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Field Music Interview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holden Caulfield   
13 07 2010
ImageGiven the majority of Floatation Suite's contributors are from the North East, we like to keep a close eye on the local scene. Over the past few weeks we've interviewed Frankie and the Heartstrings, The Futureheads and Maximo Park, so we thought we'd catch up with Sunderland trio Field Music to talk about their experimental style, the region's music scene, and the upcoming Split Festival taking place on Wearside in September. Here goes:

FS: Are you pleased with the band's progress so far?

FM: Yeah - we've managed to make five and a half albums in five years (including the School of Language and The Week That Was records) and each one has been better than the last (in my opinion). We've also managed nearly five years without having to have real jobs, which is pretty difficult in this day and age.

FS: What has been the highlight of your musical career to date?

FM: There aren't many particular moments that stand out - just releasing the very first Field Music record or hearing it played on the radio for the first time are nice moments, where it feels like all the work has been worthwhile. The best feeling though is being in the studio, working on something new and having a moment of realisation about how it's going to sound. Reviews and sold-out gigs are nice but there's nothing to beat those nuggets of inspiration.

FS: Do you feel that being from the North-East puts you at a disadvantage in the music industry?

FM: Not at all. Maybe in the past it was important to be down in London, making friends and, ahem, kissing a**e. I don't suppose we've ever thought in terms of 'breaking onto the scene' - we've always wanted to keep as much independence as we can and being so far away from the music industry has helped us do that. Here we can rent a space cheaply, make records in our own time and in our own way and sidestep any expectations about how a band are supposed to manage their career.

FS: What are your opinions on Split Festival in Sunderland?

FM: I think it's great that people are trying to make music a fundamental part of Sunderland's culture. However, music's been neglected here for so long that I think it'll take a long time to build up an audience for live music or new bands or anything outside of the mainstream. I don't want to criticise the work that people did getting Take That or Oasis or Pink to play at the Stadium but most of the people at those gigs will never go to see a local band playing in a small venue. Hopefully, Split will be a little bit more successful at opening up esoteric music to a wider audience, which in turn might mean an easier time for venues and promoters trying to promote interesting music.

FS: How did it feel to perform at Evolution in Newcastle this Summer?

FM: Ha! To say the least, it was not our kind of show! It was really nice of the organisers to ask us to play, and the effort they put into showcasing local music on the bill is totally laudable but our music can be pretty challenging - we ask a lot of the attention of our audience and mostly, the audience that day seemed to consist of swallied-up teenagers wrestling each other. It made me feel very, very old.

FS: What are your ambitions for the future?

FM: Just to keep on making interesting records, expand our ideas and try new things. If we can keep selling enough records to make a living from it, that would be great but if not, we'll just start sending out newly-polished CVs and keep making records in our spare time. We've become a lot better as a live band over the last few years but it still feels like live performance is a bit restrictive and not as creative as we can be in the studio, so figuring out a way to remedy that is definitely on the agenda.

FS: Glasto or T in the Park?

FM: Neither! Give me Green Man or Latitude any day!

FS: Maximo Park or Futureheads?

FM: The Futureheads. Both good mates of mine, but The 'Heads are 100% Mackem.
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