Fable – 2016

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Interview de Fable
Réalisée par Heronmaiden

  • Your band released an EP and an album and exists for one year. How did you get the idea to found it ?

Jack Russ: Liam and I have been writing music together since we were both 13 or 14, and the idea to found a band has always been on the table. We wanted to wait for the right time to start releasing it though – both of us have the artist’s curse bad and wanted to make sure it was perfect. However, around the start of this year at the age of 24 I started to realise that it would never be perfect and decided to just do it. A few things triggered the decision – I had just met my beautiful partner Abigail, who inspired me greatly, and I was also suffering from a severe trench of depression at the time and needed something to distract myself from some very dark thoughts. Liam had recently given me the impression he was on the verge of giving up music creation altogether, as well, also being one prone to melancholy, so I grabbed what I had, wrote a few new pieces and spent about 4 or 5 months putting ‘To Glory Unknown’ together in my bedroom with an SM57, my brother’s Gibson SG (I asked to use it because my own guitar at the time wouldn’t hold a tuning), and a few nice MIDI pads. That’s how it started, really – depression, a bit of boredom, some naive childhood fantasy, a dash of fresh love, and an enormous back catalog of our previous works from when we were teenagers, carefully fine tuned over time.

The title was indicative of my expectations at the time: I had absolutely no idea if people would love it or hate it, if it would be buried in irrelevance or magically do well, but I did it anyway because I felt it needed to be done. I had just finished a Diploma in Music Business as well, so was keen to put what I had learned to work. The reception has been rather heart warming to be honest, and has inspired both Liam and I to keep going with it.

  • Fable has only 2 members (Jack and Liam), I wonder who is playing what ? And who composed the songs ?

JR: I’m not particularly proud of it but there is not much real instrumentation on To Glory Unknown or The Snows Over Harridan. I played all the guitar and did all the vocals, except for the chorus in Autumn Winds, where Liam does a harmony over the top. I asked him to do that, mostly because he wrote the riffs and I wanted him to be involved as more than just a songwriter, but also because I’m not particularly confident with my upper octaves. Liam is very much a ‘work behind the scenes’ sort of fellow (he told me to say hi here, though) and prefers to let me manage the front end of it all, being perfectly happy to enjoy the music to himself I believe, so getting material and performance out of him can be tricky at times (but is always worth it). I believe Liam will contribute more on our future projects as we have both discovered a well of inspiration and he already has begun laying down some guitar tracks for me. So, the next album will feature some more of Liam’s style of playing, which I personally think is awesome.

Song composition is really where I feel our talents shine through. We both write and compose drums, synth and orchestration. I’m not a great guitarist and I’m a pretty average singer, but there are some fantastic arrangements on what we’ve released so far, I think. I compose most of the work, I think is fair to say – Twilight was arranged by Liam, with some small alterations in instrumentation and dynamics by me, but I end up shuffling and changing most of what he gives me. Guardians was originally just one repeat of that riff, but I heard it and felt it was enough to keep going, and added the effects and stuff to flesh it out. Victory was also fun to work with. It was originally just brass and trumpets, no drums, but I felt it was too robust to go with the rest of the material and needed a more sublime edge. He doesn’t seem to mind. He struggles putting riffs together sometimes, usually only presenting me with a concept, but I really enjoy doing songwriting so we work rather well together. Basically, I consider myself to be the primary composer because I take the songs and turn them into what they end up being on the end product, I also write all the lyrics, song names, and do the majority of the production, but Liam does a tremendous amount of work on the parts that he wrote and I don’t want to downplay that. Liam tends to write the intro and outro tracks, the instrumentals and stuff, his material adds tremendous flavour, where I see my material as more bread and butter, staple material for our releases. The styles compliment each other wonderfully and I don’t think Fable would be Fable without Liam’s input.

  • Why did you chose the name « Fable » for you band ?

JR: My lyrical concepts revolve around a fictional world I created when I dabbled in writing literature. I wanted to steer clear of the viking thing, as I think there are enough ‘viking metal’ bands out there already, and I felt like a hack doing another Summoning-inspired Lord of the Rings metal band, so I decided to make up my own thing and see what happens. I wrote a few short stories and started a trilogy in the vein of high fantasy, drawing large inspiration from the works of George RR Martin and of course Tolkein (very cliche). I developed a relatively rich world in my head and all of the music released under Fable relates to it. I chose the name Fable because it captures the essence of what it’s about – stories, tales and lore, short but sweet and with a simple point that is easy to digest. Stories of folklore, morals, and virtues that inspire, invigorate and rouse the heart to greater deeds. I didn’t want to create depressing or dark music, or stuff that dishonestly celebrates negativity. Fable struck me as perfect and I kept it.

