BD: Paul thank you for taking time to chat with Bluesdoodles once again. Not long since our last conversation but Federal Charm has been building momentum with a niche tour, now Autumn tour with Bad Flowers and Special Guests Those Damn Crows and the thrill of the release of Passenger on 14th September.
PB: Yes, seems like only yesterday we were chatting, time certainly flies.
BD: Having seen the new Federal Charm playing live, in Bristol earlier in the year new numbers showcased certainly fizzed with excitement. How do you perceive the changes in re-igniting the charm offensive?
PB: Yes, everything has clicked now with those warm-up dates in the Spring. Bristol was definitely the clicking point, great small venue and everything felt natural. What we played worked well all the balls landed in the goal, the new pieces of music were well received. Now with the new album Passenger and a great co-headlining tour, everything is going to plan, a fantastic feeling when a plan unfolds. Everything is as good as we hoped and prepared for. It is a good feeling to have a full headline tour announced from Passenger perspective, not played live feeling this good for a well, ship Federal Charm is in a good place.
BD: There is as we know there is so much more to making the album than the final tracks we all hear and rejoice in. Tell us about the pre-production journey Passenger has been on. How the tracks were written and evolved.
PB: Passenger album we have definitely grafted, we worked harder on this album than the previous two. Spent more time, making sure that every track we were happy with. Lots of the songs were crafted in a studio in Wales back in 2016. So the album still has its claws back into old Federal Charm. It is a good feeling to have this nice crossover feel.
We demo’d each track in the studio in Manchester, doctored them we had over fifty ideas and parts, we pulled them all apart then demo’d again and pulled them back together. We treated Tom as a different entity, when discussing subject matter, added more backing vocals overall more vocals across the whole album; the focus was on Tom.
BD: The album recorded, mixed and engineered at Willow Terrace Studios, what made this the studio for the new album?
PB: It is a private studio in Manchester, up until now an independent business that concentrated more on the engineering production side. Federal Charm was the first band to use the facilities to record. I have a personal relationship, through a chance meeting with John Sims the production manager for the band Blossoms. It was the best experience in a studio ever.
BD: The first video/single released is Choke, inspired by a person Tom knew at college. Did he write the song and what made the second track on the album the first to be heard?
PB: This is a number that we all see different stories behind the words. Making the lyrics and sound of Choke accessible to the listener. Tom wrote the words and we all influenced the music. I directed the video reflecting on what I saw in the song. A different angle, it is quite an aggressive confrontational song. Directing the video was a real experience.
BD: It must be very exciting to have Federal Charm played on the Planet Rock, New Music Show. Have you seen a positive effect of getting your distinctive sound out to a wider audience?
PB: It feels good to be back. Federal Charm will be doing a lot more touring, good to meet the fans, we are really going for it now. We have a quiet summer missed out on a few festivals as we were putting Passenger together that was our focus. It is hard to make a comeback we are realistic about that, on the upside, we are predominately getting a good vibe. With Planet Rock DJ’s Paul Anthony and Wyatt playing our music will get the Federal Charm sound heard. Realistically this could have gone either way. Where we are now couldn’t be happier.
BD: To celebrate the album you also will be releasing a Vinyl copy that will excite many. Will this be available when you hit the road on an extensive joint headlining tour with Bad Flowers?
PB: Yes, limited edition of 300 copies. 50% are Black, actually described as Oil Slick Black and 50% are white or Snow Blizzard White. Very cool to have Federal Charm available on vinyl. All our new merch will be available when we are out on tour with the Bad Flowers. BD: The two Tom’s up front on vocals! PB: Ha! Never thought of that. What a tour such good value three bands playing live music for under £20.
BD: The tour starts in Bristol at The Thekla, how exciting is it to be on the road with new material and starting the tour on a boat?
PB: For me it is perfection. So excited about playing anywhere is fun but the boat is always good. Can’t wait to be back on the road playing Passenger tracks live.
BD: Final question? Do you have a favourite track on the album and why? What was the inspiration behind the album cover another mode of transport?
PB: That is difficult it changes all the time. I am close to Choke it was the last song written with Nick and Danny. The song then developed over the recording process. At the end of Choke, the guitar part was added with the last chords ‘three notes’ creating a ghostly, eerie sound. Yes, album cover is a vessel again, loved the idea of something destroyed and bring it back to life reflecting Federal Charm having now levelled and we are back on a new journey starting with the album. We stumbled across the picture of this Icelandic crash we loved the ghost on the side of it a plane. It is a basic simple photo that we retained in the artwork. So we had ship for Across the Divide and plane for Passenger definitely a theme still have trains and automobiles!
Sit back watch the video of Choke and become a Federal Charm Passenger.
Passenger available for Preorder From Federal Charm Shop
Tickets on sale for Co-headline tour with The Bad Flowers and special guest Those Damn Crows – Tickets available HERE