Wednesday 1 April 2020

Thirty Years

This month Dayglo Fishermen celebrate their 30th anniversary. It's a rare thing for a band to reach such a milestone, and it takes a special level of commitment and passion to get even close.

Over those three decades Dayglo Fishermen have released 20 studio albums - an average of one album every 18 months, and an average of one track composed, recorded and mastered every six weeks during that period. It's an astonishing achievement.

A very early Dayglo Fishermen group photo, taken in 1991, during the recording of the band's second album, 'Strange Plaice'. The band's so called 'classic' line up can be seen here (clockwise from the left): Eamonn Maddick, Peter Fothergill, Richard Burton, David Fothergill and Peter Carmichael.

It's hard to choose just what to pick as highlights of the band's long career, so here's an extreme summary of how things have transpired so far.

In the Beginning

During the spring of 1990 four young men got together with the intention of recording a single song. It was meant to be nothing more than an example of what could be achieved in a hillside recording studio on the edge of a small town in a very rural location. After just a couple of hours the results far exceeded what was intended. The song 'Fish' had been brought into existence. You can read the full account of how the band's first song was recorded in the article 'The Origin of 'Fish''.

The album cover cassette inlay for 'Drenched', Dayglo Fishermen's debut album, released in 1990

That recording session cultivated such a wave of excitement and enthusiasm that the four men, Peter Fothergill, David Fothergill, Peter Carmichael and Eamonn Maddick, immediately made plans to record more together. Just a few months later Dayglo Fishermen released their debut album, 'Drenched'. The music was an unusual and refreshing change from the high school rock bands that had saturated the local music scene. It was very well received.

Richard Burton, who had been working with Peter Fothergill for a couple of years on other projects, joined the band, bringing with him fresh ideas and his unique guitar sound. Over the following two years Dayglo Fishermen's extraordinary creativity was unleashed with such relentless passion that four more studio albums were released, including 'Strange Plaice' and 'And So It Is', most notable for the song 'But Where Were the Mice?'.

With a new band member, Sean Wills, on board, that frenetic period culminated in the 1992 release of 'Magic Organ', which lingered solely on the dark side of life. The music is harsh, lyrically as well as aurally, but somehow just as compelling as much of their lighter work.

The album cover artwork for 'Magic Organ', released in 1992 (left: front cover, right: inside cover). The imagery features an almost maddening array of burning scratches, which complements the music perfectly.

The production of  'Magic Organ' proved to be an almost torturous experience which stretched an already growing tension within the band to its limit. Creative differences became intolerable. Read the article 'The Art of Darkness' to learn just how dark the experience of creating an album can go.

Second Wind

Dayglo Fishermen were down to just two members, but the air had been cleared and the future was full of promise. With renewed vigour Peter Fothergill and Richard Burton began work on a new album and in September 1992 released 'What the Hell'. The contrast with 'Magic Organ' was profound. The new album was lighter, fresher, and positive, despite its occasional drift into political references.

Over the next two years the band released five more albums, which included the eponymous 'The Dayglo Fishermen'  in 1993, but it was the release of the now classic 'Big Spoon' a year later that really stands out during that period.

The album cover for 'Big Spoon', released in 1994. The album is widely regarded as one of Dayglo Fishermen's finest and most influential.  

'Big Spoon' was a significant change from the band's usual sequence of song structures, and that was exactly as it was planned to be. It was far more instrumental in nature, and featured a deeper and much more sophisticated sound that would be carried through to later albums. Read the article 'Big Spoon' for a detailed account of the album.

Towards the end of 1994 the band took a long break from recording. Richard moved to southeast England, and within months Peter also headed south to London.


In the spring of 1996, with Peter established in London, and Richard in Buckinghamshire, Dayglo Fishermen began recording once again. They were joined by Ginny Owens, a talented local singer with a unique voice. Just over a year later the 'Space Dog' album was released. The album was a return to a more typical song structure, but with more a more refined sound and some wonderfully subtle layers of orchestration. And it was all crowned with the smooth and often haunting sound of Ginny's vocals. You can read an in-depth account of the album in the article 'Space Dog - The Pound of the Hound'.
The album cover artwork for 'Space Dog' (left) released in 1997, and 'Painting Aliens' released in 1998

Just a year later Dayglo Fishermen released what has become known as their classic pop album: 'Painting Aliens'. The blending of traditional pop methods with the band's own unconventional ideas proved highly popular, making it one of the band's most accessible albums ever. Read a detailed account of the album in the article 'Painting Aliens'.

