A collage representing our interview partners – see some proper live photos on their Facebook
They shipped us to “Amsterdam” and let us wash up at the West Coast, but their own journey began in the time-honoured university town of Oxford. 2010 saw the South-Eastern British quintet Fixers (Jack Goldstein, Jason Warner, Christopher Dawson, Roo Bhasin and Michael Thompson) first gaining national interest, then international (blog) love with all their dense atmosphere and deliriously harmonies. Now a bright future appears on the horizon line, lapped around by the first waves of expectations.
We took the chance to interview Fixers hence, getting sucked in to a botanic microcosm of variously obscure music, just before they play with the likes of The Shaves, Exlovers, Entrepreneurs, Vondelpark and more at the Young and Lost Club Christmas party tomorrow. You can win tickets for that one here, by the way. Also you’ll find the band’s brand new video for as new track “Who Says Boys” at the end. It’s another psychedelic and hushed but mesmerising ride through Fixers’ batik telescopes, so you better put away your tax return papers, re-focus and let yourselves go – enjoy!
You started with the band in 2006, got on BBC Introducing last year and cracked Hype Machine and the NME in 2010. Not to mention a decent bunch of good gigs. Was there anything that went massively wrong recently?
Jack: We were driving home from a studio and our van blew up. All the hot water in the engine began leaking into the passenger seat, causing the engine to dramatically overheat. We had to be towed away and I had to wear plastic bags on my feet for the remainder of the journey. Also, last month I mixed a song down to VHS only to discover I had accidentley (sic) recorded over Cocoon II: The Return (1988 sci-fi sequel with an old Don Ameche and a young Courteney Cox). It could be karma for when Roo stole a copy of Slanted & Enchanted as a child (find the whole story here on page 15 of issue #11).
But it all in all has been a quite successful year for you, hasn’t it?
It’s exciting and has been a very formative year – it’s great being busy because we have all got to know each other so well and I think our work ethic has really developed over the last three to four months. We have had to take the concentration we are used to only dedicating to rehearsing and performing and utilise it in a more universal sense. Playing with Best Coast earlier in the year was a lot of fun, most of our shows have been local this year apart from the two BBC Festivals we did in the summer. It will be cool to hopefully get into the great wide open in 2011.
Next step: total world domination. So please, imagine that you would get the chance by the NASA or ESA to stream an audio message to alien life into outer space. What would it sound like?
I’d refrain from anything too spaced-out. We wouldn’t want to strain any interplanetary relations by condescending them with laser blips or phaser swirls. I think something fundamentally cemented within the history of the earth would be more suited and would choose a time capsule of old American sea songs, Greek Delphic hymns and early Cajun/Creole music. I may succumb to temptation and stick Merak by Adrian Wagner in there, too.
If Fixers were a plant, how would it look like, and what effects would it cause, if we consume it as a drug? (This question is of course inspired by your love to Mort Garson.)
Codariocalyx Motorius, Darwin called it The Hedysarum. It’s often refered to as The Dancing Plant, responding best to the music of Arthur Russell or Todd Rundgren – this sounds like us. Consumed as a tea – our dancing leaves, once plucked and brewed, would be a vital source of antioxidants. It’s such a beautiful dream. Plantasia is definitely my favourite Mort Garson record: Musically, its a voyage beyond reality but its context is so humble and flattering that you don’t become entangled within the musicianship and instead just get swept away within the botany song cycle.
I think thats the way all love songs should be:
You released ‘Amsterdam’ not only as a free download EP, but on cassette. Too, you (or at least Jack) are open admirers of Brian Wilson. Are you timetravellers or just vintage lovers (or neither)?
The CD may well have been a big technological blip. Cassette tapes are durable, compact and very affordable. I download a lot of cassette tape rips off mutant sounds and in that sense I think we used the cassette tapes as a production tool. The sound of the tape rips are so amazing that we wanted to emulate it. The sounds exclusive to the cassette tape release are quite experimental, I suppose. They were experiments for us but we took influence from beautiful experimentation records like Marcos & Harry by David Fulton and The Power Of The Source by L Ron Hubbard & The Apollo Stars.
Wednesday will be your last gig in 2010. What can we expect from you in 2011?
Plenty more shows hopefully, we have our first seven inch single coming out in february, “Iron Deer Dream“. We are touring the UK in February which should be exciting too. Writing new material, working on our live show. We will most likely spend any “downtime” in a rehearsal room, drinking tea and sniffing incense sticks.
And finally; how will you spend this year’s Christmas?
I’m going to sled down a hill so slowly that by the time I reach the bottom christmas will be over and i’ll be anxiously looking new years in the eye.
You can pre-order Iron Deer Dream since today from the Young and Lost Club here. But first, here’s the promised new “Who Says Boys” video:
Fixers : Who Says Boys (Video)