International Edition: Admiral Fallow’s Savvy Seven

admiral fallow

For our next instalment of our International Savvy Sevens, we “journey” (not really – budget constraints, guys) to Scotland to take a peek inside the mind of Philip Hague, drummer for Glasgow band Admiral Fallow. Though their origin story is nothing particularly special – Philip met frontman Louis Abbott, double bassist Joseph Rattray, flutist Sarah Hughes and clarinet player Kevin Brolly at university, like scores of other bands – their sound certainly is. So much so, in fact, that the band headlined the T-Break stage at T in the Park in 2009 before they’d even released their debut single, These Barren Years. Fast forward to now: their third LP, Tiny Rewards, was released on Nettwerk on May 29th. It marks a departure from their folk rock days, and it’s a wholly collaborative effort that reaches from swirling woodwind loops all the way to strut-worthy disco vibes. Hague addressed the change as a matter of self-deprication: “When you’ve played your own songs hundreds of times, you can start to mock some of their features. There were certain aspects of our sound that, two albums in, we decided we should maybe steer clear of – acoustic guitars being the most obvious.” Read on for more of Philip Hague’s insights…

The best live music venues in my area are… 

Well you can’t talk Glasgow venues without mentioning the Barrowland Ballroom. I’m from Edinburgh originally, and me and my friends made the trip through as sweaty angst-ridden teenagers to see Placebo there back in the day. It was absolutely brilliant. Fast forward many years and I’m in the weird position of being able to say I’ve played there. There’s something about that wooden dance floor and the old rows of stars on the roof that give it a great atmosphere. It’s an historic and important venue in the city, more so than ever as swanky new places pop up. The Art School in its new state has fast become a favourite venue, its a great room and has one of the best sound systems in town, and venues such as Oran Mor and Stereo are always good. A new small venue is opening in the West End soon, which the area has been crying out for since the sad demise of the Captain’s Rest. Look out for The Hug and Pint. [Editor’s note: now open!]

 The music scene in my hometown is…

Not too bad I’d say. Here’s a list – C Duncan, The Twilight Sad, Frightened RabbitChvrches, Rustie, Remember Remember, Kathryn JosephHoneyblood, The Phantom Band, Errors, Miaoux Miaoux. Says it all!

 My top business tip for new artists is…

Dear me, what a question. All I’ve learned so far is that there are an infinite number of ways to travel through the sticky sticky world of the music BIZ. Unfortunately there’s probably more horror stories than dream tales! Be friendly and civil to any engineer, tour manager, promoter, lighting tech, merch person etc no matter if they’re total dicks. THE NORTH REMEMBERS.

In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is… 

A fair deal for musicians! The ‘industry’ (by this I mainly refer to the major labels, publishers etc) is still trying to figure out what is the new norm since Napster and streaming/downloading services shifted the goal posts.

Everyone knows physical sales are down, and the very notion of ‘owning’ a record (even downloaded from iTunes) is alien to many people, particularly the younger generations. You can bet your bottom dollar that whatever solution to selling music they come to it’ll still rip the artists off.

One way to tackle the idea of valuing music is to educate children better in schools. I teach drums to teenagers a couple days a week and I occasionally bring a vinyl in to show them what I’m listening too. Most haven’t ever seen one. Few even download songs or full albums. It’s mostly streaming via Youtube or Spotify. My reaction is often “When I was their age I bought albums! They don’t care as much” or something like that. But it’s just not true. Music still means as much to these young people as it did to me at their age, they just ‘own’ it differently.

Without going into this huge topic here I believe that Music as a school subject should include education on the business side of things. It should pose challenging questions about what ownership is and what a fair deal to artists would be. It would make young music fans and musicians feel closer to their favourite songs.

When on the road, my favourite pit stops are…

Tebay! You’ll never find a better service station. Pies, coffee, and a duck pond.

My biggest career mistake has been…

Drinking all the free Guinness before a gig at the Shetland Folk Fest. I played a rubbish gig and a bag of home made soup was all I got for it.

My best advice for emerging artists is…

Be brutally frank with yourself.

Watch the video for Holding the Strings, the first single off Tiny Ruins, below. You can purchase Tiny Ruins here.

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