeal to Dirty Hit?
Well we met a few labels by accident really. We weren’t actually looking for a deal when they approached us. It was a case of Jon and I getting the first EP out there for ourselves and if I’m being completely honest we weren’t doing what most bands were doing, which was looking for a deal. It was honestly one of the last things on our minds. We made a video for the first EP, which got a lot of interest, it got a quarter of million hits on Youtube and I suppose because of that all the labels were suddenly interested. One person found out and because it is a very close knit industry the minute one person found out about it we got interest from lots of labels. What split Dirty Hit apart from the rest was they seemed like really nice guys, really switched on and it was a very fair record deal which is hard in todays market. They were well connected enough for us to get in the door but also a smaller outfit so very personal and not various people that chop and change every month. It was just that gut feeling we went with that they were really down to earth guys. We saw what they did with Ben and at the time he was being played on Radio 1 and we literally met them in London and they had all been with Fearne Cotton that afternoon. So we knew they were a good label and the first thing they did when they signed us was put us on tour with Ben and I think our third gig was Shepherds Bush Empire.
It’s already been a pretty busy summer for you guys… what is next for Fossil Collective?
We’ve just finished mixing our second EP so On and On is going to be the lead track along with three other tracks. That’s coming out just before our tour in October and during that time I think we will be going back into the studio to finish off the album, which hopefully will be out around January. So, another EP out in October then the album in January/February time.
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