There are three things that strike me about singer songwriter Fable. Firstly she’s filled with near-boundless amount of enthusiasm for her debut recordings. Secondly, she’s got some big plans in mind. She means to action these plans as well. You can tell by the way her eyes light up every time she refers to a new strand in her plan for global pop domination. Thirdly, she might just be attempting to steal my lighter.
Messing around with projects in the stifling insular confines of the Torbay band scene, she’s moved along the coast to Brighton, to make friends and music. A talented self-taught musician and vocalist, she’s got a clear idea of what she wants to sound like, something classical training wouldn’t offer her. “I wouldn’t have had this voice if I’d taken advice from singing teachers. They would be trying to make me sound like everyone else,” she tells me.
With a mother into reggae and a father into rock, she had plenty of diverse musical influences bouncing through her childhood. She’s assimilated, combined and mutated the sounds she grew with, to produce something sounding, well… little like any of them. Yet the reference points connecting to her inspirations remain, if you listen carefully enough.
Writing and recording tracks became an interesting process for Fable, but not always a smooth one. Although she was being paired with a range of different writers and producers, she felt that perhaps they weren’t truly writing for her. Then she ran into breaks-laden, electronic post-rock outfit Archive. Relatively unknown in their native Britain, Archive have enjoyed phenomenal success across Europe. They quickly understood the dark, twisted and cinematic sound the young Fable was trying to develop. Finally this collaboration provided the elusive natural-feeling relationship she strived for. Now she’s working with people who ignore convention, and share her frustration with the speed of evolution in music. “We’re going to do something a bit crazed. Scare people… That’s what we want to do!”
Like her namesake, many Fable tracks immerse the listener in a momentary fictional world, all of them with a subtle message about modern existence. A continuing theme in all of her output deals with the issues people get worked up about. She appreciates even the smallest thing can affect a larger picture. Over-dramatic perhaps, but there lies something compelling in the dark theatrics of Fable’s music. This merging of music and storytelling has led to mutterings hailing her as the new David Bowie in some dark corners. A bold statement, but it is a sanguinity that could be realised.
Now a five track EP is in the can, with more songs ready to be recorded. The only public offering presently is a solitary track on Soundcloud, but that alone succinctly demonstrates the power and depth of Fable’s music. A little bit of luck and a whole heap of talent has resulted in her guest appearance on the eagerly awaited new Orbital album, which is due for release this autumn. Hopefully, hot on the heels of that release, will be Fable’s debut LP.
Adamant live performance is where her main interest lies, but Fable is unconcerned about the difficulties of recreating her complex studio sound. Gathering a band together, including two members of Skin’s solo project, she’s promising shows with no backing tracks, determined to provide audiences with an experience beyond the confines of a mere CD.
Relishing the opportunity to develop a whole stage show, Fable approaches gigs as a rounded performance, rather than a simple rendition of an album. She also wants to include visual elements to complement the music. “It’s supposed to be entertainment. It’s not just standing there with a microphone singing a sad song.”
So has she finally found her calling? It seems all remaining now is for Fable to fine-tune her image, and slowly introduce herself and her work to the world. She appreciates it’s harder for women in music, raising the question if Miley Cyrus’ behaviour is down to her own mistakes or a purely cynical marketing plot. But it’s the fans she feels sorry for. “They haven’t got their own identity, they’re just twerking puppets. That’s what it’s come to.”
Bold comparisons aside, there’s a certain buzz and air of possibility around Fable right now. She’s plating a gig at Brighton’s The Hope on Thu 31 July, at an undisclosed location. I know quite a few people who’ll be making sure they attend, just to see what the noise is about. What about my lighter? Let’s just say certain things are inevitable.
By Stuart Rolt
Images: © David Levine Photography
Fable plays The Hope in Brighton on Thu 31 July, 2014