Since 2010, Field Mouse have established and maintained an ethereal style more palatable for the urban car rides than say, Slowdive or Cocteau Twins, and in an almost defiant move away from the shoegazer’s revival, the band are set to release their first post-rock record. Not to say they don’t know their music history– their latest installment serves as multiple demonstrations of their musicianship; largely in their smooth transition to a rock record. “We all agreed it was time to depart from that old sound”, says singer Rachel Browne, referring to the “shoegazey style” of the previous releases. Another change occurs around this time in writing style, when lyricists tend to hone their skill and master the art of expression; and in keeping with tradition she has deepened her well of wisdom.
In anticipation of their second full-length record Episodic, set for an August release via Topshelf Records, the band are planning an extensive US tour, so singer Rachel Browne shared a few words with us.
For a while, people confused you for the English indie rock band Field Mice. Was there any inspiration there?
Rachel Browne: It didn’t really occur to any of us. They were around in the eighties and I’ve heard them here and there. I totally respect what they did and I get why people love them so much, but they were never part of my life really. There were people at the beginning complaining about our singular version of that band name. I don’t know. We didn’t understand what the big deal was.
I loved “A Widow with a Terrible Secret” and that unmistakable Sonic Youth nod.
RB: Haha, I totally agree. That was all Andrew. When he brought it up we all noticed and kind of made fun of him for it. I think it probably was subliminal and it’s definitely a nod.
Do you listen to much music while playing? I know some musicians who don’t like outside influence when recording.
RB: I definitely know people like that. I love listening a little more than playing, to be honest. Stereolab and Man or Astroman? have been on heavy rotation. Some of my favorites. Other than that I listen to a lot of demos and stuff that isn’t out yet. Also the last True Womanhood record.
I’m a huge Stereolab fan. Their old bassist is now a friend’s boss in Turkey. She says he doesn’t like to talk about it and just wants to leave it in the past.
RB: Haha, that’s so French.
So the band doesn’t live in the same city. How does that work for your off the road?
RB: We make it work. We’ll book blocks for practice time. Zoe and I will go to NY and practice. All day rehearsals to prep for a tour or before recording. It’s not the greatest but it’s not terrible.
I like your ‘Melodic Gentle Metal’ label on Facebook. Was that you?
RB: I think that was Andrew. It was a good example of how seriously we take ourselves.
How do you feel about this new record? It’s such a change from Hold Still Life. I found “Beacon” to be your most expressive, like on the verge of happy tears.
RB: There were a lot of tears, both happy and sad. I feel better about everything. It definitely means the most to me personally. It was written over the course of a year, and we recorded in January. There was a long wait for a number of reasons. After recording we had to to get album art together and do the mastering. Also vinyl plants are really backed up right now, so there was a four-month lead time. We purposely wanted to get it done in two weeks, which meant 12-15 hours days but we’re all very happy with it.
It’s cool to see you’ve got a cassette release too. That really came back in full force.
RB: Yeah! They’re so cheap, but I don’t really have a good way of listening to it. It’s nice to have. They’re cute. I don’t know if I have my tape player anymore. It was so sudden when CD’s became readily available, and MP3 players right after. I had one of those that held like 20 songs and it was so exciting to make a mix every day.
What’s your next move?
RB: Just before we kick off the tour we’re playing with The Anniversary in Boston. They’re one of my favorites and they’re reuniting for this show. I’m so excited!
Field Mouse will play DC9 on September 18th.