London group Rumours may have formed in the UK capital, but their branches extend way beyond, with the members derived from Italy and Norway and their fanbase found scattered all across Europe. Strongly supported in their adopted hometown, Rumours have been going from strength to strength thanks to hard work on tour and in the studio, and so there's no doubt at all that they've earned their reward of performing on the beach at Dimensions Festival this year. Having heard they're a lovely bunch as well, we caught up with Mark, Fede and Marion to see if we could substantiate the rumours.
Hi guys! Mark and Fede have been working together on musical projects since a very early age at home in Italy. What was it that encouraged you both to get into making music?
Mark: Our families have had the biggest influence on us, Fede comes from a family of established dancers and choreographers and Mark’s dad is a Jazz pianist and composer. Their encouragement and support has been vital in helping us realise how gratifying and exciting making music is.
Marion, who hails from Norway, joined the band in 2014 when you all met in London. How did that change the dynamic of the group?
Mark: Well we can say that Rumours was actually born when we started working all together. Obviously we all had to get know each other and find the best way to make the most of everyone’s input, but it doesn’t feel as if she joined halfway through or anything like that - Rumours is the three of us combined.
You were among the latest additions to Dimensions in Croatia, which is easily up there with the best summer festivals in Europe. How exciting is the prospect of performing under the warm Croatian sun?
Mark: Oh man! We really can’t wait! We are heading over to Pula with quite a big group of friends and fellow musicians to enjoy the whole festival together with us. We’re sure that this performance will be a key moment in our musical careers. We have attended Outlook for 3 years in the past so we know the location very well, and we are super hyped to perform on the beach on the last day!
How does playing to a new audience at festivals compare to playing your own shows?
Marion: Here in London we’re lucky enough to have a lot of support from friends and fans that we’ve met along the way, and a lot of familiar faces show up every time we play and it just seems to increase from show to show. So we hope that bringing our music to festivals where almost no one knows us will help spread our name and increase our following. It’s a great chance to try and prove ourselves and to test our music on ‘fresh ears’.
We always feel that every time we’re able to engage an audience of complete strangers and get them to dance and have fun with us, those times really make our confidence grow and it gives us great inspiration that we transfer into our music and our future shows.
Your recorded music is produced with a great deal of attention placed on the use of interesting production techniques and electronic audio effects, so can it be difficult to reproduce this live?
Fede: Yeah it was extremely difficult to arrange the live set in the beginning because we were only 3 people and we had a lot of parts to play. When we started we had a lot of sounds on the backing tracks, which made everything easier but not as exciting in terms of performance both for the audience and us.
We are all passionate musicians and even though we do electronic pop music we love a good performance, so we have decided to introduce a fourth person, our bestie Jason who plays synth bass and all the vocals samples live with Ableton push. Our sound engineer Phil also plays a major role in shaping up our live set, and we feel that considering the resources we have we’ve reached a pretty solid point with our live set.
For those who haven’t seen you perform, can you give us an idea of what you all do during live performances?
Fede: So at the moment there are 4 of us on stage. Marion on Vocals, Mark on vocals, piano and synth, Jason on synth bass and Ableton push, Fede plays drums and triggers the backing tracks and last but not least Phil does our sound and all the live fx. We all have such a good time playing together live, and that’s what we hope people will notice - and have a good time with us.
Marion: I also throw a very strange concoction of impulsive dance moves into the mix. It just happens.
How have your home countries shaped the Rumours sound that you produce today?
Mark: It’s quite hard to say, as artists we’re not really fully aware of where all our influences come from, they just end up there in the music. The UK, especially London, has such a diverse music scene and being able to live here has influenced us in many ways, as there is inspiration from all kinds of genres being thrown at you all the time. This is also a city that has a lot of talented artists and it makes us not take what we do for granted. It keeps us on our toes.
The production value of your tracks is really strong; which artists would you say have inspired you most in terms of production?
Fede: There are so many… Phaeleh is up there on the list of favourite producers. Also the album ‘Goddess’ by Banks has been a real source of inspiration, some phenomenal producers worked on that record including Shlohmo and Lil Silva, to name a couple.
Are you proponents of digital or analogue instruments and recording techniques?
Fede: In terms of synths we use a combination of analogue and digital, mostly hardware though. We try to use what we have ‘in house’ to produce our music so when it comes to playing live it’s easier to reproduce. We use no particular recording techniques, we have a humble home studio with no desk, and no fancy preamps so when it comes to recording synths we simply record midi to audio and the rest is done in post production.
Finally, let’s finish off with a piece of music. Is there a certain track outside of dance music that has had a particularly profound impression on the way you write?
Marion: I discover new favourite songs and find inspiration in new music every day, and I guess I’m still learning how to write. Bjork’s fearless songwriting and melodies have always inspired me, I really like the song ‘Jóga’.
Mark: It’s hard to name a single track, but ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” had a big role in me wanting to write music.
Fede: When I started thinking of music as a potential career I was a massive The Roots fan (I still am). I’d say their first album ‘Organix’ had a big impact on me and how I approach music in general.
Rumours play at Dimensions Festival on the final day this year, Sunday 3rd September. The festival, which takes place at Fort Punta Christo in Croatia, has an abundance of talent from across the globe, with Grace Jones, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson and Ata Kak among those performing.
Picture courtesy of Rumours