I’d just caught a snippet of “Close My Eyes”, and in that brief moment knew that this was a band that I wanted to find out more about. Perhaps a bit “Paramore”, but it’s certainly a polished grand sound with some superb musicians. The band were formed in London only a few years ago, but by the sounds of them it’s like they’ve been together far far longer. Having listened to the full album now, it really is the complete package and I can’t believe they haven’t been signed yet. A lot of thought has gone into “Close My Eyes”, it’s not just a collection of “here’s some tracks, chuck ‘em in there”, there’s something new here, fresh, but there is a slight familiarity too.
As a result, we needed to find out more about Small Pond Big Fish.
Could you tell us a little about how the band formed, and how the name came about?
The band formed back when Dhylon and Iga where in high school. Having known each other on and off since primary school, after a summer concert at school, they decided start a covers band – covering old Fall Out Boy and Paramore. Having gone through two drummers and a bassist to reach the final line up the band has gone through various changes over the years – developing from a lunchtime school project to band looking to establish it’s name in the UK scene.
The name Small Pond Big Fish was our first drummer’s idea. It was a bit spontaneous and out of the blue in honesty. It sort of described our situation at school, being stuck in this ‘small pond’ wanting to do more and go somewhere with our music. As naïve as it sounded, it was still quite quirky and we’ve stuck with it ever since!
There is a similar sound to say that of Paramore, was that something you consciously went for or was it being unconsciously influenced by the music you love?
There is no point shying away from one of the world’s greatest female-fronted bands and any similarities drawn between our sound and theirs are one of the highest compliments we can receive. Although Paramore is a favourite band of ours, it’s not a conscious decision for us to try to sound like them. Most the comparisons come through the similarities in our vocalist’s tonality and her vocal range abilities. However we don’t feel personally that any more comparisons could be made – say instrumentally. We have such a wide web of influences spanning from R&B to Progressive Metal – but one thing we don’t do is to limit ourselves to tapping into one particular sound. Though one thing we have noticed is that comparing ourselves to such an established name only opens up new potential listeners for us!
“Close My Eyes” is available now, how did you feel when you heard the finished album, and is there anything you’ve learnt from the recording process that you might take into account for the next album?
Well when we finished the recording process for the original version of “Close My Eyes” it was the first ever professional recording experience we had done together as a band – as our previous EPs and singles were home recorded – and the first feeling we felt collectively was relief. Relief from the many ideas that we’d had circling around our heads for along time. And relief from being able to finally to solidify them into tracks that we felt were going to take our music to the next level. With Dhylon being such an audiophile we felt we were very well prepared for the recording
process and everything went as expected – however one thing one can always take away from any recording process is that the better you know your material and the more effort put into preparation, the more smoothly the whole experience ends up being! When the decision to re-release the EP came about the recording process for recording the interludes and the acoustic track was a lot more laid back. Dhylon and Matt composed them from home and then had the mastered along with the original EP.
Do you have any personal favourites on “Close My Eyes”, and could you tell us a little about the story behind it / theme?
Iga: ‘A Closed Mind Wastes Time’ is a personal favourite of mine simply as it’s a fun track to sing live. Some of the vocal melodies I’d written for this track had been very expansive in the use of my voice and hitting the notes live each time we perform this track always sparks an extra kick of joy in my mind! A Closed Mind Wastes Time is also one of the heavier tracks on the EP. The instrumental work and the variation of sections in the track also make it one of my favourites to sit back and listen to. It’s a lot more progressive and refreshing of the typical pop-punk/alternative rock track. It was a lot of fun to compose!
Dhylon: My personal favourite track off the EP is ‘Strange Thoughts Follow Shadows’. Funny enough that opening riff I wrote was a rhythmic exercise I’d use to work on my alternate picking technique. By working it faster and faster and raising the tempo I’d get my picking hand moving more quickly and smoothly. In the end the notes I was using was quite funky and the triplet rhythm over the straight 4/4 rhythm was a cool groove. The song just went on to be possible the best song I’ve ever written (for now anyway…) a catchy chorus, an intense build up and a hard-hitting breakdown. What more could you want in an upbeat pop punk track!
You’ve got some small tracks like “Lifeless” which are lovely pieces in themselves but link other tracks superbly well. How did you come up with those? And what prompted you to list them individually as opposed to just slotting them on to the start or end of another track?
The interludes and the opening track, for the deluxe edition, ‘A Premise’, all came through several laid-back creativity exploring sessions by Dhylon and Matt. It all started off sitting in a Starbucks near Oxford Street in fact where Dhylon and Matt met up to discuss ideas for a new intro to our live set. 5 hours and many coffees later we’d written ‘A Premise’ – which played live has an extended section too! Using vocal samples from the various EP tracks to use in our interludes allowed us to strip down the band to just one simple lyric. We then set about exploring various synths and layering various sounds to build the perfect pallet cleanser between the full band tracks. Thus it only made sense to keep them as separate tracks rather than latching them on to the end of the track before it.
The video for “Strange Thoughts Follow Shadows” looks good, who worked with you on that?
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! We worked with a friend of ours who owns a small video and photography company called ‘Candyfluxx Productions’. Check them out! The idea for the lead single was to simply have a performance video that enabled us to replicate the raw energy that we pride ourselves in live situations. It also allowed for new comers to enjoy 3 and half minutes of staring at our faces! Hopefully they’ll remember us…
You’re still at College and University is that correct? What are you all studying, and how tough is it in balancing academic commitments and SPBF?
For three quarters of us, that is true! Matt had graduated from studying music at BIMM Brighton last summer, whilst Anthony and Dhylon are in Year 13 and Iga has just started her first year of uni – studying Vocals at BIMM London. With Anthony set to study Computer Science next year and Dhylon Economics our education does come first. In such an uncertain climate in the music industry we believe that further education is a must before perhaps setting out on a very uncertain path to Rockstar Heaven (probably hell). So far it’s not actually been that tough balancing academic commitments and the band. With gigging being moderate and writing songs being very easy through online means it’s meant that that the time we spend together in person isn’t all that much. And when it is, it’s just brushing up a few rusty areas or gigging! In our current situation with exams just a few months away, things will slow down for us, as they have every year around this period. But it’s all in anticipation for the jam-packed summers we have. A time where we really buckle down and push hard on the gas pedal!
What are the next steps for SPBF?
Anthony: By playing a f**k tonne of gigs.
We’re in the midst of planning a line of dates for the summer and that’s really the next step for us. We’re constantly writing and churning new ideas, but the main barrier for us at the moment, is reaching new people. Something that online promotion can only do so much at this stage. Playing gigs in new cities and to the write crowds will help push us in an organic way unparalleled to spamming Facebook groups.
Back in February we’d actually spent a few dates down in a studio down in Eastbourne with producer ‘Richard Dack.’ We’d recorded a couple of singles for release later in the year. So the new music will keep flowing!
The combination of writing new music and pushing our UK presence simultaneously are the forever on going steps for us!
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SmallPondBigFishOfficial/
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/user/SPBFOfficial
Twitter – https://twitter.com/spbfband
Bandcamp – https://smallpondbigfish.bandcamp.com/