ONE imagines there are few artists based…
in rural Wales! You’d probably be right but one treasure you’ll find there is Phalcons. I speak to the band about their new single, Idle Ways, and how that came together. Ben from the band talks about the formation of Phalcons and where the guys go from here. I find out about his/the band’s tastes and the music they vibe to; what they have planned in terms of touring – some advice for new artists coming through.
Ben talks about the music scene in their part of Wales and how it feels knowing their music is striking a chord; how each member’s experiences in other bands has helped Phalcons – what they have planned for the coming year…
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Ben: Hi there! We’re good, thanks. It’s been a productive week!
Loads of radio-play, promoting the single; doing the whole social media thing. Sorting out some gigs for the next couple of months.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Ben: I sing and play guitar.
I’m Tom: I play bass and sing backing vocals.
I’m Alex: I play drums and back them vocals!
Hi, I’m Naomi - and I play synthesisers and also sing backing.
What can you tell me about the new song, Idle Ways? What’s the story behind it?
Ben: It’s quite a personal song. I wrote it after moving back from Cardiff towards the end of 2015. At the time, I was living a party lifestyle: sleep all day, up all night. I’d work part-time at a nightclub to keep me in money but, overall, 2015 was a bit of a blur.
I was living with my then-girlfriend, who also enjoyed living fast-and-loose but, unlike me; she was also trying to complete a university course - and I was a terrible influence. So; it’s a song about two people slowly drifting apart, emotionally and physically - because of one’s ‘idle ways’.
Is there going to be more material from you guys next year? Are you working on an E.P.?
Yes, definitely! We’re always writing new material. We have another single coming out in the New Year - maybe a couple. That will eventually lead up to a bigger release for the summer - but we’ll see what happens once we have more material out there.
The band is from North Wales - but I am interested how you all got together. How did ‘Phalcons’ come to be?
I think it was around the start of 2016…
We were all in a bit of a quiet period - or had just left our previous bands. I had a few songs that needed some instrumentation; so I got in touch with Alex and Tom and started jamming. We were tight, but we needed another layer, so we got in touch with Naomi; threw her into the mix…and here we are!
We’ve all known each other for years, though. We’ve played in each other’s bands, toured together in separate bands; lived together and worked together. As friends go; we’re a pretty close-knit group: it’s just a bonus that we all like the same music and can play instruments!
Tom: I met the guys separately over the years…
I first spoke to Alex after watching him play guitar at a festival in Bethesda; I met Naims through a mutual friend - when we were both in school - and met Ben, properly, when I was living down in Cardiff.
Fun fact: before we knew each other; Ben referred to me as ‘Mullet Guy’.
What is the music scene like where you are? Are there opportunities available?
Ben: We all live in rural North Wales; so there isn’t a lot going on here, really - especially at this time of the year. There are regular gigs, local festivals and seasonal events - but not a lot of opportunities to expand your horizons. The Welsh music scene is a very small one.
After a few years; you end up playing to the same faces, which is great, because you eventually get a very loyal fan base. But, if you limit yourself to one language, you tend to limit yourself to one country. It’s why we sing in English, rather than our native Welsh - as there are so many more opportunities and it’s easier to branch out.
I know you all come from different bands? Have you all learned a lot from those experiences – and do you think your skills and at their peak as part of Phalcons?
Yes, of course! As musicians, we’re always learning.
Playing different music with other people always helps. But, as far as reaching our peak, I hope not! Reaching your peak means you’ve done the best you’ll ever do right?! We have a long way to go before that!
Watch this space!
Who are the artists you all grew up listening to?
My family has a pretty good music taste, actually! Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison; Norah Jones, Tom Waits; Willie Nelson and Bert Jansch. My dad got me into Country music, Bluegrass and Folk early on; loads of traditional Irish music and Americana Grassroots. My mum is more into the 1970s and 1980s anthems: Prince, George Michael; Brian Adams…that kind of thing.
My parents took me to a lot of festivals as a kid, too; so I listened to a lot of World music from quite a young age.
It seems you are already getting attention and fans! Is it important to have that support? Does that give you direction and drive?
Absolutely! As a band; you rely on the support of the listeners to grow as musicians. The aim is to just keep writing, keep playing; keep promoting until you get where you want to be.
Without the fans, that would be impossible.
IN THIS PHOTO: Serol Serol
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
I’ve been listening to a lot of music that’s close to home recently...
Serol Serol is a band to look out for in the coming months! Dreamy, psychedelic; synth-driven Space-Pop.
We’ve played a few gigs with the ARGRPH guys, too - they’re also signed to Libertino Records. I managed to see them play in Cardiff not long ago and they were f*cking amazing. Twangy, bluesy; Psyche-Rock - with a heavy dose of Shoegaze thrown in.
IN THIS PHOTO: ARGRPH
If you had to select the album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Crosby, Stills and Nash – Crosby, Stills and Nash
That album was my first real experience of original 1960s Psychedelia. I was sixteen-years-old; had just joined a band and was finding my feet, musically. A close friend recommended it to me. So; I sat down and listened to it in its entirety. Then, when it finished, I listened to it again. It absolutely blew my mind. Every single track on that album is genius. The harmonies are on point and the musicianship is next level.
It makes me want to make music...
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? Where can we catch you play?
We have a gig in Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on 8th December. We’ve also got a gig on 28th December in Llanrwst - a town in our neck of the woods up in Snowdonia. We’re working on getting some gigs together for the New Year too…so, keep yer eyes peeled!
How have you found performing so far? Has it been quite natural performing together – is the stage somewhere you all feel at home?
We’ve all been playing in bands for years now; so being on stage feels natural these days. It’s always good to play with new people too: keeps the energy fresh on and off stage.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Make the music you want to hear. Get an online presence. Promote yourselves shamelessly.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Probably working in the days around Christmas: Christmas Day is off limits. That’s family-time. I’m going to drink lots of alcohol; eat lots of turkey - and listen to Christmas songs until my ears bleed.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Ben: Andy Shauf – The Magician
Tom: Forth Wanderers – Slop
Alex: The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
Naomi: Alvvays – Dreams Tonight