The Fabulists are a London based band consisting of Shaun Milton (vocals, synthesizers) and Hermione Love (piano, vocals, keyboards), with Cai Marie-Garcia (bass), Daisy Coole (saxophones), and Eric Young (drums). Dog Violets was written and recorded over a two years. It is the second Fabulist Album and the first to feature Hermione’s singing and playing.
Founder Shaun Milton cites his formative influences as the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, Roxy Music, Traffic, Frank Zappa, Scott Walker, Alice Cooper, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Ornette Coleman, and Tom Waits. Right now he is listening to Kode 9, Robyn, Fela Kuti, Mountain Men, Midlake, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Max Richter. His lifetime of influences form the bands distinctive sound with one of the more stroking descriptions of the band being ‘wood-cut’ Roxy Music. Hermione was born in London and grew up in Winchester, after completing University she lived for a number of years in France and Italy, teaching English.
The band create a warm soundscape of acoustic and digital/electric instruments, of analogue and digital synths/keyboards, combining a very atmospheric and experimentation of Eric’s drum sound and style and with the complementary dynamic of Shaun and Hermione’s voices. The songs were written mainly against the backdrop of Hermione’s piano and Shaun’s lyrics and the thought process that goes into matching the lyric and musical emotion of the songs to create a coherent ‘album’ sound ensures for long periods of studio work to produce each track with the mixing and mastering of the tracks was crucial in obtaining this coherence.
Many of the songs on Dog Violets have stories or suggested narratives. The locations of story songs such as Plain of Jars, River Town, Other Side of the World, Moon Valley and La Rochelle present dreamscapes reminiscent of Tom Waits’ writing, but purposely vague and under-defined, allowing listeners to conjure their own scenarios and emotions. Songs such as Lullaby and Burning Butterfly, while not telling stories in a linear sense, are nevertheless rooted in imagined places, with their own back-stories. The Fabulists and their producer know where these places are, but the idea is to keep the listener’s final interpretation of these songs as open as possible. The underlying themes in many of the songs are those of loss and wrong turns, of redemption and grace, of memory turned fantastic, of dislocation turned to exile, of men and women’s last chances and what they did with them.