Feb 09, 2023
By Dom Gourlay
Photography by Tobias Widman
Malmo, Sweden-based four-piece FEWS have released a new single, “Get Out,” today (Thursday 9th February) on Gothenburg based independent label Welfare Sounds. “Get Out” follows on from “Massolit”—their first new music in over three years—which came out last November and is the second single to be taking from the band’s forthcoming third album Glass City, which they have also announced today.
The four-piece – Fred Rundquist (vocals & guitar), Jacob Olson (guitar), Jay Clifton (bass) and Rasmus Andersson (drums) – have been working on Glass City since releasing their second long player Into Red at the tail end of 2019. However, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and logistical issues, the album is finally ready to go and bares all the hallmarks of its creators at their exhilarating best. Comprised of ten songs in total, the full tracklisting for Glass City is as follows :-
In the meantime, FEWS gave Under the Radar an exclusive insight into the making of Glass City, signing to a new label, what to expect from their forthcoming tour and the pressures of being a DIY band.
Dom Gourlay (Under the Radar): “Massolit” was an incredible comeback single in November and “Get Out” is equally great. How long have you been sitting on these songs?
Fred Rundquist: I’d say there’s been a bit of a delay. “Massolit” was recorded over a year ago. Since then, we had to find a label which was so hard and also a booking agency now, because everything just stopped in the middle of Covid. It’s almost like we had to start all over again.
So, were the rest of the songs on Glass City written around the same era as “Massolit” or do some date back even further?
Jacob Olson: I’d say around the same time as the Dog EP in 2020. Maybe a little bit after.
Jay Clifton: There were a couple of songs written at the same time as the EP. “Yoga Instructor” was written before the EP, so that’s around three years old.
Will there be any more singles off the album?
Fred Rundquist: No, there’s gonna be one more called “Strafe”.
Jay Clifton: That’s coming out on March 17th, I think. We’ll have that release date confirmed soon.
In terms of finding a label, how did you end up working with Welfare Sounds?
Fred Rundquist: I met Fredrik (Andersson) that owns the label at South By Southwest (SXSW) in 2016. He was there because he was working with Henrik (Nystrom) from PIAS which was our old record label. After we got dropped from PIAS we didn’t know what to do. So, we sent the album to loads of people and no one replied as usual. But then I thought of Fredrik. He has his own label in Gothenburg. So, I just sent it to him and he was like, “Yeah, let’s fucking do it!” So here we are.
Will you be playing all of the songs from the new album on your forthcoming tour in April?
Jay Clifton: I’d like to think we’ll play at least 50% of them. It’s going to be fun!
The London show has already sold out and been moved to a bigger venue. Were you expecting that kind of response when you announced the tour?
Fred Lundquist: Yeah, definitely. Because we thought that people would’ve forgotten about us basically since we haven’t released an album for four years. You’re always thinking, “I wonder if it’s anyone’s gonna come to the shows or anything?” so yeah, it was super overwhelming.
Jay Clifton: The London show has moved from The Shacklewell Arms to the Moth Club, which we’re really happy about. We haven’t been to the UK for so long, so to have a lot of people still remember us is really nice.
Have you got any more shows lined up later this year? Will you be playing any festivals this summer?
Fred Rundquist: Just yesterday we decided to work with a booking agency.
Jay Clifton: They’re called El Borracho, so hopefully we’ll be back on tour later in the year. We’ve very loosely mentioned playing some shows in Autumn. Festivals we’re a bit late for now, but hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze a couple in towards the back end of the year.
Fred and Rasmus have been playing, recording and touring with Hater recently. Will you continue to work with Hater now FEWS are back?
Fred: FEWS has always been our main project, but sometimes you have to focus on other projects too so I think we’ll still do stuff with Hater. But this has always been our baby.
There does seem to be a lot of really interesting Swedish bands at the minute. How would you say the scene is in Malmo at the minute compared to other parts of Sweden or Scandinavia?
Jacob Olson: There’s a good venue in Malmo called Plan B. There’s a lot of bands that could play there, so it’s a really nice venue to have in such a small city. Quite a few large fans play there, but we’re kind of competing with Copenhagen a bit, so I don’t know. As far as local bands go, there’s a few cool ones.
Jay Clifton: Malmo doesn’t seem to have much of a particular scene. There’s a lot of different genres happening here.
Jacob Olson: It seems like there’s a big indie scene, but there isn’t that much happening from my perspective.
I think that’s really interesting, because if I compare it to somewhere like Gothenburg there seems to be a lot of bands coming out of there and many influenced by eighties indiepop and early nineties shoegaze.
Fred Rundquist: I don’t know why that is but Gothenburg definitely has more of a “poppy” sound for some reason.
So, apart from the new album, what else can we expect from your forthcoming live sets?
Jay Clifton: we don’t know yet, but it’s definitely a mix of all three albums. There’s a few songs from our first album, Means. There’s a few songs from Into Red, possibly one from Dog. There’ll be four or five from Glass City. That’s what we’re doing now. Meeting once or twice a week and trying to put together a set. We’ll play for an hour, but it’s hard to choose now that we have three albums and one EP. I’m trying to make the set flow nicely as well and you have to have to think about it. But we’re practicing more now on the new songs and specifically working on one song per rehearsal to try and make them sound better, which feels good. We haven’t really done that much before, so it feels quite nice working on dynamics. We want to make sure that these shows are really good.
Fred Rundquist: That really is the first time we’ve tried.
