Patrick Widdess Talks to Fuzzy Lights

Patrick Widdess Talks to Fuzzy Lights
Local Cambridgeshire Artist

Cambridgeshire five-piece Fuzzy Lights’ third album Rule of Twelfths is out this week following a launch party at The Portland Arms. I meet members Rachel Watkins who founded the group with her husband Xavier, Chris Rogers and Dan Carney in the dressing room prior to the gig. They are relaxed about the launch of the album which, having been completed six months ago, no longer feels that new. ‘It’s more of a relief’ says Rachel; singer, violinist and keyboardist. ‘We wrote a couple of the songs whilst touring the last album.’ The recording itself was a speedy process, recorded in four days at Limehouse Studios in London.

It’s the first time they have recorded an album in one go and the band agree that it’s a tighter record with the best moments condensed into shorter songs or ‘distilled like a fine whiskey,’ as bassist Dan puts it. The band’s earlier work consisted of sprawling improvised pieces and improvisation is still an important part of their work. ‘It’s all part of the refining process,’ guitarist Chris explains. ‘There were two or three songs we were working on and didn’t know how to finish. We’d spend half an hour playing around and figure out what was working best.’ The result is an album of that has the variety of an improvised jam and the focus and structure of refined compositions.

The band have moved away from instrumental pieces to include more songs on this album. ‘Xav and I started writing songs at home on acoustic guitar,’ Rachel recalls. ‘It’s been hard for me to practise the violin since we had our son. Xav would be practising his guitar and I’d end up singing.’ This led to the group adding vocals to more of the pieces they were working on including standout album tracks Summer’s Tide and Restless.

The band’s music seems to be a soundtrack to their East Anglian home with haunting instrumentals evoking images of misty fenland. In fact, none of the members are from the fens and the new album’s title is partly an attempt to counteract that association. ‘The rule of twelfths is a rule for estimating tide levels,’ Dan explains. ‘There was an accidental aquatic theme to the album. We had various ideas for the title and that seemed to be the one that described the songs best.’ According to Chris it brings to mind ‘beaches on the Norfolk Coast’ rather than the fens.
Fuzzy Lights
In addition to a strong local fan base the band have gained national attention with past albums receiving widespread critical acclaim and airplay. It has been over a year since the band played outside Cambridge and they are looking forward to playing further afield. First though, they have an album to launch which they do spectacularly with an electrifying set that includes a range of their earlier material alongside the new songs. The band prove they are as accomplished on stage as they are in the studio with a polished performance and an immense sound that the gig room at the Portland can barely contain.

Rule of Twelfths is out now on Little Red Rabbit via

Read Moving Tone's review here.

Writer and Photographer: Patrick Widdess