The singer-songwriter talks her break from music, how her personal life impacted her sound and what she has in store for us.
Making her grand return to the scene with a striking new single is Brighton-hailed singer Fable, with her new tune “Thirsty”. With otherworldly tones and harmonising vocals, the singer serves us with a sumptuous genre-bending tune that has us headbanging at every chorus. Known for her bold and atmospheric sonics, the singer accompanies the song with an attention-grabbing video with juxtaposing images of ethereal nature and mental destruction.
Speaking on the single, the singer said, “Thirsty is about taking the beauty of life for granted. How overtime we write off profound stuff as mundane because it’s a constant; the sky’s always there, but it’s weird and beautiful that we even exist under it. It’s playful at heart but it’s about my realised depression and learning how to reset my perspective through mindfulness,”
Having disappeared from the scene back in 2016 due to a personal tragedy, the singer has reconnected to her artistic side and is ready to step back into the spotlight. With new music on the way and ready to take over, we caught up with Fable talking, her break away from music, staying creative and what she has in store for us.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Holly, how has this uncertain time been for you? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
It’s been a real mixed bag of emotions if I’m honest. I think the scariest part of this COVID ordeal for everyone in the industry, has been the deadly uncertainty as to when Live shows can begin again. For me personally, that particular aspect of being an artist is the beating heart of what I do, but the stillness of lockdown brought a fresh perspective to my creative process.
I retreated from Brighton to my partner’s rural flat in the Welsh valleys of Carmarthenshire, where I spent four months writing. With the world on pause, I found clarity with my new routine which allowed me to spend as much of my time as possible just experimenting and this loosened and expanded my writing tendencies. All in all, I’m grateful for that period of hibernation and as we move forward I’m excited to see how we will adapt and evolve out of adversity.
How did growing up in Devon influence you? Who did you listen to growing up?
I come from a working-class background, my Dad’s a delivery driving drummer and my Mum’s a care worker with a very creative mind. Our house was full of Reggae and Bowie. I went to an arts-focused state school in Totnes, we didn’t have a uniform, there were no gates or fences and I would spend much of my time bunking off to play the ancient warped piano in the attic practice room. I was heavily influenced by Radiohead and female Jazz vocalists like Etta James and Amy Winehouse, I loved the richness of emotion in their tone. I couldn’t help but be involved with whatever music was going around me, I fronted local punk/rock bands and took roles in theatrical productions. Devon was one of those insular places where before the internet became the beacon of all information the underground of London or Bristol took at least a year to trickle down into rural youth culture. The best part of growing up in the countryside is space. There were no real clubs so we had to make nights happen ourselves. Many of my friends were busy building sound systems and at any opportunity, we would throw raves in barns or find quiet idyllic spots, set up and let the baseline rumble over endless rolling fields. Dub, Drum and Bass and Metal made up the soundtrack to my teens. As a county, it’s pretty devoid of difference and culture and I think this forged my identity as a bit of an outsider.
You had an amazing start, wowing crowds with your intimate shows, being headhunted by Paul Hartnoll of Orbital, and ultimately playing yourself at Glastonbury – sounds amazing, did you ever think you would have that journey?
No way, I moved to Brighton in 2014 where I found management. It was Andy who introduced me to many well-known faces in the industry, including Trip Hop collective Archive, who I collaborated with on the first EP ‘Parasite”, and the legendary Paul Hartnoll who I recall meeting over an ale at the Farm Tavern in Hove. I was 19 and to be meeting the Godfather of Dance music was a pinch-yourself experience, let alone being asked to feature on his 8:58 album. It all came together pretty organically within the musical community of Brighton, 4 years of gigs and independent promotion led to supporting Archive at Shepherds Bush, The Cult at Brixton Academy and then the Hell Stage at Glastonbury, which was banging.
You’ve been really open and vulnerable about your struggles with past trauma and loss – is this really important to come across in your music?
Loss is a part of life and something we will all experience. I’ve lost many friends to drugs and suicide, including my ex-partner who killed herself in 2016 to end her suffering of a vicious circle of drug abuse, BPD and years of failures by the mental health system. She was one of the most intelligent, creative and sensitive souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting but was surrounded by poverty, drugs and abusive figures she became increasingly lost in online communities of self-harmers, which gave her a sense of belonging but normalised that reality for her. Not to mention the overwhelming nature of online media, filling you with the worst news from every corner of the world whilst you sit there helpless in your pants, isolated and too shook to know how to propagate any kind of change. This is happening on a massive scale to so many people in my generation, we have totally lost all-purpose, and I don’t think it’s by coincidence. We are a product of psychological exploitation by social media companies, our consciousness has been commoditised. If you fill your awareness with the whole picture then this all becomes a subtle hell. I have struggled with depression for many years, my down days are mainly because of how powerless I feel in trying to see a healthy future for humanity or myself. Could I comfortably raise children in this world as it stands. Probably not. I feel like now would be an ideal time for a change in many areas of society. My music is an attempt at exorcising demons, total escapism into harmonic spaces and criticisms of the system.
What is the biggest lesson that your four-year hiatus has taught you?
Don’t overthink it. Just do it, cause time marches on and then that moment is gone, music must be relevant to the time, and I have a tendency to sit on projects and I become too much of a perfectionist. Work with as many different musicians as you can, we all learn from each other’s differences.
What have been the biggest changes to your sound in that time?
Over the past few years, my sound has become quite genre-less, the lines are blurring. I’ve been listening to some amazing bands and artists recently like Tropical F**k Storm, Billy No Mates and Bob Vylan, I think the ’20s are going to be such an exciting and innovative time for music. In 2014 I would have labelled my work as purely electronic rock but these days I have absolutely no idea how to categorise anything, and this feels like a quantum leap in creativity.
Congratulations on your latest single “Thirsty” – what is it about?
“Thirsty” is about taking the beauty of the planet for granted and how over time we write things off as mundane because they’re a constant, like the sky’s always there, but actually, its an ecstatic experience to even exist under it, that sort of feeling. ‘Look into the flower, see it for the first time’ is a line inspired from the super weird 1973 Mexican surreal-fantasy film, The Holy Mountain, it’s about lifting the scales from your eyes. That one line really stuck with me, if we could remember the first time we saw the world would we treat it with more respect?
I watched David Attenborough’s ‘A Life On Our Planet’ last night and it had me in tears a couple of times. We have made ourselves so apart from nature when really we are a part of it, we arise mutually and its forgetting this fact that’s caused the destruction.
The visuals are amazing, quite ominous and trippy – what did you want to convey?
The song has explosive energy and I also wanted to bring back the classic 90’s format music video, it’s simple but most importantly I wanted to have fun with it. It’s the first thing I’ve released in 4 years and I think you can tell there are moments where I’m just so happy to be performing again. The video was directed and shot by Matt Hutchings on the hottest day of the year which made it all as sweaty as a live show.
Ultimately how do you want your music to make people feel?
I’m not sure if that’s something I can manipulate, I think music is very relative, sometimes the reason we create music is to express emotions that often cannot be expressed through language. I would like it to make you feel a full spectrum of Joy and Fear.
What’s next and what are you looking forward to?
I’m working on the video for the second single which is due for release early next year, it’s much more about social commentary and storytelling than the first release. I’m looking forward to discussing all things mental health on some popular podcasts and to be honest, just being alive is pretty good going at the moment. We’re all praying next year will be the return of gigs and festivals if not I’m building myself a glass cube to busk in.