Described by Roadie Music as being “amazing and totally unexpected”, UK-based Fritch is able to ensnare people’s senses with his obscure sound. We speak with Fritch about his new album Unwire Rewire Rewire, technology in music, future plans and much more!
How did Fritch come about?
This is almost the best and worst question! If I was a boyband in Oxford this would be short and boring and done, but now I run the risk of this being long and who knows I might still be still boring…
So after years touring and gigging under pseudonyms, alter egos with band names, I wanted something that was mine. Something that I could call owned. It’s an umbrella name. Whoever and wherever and whatever’s involved carries the same name with others. It’s still evolving and reaching, and Fritch is a name for a goal. Make something everyone’s happy with. Even if the everyone’s me (like it was for this release).
Also, Fritch, it’s a tiny town in Texas. Population a bar and a man with a beard whose bottom tip never left his dungarees. I stayed there, in a home that felt so homely I wanted it kept. The 70s décor, that dad that built it, the kids’ games in the loft. The name of the town carried weight.
What inspires you to make music?
Sing a lesson to me and I’ll keep every bit of information. Show me a PowerPoint or a printout or a Zoom meeting, nadda. Almost nothing is retained. Music has a power that no other art does. In three minutes just one song can change you. A picture is absorbed, thought about. A book or a poem rests with you to decipher as you read or contemplate later. But music – a pop song, a great voice, the rhythm of a track can change you in seconds. From pop to trance to trap, the opening bars tell you what to feel and you subscribe there or then or not at all.
That was my earliest learning. It’s what grabbed me. As for what makes me keep making? An idea or thought. I love the idea of putting out a mood or a feeling. Look at punk, VU, Smiths, Suicide, MZ NEON, it’s not the hook that hooks you, it’s the feel. Okay, Unwire Rewire Rewire isn’t any of those things, but I had something that needed expressing and if it hits or strikes up a measure in someone, someone other than me who feeds back, that’s me and you connecting and winning.
I could get all artsy-wanksy about finding violins in skips, guitars with just two strings, and sampling toasters and fridges for sounds in the album, but that’s of no interest to anyone except for me when I was shaping a feel.
What can you tell us about your album Unwire Rewire Rewire?
It’s been the biggest and strangest surprise, it wasn’t meant to take shape. Then it didn’t. Then, with the love and help from co-producer, then from a label in Russia, a guy I met through reviews to remix, then a videomaker in Berlin, it did. It was born out of loss, but a loss with the best of hearts and redemption available, it could have stayed on a shelf. As happened, other people put in me the want (or need) to put it out and I thank them.
I listened back to the last Fritch album when this one came out. It scared me to hear where I was when I wrote it. This one, I honestly thought it was ‘pop’. I realise now that was only in comparison, so, yep, it came from a good place. Would you have guessed that from listening?
Did you face any challenges when writing and recording the album?
Holy hell and crapsnacks, yes. Pandemics, Covid, busy producer, the fact that the last LP never sold any records so the record label was wary. Two years is a long time to live with six songs. I left my love for them behind and moved on… then had to grow the guts to go back.
You also released an EP movie for Unwire Rewire Rewire. What made you decide to make an EP movie?
A really lovely accident.
What can you tell us about the EP movie?
The EP of the movie was the happiest of accidents. It wasn’t planned and, to my shame, I let him down. Thomas, under the name of A Falling Bird, made these movies. He saw the tracks, their meanings, sifted through his wealth of knowledge of noir and impressionist 30s and 40s movies, and he crafted these things. He’s sculpted his want to be around music around his knowledge of imagery and he found these songs. The movie is our love and efforts, mine given to him like a torch for him to fire to celluloid. He never expected to make a video for every song; I never expected a movie. For the worth of his work, I hope people watch it.
Did you face any challenges when filming?
Of course, Thomas may have run out of patience. I have a friend now because he didn’t.
What advice do you have for emerging artists?
Be okay being different. Be you. My take on music might never break the bank, yours might not either, but that’s okay. Be proud of what you make and if you are proud of it others will see it. My absolute favourite music is music I can connect with. That might be a small band from Oslo who sends a single in to review or a one-hit 60s weirdo never-was on Pebbles compilations. Your love in committing that to a piece of history that is tangible so that it stays existing. It’s your record, ours too.
How do you feel technology has contributed to making music in contemporary scenes?
For me, everything. When asked recently what he thought of synth bands, Iggy Pop said something like (and I paraphrase), “not all poor kids have a garage, a space for a drum kit and guitars. Music grows where and how it needs to grow. At least, that’s what I took from it.
I can’t play an instrument but with minimal technology and minimal know-how, we can all make the music we need it. It’s not science, it’s a cracked copy of some software and it’s real. Get what you can and go f****** wild. I’m a musical scavenger, you go be one too.
Do you have any future plans for Fritch?
Fritch and United Simesky Institutes – it’s my absolute new love. Imagine Cure Vs Kraftwerk, Genesis, Tears for Fears and Rocky 4, and it’s an actual love album. I can’t remember the last time I helped make something so human, undiluted happiness included. Last time I had a face on an album it was unrecognisably me and that was the only time ever. It means a massive amount that we own this together. Fritch, I hope, keeps on going.