Make It Music: Fyfe
To say Fyfe is a technical musician would be an understatement. As he’s sound-checking his band ready for their Make it Music session, he orchestrates every element of the ensemble with such precision that each performance is almost perfect from the first take.
As you listen to Fyfe, a.k.a. Paul Dixon, you may get a feeling of familiarity from his voice. After being scouted by a record label while studying economics at Manchester University, Londoner Fyfe traded in academia to focus his efforts on his music career, recording under the alias ‘David’s Lyre’. He then went on to self-release his ‘Picture of Our Youth EP’, before taking some time out to establish Fyfe as we hear him today.
Now with two albums and a sold-out European tour under his belt, Fyfe’s new album ‘The Space Between’ dropped in June this year. The 28-year-old singer/songwriter has reinvented himself and burst back onto the scene with an album of melancholy funk rhythms that challenge the boundaries of electro-pop as we know it.
For his Make it Music session, Fyfe has performed his tracks ‘Closer’ and ‘Relax’.
We chatted to Fyfe after recording to delve into the inner workings of the musical maestro’s brain…
So, Fyfe! We understand that you write all of your own music. Is there anyone in particular you’d love to write for or with?
That’s a great question. I’ve actually made a list of people I want to write with and it goes from people I think would maybe consider me to the impossible. Top of my impossible list is Beyoncé – I’d love to write a song for her – though I think everyone wants to write for her.
Name one song you wish you’d written?
Purely for the cash – Someone Like You by Adele. For the art – Solid Air by John Martyn.
When it comes to the writing process, what is it that encourages you to write? Is it personal or do you let your mind run wild?
It’s become increasingly personal in terms of the subject matter. When I was 15/16 and started writing songs it was much more conceptual. Now, I’m more trying to evoke or explain an emotion, so that’s usually where I start
We’ve listened to ‘Relax’ and it seems like it’s about the pressures of life and escaping them to rewrite your own path. If you could rewrite your own path, would you change anything?
Actually I was thinking about this the other day and I really wouldn’t change anything at all. I see each step I’ve gone through – not to say that everything’s been nice or easy – I see the value in every challenge but also the value in every success, so I definitely wouldn’t change anything.
When did you first decide to pursue a music career?
I actually didn’t think I’d ever be able to do it. So I went to university to study economics and it was whilst I was there that I ended up getting signed. I was never planning for it and I think it was that moment of being signed at 20 where I was like ‘Oh my gosh, maybe there is something here’. But you never really want to believe it. Even then, its not been a smooth path.
How did you get signed?
I was just making music and putting it on the Internet, which I guess is the way everything happens now. Back then it was more YouTube based and it was the tail-end of MySpace even, so the landscape has changed quite a lot since then.
If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’d love to play with Jeff Buckley. If I could be his backing guitarist or even just be within a 20 metre radius of him, that would be amazing.
We know you’ve got a big following in France. How do the performances and the fans out there differ from playing UK shows?
The UK has kind of caught up a bit with France in the live sense. When you speak to lots of bands and they talk about going to Paris, there’s often like this reticence or hesitation of ‘Oooh, Paris – it’s a bit difficult’. But for me, it’s been incredible. The audiences are very welcoming, but like I say, other territories it feels like they’re catching up too, which is really nice for me.
Obviously when you’re working within other countries, sometimes there are situations where things get lost in translation. Has this ever happened to you?
I definitely offend people in Paris all the time, because my French is awful! Probably the biggest thing that’s been lost in translation is my band name, Fyfe. They don’t know how to pronounce it or what it is, so they end up calling me Fee-Fee a lot of the time or something, which quite sweet I guess.
What’s the best and worst thing about being on the road?
The best thing is when you hear someone singing your lyrics back to you, or a whole crowd just going for it. When you’ve been in a studio slaving away over a piece of music and suddenly its being realised, that’s amazing. The worst thing is it can feel like you’re waiting for 23 hours to play a 1 hour show and then you have to wait another 23 hours. Obviously a lot of that is physically travelling to somewhere else, but there’s a lot of time where you’re just sat in a dressing room or a restaurant with nowhere to go, so that’s a bit rubbish.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked in an interview?
Whether I was the hip-hop Michael Bublé! That’s one of the strangest comparisons I’ve had that comes to mind.
What’s the bucket list dream for your music career?
I’d love to have a meaningful writing and production career alongside my artist career. I don’t know why but it seems like I’m wired in a way where I need more than one thing going on at once. I get a little bit stir crazy and claustrophobic just being an artist or just writing, so finding some sense of balance and progression in those two worlds at the same time would be amazing.