In probably the oddest place to interview alternative-electric-pop northern due, Tom and Ben, I find myself sat in the middle of a corn field with Aquilo. The pair, originally from the Lake District, pick at grass with their sunglasses on just a stone’s throw away from the enchanting music that Barn on the Farm music festival seem to churn out. Just hours before they take to the Main Stage, Aquilo – named after the greek god of the north wind – take in the charm of Barn on the Farm, adding that “it’s such a beautiful festival.”
“We’ve never really heard of it before, but it’s so great. Josh, the festival’s manager, has smashed it,” Ben tells me in a typical northern accent as the duo come straight from an acoustic set.
“It was weird. We did I Gave It All but it wasn’t really an acoustic set, we make minimalistic alternative music so, to be honest, it was just without the band,” Tom explains.
Aquilo, who describe their sound as minimalistic electo-alternative with essences of pop really are ones to watch. I know, I know, it’s a phrase thrown around so often that it’s lost what it really means, but these guys truly are the best at what they do. Their music is simultaneously so light but so heavy and trying to work it out is part of the beauty behind these ethereal sounds.
Ben and Tom were neighbours in the same village growing up, with the two meeting after Ben posted an acoustic track on Soundcloud.
“Ben was in a grunge band I was in a rock/metal band,” Tom tells me before joking how they “actually met in the mosh pit.”
“He came round and after work and we’d make acoustic music and it slowly and surely took electronic sounds. We were massively influenced by people like Mount Kimbie.”
The atmospheric twosome has rereleased one of these aforementioned songs, Calling Me, with far more texture and colour than before. They explain when they got a manager, the track got forgotten about and has be released again with a bigger and better production value.
“We’ve released it as what we think it deserves,” Ben speaks about the track as if it were his own child.
The video takes on the narrative of a young gay dancer growing up in an urban environment. Aquilo tell me how their music focuses on storylines which makes everything so much more interesting.
“It’s really relevant. It’s not breaking waves, but it’s really fitting. We’d been chatting with the director and were throwing ideas around and this seemed perfect,” Ben enlightens.
Music supported by a video of a young ballet dancer in an urban area brings in so many Billy Elliot vibes, Ben cuts in shouting how he “can’t even explain” how much he loves Billy Elliot. Influences confirmed.
“Ben’s a really good ballet dancer,” Tom mocks after the outburst only for Ben to defend himself with “I can do the worm when I’m really pissed.” The Royal Ballet better watch out, Aquilo are a triple threat.