Combing the power of grunge with pop and indie-rock melodies, Fragile Creatures is a feast of Blur meets Bowie. Discussing themes as diverse as dementia, drugs, Armageddon and Alan Turing, We had a chance to chat with lead vocalist Adam Kidd about Fragile Creatures’ single ‘Parallel Lines’, discovering new music and much more!
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
I’d been playing in bands from my mid-teens, writing songs and performing them was the thing I most loved in the world. When I finished university, my band at the time decided to go to a little studio and record an album. Somehow that ended up getting me a recording and publishing deal…and here I am, fully independent now but still doing it a decade later!
Can you tell us about ‘Parallel Lines’?
‘Parallel Lines’ is the fourth teaser single from our second album Punk Yacht. I hadn’t even necessarily earmarked it for the band, and certainly not a single, but it’s proven popular and I listened when our supporters said it was a winner!
What was the recording and writing process like?
It was a very quick and cathartic writing process. I’d been experimenting with tuning my whole guitar down to C# and wrote a ton of songs like that. I was inspired by Andy Shauf’s guitar parts but didn’t have a baritone and that’s as low as I could comfortably go with my strings. It’s a simple progression, the lyrics were mostly improvised on the home demo I made which you can hear if you check out the single on our Bandcamp page.
I had this earmarked for a solo project I’ve been developing, but the band were really into it, especially Tom. We recorded, as we have with the whole album, in our rehearsal room. Starting with a live take from the rhythm section and then over-dubbing the rest. It was mixed by our good friends Tristan and Aaron McLenahan in France.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
For me, it’s about coming to terms with the end of a period of grief when a long-term relationship had broken down. It’s about recognising I’ve become a different person, and that’s okay. Everything that happened informed who I am now. I said before, it was cathartic because writing it helped me to move on.
What do you hope people take from your music?
It would be great if people got that same sense of release that I get when I perform it, but I think the power of music is that it can mean so many different things to different people. I wouldn’t want to labour too long explaining the meaning behind a song or my intention because I think that whatever is happening in someone’s life the first time they hear a song informs that. I’d love for people to connect with what I write, but I don’t want to prescribe what that connection ought to be.
What is more challenging – melody or lyrics?
Usually lyrics. Melodies tend to come with the musical progression for me. So I will sit and play my guitar and just sing strange sounds and when that starts to click, when I feel I’m onto something, then I know there’s a song there. However, it doesn’t really exist as a song until the lyrics are finished.
I find often that a key phrase or two will jump out at me when I’m improvising and these become a framework to build a lyric around, but this can take ages. I want the lyric to work in the song and on the page, and that can be difficult. I don’t think I always get it right.
With ‘Parallel Lines’ it was that rare occasion where the whole thing came out almost fully formed. Most of the work I did was editing down and refining what I had. Simplifying. Probably a good lesson for myself to do more editing and simplifying in future – I have a tendency to go off on tangents!
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Being motivated to make music comes naturally to me. It’s having the focus to finish projects and then keep the momentum going behind them that is more difficult. Apart from a few overdubs and some vocals, I was struggling with because of a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. Punk Yacht was finished last autumn. A big part of me wants to move completely onto the next thing now, but that’s the curse of the independent self-managed artist. We can’t just hand over to our PR team. I’ve got to keep making lists and ticking off boxes!
How would you describe your sound?
The album title came about because of trying to define the sound. It was a bit tongue-in-cheek. We are somewhere on a spectrum between punk and yacht. We fall into categories like ‘alternative’ or ‘indie-rock’ or ‘indie-pop’ which are actually incredibly broad. Indie is supposed to just mean independent!
There’s a big ’90s influence on our sound because that’s the era we were teens. We take things from ’80s rock and pop, and bits of ’90s grunge and Britpop, and then chuck it all together in a blender with tinges of everything else we’ve ever listened to from psychedelic ’60s to Americana to new wave to soul. Hopefully, it is all unified through our playing and arranging!
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
Spotify is great, but don’t rely on the algorithms. I’ve had a couple of things chucked at me that I’ve loved, but mostly it’s the old-fashioned recommendation from people you trust. So, if you find some cool underground band don’t keep it to yourself! Maybe even consider buying something because streaming don’t pay the bills!
I recently made my own Spotify playlist called ‘Fragile Creature Feature’ which I’m going to add to when I discover cool new music that seems to resonate with what we’re doing. Go check it out!
What does the future hold for Fragile Creatures?
I really couldn’t say after a crazy year like this one, and it’s only June! One thing is certain, we’re going to keep on making music. I’ve been writing for another Fragile Creatures album and have written a solo prog-folk concept album. Our keyboard player Aaron also has a much more pop-rock oriented project called NevilleSounds, and he’s releasing singles. If you like what you hear from us now there’s lots more to come!
Do you have a message for our readers?
Be excellent to each other!