Interview: Fortnight In Florida

London-based three-piece Fortnight In Florida channel nostalgic disco-pop vibes on their new single, I Can’t Wait Forever.

Inspired by Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting, the song juxtaposes moody synths and steady beats with mournful vocals, telling a bittersweet tale of unrequited love.

I caught up with the band to have a chat about how they came up with the story of the song, their childhood musical influences and the Alan Partridge quote behind their band name…

Hey guys! Can you introduce yourselves to our readers?

Andrew: Hello readers! My name is Andrew and I’m the drummer in the band. My other duties also involve pestering the other two to get stuff done.

Eamonn: Hi, I’m Eamonn, I play bass. My other duties include volumising Andrew’s hair and keeping Simon’s trolley handles warm.

Simon: Hi, I’m Simon, I play keys and sing and write the songs with the help of Eamonn. I get pestered a lot too.

 Where did the band name come from?

Andrew: I’ll let the others explain this one.

Eamonn: It’s a little known Alan Partridge Quote. When Alan meets ‘Tex’ (Peter Serafinowicz) at the petrol garage, he boasts about his travels in America saying ‘Yeah, I’ve been around the states’. ‘Oh really?’ , Tex replies, and asks ‘Where have you been?’

Simon: Spot on Eamonn, although we tend not to tell that story so readily… we’ve tried to crowbar the idea that a Fortnight In Florida symbolises the escape from the daily grind; the one thing people look forward to all year round. Often the anticipation of the holiday is better than the holiday itself.

Congrats on your new single, I Can’t Wait Forever. Love the Edward Hopper ‘Nighthawks’ reference. Can you give us some insight into the story behind the song?

Eamonn: It’s a painting that’s always fascinated me. It just has such an intense feeling of time and place. The atmosphere of 40’s downtown Manhattan jumps out and you and ask so many questions… who are these people? Why are the men not enlisted? Fighting overseas? Who is the woman? What is their relationship? So that felt like a good starting point to write the song. We let our imaginations makeup stories about these characters and turned them into a narrative. One which has been realised incredibly well by the very talented Eduard Micu (who produced the animated music video for the track).

Simon: Eamonn and I wrote this together, he’s pretty bang on there. It’s quite refreshing to write about something that isn’t an internal feeling or thought and allowing the writing process to be more objective – you can be more brutal and less possessive over the content.

Who would you cite as your biggest musical influences, past and present?

Andrew: When I started out on the drums, my favourite drummers were definitely Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave) and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters). I think Chad and Brad helped me explore and enjoy other genres of music, because they’re such a mix of styles and influences in their music.

At the moment, I’m really into artist like Kendrick Lemar, Jill Scott, ALASKAALASKA, Boy Azooga and my newest find Deep Deep Water.  They’re doing really well at the moment and are supporting ALASKAALASKA in XOYO next year, I believe. Since knowing the lads in the band, I’ve really been getting into some DFA record guys like LCD Soundsystem and Holy Ghost! too. 

Eamonn: There’s a cool London band I recently discovered called Zkeletonz. They’re doing a similar thing to us, but to a much more fantastical extra degree. Think Simon in a sparkling sequined waistcoat and you’re about there. They have a new single out called TMI – check them out!

Apart from that, I’ve been listening to Kiasmos, The Motet & Dorian Concept. Past influences are bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana & RHCP. 

Simon: I guess Michael Jackson was the first artist I was obsessed with as a kid, before being drawn into the whole Brit Pop movement in the 90’s. I was more of a Blur fan than Oasis, although definitely liked both.

At uni, I started doing a load of karaoke contests and winning a few of them. I must have sung Elton John’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me about 200 times. 

I think the biggest step towards musical creativity of my own, though, was discovering Stevie Wonder quite late on and listening to a Best-Of CD on repeat for three years. This inspired me to write my own music – after that I got into the whole clubbing and chillout scene, specifically Groove Armada, and this has definitely influenced the more dancy aspects of the writing. I now continue to be obsessed with most of the artists on DFA records; the whole indie Brooklyn dance scene.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a band?

Andrew: Richard Strange (Doctors of Madness, The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange) once gave me his autobiography and told me to read it and do the opposite to what he’s done throughout his life and I’ll be successful. I did record an album with him earlier this year with a legendary producer John Leckie (Muse, Radiohead, Stone Roses), so he’s always got some good advice for me whenever I see him.  The album is called Dark Times, go check it out. 

Other than that, the best piece of advice I’ve received is probably that nobody really knows what they’re doing or talking about. 

Eamonn: David Bowie once told us to write more tracks in the key of C Major.

Simon: I guess I hear this a fair amount as a band/writer, but no matter how much hype and promotion you try and drum up, the song is always king – focus on writing the best material possible and hopefully with a lot of hard work, persistence and luck the rest will follow.  Luck, after all, is where preparation meets opportunity – apparently?

How are you planning to spend the rest of the year? Any live shows coming up?

Andrew: There are a couple of remixes awaiting release. I think they’re being released at the end of November. There’s also a couple of London dates in the bag too. 8th November – The Priory, Highgate & 29th November – The Gladstone Inn, London Bridge .

Simon: Album No. 2 is brewing in the wings steadily – recording in the early new year has already been brought up in conversation. In fact, just today I’ve been listening to over two hours worth musical archives I’ve made over the last 10 years. I’ve got a couple now on the shortlist that I’d like to give a 2020 revamp!

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