New band of the day: Letters To Fiesta

LTF PROFILE Today’s new band Letters To Fiesta are based in Manchester where they make great alternative pop music that’s been compared to Yeasayer, Kate Bush, Broken Social Scene and more. Their first single is out on 9th March.

The first rule of the all-day music marathon – get some decent breakfast down you; if you can do this while watching the first acts of the day then all the better. It was with that in mind that during Manchester’s In The City event (probably RIP, last seen 2010), Night & Day would stick a few acts on from midday while dishing up suitably fortifying fry-ups; often relatively mellow singer songwriter types that wouldn’t trouble the hangovers too much. It was something of a shock to the system, then, when in 2010 early risers were hit with a quite glorious techicolour pop attack which I described at the time as “almost too explosive for one o’clock in the afternoon”. They were Letters To Fiesta and they sounded like all sorts of wildly different things and yet like nobody else at all really, fronted by the mercurial Anna-Louisa Etherington whose voice skipped between octaves as fast as her fingers created sugar-rush keyboard lines. The next time I saw them, they were playing a gig in a launderette.

A couple of years and a couple of line-up changes later, Manchester’s greatest new pop force are ready to release their first single, which they’re launching on Saturday 9th March with a gig and party at The Castle. So we thought we’d fire them a load of questions, let them introduce themselves and catch up on the story so far…

So… who are you and what do you do?

Anna: Tom (guitarist) and I started the band a couple of years ago and we have played with a few different people In that time. We started working with Andy (bassist) at the end of 2011, and decided to go in the studio to develop our sound and focus on writing. We have worked with a few different cool people during that time too, like David Burn (ex Detroit Social Club) at his studio the Music Box in Newcastle. We also did some recording at the Motor Museum in Liverpool and we had Mick Crossey mix Tears Apart for us. So it has been a really cool learning period for us all and that is what bought together the current band line up. It just felt right so we went with it. Andy was working at Moolah Rouge Studios in Stockport and Tom and Andy were friends from the music scene years ago, they had talked about doing some stuff in the studio, so we started hanging out with him and it just went from there. Andy introduced us to Dan (drums) just towards the end of last year and things have just blossomed from there.

LTW: Your sound has been compared to such seemingly unconnected acts as Yeasayer (which certainly comes across in the new single), Siouxsie, Kate Bush, Broken Social Scene and Adam Ant – are any of these influences you’d claim yourself? Or any other influences? What are you listening to at the moment?

Anna: Yes these are some of the bands we have been likened to in the past, and we still love. Our current sound still has some of these influences in there like Kate Bush, Broken Social Scene, but we have very much opened our minds to new influences and sounds since the laundrette days. Collectively a few of our influences at the moment would be Radiohead, Arcade Fire, amongst current artists such as Grimes, Peace, Born Gold and too many to mention, every day is a new discovery of brilliant new music that holds some influence that invariably creeps into our music.

LTW: Do you reckon there will ever come a time when all interesting British female singers are not automatically compared to Kate Bush? Does it bother you at all?

Anna: I think that the limitations of being a female singer are that the comparisons could be less imaginative, ‘female fronted’ is still sometimes used as genre placing for a band and I think that there’s still a need to categorise female singers into sections that people understand- Kate Bush being interesting and mainstream, the comparisons naturally sway towards her. To be honest I adore Kate Bush and any comparison to her is well received, but yes, it bothers me that there are so many amazing female singers out there, who have to be branded to the ‘nearest decimal place’ because maybe we are still struggling to accept that a female voice can just be unique.

 

LTW: You’ve often seemed to be a bit on the edge of the Manchester scene, one foot in it but very much doing your own thing. Is Manchester a good place to be making music right now? Are you all from Manchester and if not what attracted you here?