I think I’m a better musician than writer so my writing career is currently sitting in the ‘maybe I’ll do this later’ pile. Still, the theme stuck. I love fantasy and folklore, and I invested a lot of effort into the little world in my head, so it provides a good foundation of inspiration.

  • Will you make some gigs one day or did you already played live (even into small venue) ?

JR: Fable is a small, indoors project at the moment. My deluded need for perfection demands that if I were to perform Dawn Avast live, I would want a real brass section (perhaps hypocritical, since apparently MIDI is ok). Anyway, something tells me that Liam and I won’t manage to portray the ‘epic’ nature of what we’re going for by ourselves. I recall an interview I once read years ago with the guys from Summoning. At least I think it was the guys from Summoning. I don’t quite recall perfectly. Something along the lines of ‘when people think of this music, they don’t associate it with two sweaty dudes thrashing around on a stage’. I remember reading that and thinking to myself ‘yeah, I get you’.

That being said, I’m working on a few projects at the moment and one of them has plans to go live next year. If that works out I’d like to try performing some Fable material and if it works better than I expected then I’ll definitely consider putting something more solid together. Some of our latest material has been much more appropriate for live performance and I think it would be fun. I’m not sure if Liam will agree.

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  • Do you have any anecdote concerning the album « To The Glory Unknown » ?

JR: I have a few actually. I’m not sure where to begin. It was such a mess of a project. In The Star Road, for example, there is a fragment of vocals at the end of the second verse (…we who walked the Star Road!) where I decided to keep the first take I ever did. As in, it’s the very first recording of my harsh vocals ever taken, straight into the SM57 (which I can’t recommend for vocals, by the way). I was playing around with layering and delay and reverb and stuff when I suddenly sat back and listened to it and realised that I had made one of the most awful noises imaginable. It was bone chilling. I had to keep it, and I actually thought it worked pretty well. You can hear it under the main layer, sounds like an echoic gust of wind wailing past, or some sort of a howling banshee perhaps, but it’s actually just me screaming ‘road’.

Track 8, ‘Autumn Winds’, is actually a rewrite of a song Liam wrote with another close friend of ours. Originally it was called ‘Solitude Part II’. I helped them record it but I butchered the production and, amongst other issues, it never really went anywhere, even though in retrospect it wasn’t that bad. It turns out that I didn’t actually ask Liam and Barrie if they were ok with me using those riffs in particular and just went ahead and did it. I thought I did ask Liam – he wrote the music and I rewrote the lyrics from scratch so I didn’t think Barrie would care – but apparently I made the memory up. I’m lucky they liked it.

That same track, I gave Liam a two week deadline to record his vocal part. In my experience people work better when you give them a time limit. Two weeks passed by and he came over to record, but got stage fright and couldn’t do it in front of me. I understood, and gave the song to him to do over the next week by himself. He just gave me the files and I dropped them in. No one ever saw him actually do it.

Twilight was originally a love song. Victory was originally titled ‘our theme song’ and was all brass. It was supposed to be played over the introduction credits to our own TV show, if we ever got one. I liked it too much to not let it see the light of day. Guardians was a tiny fragment of a neoclassical piece Liam has been working on for about 5 years I think. I wrote and recorded No Tears for the Past in about 3 hours. Thane of Swans took me about 4 years.

  • Do you have any project concerning the future of the band (video clip, new album, …) ?

JR: I’m happy to announce that our next full-length album is well under way. I’m not comfortable giving a definite release date at the moment, but I anticipate to have it finished within 3 to 6 months, hopefully by the end of summer in Australia. No real guarantees yet, as any number of things could go wrong at this stage and I really hate saying one thing and then doing another. We’ll keep people updated on our progress over social media.

I theme the overall atmosphere of my full-length albums around seasons – To Glory Unknown was themed on autumn, and this one, under the working title of ‘The Red Road West’, will be themed on summer. The songs are brighter, more upbeat, rather warm. I’m very excited about this one, and I believe it will put To Glory Unknown to shame. Where The Snows Over Harridan was all old material dating back 10 years, all written by me, The Red Road West is largely brand new material, very fresh for me to work with, and it’s sent my inspiration haywire. I also got a couple of Liam’s riffs in, which I’m very happy about. There are some killer moments in there already and I haven’t even got to the vocals. I’ve learned a great deal from the last two releases and I believe (hope) that The Red Road West will be a dramatic improvement in our work.

Fable operates on a skeleton budget and we haven’t seriously considered the idea of doing a video clip at this point. I think it would be interesting but I’m not sure how to go about it. If we did ourselves, it’d probably end up being pretty dodgy. Still, I won’t rule anything out. I have a list of things I want to get sorted at the moment. Band shirts, more CD pressing, better graphic design… one step at a time. I’d love to have To Glory Unknown on vinyl. Maybe one day. Right now we’re focussing on making great music first, and thinking about the rest later.

  • Thanks a lot !!!

JR: no, thank you 🙂

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