Saturday 7 April 2012

FUTURE TALENT #4- Fish Tank Interview

For our Future Talent series this month we have an experimental guitar based prog pop-rock trio from Broadstairs, Kent. Meet Joe Nash, Ed Wetenhall and Joe Jeffcoate AKA- Fish Tank. Recently likened to Tubelord and Biffy Clyro by BBC Introducing, the three-piece have  released an EP to the world and are embarking on a selection of tour dates– all this and they’re still at university. 

Melodic, slow song openings break into complex rhythms and eratic, eclectic breakdowns that really shouldn’t work- but are indeed what make the songs and Fish Tank’s sound so unique and engaging. They are concordant, progressive, ballsy and playful in the same breath. We catch up with drummer Joe Jeffcoate to chat all things Fish Tank’s sound, degrees, oh and their ‘baby’- Henry!

Hi Joe! So, for people who haven’t heard of Fish Tank can you tell us a bit about the band, your sound and influences. You guys met at university, right?
"Henry" the EP
Yup! Myself and Ed got lumbered together in our university halls, and I think one of the first things he said to me was, " Wanna start a band?" This was probably before he even knew I was a drummer, or a musician for that matter. We took a chance really, neither of us knew if the other one was any good at our respective instruments, but the gamble paid off. I think we initially planned on investing on a ridiculous amount of equipment (like Battles) and work as a two piece forever, but who can afford that sort of thing at uni? So, we settled for the cheaper option of a bass player. Nash lived below us and I dragged him into the band 'cos I'd heard him slappa da bass. Influence wise we're all fairly unique; Ed introduced Nash and myself to Experimental/Math rock, but individually Ed's a band kinda guy, Nash is into his Jazz/Funk etc and I take influence from computer based music and anything drum based. But together we're always up for anything different, progressive and new and I think that's why we get on so well when writing!

How easy/hard is it to balance degree work alongside Fish Tank?
So, so difficult. It's a pain for sure. We've had to sacrifice some shows to meet deadlines, and it’s frustrating. But it makes us appreciate the shows and the band stuff more. It's always nice when we get a break, because we can get back to pushing the band and doing what we love. If the decision came along, however, to take the band to the next level professionally…it's an easy decision.  

You recently released an EP, “Henry”, and worked with Ben Giles who did some really cool artwork for your EP and produced the video for “Ginny”- how did that come about?
Never underestimate the power of the internet and Social Networking. We posted a status asking for some artwork and Ben replied with his Flickr page. If you take a look you can see how easy it was for us to go with his work. The talent and individuality of his work is incredible and we constantly refer back to Ben for new work and ideas i.e shirts, posters, artwork etc. “Henry” was the result of at least 6 months hard work, and it's our baby. Ben helped birth the baby and bring it into the world. If we're

Henry's dis-functional parents, Ben certainly is the dashing young mid-wife!

From your EP your sound is quite eclectic with rapid changes in tempo and very dynamic- “Art Math Prog Pop Rock” as you put it. When you first started playing together how easy was it to form that distinctive sound?  
It's something that just sort of happened really. I think mainly because of all our different influences it was bound to happen. We seem to have a pretty good formula for putting songs together, but we're always trying to mix things up structurally and perhaps that's where the "distinctive sound" originates from. Who knows, it all just kind of happens and we run with what our brains tell us to do!

So for people who haven’t seen you live yet, what can they expect from the live show?
Apparently we're super duper loud. I don't really know about that to be honest, but we try and have fun and get into the gig as much as we can. We always enjoy a live show, and Ed and myself have microphones (which is probably not a good thing) so we have a chat with the audience and each other. It's always a colourful three piece on stage as well ;) Also, we have a bear. He comes out on stage with us and dances. His name is Terrance.

Fish Tank on stage at BBC Introducing (credit: Lee Thompson)
You recently played at BBC Kent Introducing 4th Birthday party- how was it being involved in that? BBC Introducing has been the first step for a lot of big bands- is it nice getting that recognition?
It's crazy nice. It was certainly a big night for us three; we were treated so well by everyone and we even got cake! It was kind of surreal really, Introducing is such an awesome system and it’s so good to have been/be a part of it. Kent has such a good music scene and Jacob and the Kent introducing team do such a fantastic job finding incredible and hard working acts. As you say it’s been the first step for so many awesome bands and we're so privileged to be a part of the BBC introducing name!

And finally, in terms of 2012 you’ve already released “Henry”, are busy playing gigs and studying at uni- what else have you guys got planned? 
More of the same really! We're saving up the pennies for a van so that we can travel around the country and we're writing all the time. Hopefully another release by the end of the year and a summer/winter UK tour. We've got to the point where we want to, and need to play shows outside of

Kent/London. So we hope to spread the name of Fish Tank and bring our show to other great venues around the country! And of course get up north!

Be sure to catch Fish Tank live, like them on Facebook HERE and check out their site HERE

12th April 2012
Astor Theatre - Deal - Kent
Audioshock + Fish Tank + IRIS 
11th May 2012
Westcoast Bar - Margate - Kent
The Wildes + Safe Hands + Fish Tank 
15th June 2012
Barfly - Camden - London
History of the Trade + Fish Tank  
A limited edition (100) vinyl release of 'Henry' by fish Tank. Printed on yellow vinyl, each copy is hand numbered and comes with a download code to download the mp3 version of the EP for free.
Purchase HERE