ClashMusic meets the Brewis Brothers
Field Music by Ian West

Brothers David and Peter Brewis have consistently distanced themselves from any genre stereotyping, so much so that after their second album, ‘Tones Of Town’, they temporarily disbanded, stating at the time: “We basically want to do things that aren’t classed as ‘Field Music indie band’. We’re not going to be a band for a bit. But Field Music aren’t going to be over because we’ve already got a bank account under the name, so we’ll just continue as a company. It’s time to go and do some real work.”

Pulling up their sleeves, this period was used productively; David went on to release a wistfully skew-whiff album under the School Of Language moniker, and Peter with the sinister restrained psychedelia of The Week That Was. Both albums, like the previous Field Music releases, were critically hailed for their genre defiance.

- - -

This is an excerpt from an article that appears in the March issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from February 4th. You can read the full issue online HERE and subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.

- - -

Reunited and releasing records as Field Music, the laid back and friendly David thinks for a moment before talking about the break. “After the second album we felt if we kept going we’d have expectations of what Field Music is. Our “genre” defines what you can do and that’s terrible.”

Losing original co-founding member Andrew Moore along the way due to the financial pressures of real life, David regularly talks of hoping to persuade him back, but with a new child now to consider he’s had to step aside.

Such pressures regularly come between band members. Talking about how they barely managed to make a living from their music, David remains defiant that he wouldn’t want to do anything else and has 2010 in his sights, with aims to make a real concerted push. With the lush third album ‘Field Music (Measure)’ due out on Memphis Industries in March, it’s a good way to begin the charge. With twenty songs of delicate and carefully woven melodies, it’s slow burning yet complex at the same time; easing from the sombre ‘You And I’ to the lush upbeat sunshine ‘Sgt. Pepper’ pop of ‘Effortlessly’. Elsewhere, the guitar bend of ‘All You’d Ever Need To Say’ curves around more offbeat time signatures whilst piano and string arrangements dance in between coastal sound effects on ‘It’s About Time’. It’s a record that you need to dedicate time to.

Field Music have the ability to pull you back, make you comfortable and educate you. Predominantly receiving critical praise for their work, the subject of the media and reviews comes up, as David considers this for a moment. “It’s nice to get nice reviews, especially when you’re not selling that much. But the bad ones stick out more unfortunately.”

Asking if these comments hurt or have an effect on them, he continues; “A little bit, not that it particularly effects what you do, it just re-informs the way you do things…people say it’s self-indulgent, we are self-indulgent. We’re not as musicians; we do it because we want to make what we are trying to listen to…all we can do is keep making records and fill out our idea of making music.”

Bands have a long history of releasing a double album, more often than not it’s a rebellion against the conventional structure of ten to twelve songs being ‘easier’ to market. So, when asked what were the reasons for this, he laughs: “Perversity. We were determined to do a double from the start - we merely try and fill in the frame in which we make music. We wanted to redefine what Field Music is... We shouldn’t at any point say ‘this song doesn’t fit Field Music’. If it’s good, it’s Field Music…we just about scrape a living making our music and with that comes the responsibility of not being lazy; we’re desperate to maintain creativity by keeping it on the go.”

Words by Lee Puddefoot

Follow Clash: