By Melissa Bordeau
Ever woke up after a night out with some random business cards in your wallet? Well, one of those cards may have come from Chicago indie rock trio, Fletcher. Sometimes the band self promotes their music to tipsy Chicagoans out at the bar late Saturday nights. It is a great idea, and hey, it seems to be working out for Fletcher. They have only been together as a band for about a year, but already have over 18,000 likes on Facebook and have played sold out shows at the likes of Lincoln Hall.
Fletcher insist they are unique from a four, five, or six piece band because with less people, the three members--Oscar and Harvey Baker and Tom Fry--connect more intimately with each other to provide a sense of raw rock and roll to their fans. That’s not the only thing that makes Fletcher original; half the band members are from London, so Fletcher has a distinctive British rock vibe that they bring to the ears of Chicago listeners. In our interview below, they talk about England’s music scene, self promotion and their self-released EP Open Arms, which will be out April 9th. You can also catch the band live at Subterranean on Friday, April 5th.
WCR: How does Chicago’s music scene compare to England?
Well, the biggest difference is that indie bands such as Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Razorlight and The Kaiser Chiefs make it into the top ten charts in England and in America that seems less likely to happen. The English embrace rock music more in the main stream. Another big difference is with the radio stations. In England there are numerous major stations devoted to playing all the latest indie music, while others play all genres. That is why a lot of American bands (like Kings of Leon and Then Killers) make it in Europe first and America second. There is so much good music out there and as an indie band ourselves, we realize everyday how hard it is to stick out of this repetitive sythpop noise that plagues the general radio stations, clouding over the real music that’s out there.
Since there is so much good music out there, how does an indie band like Fletcher stick out from the rest?
Three piece bands are a lot more uncommon at this time than they used to be. I think a lot of it has to do with the technology we have now and how bands want to incorporate so many different sounds that they need a fourth or fifth member. To us there is such a sense of intimacy when playing in a three piece band. It’s a lot easier to bounce ideas off each other, with only three people in the band, that building of chemistry is less interrupted. We have watched a lot of four, five and six piece bands play and the majority of the time there’s a huge feeling of disconnect between the members. Since there is more room to mess up, musicians tend to play more laid back in those scenarios. We are stripping away all those layers and presenting ourselves as raw as we can, writing the best music we can to show what we can do with just the bare necessities.
Fletcher started out as a “basement project”--how does it feel to now be playing sold out shows at Lincoln Hall and having over 18,000 likes on Facebook?
It’s a very accomplished feeling. We started by just jamming out and having fun and we had no intention of making it into a band. All of our new material was written from scratch; mostly coming from different jams we had recorded in our basement in the past. It also proves how valuable of a resource the Internet can be. We posted a few songs from our demo and put up lots of pictures over the first few months and people started to catch on. We also came to learn that you can write the best music in the world but unless you make the first step and reach out to people, nobody is going to hear it. We spend half of our time writing music but the other half enticing people to come to the shows and follow Fletcher on social media. Apart from the music, self-promotion is the most important thing, when it comes to being a band nowadays.
Open Arms by Fletcher by Fletchertheband
It’s 2 a.m. on a Saturday night, what are you doing?
If we aren’t playing a show, then we are usually coming back from a party or a bar. Going out on the weekends is surprisingly a very efficient way of promoting a show. It is so easy to meet people and network with people in crowded places, especially when everyone is a little tipsy. They might not remember our conversation but at least they will wake up with a Fletcher Biz card in their pocket.
What do you feel is the strongest song on your album and why?
"One By One." It has always been one of our most popular songs since we first recorded it for our demo. It’s a nice tune to listen to because it evolves from a more relaxed feel and intensifies into a heavier rock song as it progresses. We find people sing to that tune the most, as the lyrics seem to be very catchy.
Where would you love to play?
In the Chicago area we would love to play the Vic Theatre. It’s one of our favorite venues to see bands and the acoustics there are really good. In terms of places, we want to play in LA and New York, and then of course London would be an amazing homecoming show. We are excited to play some major festivals too.
Where was your first live performance and how did that feel?
Our first live performance was at a club called The Joynt in Chicago in July 2012. It was a talent contest that was based on crowd reaction. When we turned up, we were very confused because there were a lot of people but no instruments. Then we realized there where two bands and about 20 rappers. We didn’t win. We were nervous but had lots of fun, so much so the people in the main bar asked to play an impromptu set which we did until security kicked us out.
What’s one interesting fact about Fletcher that no one knows?
The first band name we called ourselves was Soup.