Way back in May 1999, we interviewed Dickon Edwards for our very first issue. A name change later and he's back for our Christmas issue to talk about the recently released album "On Earth To Make The Numbers Up". Along with Alex, Rachel & Sheila they may have made the album of the year.
Dickon has been called the Morrissey
of our generation, but he'd rather listen to trance pop or radio plays
than the latest 60's influenced guitar groups. If you like your music
unashamedly pop with an equal measure of lyrical wit then you'll love Fosca.
Read on for more about the greatest kept secret this year.
Q: We interviewed you for our
very first issue. Why the recent change to the title of Dickon Angel?
A: I liked the idea of relaunching Fosca after so many false starts with a "new" Dickon. I may plump for a different pseudonym for each album. The idea of adopting personas that are more "me" than plain old Dickon Edwards has always entranced me.
Q: Early suggestions of Fosca
indicated a move to Lo-fi Belle & Sebastian territory. Although still
essentially Lo-fi, When did you decide to make disco tunes like "It's Going
To End In Tears (All I Know)"?
A: I was obsessed with trance pop at the time we made the album, and thought it'd be interesting to juxtapose a populist trance backing with lyrics that actually said something a little sly and personal. I'm constantly concerned with making music that simply no one else is doing. Any fool can make 60's influenced guitar indiepop. Or Radiohead-influenced prog rock. And indeed, many fools currently are. If you find yourself lucky enough to be able to make records that people can find on the megastore shelves, it seems a crime NOT to go against the grain. It IS possible to be original.
Q: On previous single "The Agony
Without Ecstasy" it carried an anti drugs message. I take it you won't
be joining in the legalize cannabis campaign. What's your personal drug
choice - Love, Alcohol, Nicotine or Prescribed drugs?
A: Sadly, love is forever in short supply in my life. So I settle for cigarettes, spirits and prescribed anti-depressants like paroxetine. Please note I regret my dependence on all three, and do not recommend that anyone take them up. But I am weak, and reach for all the comfort I can get.
Q: How did it feel to have the
legendary John Peel play the single and has it always been an ambition?
A: I think the Shelley single was played by Peel when it came out in 1875 or whenever it was, but I never heard it on transmission. With Fosca, I was actually listening to Peel's show as it went out live, and to suddenly hear my voice going out, to all the UK, gave me an instant thrill. It's highly recommended. Also, Peel is one DJ who actually plays record he personally likes, rather than because a playlist or producer or PR has told him to. He means it.
Q: Some would say that you gave
up the pop dream in exchange for being a credible underground act. How
do you feel that as you're going more leftfield, Tim seems to hanging around
with proper popstars like Daphne & Celeste?
A: We're only accidentally leftfield. Our long term goals are aimed strictly at selling records. But we respect and trust Shinkansen Records, and feel they are the perfect label for Fosca. It's also a lot less frightening than signing to a major label, where it's all or nothing from the word go: if your debut album isn't a hit, you're considered a failure and written off. With Shinkansen there's a lot less money at stake, so Fosca are allowed to grow and develop in comparative safety. I'm still finding my feet as a lead vocalist, you see. Not that my feet are at fault. I'm happy for Tim that he seems to be mingling with proper pop people. If one has to mingle at all, it may as well be with the best. I should point out that I don't mingle with anyone, least of all the journalists, movers and shakers and promoters of the London indie music industry, who I'm pleased to report have all but barred Fosca from their little cliques of consensus. The feeling is entirely mutual. When we come to accept our award, our thank you speech will be mercifully brief.
Q: Is it safe to say that lyrically,
you have moved closer to the famed internet diaries than what we sang along
to with Orlando?
A: In Orlando, Tim would edit my words and often persuade me to be a little less... arch. On the Fosca debut album, I had no such pressure: it really was Unfettered Dickon. However, for the second album, Alex Sharkey, my songwriting partner in Fosca, has a veto on my lyrics if he thinks they could be improved or polished up in some way. Just little things like singability, conciseness and aesthetics from the an external point of view. Which I prefer. I don't want to be wholly oblique in my words: they have to mean something to the listener.
Q: You are presently writing
the 2nd Fosca album. Could you fill us in about the direction it seems
to be taking? What are the standout tracks and their main lyrical themes?
A: Well, this time all the music is wholly written by Alex, and all the words are by me. The tunes are more consistent than on the first album, where Alex was arranging tunes written by me, and I was very forceful in what I wanted musically, but didn't really have a clue about whether it was suitable or not for each song. This time the music is entirely Alex's department, and it should usher in a more consistent musical strength to the album. He has his own musical writing style, I don't. I'm introducing a little spoken-word here and there. As for lyrical themes.... the usual mixture of aphorisms, epigrams, rare truisms and terminal Englishness. And a few jokes.
Q: Being known for a spot of
journalism what are your views on the current music scene (ie,. Nu Acoustica,
UK Garage, Radiohead etc.)?
A: I try not to notice the current music scene, in the hope it'll go away. It's all dreadfully ordinary at the moment. UK garage is vaguely interesting, at least it's new. I quite like some chart pop, such as the recent hit singles by Britney Spears, Sugababes and Spiller. My favourite album of 2000 is "The Isle of the Blue Flowers" by Scarlet's Well. No one else seems to have heard of it. On the whole, I prefer radio plays.
Q: There seems to quite a scene
in London of underground pop acts (Baxendale, Spearmint, yourselves). Here's
a chance for you to plug any friends / aqaintances bands or club nights.
A: Certainly not! They're big enough to look after themselves. Whoever they are.