Anna: Manchester is still a great city for music (the same reason for both Tom and I moving here). There are some great nights in Manchester and some good promoters. Manchester is what brought us all together. I’m from the Lake District, Tom is from the Northumberland wilds, Andy & Dan both grew up in Stockport so it’s all chance and fate that we’re all here now. Manchester is a great city to hide away and learn your craft in, but yes, to commit to a sound and root yourself entirely in one scene is limiting for a band, we want to be versatile and to ensure we can fit in amongst different scenes.

LTW: And I have to ask, how did you end up playing a gig in a launderette?

Anna: We just went in to do some laundry and got accosted..! no, we were approached by a promoter in Manchester about supporting a touring band called Real Fur, we loved their music and the idea of playing a gig whilst ensuring our whites were whiter than white was too much of a pull factor…

LTW: Are you putting the single out yourselves? Will there be physical copies?

Anna: Yes we are, we thought we’d put this first one out as a little hello again from us. We all love the Castle pub, our studio used to be a couple of doors down above one of the shops and many beers were drunk in there after our late night writing sessions. The back room has a lovely, intimate feel so it was an easy choice for us. We are going to be doing 100 limited addition CDs and we are also giving it away a digital download free to anyone who signs up to our newsletter on our website.

LTW: So what’s next after that?

Anna: We are just putting the finishing touches to what will be our first EP which we are hoping to release in May/June. Once we have done that we will either release another track from the EP as a single or some of the new material we are working on at the minute…We’ve been writing so much that we really feel our options are open with releases, which is a great place to be in. We have built our own little studio in the Northern Quarter and we are writing and recording our first album, which is very exciting.

LTW: Any other gigs coming up besides the single launch?

Anna: We are playing Sounds From The Other City in May, really excited for this, and with Kid Canaveral at Underachievers at the end of March. We’re also playing at Dulcimer, the last venue we played before we took our break, and Tom and I are local to Chorlton so really looking forward to this one too.

Tickets for the Castle gig are £5 from Wegottickets. For more about Letters To Fiesta and to get that free download, visit http://www.letterstofiesta.com/ . Interview by Cath Aubergine, more writing by Cath on Louder Than War can be found here.

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5 comments on “New band of the day: Letters To Fiesta”

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  1. the punk hypocrites

    Cath Aubergine haunts the manc music scene like some rude, red haired ghost from crusty east static early nineties soundtracked parties, oh and shes a vanity journalist don’t you know.
    Incapable of a kind word in public (unless you are a member of some turgid new band who in Aubergines sphere of consciousness sound great) Incapable of actual balanced anaylsis (this I believe is pretty key when being a journalist) in print. (sorry I mean blogs and silly sites like this)
    The reason you are not really a music journalist is because you give every band you review a glowing review: you are The Manchester Music vanity press. The day you and that Mr Robb crawl back to the turgid towns that spawned you clutching no doubt your Stone Roses and Chameleons records in your cold grasp is the day we can all move forward. You represent the old phoney ‘punk ethics’ of the past.
    I mean if Jon Robb is punk then Keith Chegwin was a memeber of The Ramones. Has there ever been a more tedious garrulous pair. So just ignore us I hear you say. If only it was that simple. You are the manc music mafia. Its impossible to go to a gig without one of your faces there holding court wittering on about the days of Factory old or this new band who sound like Gay Bikers On Acid (or whoever it may be)You are old, tedious and arrogant. The scene just supports each other I hear you say…no its just incestuous. I mean I dare anyone to say to Mr Robb that the stone roses reformation was dire. They could literally walk on stage dribble over a Sly Stone CD and Robb would give them five stars. I am sure you will either ignore this or highlight the fact that this was written anonymously – but as a member of a Mancunian band you have reviewed (glowingly) and the partner of someone you were outlandishly rude to (because they are not in a band I presume) I really can’t face having to deal with you and you cohorts around town.

    • It’s always best to write a comment when you are sober and it’s always far less cowardly to sign it off with your real name instead of hiding behind falsehoods.
      You slate these writers for writing about new bands and for also liking old bands, you claim they are a ‘mafia’ when they are anything but, you seem rather silly.

