The synth-pop duo Fenech-Soler, hailed by The Guardian for their “hybrid of summer indie and big-dance inflected melodies”, consists of British brothers Ross and Ben Duffy.
The two-man band (formerly a quartet also consisting of Dan Fenech-Soler and Andrew Lindsay) burst into mainstream prominence in 2010 with multiple upbeat synth hits, including the infectiously danceable “Stop and Stare” and “Demons”. Since then, Fenech-Soler has released numerous EPs, collaborated with Groove Armada and toured extensively, performing alongside the White Lies, Kelis, Robyn and Example.
Fenech-Soler recently released their Kaleidoscope EP, setting the scene for their upcoming album release.
Ben Duffy chats to us about Fenech-Soler‘s history and evolution, touring with Phoenix and Miike Snow and performing at a Russian Winter Olympic ceremony.
Tell us a bit about how Fenech-Soler came to be. How’d you all get together and start making music?
Myself, my brother Ross and our long standing friend Dan Soler grew up in a small farming village in Northamptonshire in the UK and I guess Fenech–Soler was created out of our love for electronic music and our desire to try and do something different.
There wasn’t really a scene for us growing up and if there was, it wasn’t really the music we were listening to, so we just spent hours making music on a laptop, and by trial and error taught ourselves to produce and write music. We did this for a few years and at some point we decided to put some of it on the Internet.
We didn’t know how to play it live or if anyone would care, but it just took on a life of its own and we’ve been making music in pretty much the same way ever since!
In a few words, how would you describe Fenech-Soler’s style of music?
That’s always hard to answer. Futurist, electronic, melodic synth-pop, if I had to guess.
Brothers in a band – stories and experiences vary wildly depending on who you ask! What’s it like for you guys, and what impact does it have on your creative process?
It’s hard to imagine being in this band in any other capacity really. We think pretty much the same about everything and so from a creative standpoint it works very well. We both have the same vision and I guess see the same path through the creative maze. Music making is just a succession of small decisions and so the more you can see eye to eye the quicker it gets… in theory. We always take way too long to make an album!
Your sound has been likened to that of Friendly Fires and Strange Talk. Who are some of your creative influences that have helped shape the Fenech-Soler sound?
When we started this band, we were inspired by electronic artists that could mix the euphoria of dance music with the unpredictability and energy of rock and indie… people like Daft Punk, Soulwax and LCD Soundsystem, but we also appreciated soul, R&B and vocal harmony groups like The Whispers and Earth, Wind & Fire. Somewhere between all this, I guess we just wrote music that we personally felt moved by. Music that we liked and our friends liked. Fenech–Soler existed for a long time as a band between us and our mates, so if we put on a new song at a party and it got a good reaction we thought it was okay. Bands that have influenced us recently would be the likes of DD Dumbo, NZCA LINES, Honne, Polographia, to name a few.
From 2009 to 2014, you guys put out quite a number of hit singles, albums and EPs – and recently you’ve been keeping the momentum up with touring. How’s life on the road?
Touring is so much fun. After a year of making music at home, the cabin fever sets in and you just want to get out and travel which is a great privilege and a brilliant part of being in a band. Imagining how songs might be perceived live or how they could work in clubs or festivals really plays a part in our writing, so it’s just nice to get that opportunity. We’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world with our music so for me it rarely gets boring or hard work. Any band that says it’s really hard is lying. It can be tough, sure, but there’s far worse things in life!
Any interesting stories you can share?
We were asked to perform at the Russian Winter Olympic medal ceremony, which was interesting to say the least. It was probably the most people we’ve ever played and I kept speaking to a minimum (too many languages to compete with!). The most fun we’ve had on tour was probably when we got to travel around Australia with Phoenix and Miike Snow, two bands we very much look up to and a place we always wanted to go to.
What else are you doing to keep busy these days?
Well we’ve just released a new EP, Kaleidoscope, which we’re really excited about. It feels like we’ve finally found the formula to Fenech–Soler‘s music so we’re just glad to get that out there. We’ve also been spending this last two weeks building a new live show so we haven’t stopped for a while. Busy times.
What’s on the horizon for Fenech-Soler in the coming months and year ahead?
The Kaleidoscope EP we see as the perfect prelude to our new album. The album is all finished, but we didn’t want to wait around for the normal release schedule so we just decided to throw an EP online straight away!
It feels really good to quite simply make some songs and then put them online. No messing. We have some some European shows next month and then a full EU and American tour to follow, and a few covers on the way. Essentially, we’re just getting back to being a band that plays lots of shows.
Follow Fenech-Soler on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Listen to Fenech-Soler’s Kaleidoscope EP on SoundCloud, and keep up with their tour dates on their official website.