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1 March 12

The economics of being a Cornish indie pop band

It’s been an amazing week for new releases (and festival announcements) but hopefully not getting too lost in all the noise are the excellent Cornish  indie pop collective Fire Island Pines. We featured them on our second compilation - ‘Dry Route to Devon’ as well as inviting them to play at various aih nights. Generally we’ve been pretty smitten with their own breed of twee indie that wouldn’t be out of place somewhere amongst the Sarah Records’ catalogue. 

The wait for Fire Island Pines to follow up their excellent debut EP (released last April) has been long, but certainly worth it. The Rickie Lee Jones EP picks up exactly where their debut left off, brooding 3 minute indie pop that only ever feels like it’s 10 seconds away from bubbling over into an uplifting jangle of intricately woven melodies and softly sung vocals.

The band self released the EP on 7” this Tuesday and we caught up with the band for a quick email interview that actually makes for a very interesting read - particularly the explanation of how they put their 7” together! Steam the EP on Bandcamp while you read and grab the cheapest record you’ll see this side of a boot sale!.

Who are Fire Island Pines and how did you get together?

FIP began around 18 months ago when a diy lo-fi singer-songwriter calling himself Anton Rothschild who was haunted by the strains of Felt and the New York underground was scouring the classifieds for a band…meanwhile five 30 something ne’er do wells from the Cornish music scene were advertising for a singer for their, eh-hum, ‘band’. After some considerable compromise from both parties, the Fire Island Pines (named ‘accidentally’ after a legendary gay playground) took shape.

How does your songwriting process work? As there are six of you, I imagine it being fairly complex!

Well…  we started writing the songs all together in the little shed at the end of the bass player’s garden, although this turned out to be pretty much the most inefficient song writing approach possible. So nowadays demos tend to fly about with people adding infinitely more complicated chord sequences, frosting and sugar tuiles until it starts to resemble a song.

I can’t actually remember the last time I saw a band selling a 7” so cheap, what’s your secret?

We released our first EP for free, and Anton has been putting out all of his music for free since around 2008. After all that it’s actually quite hard to put yourself in the mindset that anyone would actually want to pay for your music. So we decided to make it very reasonably priced (no more than we would want to spend on an unknown band) and to make the whole package look good so that it would seem like something people would really want to own… it makes absolutely no business sense whatsoever, but the economics of trying to get an indie band of the ground are the economics of BLAAAAARGH!!!

You’ve recorded a great EP, what do you see as the optimum outcome and what are your plans for the immediate future?

Thanks for the compliment, we’re pretty keen on Art is Hard too!  Well…  it goes without saying that the optimum outcome would be a huge wad of cash and massive amounts of praise from our peers!  But failing that our plan is to go gig-crazy for the rest of the year (not as easy as it sounds - we really need a manager!) and hopefully reach some new people…  It would be pretty cool to do an album sometime (Slumberland Records, are you listening?) but failing that we’ll probably just pack it in and go back to our jobs and our families and never, ever mention it again.

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If you fancy a bit of cheering up after that, here’s a video they made for Oh Therese and as mentioned above the EP is available from their Bandcamp.

  1. artishardrecords posted this
Completely butchered the Faux Disc (one of our favourite labels) layout Faux Disc. Originally by Josh