Fryars has been infatuated with the art of songwriting for as long as he can remember.
The way a verse will unfold, the path he takes to get to a chorus, each distinct element seems to fascinate him.
New album 'God Melodies' is - in part - a result of this, an adherence to this idea that the song as a structure is built from an infinite array of parts.
Out now, it follows sessions during the long, strange year of 2020, working alongside close friend Sean O'Hagan and his wife, fellow songwriter Rae Morris.
Indeed, the album owes its initial spark to a long walk beside the Houses of Parliament, with Fryars confiding in Sean about events in his life.
He recalls: "Around the time we were recording, a friend had killed himself and I was worried another friend might follow suit. I wanted to be there for them constantly but was left feeling helpless. What could I do? What could anyone do?"
In the end, he transformed those feelings into some of the best work he has released to date - ruthlessly honest, 'God Melodies' pulls down the barrier between artist and listener.
Clash spoke to Fryars about songwriting, and the inspirations he feels are apparent on his work. "My musical building blocks are the people that have informed my taste more than anyone else," he reflects. "A record takes on more meaning or importance when it is shared with you by someone who means something to you!"
"In a world of infinite choice, great curators are so important. And great curators are often great musicians or great friends!"
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Sean O Hagan (High Llamas/Stereolab)
I made music with Sean across all of ‘God Melodies’ - he helped me to better understand harmony and chord progression and opened up our listening to a lot of Brazilian music… Milton Nascimento, Jobim…. as well as being thoroughly on top of whatever’s just come out of Atlanta. Sean’s own work draws on a lot of Morricone, and California sound which we have a mutual interest in.
Here’s Dorothy Ashby from his ‘Can Cladders’ album.
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Rae inspires me every day, as a musician, as a voice and as a person. Rae introduced me to a lot of Kate Bush and Bjork and by just playing music in the house, keeps me up to date with whatever is going on out there.
When you are in a relationship particular songs take on extra meaning through being a meaningful shared experience. A lot of the songs that mean the most to me remind me of Rae. Her next record is some of the most original music I’ve ever heard, let alone worked on.
For now here’s something from the last outing…
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Luke Smith (Clor) / Record Producer
I made my first two records with Luke. He’s an amazing listener and has a great ear for music which does something different. Luke put me onto Dirty Projector’s 'Rise Above' album which had a big impact. Moreover, when we were creating he always took the time to explain process and software to me. Most of how I make music derives in some way from Luke’s schooling!
Here’s a track from his long lost band Clor!
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Jo was my first manager. From the day we met he would bring me stacks of CDs - and pick out elements of the music I was making …naively… and fill in my musical history. Everything from Scott Walker, to Kraftwerk, Stereolab to Serge Gainsbourg. It allowed me to delve deeper into my instincts and reference music that had gone before that was operating in similar spheres. His encyclopedic knowledge or music, art, and design helped sharpened my tastes more than anyone else.
Here’s 'Ballade De Melody Nelson'.
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Lily gave me a lot of confidence as a collaborator to do my own thing and trust my instincts. She has her ear to the ground like nobody else. She was onto all that Post Malone and Rae Sremmurd stuff when it was on under 10k plays. Hearing those sorts of records early before they go stratospheric is very exciting. Her taste has massively influenced the more uptempo, contemporary elements of what I do.
Here’s Trigger Bang that I wrote and produced with her and Giggs.
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'God Melodies' is out now.
Photo Credit: Bella Howard
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