A Chat With: Aquilo
British duo Aquilo’s debut album Silhouettes has been a long time coming. The pair Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher have been making music together since 2013, honing in on their trademark atmospheric, evocative sound and heartfelt lyrical narratives. After a handful of EPs and steady stream of singles, as well as a stint of support slots for artists like Oh Wonder and Låpsley throughout the years, Aquilo’s first full length will finally grace our ears in just eight days. Prior to the album’s release on January 27th, we chatted with Tom and Ben about their album's writing and recording process, their influences, and what’s to come in 2017.
ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on almost having your debut album out into the world. How are you feeling now that the release date is so soon?
Aquilo: Thank you! We’re just pretty excited to let it go. We’ve been wanting to release an album for the past 3 years so it all feels sort of right. Funnily enough we don’t feel too nervous actually, we probably will do the day before though!
AM: Can you talk a little about the writing and recording process of Silhouettes? Do you have a general process for writing, and where was the album recorded?
Aquilo: We mostly wrote the album and partly produced it back in Silverdale, the village where we grew up. The occasional song was written down here in London but we like to think that home holds the biggest part of the album. The process of writing is pretty simple; if one of us has an idea or a lyric we show the other. We got talking to an Icelandic composer and producer called Ólafur Arnalds. We fell in love with his sound and the way he goes about making music, so we spent some time over in Reykjavik arranging the strings and sonics of it all.
AM: How would you sum up the album in three words?
Aquilo: It’s alright mate
AM: Which songs are you most looking forward to playing live from the new album, and is there any news on tour dates coming soon?
Aquilo: We played a few of the songs off the album on the tour we’ve just done with Låpsley across the states. We haven’t played “Low Light” or “Almost Over” live yet so we’re itching to play it with our band wherever the next tour may be! It looks like we’ll be doing Europe and the UK pretty soon but we can’t confirm any dates. We’re booked to play SXSW in Texas so we’ll see where we go from there.
AM: Speaking of SXSW, that’s a pretty great accomplishment to play there. Are there any other festivals on your bucket list to play as a band?
Aquilo: Yeah, it’s something as kids we’ve always dreamt of going to, not just to play but to watch bands too. We played Glastonbury as like one of our first ever gigs 2/3 years ago on the BBC introducing stage, it’d be amazing if we got to play the John Peel Stage there, would be a dream. We’ve heard that Coachella is meant to be pretty good, same for Lollapalooza. It’d be class to play those.
AM: Are there any cities or venues that you’re really hoping to play in 2017?
Aquilo: All the big ones! We just want to see as much of the world as we can. We desperately want to visit Asia and South America and see things we haven’t before.
AM: I loved the video for “You Won't Know Where You Stand.” How involved were you in creating the plot for the video?
Aquilo: We find music videos with a story far more captivating you know, something with a message… We met a man called Eoin Glaister a while back and made a 2 part music video for an EP of ours. When it came round to the album it only felt right to get him on board and work on something a little bigger than the last. He’s done an incredible job so hats off to him.
AM: Who do you consider your musical influences?
Aquilo: Funnily enough we both grew up on rock bands back home. Ben had a real Nirvana and Pearl Jam obsession growing up and Tom was into the likes of Explosions in the Sky and Oceansize.
People like Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Steely Dan have always been pretty important to us too.
AM: What other bands are you listening to at the moment?
Aquilo: We’ve been listening to a lot of The National recently, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Scott Matthews and Nils Frahm. The recent War on Drugs album is a favourite between the band when we’re on the bus.