Monday, 20 December 2010

Interview: Fixers

Fixers, taken from

There's been much said recently about the growing tripped-out musical scene from Oxford known as 'Blessing Force'; few are quite certain what exactly this means, but apparently it's a bit like chillwave...if you know what that is - I'm not entirely sure about it, and neither are Jedward.  

Whatever your thoughts on the matter, however, it's undeniable that a lot of the music springing-up is very good indeed. Five-piece Fixers are definitely making music worth listening to - psychedelic, exciting, glimmering songs which have clearly been precisely crafted and yet at the same time retain a semblance of the spontaneous in how spaced-out and intense they are.  

Indeed, they're perhaps slightly more akin to the West Coast surf-pop groups they've played with than team Blessing Force - but whatever; the point is that they're really good.  However, all anyone seems to know about Fixers is just that - they're a band from Oxford who make psychedelic pop. 

Luckily for you (unless you were well up for more of my pretentious ramblings), Fixers' lovely Jack Goldstein agreed to answer some questions, and reveal some of the mystery behind the seemingly elusive Fixers - enjoy:

Seeing as Fixers are surrounded by a certain air of mystery, perhaps the best way to start would be to ask: who are Fixers?

Fixers are Jack Goldstein, Roo Bhasin, Christopher Dawson, Jason Warner and Michael Thompson. Any air of mystery was purely unintentional, it's just that we favour art over band photography. It's something I'm really into; I think it says so much more about the overall aesthetic of the band, it's members and the music we make.

The artwork certainly does fit nicely with your sound.  Do you think being based in Oxford, and the growing Oxford music scene has in any way affected your sound - if so, how?

We were all in bands previously and that's partially how we all met...I haven't actually seen many other Oxford bands. Going out after dusk doesn't appeal to me because you never know what’s lurking in the shadows.

What else/who else has influenced you?

Mike Jittlov and Dianetics.

As far as I'm aware you're still unsigned, and yet you're generating huge buzz - is it surreal or does it all feel natural?

Nothing like this has ever happened to us and it seems to be happening rather quickly.  We've been together for just over a year and our shows have only just reached double figures so it's surreal that we have managed to generate this interest in such a small pocket of time.

I'm incredibly superstitious and I've spent the majority of the year touching wood with both fingers crossed.

When you listen to 'Amsterdam' and 'Iron Deer Dream' now, what do they bring to mind for you?

I was reading a book called The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath by Ronald Hayman and it described a recurring dream as an "Iron Deer Dream". Knowing instantly I wanted that expression as a song title but not knowing what it meant, I Google searched the term and it came up with nothing - crazy right?  

I visited Amsterdam once when I was a child. However, the song doesn't reflect upon that - it's about an imaginary Amsterdam, a fictional ideal made up of old photos and conjured up expectations. 

Hopefully I'll get to visit it again soon.

You've supported Best Coast and, more recently, Wavves - is it daunting playing with these acts, or just exciting?  Is there anyone else you'd like to play with?

Playing with Best Coast was super exciting because it was our second show. I'd seen Vivian Girls and Real Estate in the same venue about four months earlier and it was great.

Wavves was enjoyable. I think it was more of a punk rock crowd and the venue was much larger, I found it harder to relax.

I've heard you being compared with Kate Bush and Animal Collective to name a few - do you enjoy these comparisons?  Is there anyone you'd hate to be likened to?

Animal Collective are a strong influence but an overall lazy comparison. We get Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys a lot too. I think our sound derives from taking influence from many different artists - Brian Wilson, Arthur Russell and Yasutaka Nakata sum it up pretty good. 

Amsterdam has more of a Kate Bush/Dead Can Dance feel to it - we listen to so much music we really just like to incorporate whatever we are able to into our own music.

Yes, Brian Wilson!  I'm already so up for Bestival next year.  You've released 'Amsterdam' on cassette tapes, which are a pretty unusual format these days; any particular reason why?

The CD could turn out to be the biggest technological blip ever. Cassette tapes are durable, affordable and compact. We used the cassette as a production tool, the sound is much warmer and was supposed to be reminiscent of old experimentation records like The Power Of The Source by L Ron Hubbard and The Apollo Stars or Marcos and Harry by David Fulton.

When you're not being musical, what do Fixers enjoy doing?  I read something about an obsession with the Bermuda Triangle, which is certainly intriguing...

I read a book on the Bermuda Triangle; it's doing the rounds within our band at the moment. It's a fascinating book, made up of little untruths here and there.  

We honestly spend most of our time at the moment either writing, rehearsing, recording or performing, which is really great; I enjoy being busy.

Other than that, Meditation and watching Jacques Tati.

Ah, we recently bought 'Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot' - classic.  Any upcoming plans for touring or perhaps album-recording?

We have a 7" single coming out on Young and Lost Club in February.

Before then though we will be recording a BBC Session for Huw Stephens up at Maida Vale - he invited us live on air after he had first played Iron Deer Dream. We all took it with a pinch of salt but then the e-mail came through inviting us to Maida Vale and we were all blown away. The BBC, both locally and nationally, have really supported us a lot this year.

We will also be headlining The Oxford O2 Academy on January 15th as part of Equitruck.

Recommended listening?

The Death Of Don Juan by Elodie Launten [Buy here]

Amazing downtown NY postminimalist Opera from Elodie Launten, it features Arthur Russell on Cello and Vocals too.

It's a total gem for anyone interested in the seventies downtown NY music scene - I only heard it for the first time recently and I can't stop listening to it. Its like SMiLE or A Wizard, A True Star in the the sense that once you find yourself compelled to listen to the record in its entirety from start to finish.

S/T Black Cassette (Clan Destine) by Sealings

The one local band I'm currently in love with is Sealings. I stumbled upon them on MySpace and it blew my mind, I couldn't believe they were from Oxford.

To me they sound like Dead Can Dance or The Cocteau Twins attempting first-wave black metal; I haven't seen them live yet, but would love to do a show with them at some point.

I've heard they recently absconded to Brighton in an attempt to escape Oxford's gluey porches and lingering fads. Windy beach barbecues and seafront cockles are totally the way forward in my opinion.

As someone who grew up on the Isle of Wight, I feel inclined to agree.

Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj [Buy here]

I don't really need to say much about this record other than its great. Nicki Minaj is great, Harajuku Barbie is great, Roman Zolanski is great.

Finally, any last words while you've got our attention?

I'm having a séance next week, wanna come?

Hell yes.  I'll bring some candles. 

Thanks so, so much to Jack and the rest of Fixers - they're making some incredibly good music, and I wholly recommend you checking them out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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