This week I caught up with South Wales’ musical marvels Fingertrap, ahead of their first EP launch next month. They spoke about what it’s like to work in the ever-thriving South Wales music scene and revealed some exciting news for the next few months.
How did the band form, and when did the magic happen?
Frankie and I (Nick) grew up together and somehow we also work together too. We met Jimmy at our comprehensive school where we all hung out in the music department playing guitar and drums all day. Jimmy was in the year above us and left school when we went in our final year. We didn’t see him for a few years after that. We got to college and that’s when we met Sion. Although we didn’t really hang out, we spoke to each other a bit. When we later got on to the same course at university, we were surprised to see Sion there, as we weren’t aware that he had applied there as well. It was only then we really started hanging out because we only knew each other. It was in our second year, when we thought about giving it a shot at being in a band together. We couldn’t think of any guitarists in the university, so we contacted our old friend Jimmy from school. Since he was interested as well, we got together for a jam at Frankie and Sion’s student house in Cardiff and then the rest is, well, history!
Describe your sound in one line.
Melodically distinctive and quirky!
Before we go any further, in brief, introduce the band members. What do each of you bring to the band?
Frankie started playing drums at the age of 14 while studying music at school. He wanted to play along to some of his favourite bands. His main influences are Chad Smith, Tony Royster Jr, Thomas Lang and Vinnie Colaiuta.
Nick plays bass because it’s easier to play four strings than six. He loves a bit of Hanson, McFly and All American Rejects. However, he listens to almost anything except Hip-hop and R&B.
Sion was brought up listening to Classical music because of his mother and Country music from his father’s side. Sion is a Christian and used to attend church every Sunday. This is where he started learning piano when he was taught a few chords on the church organ. He then got into Soul, Motown and Jazz by learning to play piano to songs.
Like Sion, Jimmy has been brought up around Classical music. His mother is a trained musician, who has played in orchestras. He has tried his hand in other instruments but has been playing guitar from a young age. Listening to the likes of Queen, Van Halen, and Steve Vai, you can certainly hear these influences in his technique and sound.
What about the music you create? What led you to your unique sound? What are your inspirations?
Most of the songs had already been wrote by Sion, which he used in the first line-up of Fingertrap, although, that line-up never materialised into a band. So he changed the band name and the songs. Sion gets a chord progression and puts lyrics to the music. The tracks were all piano accompaniment songs to begin with. It was only when we added drums, guitar and bass that they needed some re-working. All of our playing styles are different simply because we don’t just have a common interest in music. I think that’s why it’s so different. Sion and Jim’s musical influences are completely different from one another. They listen to some obscure bands and artistes that you may not have heard before. Frankie is mad into his drums and listens to the works of other drummers from different genres, and so always gets a feel for beat when listening to music with rhythms such as rock, funk, jazz, blues and latin. I’ve only been playing bass properly for nearly two years. I’m a mediocre bass player and I do listen to and watch other players, such as Flee from RHCP. I’m still trying to find my sound, if I am honest, but I do try to keep an exciting and interesting bass line. You can certainly hear aspects of different genres in our tracks, which at the same time making the music new and unique.
Describe the current music scene and opportunities available in South Wales.
South Wales is very metal influenced. Trends keep changing all the time, and at the moment there are new bands emerging that are doing the ‘You Me At Six’–‘Kids in Glass Houses’–type of thing. The music scene is heading more towards the pop/punk sound. It’s quite hard trying to promote something new when the music scene is dominated by these particular genres, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At the moment South Wales is producing many excellent bands, but we are trying to break the mould and create music that has never been heard on the radio.
So your EP is coming out next month. Tell us a bit about it.
The EP is called ‘Until We Get There‘. It has five songs on it — Return If Found, Oh I, Ring Ring, Penny Fishing and Until We Get There. Two of the tracks were recorded in Magic Garden Studios with Gavin Monaghan (credits include: Robert Plant, Paolo Nutini, Ocean Colour Scene and Editors). The other three were recorded in One Louder Studios with Phil Smith (credits include: Kyshera, Rise In Our Time and Modern Farewell). Both studios were amazing, and we had a lot of fun recording all of the songs. It was great to finally be able to hear our songs on a CD instead of just in rehearsal. It was a lot of hard work (mostly for the producers), but we’re very happy with the finished tracks and now we just can’t wait for everybody else to hear them and see what they think.
Are you planning a big party for the launch?
Yes! The Ep Launch will be in Buffalo Bar in the Welsh capital, Cardiff, on September 28. We’re all really looking forward to it, not just for people to hear our music, but also because we have some really great support acts for this one.
Where will the EP be available to buy?
We’ll have our EP for sale at the big launch gig along with other Fingertrap merchandise. The EP will also be available online for download from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, Shazam and many others.
Recently you released a video. Do enlighten our readers.
Our music video Return If Found was really fun to make, and I think that comes across when you watch it. We’re hoping that everyone will have a laugh watching us try to dance and will enjoy the music at the same time. Our next video (releasing on September 28) will be just as funny, random and tongue-in-cheek as the last one.
Let’s talk about the future. Any exciting things you can reveal?
Yes! We have loads of exciting things to reveal to you lucky readers. We’re very proud to announce that we have a new manager; his name is Scott Travers, and he happens to be Cardiff Radio’s very own Big Scott, DJ and radio presenter. He’s been with us for less than a month, but he’s already booked us loads of gigs and even a couple of tours. We can also announce that we will be releasing our very first album around Christmas 2013, so you only have a few months to enjoy our EP before we throw some more tunes at you. And finally we are very happy to announce that our next music video will be for the two minute epic…(drum roll Frank?) …Penny Fishing!
Fan corner: I caught up with two dedicated Fingertrap fans to see exactly what it is they love about the band.
“They are always exciting to watch live and they don’t take themselves too seriously! Definitely unlike any other bands I’ve seen” — Alice Pennington
“Innovative and unlike any other band! A breath of fresh air” — Bethan Evans
We would like to thank Fingertrap for a great interview and look forward to hearing their first EP, which is set to be released on September 28, 2013.