“… we’re inspired by songwriters themselves – (the sixties) as an era had some of the best songwriters of all time and I don’t think you can ever get close to that ever again. We’re trying.”
The above quote comes from FUR bass player Tav and comes closest perhaps to a mission statement from the Brighton-based pop-rock band, which also includes Murray (vocals, guitar), Flynn (drums), Josh (lead guitar) and James (keyboards).
FUR made its Singapore bow on Wednesday, 6th November 2019 at the Hard Rock Cafe, as part of promoter LAMC Production’s Rising Star series, presenting up and coming bands and artists in intimate settings.
Certainly, in the case of FUR in Singapore, the tight surroundings of the Hard Rock Cafe provided the band and its young fans, a vital connection that was expressed in spontaneous singalongs, enthusiastic appreciation and an electrifying performance from the lads on stage.
About two hours before, I had spent a brief time with FUR expanding on the email interview I had done with them, attempting to glean some insightful nuggets from the song themselves. Time was at a premium but even in 15 minutes, it was clear to me that these funny, likeable young men were by the same token dead serious about the craft of songwriting.
With regards to why their first hit single “If You Know That I’m Lonely” signalled a change of direction from earlier indie pop styled material like “Creature” and “Eyes”, Murray remarked,
“I think we had a little break after we released “Eyes” where we weren’t really playing with each other that much and I was just writing music on my own and I dug a little deeper into writing more for myself and then “If You Know That I’m Lonely” was the first song that felt like there was really something there. So we released that and that was the first thing – it wasn’t just the sound but we also had a visual element to the band as well. Once we tapped into that we had the music video and the kind of sound we loved, that was the first thing we were really happy with to set the band up.”
Anyone who has seen the “If You Know That I’m Lonely” video – and almost 10 million have already on Youtube, will no doubt be struck by the retro vibe of the aesthetic, both sonically and visually.
“I think we had a bit of brainstorming” Murray continued, “and I went back to a lot of the music I listened to as a child – The Monkees, the Beatles and The Kinks – and that sort of fit. We realised that the sounds we were playing fit into the whole 60s era when we were thinking of an aesthetic for a music video, it made sense to play on the old Monkees TV style. When we explained that to Ed (Zorab), who directed the video, we really managed to capture that feel.”
I highlighted two other popular songs, both found on the recent eponymous EP, which the band was happy to provide details on their origins.
“Love Song for No One”
“Was the first song that I wrote where I tried to challenge myself lyrically more. I’ve never been one to sit down and worry about lyrics, I’ve always said whatever came out at the time I was playing the chords or piecing together the song. So that was the first time I tried to write all the lyrics first and try to create a story with characters that had nothing to do with my personal life. The story was quite dark and thus it felt unnatural to do a standard verse/chorus/verse structure.” (Murray)
Typically of how the interview went, the lads provided an interesting albeit raucous discussion.
Tav : We played this really rubbishy song in this Brighton venue about three years ago. It was really early days and Murray saw a pretty little lady in the crowd.
Murray : Or more she saw me. Tav : Yeah, she saw you. But he never got to speak to her.
Murray : Not really about that. It was more based on that but it inspired something. That’s one that instrumentation wise is a little bit different. I came up with the melody for what is now the bass line and I thought that it was a really nice melody. But it sounded so good on bass that instead of having it as a guitar riff I thought that if that runs the whole way through the song as the bass line, it just seemed more interesting.
Josh : Definitely very relatable, we all fall in love with strangers we never get to speak to.
Murray : Then you start to think – “What if?”
Which demonstrates rather well the band dynamic which is translated onto the stage in terms of the delivery of the material. The overall set was quite short but what FUR might have lacked in quantity, they more than made up with sheer quality.
Most of the released songs were dutifully trotted out to rapturous appreciation from a young crowd that did not give two hoots about the retro-pop inspirations of the music and simply responded with their hearts and souls. It was a joy to behold and affirmed this old dog’s faith in the power of pop!
Thanks to LAMC Productions for making this Fur in Singapore review/interview possible.
… still there’s more …