What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
We’ve all been making music for as long as we can remember. All three of us are music producers and work full time in music – Mike’s got an MTV Award for his solo albums as Stereo Mike, Paul’s just released a new book on Paul McCartney and his creativity in the recording studio, and Rob’s working on a few diverse albums and music app projects at the moment. We’ve worked together for years in the studio and helping out on each other’s productions, but this is our first collaboration where we get to be the artist as a group. Obviously, we all found our way into music because of a passion for songwriting and performing, so it’s important for us to be on both sides of the studio glass, so to speak. We chose the band name FET 47 because it’s a type of microphone that we all use quite often in the studio. Nothing too serious, but it’s something that connects the three of us!
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
One by One is FET 47’s debut single and it’s our first release as co-producers and co-songwriters. So we’re very proud of it, but it’s just the starting point for us and we’re excited for what’s coming up next year too. The song is quite fast-paced and aggressive; it’s an attack on corporate greed, government conspiracy and institutional lies. It’s a song about karma really, the bridge lyrics being “Your kingdoms will rise, and they fall!”, and the song’s main hook following with “One by one, you’ve had your fun, and one by one, you come undone”. We’ve all seen and experienced abuses of power by big employers, governments and multinational corporations, and we firmly believe that most of the problems in the world can be resolved by those few who hoard all the money and authority. At the end of the day, they have to live with themselves, and maybe karma is creeping up on them! We recorded and produced the track ourselves at a few different studios, including Abbey Rd, and it was mixed by our good friend Simon Gogerly, who won a Grammy for his work with U2 a few years back.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
We all work across very diverse music genres, so we really do take influences from everywhere.
Growing up on Merseyside meant that, for Paul, The Beatles were a constant influence but he loves anything from Stax and Motown, who have influenced his playing style, and listening to 90s, sample-based hip-hop growing up really solidified his passion for rhythm, groove and lyrics.
Mike grew up with hip-hop, blues, punk and metal, so groups like the Beastie Boys became a real licence to ill and mix styles. He came to the UK for its unique blend of sound system culture and (punk) noise, at a time when trip-hop was making these shores internationally famous. The common link is, of course, bass and we like to explore its function all the way from sub dubbiness to fast aggression.
Rob would describe his influences as being firmly rooted in 90’s indie/alternative music, but he also works on pop, electronic, acoustic and classical music as a producer, and those experiences all keep you fresh and thinking about what traits can cut across genres. Certainly one of the most impactful artists is David Bowie who managed to reinvent himself many times, and to be continuously evolving and experimenting is what being an artist is all about.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
We all play a bunch of different instruments, but on stage it tends to be Rob on guitar and vocals, Mike on bass and Paul on drums – we’re lucky enough to have loads of talented friends though so we can call on them to play synth, violin, cello, brass or add some other sounds into the mix. Mike can play (and owns!) every keyboard instrument – Hammond, Rhodes, piano, harpsichord, keytar, analogue synths and many more – so these all find their way onto the songs and keep us fresh and experimenting with new sound combinations. In the One by One video it looks like we’re just a simple three-piece, but Mike’s hands are playing the Jerry Lee style piano and some synth on the ROLI Seaboard, so we’re keen to mix up styles, whilst still rocking out at the same time.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
It’s probably best to choose one each, though that makes it even harder!…
Rob: (Album) Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream. (Movie) Pulp Fiction. (Book) Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh.
Mike: (Album) Beastie Boys, Ill Communication. (Movie) Requiem for a Dream. (Book) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
Paul: (Album) Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (Movie) Fight Club. (Book) The Dark Tower by Stephen King (yes, this is a cheat because there’s 7 books in the series!)
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
The great thing is, we can have both! We all spend most of our lives in the studio, so those nights when we have a gig really mean a lot. We ended up on a short tour in the US together a couple of years ago, and that was where we totally bonded musically and realised we could have a lot of fun together as a band, and you can’t beat the euphoria of an amazing gig. That said, we’re all artists and love the craft of making records in the studio, with the attention to detail and perfectionism it brings, geeking out over equipment and experiencing a piece of art slowly come together.
One of the great things about our studio collaboration is how effortless it seems between us. You’d imagine three producers would fight it out, but we seem to be slipping in and out of complementary roles in a constant state of group flow. The studio is kind of like our playground, where the focus is on creativity and shared vision for the song, and less about studio geekery.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Hmm, well Mike’s got the best stories about having drinking competitions with Kid Rock and giving impromptu hip-hop performances at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. Rob and Paul once randomly spent the evening with Stevie Wonder’s band in the bar at the Hilton in Quebec City, after one of the most amazing gigs you could imagine. The world of music is a very close-knit community and life as a music artist can bring some of us together at surprising moments. If you make art and put your heart into it, then lots of serendipitous things tend to happen, you’ve just got to put yourself out there and go on an adventure!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Well, One by One is our debut single, so it’s the only one to reflect on at the moment and we’re really excited to see how our audiences take to it. One of the challenging things about releasing music is that you just can’t predict what will happen once it’s out there, who will like what, which songs will become crowd favourites and how listeners will interpret the narrative of the songs for themselves. Luckily we have a bunch of different approaches to writing and composition, using different methods and different instruments, so we keep challenging ourselves and creating things that we can’t predict. Next year there will be some punky music, some 2022-meets-1980s vibes, electronic remixes, acoustic tracks and harder indie-rock stuff for listeners to get their teeth into, so our uniqueness is perhaps best described by our willingness to experiment, innovate, shake up the process and bring all of our diverse influences into a single body of work.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Of course! We’ve got loads of music (and videos) coming in 2022 which we’re really excited to share, which will eventually lead up to an album. We wanted to launch the band last year, but COVID held us back, so we spent the last 18 months writing, recording, filming videos and working on remixes so we’ve got a bit of a catalogue to release over the coming year. We spent some time at Abbey Road Studios this summer too, finishing off some of the singles, and we’ve also recorded a live EP with video footage while we were there. We’ll also be releasing some songs from a live show too, to bring some of our live energy to the streaming platforms.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
If you could build your own band/studio headquarters, where would you pick and why?
Mike – I’d choose New Orleans – musically inspiring, culturally diverse and magical energy. A musician’s heaven!
Paul – Liverpool of course, especially with the recent closure of the much-loved Parr Street Studios….I’d also consider building one where the weather is nice too!
Rob – I have absolutely no complaints about London (where I live), it’s got everything and all cultures, all boiling together in a dense and diverse, yet connected, community. In London you can find opera fused with grime and grunge mixing with mediaeval choirs, and everything in between. Not to mention the technology and innovation that’s driving new music styles and cultures, what’s not to love!
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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