IT would be a sizable understatement to say that 2015 has been a pivotal year in the career of Admiral Fallow. Inarguably one of Scotland’s most popular acts since forming in 2007, Admiral Fallow’s unique fusion of folk, other forms of traditional music and poppier sensibilities has long gained them the devotion of music fans throughout the nation and far beyond.
This year marked a notable step for the band, as they unhesitatingly abandoned their previous song writing process in favour of somethng that was altogether more collaborative. No longer using Louis Abbott’s compositions as a starting off point before fleshing them out a later date, they began to work together and forged ahead with new, less constrained sound that incorporated elements of rock and various other genres.
The resulting Tiny Rewards (which received a well earned 8/10 from TTV) was a staggering record that demonstrated their vitality and ability to reinvent themselves without losing the essence of the group.
Making the trip to T in the Park’s new site, Louis Abbott and the multi-talented Sarah Hayes were in high spirits backstage after their performance in the King Tuts Wah Wah Tent. Speaking of not only their own set but their impressions of the new site as a whole, Abbott stated:
“It was a really positive thing for us. We were very optimistic about it seeing as it was at 2 O’clock in the King Tuts Tent, pretty much a perfect slot for us. Folk were just recovering a bit from last night but not steamin’ enough to shout at us, plus by the end of the set it’d filled up really nicely so yeah, it was good. We had other stuff on this weekend so we only came in this morning, we’ve got work to do tonight as well so we’ve not really had a chance to check out the whole of the new site but it looks great. The name is all they need to retain the vibe though, you could put it anywhere and it’d feel the same.”
In terms of the rest of the line-up, there were some bands that most certainly stood out to Abbott and Hayes:
“We’ve been hearing quite a lot of Everything Everything recently and they’ve definitely got into our heads a bit, they’re a very interesting proposition. We missed Bdy_Prts earlier which we’d earmarked to go and catch over at the BBC Introducing Stage but the timing just didn’t work out. Modest Mouse would be great to see, and it would have been amazing to see St Vincent but you can’t always come and stay for the whole weekend.”
As previously touched upon, their latest album saw them embark into a brave new world in terms of how the songs and record came to fruition. However, the question that many had pondered in regards to the new direction was whether it had been just a logical progression or a concentrated effort from the group to change things up to avoid complacency.
The band’s frontman believes that in actual fact it was a bit of both: “We’ve been a band now for seven, almost eight years; so it was only natural that we kind of mixed up the way we were going to work, but it was definitely a discussion that we had. We didn’t explicitly say ‘this is the way we’re going to do it’ but it was working and we just rolled with it.
When any group transitions into a new period in their career, it can cause their loyal fanbase to proceed with a degree of caution. Given the base that they’ve established in Scotland, it was no doubt intriguing to the band to see how the homegrown fanbase responded to the new tracks in the King Tuts tent. Whilst Louis concedes that perhaps they weren’t recieved as well as tracks from Boots Met My Face or Trees Burst In Snow, it seemed to be a matter of familiarity rather than a comment on their quality.
“They weren’t really received as well but I don’t see that as any sort of negative thing, I think that would be the case with any band who’s playing something from their most recent record versus a track that they’ve lived with for a few years. Whenever I see bands that I’ve been a fan of for quite a while, I appreciate the new material and you do enjoy it but there’s always that thing when they play a song that you’ve really liked and it gets a totally different kind of reaction. I think the way that people embraced the new stuff was with quiet appreciation.”
As the conversation turns away from their own material and towards what new music they’re gravitating towards, Hayes sings the virtues of one vocalist in particular: “I’ve been listening to the new record from Emily Portman (entitled Coracle) a lot recently. She started off singing a lot of traditional songs but with really interesting arrangements and soundscapes, but this latest album is all original music, it’s really strong. It has this really nice world that it takes you to.”
Sticking firmly within the singer/songwriter mould, Abbott proclaims his love for Sufjan Stevens’ enchanting Carrie & Lowell and a few other artists: “I’ve been obsessing over his new record. I’ve bought quite a few newer things recently but I just keep going back to it. It’s a perfect record for late at night and just listen to it. I’ve been checking out quite a bit of Jenny Lewis too as well as an musician called Peter Broderick who our bass player Joe (Rattray) put me on to.”
With such an important year in their tenure reaching its midway point, everyone is intrigued to see what Admiral Fallow’s next move looks like. Will they attempt to capitalise on the momentum and enticing new direction that they’d established with Tiny Rewards or would the focus remain on touring the most recent record?
Louis and Sarah both confirm in no uncertain terms that there’s matters that need to attended to on each front:
“There’s a lot of stuff going on, we’ve still got a few more festivals to play such as Latitude next weekend followed by a short European tour, taking in four or five German cities. We’re also playing our first ever show in Paris and gigs in Amsterdam and Zurich. We’ll most likely tour the UK again towards the end of the year but in the down time we’re going to try and get the writing started on a new record, we’re not gonna rest on this one for too long. We need to keep what he had with this latest record going, that’s definitely our plan.”