Recorded in a shed by a lake, their new EP is Americana’s pastoral English cousin.
So you live together, like the Monkees. Is it a musical life?
James: Yeah, pretty much 24/7. There always somebody playing music, or we’re listening to music, or writing music. That’s very much why we moved in together.
Jacob: We’re quite noisy – we’ve already had two noise abatement orders against us. It’s a good job we’re not a foot-on-monitor metal band? Yeah, probably.
Has it been a fertile environment for writing songs?
Moses: Yeah, it’s been good. We’ve got a whole album of material ready to record now.
James: We’ve done the DIY thing for a while now and it’s getting to be hard work, so we are looking for a label.
Jacob: We’ve done our time with the DIY thing.
Moses: We’re capable of producing records ourselves but it just takes a lot longer than it would in a decent studio. We have to record drums one drum at a time. There’s no real room for expression there.
Jacob: We normally find by the time we’ve recorded a couple of songs we’ve written another album’s worth. It’s a case of keeping up with what we’re doing.
Your name has ‘Fighting’ in it, but the music is quite gentle. Are you gentle people?
Moses: I would say so. I wouldn’t say we’re a violent lot.
Jacob: We’re lovers not fighters. Not to say that we won’t bust heads if we need to.
Moses: The live set is a bit more rock’n’roll than the records are. The recording very much tells the story of the shed we did them in; because of the size of it the percussion is all shakers and tambourines. And we used acoustic guitars and basses. But on stage it gets amped up and loud. It’s good fun.
How has the band changed after being together for five years?
James: The music we’re making now is very different, we’ve grown as songwriters and we’ve got a different working relationship to when we started. We used to slap ideas together and write songs as a three.
Jacob: The line-up is constantly changing. There’s the core, which is me, James and Moses, and then we’ve got these lovely guests who come and play with us sometimes.
Even though you’re just 14 you’re signed to a major label, Birdy – what sort of music do you normally make?
Birdy: I write with a piano and I sing, so it’s quite mellow.
Jacob: It’s more sort of soulful r’n’b.
Moses: It’s quite dark some of it, sort of Kate Bush.
Jacob: We’ve been making Birdy CDs to try and influence her musical taste.
Moses, people are talking about your other band the Holy Vessels doing great things – is it a race to see which one is successful first? Are you going to dump these guys?
Moses: No, I’m loyal to both bands. I’ve been working on this for a long time and will continue to work on it as long as it goes. I have no plan to sack off either band at this point.
Jacob: It’s not worrying – it’s nice to know that he’s supporting the Maccabees. Fair play, our drummer is doing something. We’ve lived with him long enough to know he’s not going to screw us over.
It’s a bit like a supergroup. Do you have another band, Jess?
Jess: No I just used to play along to Bob Dylan records, and played with my dad [John Illsley – Dire Straits] on stage a couple of times. I’m just chancing it.
Jacob: We’re just trying to make it fun at the moment, not trying to over-think it, make it perfect. There are two rules – is it fun, and is it what Bowie would do. When Jess came in she had a violin case and she said, I’ve got an instrument. I thought, great, it’s a violin, but the case was full of harmonicas.
EP: ‘From The Mill Pond’ out now, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy
LIVE: Coachwerks, Sat 4th