    • Just came on here to read about a good new young band and got side tracked by this dreadful comment from some bitter, spineless troll who is so brave and so sure of their opinion that they had to hide behind a fake name.
      The aptly named ‘punk hypocrite’ not only seems to be really stupid with a comment that is like the modern version of writing letters to local papers in crayon but is also a bitter and sad twat. Being a regular on the Manchester gig circuit I think I have an idea who it is as well and when I am sure I will put it out on facebook.

      1. Not sure why you are going on about ‘balanced anaylsis’ when you can’t even make a balanced comment. It’s great to read music writing from people who actually like music.
      2. the ‘vanity journalist’ is totally dumb- the writer of this piece has been a tirelessly pushing new music on various websites for years for no reward. Give me more glowing reviews please Cath- you have turned me on to some great stuff over the years.
      3. Not sure what you mean by ‘phoney punk ethics’ – stuff like having an opinion and not hiding behind spineless pseudonyms? actually being fans of music? always moving forward and not being a coward?
      4. Not sure why you reference Stone Roses and the Chameleons- two great bands but hardly everything that has been covered on the Louder Than War site.
      5. Not sure what a ‘memeber of the Ramones’ is , you may have to explain that.
      6. If you think Cath and ‘Jon’ Robb are Manchester music mafia because they go out to lots of gigs and review them, then that’s your problem. I’ve never heard either of them ‘witter’ let alone about the ‘old days of Factory’ . You have obviously made this bit up even if Factory put some great records out. They are just as likely to talk about new bands- like in this review which doesn’t ‘witter about Factory’ , in fact it’s only you that’s ‘wittering about Factory’. Sad old man that you are.

      7. Yes, i will highlight the fact that your comment was ‘written anonymously’ because that’s important. It shows you up for being a spineless, weak individual who has no confidence in what they say and likes to bully women from behing a keyboard. You, sir, are the curse of these times. A pathetic, weak troll.

  2. Wow, i honestly dont think you could have described Cath more incorrectly. If you weren’t so offensively off the mark it’d be laughable.
    Basically, you feel Cath has offended your girlfriend in some way, shape or form and you feel being a keyboard warrior is the perfect way to reassert your masculinity after failing to say anything to her in person.
    If you had the chance to realise how shy she actually is in person you might have had a chance to realise she is anything but arrogant and tedious.
    Id like to point out that i too am a musician, i dont know her personally but have on a few occasions talked in detail about music (what a surprise), both old and new, signed and unsigned. Im struggling to rememeber a time where she was “wittering on about the days of Factory old”. If anything, she’s fiercely pushing and relishing new music, without pay. “Vanity journalist”? She’s constantly out of town to catch both known and unknown acts around the UK. The whole “Manchester Music vanity press” statement is completely unfounded. Ridiculous even.
    Is there an age limit for live music? I think Lee Scratch Perry forgot about that one when he played in town recently.
    To conclude, we are all free to express ourselves. But maybe to talk in person is the more adult way of expressing yourself in certain situations. This, for example.
    Negative reviews could quite easily be published on this very site, but why would it stoop to trash when you can pick up a freshly printed shit rag like the NME and fill your hearts desires with the over hyped and swiftly punished.
    It is a good thing to have positive music press! It doesnt mean you personally have to like what they listen to.
    Here’s a sermon from a man who knew what music is about,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIpOvGbyVBU

  3. The sad thing about this post is that there really is a music mafia in Manchester – but you’ve got totally the wrong target; Cath and the type of journalism she represents are the cure to that, not the problem. Anyway, I won’t give this bitter, envious post any more than the minimal attention it deserves, apart from to say that I’ve known Cath personally and professionally for six years and have found her to be generous, loving and kind; we don’t always agree on everything, but in all instances I’ve found her far more professional than many of the paid (“professional”) journalists I’ve ever met.

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