► Furlo formed in 2007. How did the band initially come together? And what inspired the band name?
Ruairi Connolly : Well Stephen and I had already been in a band in the past. Jonny and him at the time were playing cover gigs together around the bar and pubs with a percussionist called Ravi Sharma. At the time I had just left a band and by chance I walked into a bar one day where these guys were playing, there just happened to be a bass sitting there, so we started to jam and the rest is history. It wasn’t long till we were practicing a few times a week in the old Limavady working house writing original material. The name was Jonny and Stephens creation, at the time we were all on the brew, those guys came across the word ‘furlough’ which means ‘A usually temporary layoff from work’, so it kind of fit so we went with it. I still believe ‘the charcoaled kittens and the monster dogs’ was better name though.
► You originally existed for 2/3 years as a 4 piece band, what made you decide to add a keyboardist to the ranks?
We always wanted that bigger sound, and so we kept saying “one day we’ll get a keys player” which kind of turned in to an in band joke, until a close friend of ours (Daveit Ferris) put us in the direction of a one Mr Gavin McGee and it’s been a blissful marriage ever since. With our second EP (Signature) we messed around with keys and sounds, after coming away from those recording sessions we realised that a more prominent keys/synth direction was where we wanted to take this band.
► The band signed to local label, yogen records just over a year ago. What has changed for furlo since yogen came on board?
Its actually about a year and a half ago now, it was at the end of the summer of 2010. A lot has happened since then, we’ve released two successful singles ‘Your Entire Glows’ and ‘Lo Hi’ (which was chosen as The Northwest200 theme tune last year and will be for the foreseeable future). The BBC really got behind the single campaign which helped push the song even further. As well as that we played loads of festivals last year and a handful of high profile gigs, with the likes of ‘The Enemy’ and ‘Chapel club’ amongst others. We were also involved with last year’s Arthur’s day celebrations were only a selected few NI bands were chosen. It’s been such a pleasure working with these guys (Yogen). From day one they’ve felt just like an extension of the band, and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve many more exciting things in the pipeline for this year so keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground!
► Having played the awesome glasgowbury festival for 5 years in a row at this point, what makes you continue to want to play it? Is it different each time? Do you aspire to headline the main stage?
Yeah I’m sure every band who plays at the Glasgowbury festival dreams of one day headlining it, and to do it in front of your peers and the people who drive you would just be that cherry on top! So yeah if that ever happened it would be a-dream-come true for us for sure. It just such a wonderful musical event and always something to look forward to. It’s funny because you run into so many people you know and sometimes the last time you seen them was at the festival the year before. It’s always a highlight in our gigging calendar, long may we continue to be part of it.
“I suppose it’s best to take your time at these kind of things to find a title that’s feels right as once you decide to go with something its immortalised forever; I guess we are still waiting on that light bulb moment!”
► The band is currently working on its debut album, how far into the process are you?
Yeah we’re currently working hard on demoing tracks at the minute which are coming along really well. Don’t think we’ve ever felt this excited about a released and we can’t wait to get these tunes out there. But the hard work won’t start for a few months yet, then we’ll be taking these ideas and demos into the studio to start work on the actually album itself. But we’re looking forward to it, piecing together which tunes work together for the album is always the fun part, we’ve got a rough idea but nothings set in stone yet. Exciting times!!
► Having released two successful EP’s and subsequent singles, what made you decide to start work on a full length album as opposed to another EP?
Well we actually were about to release our 3rd EP at the start of last year. We had the Artwork and EP campaign all ready to go but when we heard the finished product it just didn’t sound how we wanted it to so we decided to pull the plug and release a single instead (Your Entire Glows). Since then we’ve been writing towards an album release, after a few EP’s and singles it was time to bring out the big guns.
► How is the songwriting process worked out within furlo? Are there main writers or is it a complete collaborative process amongst the five of you?
Jonny and I would usually work away at the songs. Each song would be different to the next, sometimes I may have a bass line and Jonny might have some lyrics floating about and we’d fuse the two together then mess around with it structurally, or Jonny may have a rough idea for a song, he’ll take it to me were we’ll jam it out, I’ll add my ideas then we’ll restructure and arrange it. After that process we’d take it to the rest of the boys to add their thoughts and input. At the moment we’re in a really good place song writing wise; we’re excited about the songs we haven’t wrote yet … something’s definitely in the air!
► Is the musical direction of furlo a snug marriage between all members, or is there often heated debates about which direction to work toward?
In the early days of the band there was a few debates between members about different styles we wanted to explore. Our first drummer Ravi and myself were big into long lengthy tunes, whereas Jonny and Stephen were swaying more to the radio friendly unit shifters; no more than 3 and a half minutes. But it wasn’t long until we realised you can’t get too self indulged in your own musically tastes. Lately we’re all more or less on the same page but from time to time we’ll have the odd argument about it but nothing major yet. I’ve probably just jinked us.
► Where will you be recording the debut album, and who is the producer likely to be?
It’s being recorded at a location supplied by our record label and Marc Le Saux is currently one of the producers we’ll be working with.
► Can you give us any working titles?
As its stands .. ‘Echos’, ‘Shake’ and ‘Drink with your friends’ are definite songs that will make it into the album. As for the album title we’re still playing around with names and ideas, I suppose it’s best to take your time at these kind of things to find a title that’s feels right as once you decide to go with something its immortalised forever; I guess we are still waiting on that light bulb moment!
► Furlo bassist Ruairi recently released a solo EP under the moniker ‘owl parliament’; are any of the other members of furlo planning a solo outing prior to the release of the debut furlo album?
Yeah there’s a lot of solo activity happening at the moment in the Furlo camp. Stephen, Jonny and i are all working on separate solo projects in-between working on this Furlo record, so you all should be expecting a lot of EP’s in the not so distant future! I think jonnys will be out late March – I’ve heard a few demos which are sounding great! Hopefully mine will be released late February, Shortly followed by Stephens. So yeah, we’re all busy writing away at the moment.
► How is 2012 going to be different for the band than 2011?
I know its pretty clichéd but we do believe 2012 will open many doors for Furlo. With the release of our debut album that we’re all buzzing about and an English/Irish tour planned amongst other things, we’re confident that we’ll make a big dirty dent in the music scene this year; it’s definitely our time to shine!
► Finally, which NI Bands are you tipping for great things in 2012?
At the moment there’s so many amazing NI band popping their furry heads out of the woodwork! We really do have a relentless machine on this island pumping out great talent and long may it reign! We played a gig a few months back with Antrim’s ‘Havana House Party’ and they just blew me away – definitely a band to look out for in 2012. ‘Mojo GoGo’ are another great band from Derry/Donegal, who are going from strength to strength at the moment. Not forgetting our good friend ‘Rainy Boy Sleep’, who will no doubt shine in 2012! We have to big up a few bands from our hometown of Limavady so check out the mighty ‘Exit Pursued by Bear’, ‘We are Burkes Lounge’ and ‘Chase Atlantis’ – 3 fantastic bands making waves in the local scene at the moment.