Fossa (noun): an anatomical pit or depression - such as the temporal fossa of the skull, or the fossa ovalis of the heart. A definition embodied by the band themselves who viscerally shape their music around matters of the heart and mind. Fossa’s debut EP Sea Of Skies sees its official release as Louis, Tom, Will and Joseph take their career forth in response to organic early intrigue from major tastemakers.
Sea Of Skies synthesises classic song structures and melodies with a bold experimental edge. In these four songs, the rustic feel of acoustic instrumentation is brought together with digital elements that lend density and colour, coupling genuine emotion with exploratory sounds.
Grizzly Bear and The Antlers are indisputable influences, but it is the intimate and haunted hedonism of late Talk Talk that has most shaped the mood and texture of Fossa’s first release. Lead single ‘Five Days’ is a profound love-song about falling for someone over the course of five days - an abstract, scattergun stream of consciousness growing increasingly obsessive around the hooked refrain of 'you gotta be mine'. Closing the EP, ‘Swan Song’ reflects on the break-up of the relationship formed in ‘Five Days’, bringing the record full circle. ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Sea of Trees’ also explore the idea of a 'life cycle' – depicting metaphorical journeys that become progressively darker and wilder.
The band’s natural curiosity for the experimental is evident in the opening moments of Sea Of Skies, where home-made instruments and samples of household objects can be heard. Details like these were assiduously developed during an intense process of recording and production at Smokehouse Studios, near the flat that the band shares in East London. Such close quarters are far from a burden for the foursome; rather a habit of firm friendship from a young age.
Lead songwriter Louis Shadwick (vocals, guitar, keys) met guitarist Tom Dunning when he was only 14 and they quickly discovered they were on a musical wavelength, creating material together at every available opportunity. Tom's twin brother Will (bass, programming) brought the technical know-how that kick-started Fossa’s use of electronic elements. Joseph Malpas (drums), who learned his trade playing in jazz and classical groups, met Tom whilst gigging at University, where the pair became close friends.
Louis was brought up in a very musical household, particularly via his dad Keith - a jazz musician and music critic who wrote books on Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Bill Evans. While his songwriting exhibits the diverse influences that have been with him since childhood, Louis’ first thought is always to create words and melodies that stay with the listener. This emphasis on the song is essential to the instrumentation itself, where the lyrics are treated by the band as a storyboard for the music – every detail geared towards the core feel of the song.
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