Admiral Fallow

Interview with Admiral Fallow

Admiral Fallow


Admiral Fallow's Louis Abbott talks about the Scottish group’s ultimate ambition, their first ever North American tour and why they have no plans to sell-out anytime soon.".

Questions and answers

Hi Louis, how are you? Where are you/what are you up to today?

Hello. I'm fine thanks. Today I'm at home in Glasgow where I'm packing up boxes in preparation of moving house. Great fun.

For the benefit of those who might not know a lot about you, can you briefly explain how the band formed please?

We all met while studying in Glasgow in 2005. While I had messed around writing songs with friends during high school near Edinburgh, it wasn't until I moved to Glasgow that I began to get more interested in the whole process. I was very lucky, first to make friends with, and then to start making music with the four other people who made up a band called Brother Louis Collective. After playing small shows in Scotland for a couple of years we released our first album in 2010 under the name Admiral Fallow. Apart from the ever changing position of second live guitarist, a position filled by numerous friends during the band's life, we have all been involved from the start. Joe Rattray plays Bass. Phil Hague, Drums. Sarah Hayes, Flute/Vocals. Kevin Brolly, Clarinet/Keys.

Do you all share similar taste in music? Which artists unite and divide you as a group?

To an extent we all enjoy a lot of the same music. Having said that, we don't listen to all the same bands all of the time. I think that's a positive thing. As we've said in the past, the music all five of us listen to tends to inform that which we make together as a unit.

So congratulations on Tree Bursts In Snow! Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process please?

Thank you. At the end of a long summer festival run in 2011 we found ourselves staring studio time in the face all too quickly. We had a few ideas of songs bouncing around in the vaults but nothing concrete. With the first record, Boots Met My Face, we had a long time to road test the songs and become comfortable with them before committing them to record. Tree Bursts In Snow was a different challenge, but ultimately, a satisfying one. It was a more collaborative process in general with everyone pitching in musical ideas while I still dealt with the lyrical side of things.

The bare bones of the ten songs were in place at the start of the sessions but a lot of the more interesting bits were added as we went along. I'd say it probably took three weeks to record and mix. We were also delighted to have the great Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NYC master the record.

Were there any nerves entering “tricky second album” territory? Do the opinions of critics matter to you?

I think anyone who says they genuinely don't care about what people think of their records aren't being 100% honest. Of course you want it to be appreciated having put a lot of work into the making of the thing. The only challenge we set ourselves with the this album was to make sure it wasn't "Boots Met My Face - Mark 2". That first record was received quite well if not on a global (or even national!) scale so it would've been easy to take that as a blueprint for the next one. Instead we made a record a little more direct and perhaps slightly less acoustic/natural sounding.

How do you feel you’ve progressed artistically since Boots Met My Face?

Like anyone who gains experience by time spent doing something, I think we're becoming more mature in our writing and we're caring less about any kind of trends within the music industry. The people who write to us telling us they like what we're doing are generally a little older than us which is quite a nice feeling. When I was young I thought my dad's music taste was awful, but as I grew up I started to appreciate a lot of it. I think as we get older as a band, so our ear for something good and honest works better. Hopefully.

This is the second time you’ve worked with Paul Savage. What initially prompted you to work with him? What do you feel he has brought to your sound?

I was personally more aware of Paul's production work with people like King Creosote and The Twilight Sad than his playing career with The Delgados though I have since enjoyed listening to their records. We looked at a few studios in and around Glasgow but as soon as we met Paul we knew we'd found our man. He brings a real calm to proceedings and is very easy to work with. Being a drummer himself he know's the importance of getting a great drum sound and building on that. It sounds simple but that's where he comes from. We were all basically studio virgins when we came to work with him but he didn't make us feel young and dumb. He helped us in the right direction from the start.

Can you explain the significance of the title please?

There is no significance to it in a sense that it wasn't an all encompassing, concept-like title. It's merely an interesting collection of words that worked nicely as a title. It's lifted from the opening track which talks of how young people can become caught up in violence often out with their control.

Where did you get your inspiration lyrically? Is there a cohesive theme tying the album together?

Less so in comparison with the first record which is an account of my upbringing in Edinburgh. This one deals with more universal themes such as gun crime, religion, and faithfulness. There are personal songs on there at the same time. I wrote the song 'Brother' for my two younger brothers who were not having an easy time of it around the time of making the record. I felt they were both feeling a little lost in their lives and I remember how that felt when I was their age.

What’s your current favourite track on the album and why?

I really like 'Oh, Oscar'. It's easily the most simple song on there and we recorded it completely live in one take. I love it for its flaws and its strange lyric.

We heard one of your tracks was played during the Super Bowl! Have you noticed you’re drawing bigger crowds nowadays?

Not because of the superbowl ad but things have been picking up a little in our own country at least. That ad had just a snippet of acoustic finger picking on it. It could've been anyone. But that's a good thing. It's a tricky one, the old advert conundrum. You can be called a sell out for letting someone use your music for something like that. You also don't really want to be known as "that band from the cereal ad" or whatever it may be. The fact that we're getting slightly bigger crowds these days is down to the fact we've been playing shows up and down the country together for almost 6 years now. We've worked very hard and dedicated a lot of love and energy to the cause.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2012?

We have some club dates over in Germany and The Netherlands in September after which we head over to do our first ever tour of North America. We couldn't be more happy to be doing that even if it only happens this once for us. Hopefully we'll get some folks through the door to see us and perhaps come back another time.

We're delighted to be visiting some cities we've never been to before. As big Boss fans we're very excited by playing a show in Asbury Park, NJ. It'll also be great to make it over to the west coast, somewhere we didn't get as far as when we had a brief visit over last year. We then have a small UK tour in December taking in big shows in both London and the holy grail, Glasgow's famous Barrowland Ballroom.

What’s been the strangest moment of your time as a band so far? And what’s been the highlight?

We're often surprised when we manage to fill a room no matter how big so I think to have sold out the ABC in our hometown early in the year felt very strange but was also a highlight. We're always very lucky to get a room that is often buzzing but at the same time very attentive to us. That's something that helps us tremendously when trying to play a great show for the people who have come out to see us. I think we're also all in agreement that Glastonbury 2011 was a huge show for us. Having grown up watching it all on tele since as early as I can remember and then to be playing it was a thrill.

What are your ultimate ambitions for Admiral Fallow?

Just to keep making music for as long as we feel like we can still do it well and we're enjoying ourselves. If people keep inviting us to play in their towns we'll keep doing it. We really do feel lucky to call it a job. When the day finally comes that we hang up our instruments I'd quite fancy myself becoming a football manager as it seems I never made it as a player.

And finally, if you had to recommend one record released this year (aside from your own), which would it be and why?

That would have to be No Flags Will Fly by fellow scots Olympic Swimmers. We've played a bunch of shows with them over the last couple of years and they really are a cut above us all in terms of their maturity in songwriting and excellent musicianship. Great people too. check it out.