Many of the album's tracks, such as 'Something's Watching', 'Underground' and the title song 'Painting Aliens', were so popular that they have been performed at every one of the band's concerts ever since the album was released.

Into the New Millennium

The frequency of Dayglo Fishermen releases would slow quite significantly from now on, but the creativity and desire of the band never waned. As the rest of the world embraced the possibilities of the new century the band quietly recorded and released an eclectic series of albums, including 'Comet Nerdlinger', 'Queen of the Sunset City' and 'I Can See a Boat ... It No Longer Floats'. Each album features a wild variety of styles and textures, and each saw the band's technical and creative abilities reach new heights.

The album cover artwork for 'Comet Nerdlinger' - released in 2001 (top left), 'Queen of the Sunset City' released in 2003 (top right), 'I Can See a Boat ... It No Longer Floats' released in 2006 (bottom left) and 'In the Limelight', the band's first live album, released in 2008.

This period closed with the release of Dayglo Fishermen's first ever live album, 'In the Limelight' - a recording of the band's exhilarating 2008 concert at the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury, UK.

Up Until Now

The arrival of advanced new equipment energised the band. The result, in 2010, was the release of 'Moons That Cast Their Light'. The album has a retro feel and is brimming with sparkling synths,  lush guitar textures and dreamy vocals. It contains several stand out tracks, including the quirky pop song 'Teen Angst' and the beautiful 'Never a Shadow (Without a Light)'.

The band photo used in publicity for Dayglo Fishermen's 2011 concert following the release of the album 'Moons That Cast Their Light' the previous year. Seen on the top row are Richard Burton, Ginny Owens and Peter Fothergill. Below is Sean Wills, a former band member who had been a featured artist on the last few albums. He would rejoin the band as a full member after the concert.

To help promote the album, in 2011 Dayglo Fishermen performed once again at the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury. The concert, which featured performances of many of the band's classic songs as well as new material, was such a success that a live recording of the event, titled '260311', was released soon after.

Dayglo Fishermen performing at their 2011 Limelight Theatre concert. This photo was used as the cover for '260311', the live album of that performance, which was released later that same year.

After opening a new dedicated production facility in London, Dayglo Fishermen commenced work on the album 'Midnight Souls Still Remain', which was released in 2015. The album is a powerful mix of pulsing synthesiser rhythms, energising guitars and expansive and layered vocals. At times it's purity of vision is quite astonishing as each track leads into the next. The article 'Midnight Souls Revealed' provides a full insight into each song.

The CD cover and inside images for the 2015 album 'Midnight Souls Still Remain'

The band immediately started work on another album, but in 2016 still found the time to showcase 'Midnight Souls Still Remain' and, of course, some of their classic songs live at the Limelight Theatre. The following year they released a live DVD of the event titled 'Midnight Souls Come (a)Live'.

In recent years Dayglo Fishermen have been very tight lipped about an album's contents before release, and their latest studio album was no exception. There were many rumours, of course: the main one being that the album was far more instrumental in nature. When the album was released in 2019 that rumour was proven correct. Named simply 'Time', the album is an epic soundscape that's like nothing else the band has ever released, yet it's also unmistakably Dayglo Fishermen with influences stretching back to the band's earliest compositions. Read ''Time' Has Come' for a detailed account of the album.

The cover image for the album 'Time', released in 2019

Back in 1990 Dayglo Fishermen embarked on an epic journey, one that is still underway today. The destination is unknown and it may never be reached, but along the way the band have managed to create quite remarkable music. And they have honoured us by releasing it for all the world to hear.

With their latest album, 'Time', now available to stream on all the major music services, such as Spotify, Amazon MusicGoogle Play and Deezer, the whole world now has even more opportunity to hear the band's work.

Here's to the next 30 years...

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