Jay Clifton: Before, when we were playing all the time, we just got good at shows. We’d be dying after two weeks of shows. The shows would be great of the time. But now we’re not playing so much and we’ve had such a long time away from the UK and shows, it feels like we need to start all over again. We want people to love it again.
Does it feel in a way like unfinished business? Because quite a lot of people probably won’t have seen you touring Into Red or even playing those songs live, never mind the new record with Covid happening just a few months after it came out. Does it feel like you’re making up for lost time?
Fred Rundquist: Definitely, yeah. I would say that.
Jay Clifton: I think that’s why we want to really play good shows, because when we announced the tour, it got a better reaction than when we announced new music. So, I think that means there are people who are wanting to see us play live again. It almost feels like this tour is more important than the actual releasing of new music in some way. Hopefully people really like these new songs. It’s always hard to know.
Fred Rundquist: I think it’s easier to release music than to play a show, because when you release a song or an album, you can’t really do anything about it. People either like it or they don’t. But when you’re playing a show, you can actually do something about it and hopefully make it sound good.
Jay Clifton: Also, not many people have seen us play songs off Into Red.
That’s a fair point. I think if you make a good impression live people are going to come back for more. It leaves more of a lasting impression than just hearing a song on the radio. I also think there is an appetite now for live music again after Covid. Beforehand, people may have taken bands playing live and touring for granted, but after having that interrupted for eighteen months or so there seems to be a general feeling that people had better go and see their favourite artists play when they’re touring because you might not get the chance to see them again. Is it a similar mindset for you guys as well, particularly having been away from touring for so long?
Fred Rundquist: Yeah, definitely. Especially now, because we’ve booked this tour ourselves. We thought it would be easier doing it ourselves, but then when it comes to booking a European tour, that’s a whole different ball game. Then you need to actually think about the routes. Some of the drives aren’t too much. They’re not too far away.
Jay Clifton: We had more contacts in the UK, where we’ve played shows before or cities that have gone well. It’s so much easier and more condensed to do, rather than writing to a promoter in Rotterdam or Paris or Berlin. That’s much more of a headache to plan, so, hopefully El Borracho are going to fix that. It’s like we’ve already mentioned as well, people seem to be more keen on seeing us play live. We still get people writing to us asking when are we touring? When are you playing a show? Whereas they rarely ask when we have new music or a new single out. Everyone’s always said we’re a live band, and this album definitely sounds more live. That was the plan from day one. Rusty especially was keen on that idea, and it’s worked super well. Less production
Rasmus Andersson: We wanted to get the feeling of who we actually are when we play live rather than over producing it.
You’ve been making music for a while now. What advice would you give to a new band that’s just starting out? What would you tell them to do? What would you tell them to avoid?
Fred Rundquist: We’re experimenting with doing it on our own now, so it’s quite hard to say.
Jay Clifton: We’ve been with a label and had some money from a label so I don’t know. That classic cliche of everyone saying just do it all yourself. Keep on going. Keep on playing loads of shows. Don’t give anyone the rights to your music. I’m not sure that helps many people break through actually? It’s almost like cutting your nose off to spite your face, isn’t it? If a label turns up and says, here some money if you go with this label and everything else is going to happen automatically. Then great. Why would you say no? Nowadays, people are getting pretty big just by putting a recording of themselves on TikTok, so maybe now to do it yourself is bigger than ever because there’s more outlets, especially social media outlets. But it feels good now we’re a bit more DIY. We’ve obviously then needed the help of a label, Welfare Sounds, and now we’ve decided we need the help of a booking agent after booking our own tour, even though that went easy. There is so much work to do, and when you’re not earning a wage from a band you can’t be doing that all day.
Jacob Olson: But if you’re young and have a lot of energy, you’re getting student loans and shit, you can just do it. It doesn’t really matter.
I guess people in bands nowadays have to be experts in so many other fields too. You’ve got to be your own booking agent. You’ve got to be a musician. You’ve got to be a social media expert. You’ve got to be a tour manager. You’ve got to be a driver. You have to do so many things as well as make music. Mainly because no one’s really making any money unless you’re at the top end of the scale like U2 or Arctic Monkeys. No one’s making like a significant living from music. It’s the same all across the board, whether you’re a promoter or even a music writer. Most people now have at least one other job because there’s no way of making a living from music, which is really sad.
Jay Clifton: Exactly. I mean, we have learned to do most of those jobs ourselves. We learned a lot from our old manager Craig (Caukill) and the PIAS days. We’ve always driven ourselves around on tour. You can do all of that stuff, but we still need some kind of income to make that happen and keep things ticking over. That’s when we decided we needed some help there. We can’t just lay down £2000 on 300 vinyls and then another £2000 on a tour that hasn’t happened yet, et cetera, et cetera.
Rasmus Andersson: My advice is probably avoid the music industry, be rich and don’t get old!
Jay Clifton: You know, my advice would be to do a Sleaford Mods kind of thing. Avoid being in a four- or five-piece band!
“Get Out” is out now on on all digital and streaming platforms.
Glass City is scheduled for release on Friday 14th April via Welfare Sounds. FEWS will be touring extensively throughout 2023, calling in at the following :-
APRIL 22 – Plan B, Malmö, Sweden
APRIL 26 – Moth Club, London
APRIL 27 – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate
APRIL 28 – Rough Trade, Nottingham (w/The Dirt & TR^NKS)
APRIL 29 – Lending Room, Leeds
APRIL 30 – YES, Manchester
MAY 1 – Exchange, Bristol