Interview Peter Fallowell (Multifuse)

“The music was always there in the back of my mind”

(November 2010, text by Henri Strik, edited by Peter Willemsen, live pictures by Bo Hansen)

Recently I discovered the musical project Multifuse which is the brainchild of Peter Fallowell, an Englishman living in France. In 2008 this multi-instrumentalist recorded -together with singer Cherie Emmitt and bass player Tom Allen - the fantastic debut album Journey To The Nesting Place. However, until now it never got the attention it deserved. Therefore Background Magazine invited Peter Fallowell to tell us a bit more about his project Multifuse.

Can you first tell me why you moved from England to France? 

Peter Fallowell: “My wife and I needed a new adventure since we couldn't have a family of our own. As we both speak French we thought we would try it in France especially for the wonderful climate. However, just before we moved to France my wife became pregnant with our last IVF-attempt! We now have a lovely son!”

Why did you choose the name Multifuse for the band? 

“Well, that was because of the many musical influences I have like rock, classical music, jazz, pop and also progressive rock.”

Peter Fallowell

I guess Crooked Cat Music is your own label. Can you tell me why you started it? 

“I want artistic freedom in order to express myself honestly. That's why I set up the label like a lot of artists did before me.”

Journey To The Nesting Place (review) is your debut album that took you sixteen years. Why did it take so long time and what's the concept behind this album?  

“It was a hobby and a place I would go to when I wasn't teaching music. There was no urgency as I was earning a living. It was always there at the back of my mind, but I knew I had to bring it to the world one day. The idea behind the album was to express feelings people don't talk about like inner fears, things we search for and weaknesses we don't want to admit.”

Why do we have to regard the album as a 'modern symphony'? Do you have to listen to it as a whole? 

“I would like to tell it as a musical story, like a symphony and although you can listen to the tracks individually it makes more sense to listen from the beginning to the end. I don't like to just write ten songs and then assemble them in an album, but who knows? Maybe, I could do that in the future.”

On the cover we see a man walking in a wood, but it looks as if he doesn't belong in the picture.  

“That's just the point! We are all looking for somewhere we can fit in and be comfortable with ourselves. Most people sit at the same place when they are at the dining table in their home.”

I see, but does this rather strange cover have a meaning?  

“Yes, it's a picture of a man's body with a baby's head to represent the fact hat we all are children. Adults are just children with more experience!”

Sometimes the music sounds a bit like Supertramp like the way you play the electric piano. Have you been influenced by them or do you have other musical references?    

“No, I'm not really consciously influenced by Supertramp.  What I do like are the vocals of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the passion of Magma, the power drumming of Buddy Rich in his jazz bands and the mad guitar in King Crimson!

Would you please introduce the other two people that helped you to record this beautiful album?

Tom Allen was our bassist for Journey To The Nesting Place and throughout the recordings he worked very hard to get the right sound and intonation. His playing contributed perfectly to the overall sound. Fabio Fecchio has joined us for future recordings and for playing live. He's a talented bass player who's is very quick to pick things up. It's good to have a solid rock performer in the band. He's from near Venice and replied to an advertisement I put on a French website even though he's an Italian! Cherie Emmitt has been singing for a long time and is a vocal coach. She has enjoyed doing solo gigs, but this is a new and - hopefully - a rewarding challenge for her. Our voices seem to compliment each other as there are a lot of harmonies involved during recordings.”

Cherie Emmitt & Alain Castel

Did you already perform the album on a live stage and which musicians do you work with during live performances?

“We have now performed live three times, twice here in Lorgues and recently at The Summers End Festival in Lydney.  Playing live obviously differs from the studio, but with the help of our 'Live Multifusians', I think it went down very well. To help us live we have Ben Nash from the U.K. on guitar. He never stops trying to improve his playing even when we say it's good! On keyboards we have Alain Castel from La Londe near Lorgues in France. He has played in many bands and is very experienced with synths and live playing. The other keyboard player is Jean-Marie Groud who has played mainly classical music and thus is a good partner for Alain. He lives in Paris and has a flat in Epernay.  We used a local choir on a few tracks for the first Lorgues gig. It was impossible for the others to join because of travel and costs involved! On backing vocals we have used the services of Manuel Destanque, Violette d'Ambra and Emma Tucker who helped to create the harmony 'block' that I like.”

Lately you played at the latest Summer's End Festival in England. How did the audience react to you music? 

“We were surprised at the wonderful applause we received from the audience and although this was our first UK-gig some already knew about us from the internet and friends. We loved every minute of it and hope to arrange a tour, so we can develop our live performances and make new friends.”

How was the response from the press and the public about your debut album? I myself discovered it two years after its release through a Russian friend!

“Well, very positive indeed, especially as we are new and it can take some time to appreciate unknown material. It's very interesting and sometimes surprising to read the artists with whom we have been compared.”

I think you already started to work on a follow-up album. When will it be released and does it have a concept as well? 

“I hope to have it released by next summer and it's about the things that make us very sad but also happy in our lives. I like extremes, you know! The album has the working title of 'HOO' which I will explain later...”

Tom Allen

Is there any chance you will be doing more live shows in the rest of Europe after releasing the second album? 

“We really would like to plan a European tour. I also have an idea of the 'Vineyard Tour' which would be in the major castles of France.”

Have you got any future plans you would like to mention?  

“It would be great to play at a major festival. Personally, I'm always looking to improve my orchestration skills as I love to study orchestration and harmony even though I'm the drummer live! I want to use my studio more and I would be happy to work with other artists if I can help in any way as a producer, engineer, and arranger or just as a friend.”

Would you please give some web information for people who want to know more about Multifuse?

“At the moment people can find out more by looking on and”

Peter thank you for answering my questions and good luck with your music.

“It's a pleasure, thank you.”

More info about Multifuse on the Internet:
     - website Multifuse (with samples)
     - Peter Fallowell on the Power Of prog
     - review 'Journey To The Nesting Place'
     - Crooked Cat Music

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