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Interview with FES

Guitar-pop trio FES have just released their new single 'Clarinet' from forthcoming album 'With Regards From Home' out on Small Pond Records April 29th. I had a chat with the band about 'Clarinet' and their forthcoming album, what they are hoping listeners will take away from listening to the album, and what's next for them.

Hi, how are you doing?

Great thanks! So excited now that we’re releasing new music! Finally!

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

I would say FES falls somewhere on the spectrum between indie and Math. We have always described the band as Math rock as that is where we take our main influences, but I am sure many Math rock purists would argue that fact. Far too much outrageous use of 4/4 I’m afraid.

Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

Early UK Math bands like Tubelord and colour were strong influences when we started. Also bands like delta sleep, feed me Jack and Biffy Clyro. But we all pull from different musical backgrounds. I think you can hear Polly’s love of Regina Spector in the way she puts melodies together, and at times you can hear Matt & Tom’s teenage years from growing up with metal bands. So like all bands, it’s a mix.

How did FES’ musical journey start?

Tom and Polly are Siblings. Matt and Tom are childhood friends. After the guys finished Uni we moved back to our home town ‘Deeping St James’ and decided to all move in together. We naturally started playing music together and began to share musical influences too. This evolved over a short period of time and we all developed a love for math-rock which in turn became a staple of the music we began writing together.

Your new single ‘Clarinet’ is out now, congratulations! How was the process of making this song for you?

This song has been in our repertoire for a few years on the back burner. We recorded at the end of 2019 thinking we would drop an EP or a single in early 2020 but covid happened. So as time went by the EP turned into an album but we always knew Clarinet would be the first single.

The tappy section at the end of clarinet was written first on the guitar years ago, a lot of our ideas originate from one off riffs and ideas that Polly comes up with but don’t necessarily sit into songs. That riff just worked so well with the song we were writing at the time and it ultimately became ‘Clarinet’.

Could you explain the main inspiration behind the lyrics for ‘Clarinet’?

The song is about how if things were different, would they be better? It looks at ideas of childhood and how your younger self would feel about how you’ve turned out. Also, I really wish I learnt the Clarinet when I was young.

Do you have a favourite lyric or line from the song?

The line that inspired the whole song ‘I always wanted to learn the clarinet, but waited too long to make my move’. This line pretty much encapsulates the meaning of the song, that feeling of wanting to go back and make different choices. I think it’s fun imagining the butterfly effect of our choices and how things could have been in another life.

You have also announced your debut album ‘With Regards From Home’ which will be released on April 29th via Small Pond Records! If you only had one sentence to describe the album, how would you describe it?

Outlandishly hooky for something so proggy.

What’s the song you are most excited for people to hear from ‘With Regards From Home’?

It’s hard to pin it down to just one song, but if we were to pick a few songs that we’re curious to see the reactions of, they would be Frisbee, Trial & Error and Washout.

Funnily enough, these songs have the most use of Keys in them. Adding in Keys really opened up the soundscape of this album and I think it will really take people off guard. But in a good way. We hope.

Do you have a favourite memory from recording this album?

We spent 19 days recording the album. I think it was on day 6 that we discovered that one of the guys working in the studio (Louie) was a great keys player, so one night we just sat him down and told him to play over the tracks. Some things that he added just made those songs come to life and hearing them in such a new light was very exciting.

What’s something you want listeners to take away from listening to ‘With Regards From Home’?

If these songs impact anyone positively then I think that means we have achieved something. It’s taken us 6 years to get to where we are now with our sound and we’re really into what we’ve put together on this record, we think it’s kind of different and pretty unique and if any one listens to it and feels the same then great!

I’d love someone to hear it and be inspired to check some other bands that are out there in the UK math-scene. Band’s like: Exploder, Ganglions, A-Tota-So, Last Hyena, Vogons, Natalie Evans. There’s so many more but there’s some gooduns.

What’s next for FES?

We will be touring the UK and EU in May with Standards which will be a lot of fun. After that, maybe a nap.

And lastly, what have you been listening to recently? Is there anything you want to recommend to us?

Matt - I recently got the new Pinegrove album. That’s been on the record player since I got it. I do love a bit of folksie emo. Also, Jeff Wayne’s 'War Of The Worlds'.

Tom - I too have been listening to the new Pinegrove album and also Delta Sleep’s latest record ‘Spring Island’. Other than that I have been digging into some old Jeff Buckley and Eagles.

Polly - Doja Cat’s album ‘Planet Her’. Every track is a banger.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us, it’s really appreciated!

My pleasure m’treasure

You can listen to 'Clarinet' here.

You can follow FES on Instagram here.

All After Midnight links here.

Music submissions and enquires to


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