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New Music Friday: Fraser Ingham

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Kettering man Fraser Ingham has been writing songs for twenty-five years, and singing in bands [Tonic, Audiostar, The Kidnaps] in his late teens and twenties. Having stockpiled more than 140 songs, a chance meeting with Kenneth J Nash led to the music being recorded and released. New Boots gets more on this intriguing story.

How/why did you start this project?
There were two events that were the catalyst for starting this project. Firstly, I suffered a head injury in July 2018 that meant I couldn’t drive or work for three months. Whilst I was stuck at home I started to revisit all of the song ideas I’d accumulated over a period of about 10 years – pretty much since my last band, The Kidnaps, fizzled out. Then a couple of months later I bumped into Kenny at a festival he was curating. He’d asked me before to come and record some demos at Old Hotel Records, but I’d always put him off. However now I had a few songs in a more complete state; it felt like the right time. I went to Old Hotel in autumn 2018 and recorded 28 demos in two nights. I had low expectations I suppose, but Ken was very encouraging, he saw something in the songs that was worth pursuing. Since last summer we’ve been recording on a fairly regular basis.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
At the risk of sounding like every other singer-songwriter from the last 60 years, I’m writing songs on an acoustic guitar about my life and the stuff that’s happening around me. As a result the themes include mortality, family, community, mental health, love and drinking in my local pub! I’m not much of a guitarist or singer, but words and melody are important to me. I’d say my biggest influences in terms of sound and inspiration are artists like Conor Oberst, David Ford, The Smiths, Neutral Milk Hotel and Billy Bragg.

How was the experience of revisiting old songs and polishing them up?
In most respects it was very rewarding. I had around 140 ideas, ranging from complete songs to one line of a verse or chorus. The songs had documented a decade of my life, so it was interesting to go back and see how I was feeling about different things at the time. As you can probably imagine most of the songs won’t ever see the light of day.

Will the four EPs be themed? How did you choose what to put where?
I’ve just released my EP ‘Winter’, which contains some of my most melancholic songs. I think ‘Spring’ and ‘Summer’ will be more uplifting and ‘Autumn’ will be more reflective. Most importantly, I hope that the four EPs will represent all of the different aspects of my writing.

Do you play live shows at all?
Not many to be honest. When I’d been in bands before the process always seemed to be write songs; rehearse them; book gigs; write more songs; record them; get more gigs [hopefully bigger and better than before]… and so on. This time I thought I’d record the songs first, see if people like them, then book some gigs later. I’ve had quite a few offers, but I’m going to see how things go with the first EP.

What has been your favourite acts of the past year or so? What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The bands I’ve enjoyed most in the last couple of years are IDLES and Fontaines D.C. I think IDLES in particular are trying to do a lot of positive things through their music. Last listened: Bill Fay Countless Branches

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for 2020?
Releasing four EPs in 2020 is my main focus at the moment, the songs are written but there is still a lot of recording to do. At the end of the year I’d like to release some of the songs on an album, ideally on vinyl. If the songs are well received, hopefully I’ll play a few gigs along the way too!

The Winter EP is out now on Old Hotel Records via Bandcamp

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