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In Isolation on Their Debut Album Release

11 April 16 words: Sophie Gargett

As they prepare to unleash their LP, A Certain Fractal Light, we caught up with the band to see what they've been up to and what they're plotting

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photo: Mel Butler
Hello there guys, so how has 2016 been for In Isolation so far?

Ryan: It’s been a big build up to the album, really. We’ve been pushing forward to get it out, working with bloggers and the press, doing post production work. So far we’ve released three singles: A Certain Fractal Light, Parlance and Truth or Dare, so we’ve also been making and editing videos for those tracks.

Phew, and we’re only a few months in. So for those who haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe the sound?
Ryan: Well, you say that, but alternative has a slightly different meaning to when we knew it as alternative. It has its influences which are fairly obviously placed; new wave, indie, post punk.

I’d describe it as having quite a dark romantic sound which is quite classic of the eighties, is that when you each began playing?
I’d say it was, that’s what we have in common as musicians. We all love that era and listen to bands from then, which I think shows in our playing and in our writing. It comes through very obviously, but I think we’re fine with that.

Your music videos have quite a cinematic quality to them. Does this come from the music or do you have the videos in mind when you write the songs?
I think that’s a separate thing. We don’t correlate it to the music deliberately, although we do seem to be comfortable with writing epic sweeping songs which are cinematic in their composition.

The debut album, A Certain Fractal Light, comes out this month – what can people expect? Was there anything different in the writing and production of a full album?
It was all written in six months. We started afresh and didn’t record the older stuff we’d been playing.
Ryan: We made a conscious decision to not take songs we had lying around to fill the album. We we’d do it properly and start from scratch. We set ourselves a deadline which coincided with the Whitby WGW festival which we had agreed to play. As it happened we didn’t meet the deadline but it gave us a really good goal to work towards. That pressure, although it didn’t feel like pressure, it helped in the song writing process.

What is the writing process like for you? Do you write separately and bring things together?
We usually write together, sit round and come up with ideas. Stick Tony on the tambourine or the triangle...

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photo: Mel Butler

The track Elder Statesman is a tribute to David Bowie. What led you to write this song?
Ryan: It was something I’d always meant to do. Hunky Dory is my favourite Bowie album and it had a track called Song for Bob Dylan, I always wanted to do a song for Bowie. Just a pure tribute, because he’s great. He passed away just after we recorded it, it was a bizarre coincidence. I’m pleased we have our own little tribute that isn’t jumping on any bandwagon, it was all pre-prepared and on the album anyway.

You’ve been playing gigs in Nottingham for quite a few years and you’re a staple of the Nottingham music scene. What venues do you enjoy playing at and what are your favourite local bands?
John: We always end up at The Chameleon.
Ryan: Yeah, we really like it there. We used to like The Old Angel... We played our first Rescue Rooms gig recently, supporting Cud. We’d like to play the main stage at Rock City, but wouldn’t everyone!
John: It’s changed a lot, Rock City, they used to put a lot more bands on downstairs in the basement.
Ryan: Nottingham bands I'm liking are I Am Lono, Practical Lovers, Nina Smith and OneGirlOneBoy. April Towers are making the right noises and I'm also a fan of Ronika's tunes.

You’ve had a certain amount of airplay, being featured on BBC 6 Music and various online stations such as Radio Caroline. How do you get your music out and where is the best place to find it?
We use all the usual channels: Spotify, Soundcloud etc. We’re just launching a new website and have a Bandcamp site where people can pre-order the album and listen exclusively to one track, Not Noticing, which isn’t available anywhere else. You can also get a physical copy at Bigcartel. We do plan to stock it locally soon also, it’d be nice to have it in a Nottingham store.
Tony: After the process of writing and recording, getting people to actually listen to it is the thing, which isn’t easy.
Ryan: You’ve got to have a little luck, the right person listening at the right time. 
Tony: The internet has really turned things on its head and people are still trying to work out how you do it these days.
Ryan: The main thing that people tend to say is that now the internet is there you can get your music out. I don’t think that’s true at all. You can physically upload it but there’s more competition. Then someone with a slight bit of influence, if they hear you and like you it can make all the difference.

I guess people used to have to be more dedicated to find out what is going on with a band, whereas now you can flick through on the internet and can be a much more relaxed interaction from fans…
I saw a recent article which interviewed a number of 18-20 year olds of which 63% said they hadn’t been to a live gig in the past year, and that is the state of our times. You have games consoles, multiple television channels…

When we were a little bit younger you didn’t have much to keep you at home, so the chance to go to a gig was quite an exciting thing. It seems it’s less of a thing at the moment.

Gigs can be pricey too these days, as that’s how musicians make their money...
I remember a friend calling me to say, “We’re going to Reading University to see a band called The Smiths.” I said, “How much is it going to cost?” £3. I was skint so I asked my mum for the money but she wouldn’t lend it to me. I thought to myself, “Ah, these lot sound really boring anyway.”

So what is going to happen for In Isolation in the next year?
We’ve just signed a publishing deal with I’m not From London...
Ryan: We’ve known them for years and they seem like very pleasant, genuine people so we’re very pleased to have an association with them. We’ve also just put out a video for A Certain Fractal Light, and later in the year we’ll be touring England.

A Certain Fractal Light, the debut album by In Insolation will be out on Friday 15 April 2016.

In Isolation website


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