There was enough promise in Fenech-Soler's 2010 debut to suggest that they would eventually move on to bigger and better things. It took a little longer than expected - almost exactly three years - but they released a marvellous second album in the form of Rituals at the end of September, and have been fortunate enough to enjoy a great 2013.

The Northamptonshire quartet are rounding off the year with a UK tour, which finishes this week in London. We got the opportunity to ask Ross Duffy some questions about the record and the tour itself, as well as a surprising European support slot they have coming up...

What sort of things have changed for the band in the three years since the self-titled debut was released?

I guess we've been on quite a journey; touring the first record, travelling to places we never thought we'd go, building a studio and now having a new album that we made ourselves. I think our attitudes towards being in a band have changed while making Rituals. I personally feel I've grown as a song writer, and I think the other guys would agree that they've changed and got better as musicians. Having self-produced the record, we're continually learning and trying new things so it's certainly been a time of change.

Is there anything you learned from writing that record that you tried to apply to the making of Rituals?

The first album felt like someone came in and told us to draw a line under the songs we had written over a few years, whereas with the second album, we started from scratch. At the start of making Rituals, it did feel a bit like we had to rethink it all, so I suppose we started again. The only way we felt we could move forward was to close ourself off from the world and lock the door. We recorded days and days of sounds that somehow became 12 songs in the end. There was a few albums worth of songs that didn't make it.

What did you enjoy the most about the run of festival slots you played this year?

We were so ready to stretch our legs and minds. We had been cooped up for the best part of a year, so it was nice to test the new songs and see what people thought. Luckily the reaction was good and that for us felt brilliant. The songs kinda took on new identities and became bigger when we played them.

Your new record possesses a significantly bigger sound than its predecessor - do you think that'll translate well to the venues you're playing in on the forthcoming tour?

Well the venues we are playing for the most part are quite small so i'm hoping it translates! Sounding good live has always been something that the four of us regard quite highly. It's a bit of a game, but I think we have it down now. The new songs sound better live than the first record anyway just because the raw material is better quality. There is still the same passion and performance though.

Can you tell us a little about what you have planned for the run of gigs this month?

These shows will be the biggest in terms of production and show. It's nice now having two albums to choose from, and I think we've been looking forward to creating something new show-wise. Rituals was designed as a body of music with a start and end point, and I guess we haven't been able to fully do that live at the festivals. These shows will be full Rituals shows. The first ones...

You're doing a run of headline dates in Europe, too - as well as a few dates opening for Simple Minds, apparently...?!

I know! Simple Minds I didn't see coming, but we jumped at the chance. We played the Zenith in Paris in September, and it was quite an experience so we're looking forward to going back. It's important for bands to get out there and just play in front of people, so we're hitting Germany pretty hard, for instance.

Whose idea was it to bring along NYPC and Duologue for your headline tour?

We've always been big fans of NYPC so when they said they were up for it we were really pleased. Duologue we didn't know much about until recently, but they have a really great sound and apparently are very good live so it should be fun.

Which venue on this month's itinerary are you most excited to play?

Shepherd's Bush Empire we are very much looking forward to. I think thats a milestone we wanted to get to for a while, and a milestone for any UK band. We'll have double the amount of lights too, so it will be a much bigger show. Very excited.

Finally, what new music have you been listening to this year?

We actually started making these morning mixtapes every month to document what we've been listening to. It's been a really nice way of sharing music that influenced Rituals. You can check them out on our Soundcloud right here.

Fenech-Soler's new single 'In Our Blood' is out on November 25th via So Recordings, and they play the following dates:

  • November
  • 20th – Brighton, Concorde
  • 21st – London, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire