Twins Helen and Nicola Frisby are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of music. Combining their vocal talents with Helen's skills on the flute and Nicola's on the acoustic guitar, the duo have been singing and playing music alongside one another ever since it was possible.
Performing together for years and honing their craft, Marc Robinson (piano, guitar) convinced the pair it was time to put together a full band. Joined by Marc as well as Will Cattermole (bass) and Tom Finigan (drums), the two went to five, and have been producing unique music ever since.
We got the chance to chat to Helen of The Frisbys to find out more about their sound, upcoming releases and what may come next...
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
We are often described as harmony-based alternative folk but with elements of pop, country and rock. As with most bands, it can be tricky for us to comfortably sit within one genre and this is kind of reflected on our new double A-side single. One track is upbeat and Americana influenced and the other a more haunting folk song.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
There can be a lot of hurdles in the way of just getting your music heard. Live venues, have faced a lot of heat in recent years for 'pay to play' schemes, but I think we've been quite lucky with who we've worked with. You learn the ones to avoid pretty quickly and most are really just music lovers wanting to provide a platform for people to get their music heard. Don't get me wrong, we have played gigs where we've been promised our full set up and turned up where there's only one mic, but in the end the challenges can make you better because it makes you learn from your mistakes.
The cost can also definitely be a challenge. The cost of equipment, rehearsal studios, travelling, recording and promo costs all take their toll. You have to be so determined and keep going, even when you put in so much heart, effort for what can sometimes seem like little 'return'. Yet, it's totally worth it for that moment when your music connects with someone new, someone you've never even met.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
I think if you regularly play 'live' in a local area and play well, you can become well known within a scene fairly easily. Most local stations and areas are great at supporting new acts and really do all they can to promote you, which means so much when you are starting out as a band. It definitely becomes more difficult as you move out of the local area and start trying to make a name on a more national level.
Online is probably the best platform for artists at the moment because its reach spreads much more than playing in a local bar ever could. The music industry is very over-saturated and so it can never be easy, but with the help of blogs and websites like Female First it means that you reach more people. Of course, being more exposed doesn't necessarily gain you any extra fans, as your music might not be their cup of tea, but it gives you more opportunity for people who like your type of music to find you.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
Creative control is very important to us but it is a balance. As a twin, I've had to learn pretty early about sharing and that's a bit what it's like, 'sharing'. When you write a song, it's so personal to you, but the moment you have to share it [with] others; first your band and then the public; it can feel terrifying. You want it to be the best it can be and sometimes you just have a 'vision' in your head about how the song should sound.
Mostly though, I love getting creative input from our band and producers as they have so many fantastic ideas and it just makes what you've written 100 times better. Writing songs as a bad is different, of course, as you are all invested from the start and all have equal ownership over the song. I'd personally, really love to work with more producers and see what they could do with our songs to take them to the next level.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
We are influenced by lots of different artists and genres. We all love rock music. It was part of our youth growing up listening to bands like Biffy Clyro, Nirvana and Led Zepplin, but we formed over a love of West Coast Music like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Jackson Browne. These incredible songwriters, for me, will always be an inspiration as I love hearing sonsgs sung by the people who wrote them. The covers I heard of their songs are equally incredible but to hear the songwriters tell their stories with their own voices seems even more special somehow.
I suppose, when songwriting, we draw influence from our own experiences and the things we see around us. Sometimes it's just a feeling and picking up a guitar and other times we might start with a concept in mind. Often, the subject matter of what we were originally writing about changes but the feeling of how we felt when we first wrote the song remains.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
Artist-wise, this is such a tricky question as we'd all say someone different so maybe someone from the above list! In terms of producers, it would be incredible to work with someone like Rick Rubin as I think he's been great at pushing us and our sound to a new level.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
A random 'twin' fact is probably that mine and Nic's parents didn't realise they were having twins as they missed me on the prenatal scans. Two weeks overdue, and in the middle of the worst snowstorm Norfolk had ever seen, I was born. Nicola arrived six minutes later, much to the confusion of everyone in the room. The doctors were expecting the afterbirth and just about caught Nicola in time!
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
We'd definitely love to embark on an American tour. We love playing live and to do that whilst exploring the world would be incredible. I suppose the real aim is to be able to keep making new music for as long as possible and to showcase our music to as many people as we can.
Where do you hope to be by this time next year?
We have so many songs that we still need to record so getting to work and releasing our first full length album is the aim. Once the album is out we'll be touring the UK and Europe as much as possible.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
We will be releasing our double A-side singles 'Born and Raised'/'Give in to the Dark' (both free downloads) on 27th November and then our new EP 'The Cause' is released on 29th January 2016. We will be following that up with a UK tour in the New Year, which we are really looking forward to!