Most people tend to lose base with their high-school pals, but indie rock four-piece Idle Frets are the exception.
The Chester natives have been hitting the pavement of the U.K’s major cities, from London to Liverpool, relentlessly since 2011. Touring and scoring support slots with their layered synths and trippy vibes, Idle Frets’ raspy sound is enthused with a fresh tonality and delivery.
Consisting of frontman, Ben Davies, lead guitarist, David Hennessey, drummer, Erin Gibson and bassist, Luke Lewis, the band mingle agile chords with a lulling bass and guitar. Their animated direction has seen them groove out of their local scene in the North West. Becoming part of a line-up of success stories from Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
Their collaged choon, Talk About You, flows with the motions of discovering you’re in love… but the feelings aren’t mutual. We tuned into the band to talk inspirations and the long road ahead.
How has being from Chester influenced your sound and style?
Luke: To be totally honest, Chester’s not had an integral influence on our current sound and style. When Dave joined the band back in late 2014, Ben & Erin had commenced their studies at LIPA, so we kind of adopted Liverpool as our home away from home. Whilst Chester is a beautiful and quaint city, there’s not a great deal going on musically in comparison to Liverpool, there’s always something going on there, it breathes music!
Erin: Interesting question! When we grew up in Chester there were no real music venues where touring bands would stop and play. Since then we saw The Compass open and close again, and now the Live Rooms and Telfords Warehouse have touring bands play there so things have changed. It meant less live gigs for us in a typical gig environment. We learnt every indie cover ever and became a cover band, to begin with as most people do.
But, this meant our influences as a 4-piece were heavily from this music because it was the music we listened too and we knew people that booked cover bands listened to too. As we got older and were able to travel a bit more, Liverpool was always our live performance city, simply because the opportunity was never there in Chester and Liverpool was the next closest. As we grew as a band, I don’t think we ever got a Mersey ‘sound’ to us, but we were and still are constantly influenced by those bands that we play with who is from Liverpool, and those who stop in Liverpool on their tours.
How did being educated at Paul McCartney’s prestigious Liverpool Insitute of Performing Art influence your musical style?
Erin: I don’t particularly think being ‘educated’ there did much to our style. It may have influenced the way Ben writes songs, but you would have to ask him about that! But for us, it was always more about the people we met and therefore the opportunities we were then faced with, as not all of us were on the Music course, too. But we met our Manager there, and fellow musicians we went on to play with.
Ben: For me, I guess being at LIPA developed my writing into a much more rounded skill. There are so many people from different places around the world that go to LIPA so I guess if you’re open-minded enough you can learn massively from those around you and help develop yourself! I’d say I’ve definitely been able to develop a good skill set now, which will provide as a base for most things I do musically, whether that be writing or performing.
What are your inspirations?
Luke: Arctic Monkeys were the band that made me want to pick up an instrument but also I’d say Ben, our flamboyant frontman. He taught me E, A & D on guitar back in 2010 and we’ve never looked back since.
Erin: As a band, we find this question so difficult because they really are all so different. I am an Indie and Pop Princess, with some very random band and artists along the way that doesn’t fit my usual music taste at all! Ben and Luke are both Indie/Rock/Pop…pers too, and then Dave is all of the above with some funk, soul and RnB thrown in there. It really is a mash of Pop hooks, Indie Rock guitar drive, with some funky soul dave-ness feeling thrown in there too.
Dave: My inspirations in chronological order, are: 5ive, R Kelly, Dwayne the Rock Johnson, The Plain Double Cheeseburger, Arctic Monkeys, Dr John Dorian, Fender Stratocasters, KFC Box Meals, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Cheese and Ham toasties, Terry Crews, John Mayer, D’angelo, Two Rock amplifiers, Smoking meats, Ben Davies, Jazz Flute
What was the most difficult part of making your new single, Talk About You?
Luke: I’d say having to “kill your darlings”. Whilst in the creative process for this one, we all had rather complex individual parts which sounded incredible, but we later realised they were contrasting rather than intertwining. Also trying to ameliorate the seamlessness of transitioning between each part of the song.
Erin: For me personally, I thought we had finished most of the song until we went into the studio. We found it difficult to step back and listen to it as a final product for two reasons. Firstly, we had been sat on it for a while and it was difficult to go into the studio and change things quickly when a new set of ears listened to it, although it definitely worked out for the best.
Secondly, as we all felt like we had been writing our own parts too much. I remember feeling like one of the drum sections was really boring, but until we stepped back and listen with a new set of ears, we realised the bigger picture of the band, and actually that that drum part worked as part of the puzzle, rather than an individual piece.
You’ve been blasting the tunes out for 10 years now; what advice would you give new bands on the indie scenes?
Luke: Keep at it! If you want it and you’re in it for the passion, just keep going. Find a sound that suits you that you enjoy listening to and performing.
Erin: Don’t give up! It sounds so cheesy, but it doesn’t come easy. It’s a difficult and LONG road, but when things start going right you forget about the bad, deflating times and it all becomes worth it. I always tried to tell myself the age-old cliché: it’s not about the end goal it’s about what happens on the journey. If I didn’t listen to that advice that I was told by a band when I was younger, I would have given up before now. I would not have seen all the amazing cool smaller things we’ve done along the way that has made the whole 8 years or so what they have been.
Ben: Keep going for it. You’ll get knocked down, you’ll get people telling you it won’t work but as long as you’re enjoying it and you believe in the project yourself then go for it and give it everything you’ve got.
The band will be heading out on a tour of the UK this autumn. Catch them in the following venues:
03rd November Flapper, Birmingham
04th November Sanctuary, Basingstoke
05th November Joiners, Southampton
21st November Camden Assembly, London
24th November Also Known As, Banbury
** supporting The Pigeon Detectives
Tickets can be bought here.
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