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INTERVIEW: Face + Heel

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks! it’s lovely to be here. We’ve been very well. It’s nice to be releasing a lot of music again.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pier Video”?

The song is reflecting on a video rental shop on Aberystwyth pier. Aberystwyth is a seaside town on the mid west coast of Wales. It’s the last stop on the train tracks, but also has the welsh national library, so it’s quite a peculiar place. But Pier video was an unbelievably well stocked video shop. Inevitably all the hollywood blockbuster films would be rented already so bored teens like me at the time would end up renting from the world film section…so you had 13 or 14 year olds watching Le Mephis or the Three colours trilogy at a really young age with no knowledge of what they were. If you ever meet someone from Aberystwyth who grew up at that time they’ll almost certainly have a love of the french new wave or Tarkovsky because of that place.

Also as it was on a Pier, directly below it under the boardwalk is where a teenager might go for a spliff or to get off with a boy or girl.  So that structure…both the shop and the ground below it was pretty seminal to me growing up.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Mainly just a celebration of that time, although it’s specific to me, I hope the sentiment relates to others too. I think we all have our version of that place.  As far as an event goes, it’s really just remembering a typical day for me and my friends when we were about 15. Bored out of our minds.  We were so open for learning about culture, there was no internet. We’d pick things to get obsessed with. Like someone would say “shall we get into Roxy Music?” and we’d spend the day in Woolworths in the bargain section looking for the Best of Roxy Music. Then next week it would be Russian Sci Fi, and the week after we’d go and rent every Hal Ashby film. I think I just like the idea of young,bored minds being filled up with all this great stuff.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes,  it’s the first one we’ve directed ourselves and it’ll be out shortly after the song.

“The video was made using an old VHS machine, an iPhone and using tracking on a video player. The phone in the video is from the 1970’s. I collect original push button phones. It’s also on our album sleeve. It’s quite distinct matte pink and I like using it in visuals as a lot of the album is about communication and reminiscence.It’s the first generation to have push buttons but hasn’t shed the old fashioned body yet.”

The single comes off your new album Our Prince’s Quarry – what’s the story behind the title?

it’s a reference to the village Dryweryn. Which was Flooded in the late 1950’s to become a reservoir for the English city of Liverpool. There’s a school, a graveyard..everything under there. As I’ve got older it’s something that I think about a lot and it makes me very sad. Thinking of the last day of that village. Also it seems a bit of an ominous foreshadowing for the casual destruction our current leaders have for small, but culturally rich, places today.  So “Our Prince” is referencing the Price of Wales and the Quarry is the pre flooded village. Just a valley to be flooded to some, but a home, and a place where your elders are buried to others.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was really enjoyable, we fell into a nice regime of Sinead writing these lovely chord progessions and melodies on the piano, then I’d write some words and she’d work on the vocal lines and we’d start to expand them. We’d mainly done electronic sequenced music up until then, and the album ended up with quite a lot of live instruments. Sinead learnt to play the bass during the making of it too, which added a lot to the sound.

How much did the 90s get to influence the album?

An Awful lot. That was one of the few very conscious things we did.

Was that intentional or how did that happen?

Once we’d discussed the theme for the album, we really felt excited about trying to incorporate some of these influences we both had at that formative age into the album. Actually some stuff we thought we’d grown out of with adulthood we rekindled our love for.

Being influenced by so many genres, can we expect an eclectic record?

Yes for sure. That’ll be a problem for some and for others, I hope, what they like about it. I have so much respect for artists who can maintain one consistent style and tone for a whole album, but it’s not really us. The album is meant to reflect all these influences and cultural artefacts you discover when you’re young and hungry to be interesting…and that’s sort of wild and messy. But it all sound like the same two people and that’s the important thing I think.

Did the streets of Wales also get to influence the rest of the material?

The streets of Aberystwyth specifically. I love the place so much, and feel so good when I’m back, but also have the feeling if I actually moved back there it would mean I’d “given up”. Which is obviously more a reflection on me than the town. Also places on the margins in general. There are enough love letters to New York and London and Paris in music.

The album also features two remixes – did you handpick the producers or how did they come on board?

We’re really good friends with Tom and Gavin from worriedaboutsatan, and any excuse to get to do something with them we’ll jump at. I’ve lost track the amount of times I’ve asked them how to do something, or how something works. They are insanely great. Very foreboding and atmospheric. Jauge is a bit of a Mystery to us. He’s a fellow welsh man, but I believe he lives in Vietnam, he was suggested by our friend the Artist Matthew Evans, who works under the name SnowSkull. So Matt basically passed on the stems and we just got this lovely deep house remix back. Hopefully we’ll get to thank him in person one day.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes we’re prepping that as we speak. there will be some dates announced for the summer very soon.

What else is happening next in Face+Heel’s world?

Next up we;ll be scoring our second film with the director Darragh Mortell. We scored his film Peep Dish last year and he won the London Short film prize for that, so we’re excited to start the next one. After that we’re thinking of following up the album with something a bit more proggy/ Jazz influenced. Sinead is an incredible Pianist and it’s something we’ve not really utilised yet… but that’s subject to change daily.

Watch here.

Listen here.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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