Fred’s House

The Zoom Video Interview that didn’t quite work!  A follow up to The Gig That Never Happened!

They are quite possibly the nicest group of people to talk to, obviously at ease with each other and the founder members celebrate ten years of Fred’s House this year.  Newest member Prue Ward only joined last year but you would think that she had been with them from the start.  Their new EP ‘Walls and Ceilings’ is released on June 29th.

We gathered together on Zoom last night – not for a quiz – but to talk about the new line up, the new EP and guess what… the technology failed us.  Not the getting together, we sorted out the crackling audio, the video orientation and the quality issues – all of the technicalities of internet interviewing, but when it came to the edit, oh dear, let’s not dwell on that!

Needless to say, we don’t have that GrapevineLIVE exclusive we teased you about, the tour of Gafyn’s newly painted green and battleship grey kitchen – which comes to life when he turns the lights on!

But I am getting ahead of myself.  I began by asking how the change in line up came about:

Vikki – Around December 2018 we had a band member leave and we ended up playing as a four piece for a while?  Yes, it was the end of a chapter and we started looking around for someone new to join the band.  Prue heard that we were looking for a new member, out of the blue I got a call, she came over for a glass of wine and that was it pretty much it.

In the band’s press release you talk of the moment the question was raised among the four remaining members about quitting or carrying on, three had committed but then it says: …there was a lengthy pause and then Paul finally said, “Alright, count me in too”. I had to ask, Paul – had you fallen asleep in the back of the car?

Paul: Pretty much – but I had a feeling that the band were going stale and needed a new direction and this gave us an opportunity.

So you will continue to be the happiest drummer in the county (Paul is noted for his smile)

Oh that drives me mad, I can’t help having a happy face – but hey, I’ve got a lot to smile about;  I have the best seat in the house at a gig AND I’m playing drums, what’s not to be happy about?

Joining a well-established band can’t be easy Prue, was it difficult to fit in?

Prue: No, not at all.  I’d known Fred’s House for years, knew their music and after leaving The Willows a while back, the band I’d started with my brother and sister-in-law, I felt it was time to do something different, more upbeat.   They made me feel very welcome and I’m really glad we are making it work.

(There are thumbs up on every panel in front of me and big, big smiles, this is not scripted marketing speak, this is a genuinely happy band of campers!)

Gafyn, throughout your musical career with Fred’s House you have had to balance being a dad. How difficult has that been?

Gafyn: Well, it has only worked because of the amazing understanding of my lovely wife.  It’s not so bad now that they are older and can come to gigs.

As well as playing bass you are also the band’s main driver. Who is the most annoying one to have in the van on a long journey?

Gafyn: Well that is easy to answer, it has to be Vikki – no matter how late we are, how far away or near we are she will need a loo break!

The new EP consisted of just four tracks, with a subtly different sound and it seems to me that Lachlan, you are having way too much fun.

Lachlan: Yes, I was experimenting a lot in the studio, and yes, I did have fun.  But we were also experimenting both musically and with a new producer, Jake Day at North Acre Recording Studios near Huntingdon, and I think from what we have created that the experiments have worked and that we have found where we need to be.

Was the EP an album cut short because of Covid-19 or was it always planned this way.

Vikki: We have been playing new songs live and our fans have been asking where they could get recordings.  Our last album, Careless, was released in 2018.  With all the changes we felt we needed to get something out to our fans.  But there will be an album, oh yes.  Not sure when yet.

Which is a good point at which to ask about what you get up to in lockdown?

Vikki:  I’m a music teacher so I’ve been running classes online which is helping to keep a roof over my head.  And I’ve been eating too much Haagen-Dazs – I am so going to have to lose that before we go back on the road!

Paul: We’ve moved house.  That was more traumatic than it otherwise might have been, but we have now moved. I now have a garden and may take up gardening, something I’ve never done before.

Lachlan: Playing video games mostly, and working on video for the new songs.

Prue: With two children I’ve pretty much been a primary and secondary school teacher as well as working.

Gafyn: I’ve painted the kitchen, you see this green, I made that up myself in B&Q, it goes really well with the battleship grey, hang on I’ll turn the lights on…

…at this point Gafyn picks up his laptop and brings us on a tour of the newly painted kitchen but you’ll just have to take my word for it!

By now I had reached the point of the interview where I am contractually obliged to ask the Grapevine rider question originated by my colleague Hayley Clapperton – you’ve made it big, what’s going to be your rider in the contract?

  • Vikki: a comfy toilet for each band member
  • Gafyn: A decent shower and fluffy towels
  • Lachlan: Groupies and drugs (Off screen his partner is giving him strange looks! And I think he ducked!)
  • Gafyn: oh – can I revise mine please?
  • Prue: Simple things like wine, or KFC
  • Paul: Wispa bars

We ended with that awkward Zoom moment when we all say goodbye and nobody wants to hang up, it seemed rude pressing the ‘end all’ button.

PRE ORDER Walls & Ceilings HERE

In the current environment there obviously can’t be a traditional EP launch but with lockdown easing slightly and bubbles being allowed, the band may be able to put together a ‘live’ launch from a garden – stay in touch with the band for news of that on either their website or Facebook page: