Fred Abbott experienced success as the guitarist for indie-rock heavyweight’s Noah and the Whale. Playing sold out shows at the Royal Albert Hall as well as playing festivals such as Lollapoloza, Coachella and Glastonbury it is fair to say Fred has achieved a lot. At the beginning of this year his musical path took a change in direction as Noah and the Whale announced they were to call it a day. Fred, clearly still with fire in his belly was the first member of the now defunct indie act to announce solo material in the form of ‘Serious Poke’ that will be released on the 24th July 2015. Brad was lucky enough to have a chat with Fred to check in about the Noah and the Whale split, what we can expect from his solo stuff and how he has adjusted to life without being in a band.
Hello Fred, it’s an absolute pleasure to be speaking you, how are you?
I’m pretty good thanks, and the pleasure is all mine.
Now since Noah and the Whale called it a day, my first question is what motivated this decision?
NATW had already been on a hiatus for over a year and there wasn’t a prospect of us getting together to tour or record new music in the near future. I think the decision to announce the split was motivated by wanting to end speculation and questions from our fans about what we were doing and clear the way for everyone to do their own things.
How have you found adjusting to life not being in a band?
As much as I miss touring with the band and all the fun that was, the last year has actually been great in that I’ve got to be at home and spend a lot more time with my daughter. And it’s given me the chance to be involved in lots more musical projects, including doing my own stuff, which I simply didn’t have time to do when I was doing NATW. I think I’ve settled into the rhythm of being a dad now, which is obviously very different to being in a touring band so whenever the next tour comes up it could be a shock to the system.
Your solo career has now launched, with the release of your first single, when did you make the decision to go ‘solo’?
I never really made a decision to ‘go solo’, this album began with me just recording some song ideas with my friends that I’d had hanging around for years, purely for my own satisfaction. At that stage most of them didn’t even have any words. Then I began to look around for a singer to record the vocals on them and when I couldn’t find the right person I ended up recording myself singing on them, never really thinking that I would keep my singing or become a ‘solo artist’. But one thing leads to another, and here we are.
The style is quite a contrast to Noah and the Whale, is this the kind of music you’ve always wanted to do?
Yeah I’ve always been into guitar-based rock/pop so this is the kind of thing that I’ve been writing for years. I don’t think it’s that far away from NATW actually, for a start all of noah apart from Charlie are playing on it, so it’s the same drummer, bassist, violin, guitar and keys as Noah. But the songs are a bit more ‘rock’ I suppose.
Where and what do you draw inspiration for your solo work?
While I was making this album I was listening to the Steve miller band, the replacements, the eagles, some don Henley solo stuff, the new Ryan Adams record, and everything I do is influenced by people like Tom petty, Springsteen, acdc, the stones and all the other great rock acts.
Do you think having the history with Noah and the Whale helps or hinders your new path?
Both, I think it will help me because some people will listen to the music out of curiosity because of my history with Noah. But I anticipate my solo music will not appeal to a lot of Noah fans, it could possibly appeal to a whole different set of people who were never noah fans.
What are the plans for 2015?
To keep making as much music as possible. I’m recording and performing with a lot of different acts at the moment and will be doing some solo shows as well to play my own material live, which should be great fun.
Already being a decorated musician, what are the goals for yourself as a solo artist?
I don’t have a lot of expectations for myself as a solo artist. So I’ll be pleasantly surprised if people like this album. Obviously it would be great to continue writing and recording and performing my own material if the opportunity is there, but I’m not expecting world domination!
Lastly, what music are you enjoying right now?
Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, Kim Richey, lots of old soul and ‘missing you’ by John Waite.