Four musical friends, Dodie, Orla Gartland, Greta Isaac, and Martin Luke Brown experiment with new sounds and childlike wonder to create a celebration of life and nostalgia-fueled adventure on FIZZ’s debut album, ‘The Secret to Life.’
Stream: ‘The Secret to Life’ – FIZZ
“We’re so used to being to the front of our projects and having people that work sort of with us and take our direction, so this was like a very leave you ego at the door and just all become one big brain cell.
– Greta Isaac, FIZZ
What happens when four musically gifted friends come together? Dodie, Orla Gartland, Greta Isaac, and Martin Luke Brown found that out firsthand when deciding to form their group FIZZ. Sitting in Dodie, Isaac, and Brown’s shared apartment, the quartet began detailing their journey.
While the lore of FIZZ’s origin is a bit more magical, involving producer Pete Miles abducting the quartet in a UFO and forcing them to be in a band, the reality is a bit more like friends coming together for a passion project.
“We would sometimes go down to this studio in Devon. Orla was doing some recording bits there for her acoustic sessions and we were all there together just as friends,” Dodie begins to explain. “Then Pete Miles, who is the producer there at MetaFarm Studios, was like, ‘You guys work so well together, you should be a band.’ So we thought about it and mulled it over, and there was a famous text from me to Orla saying, ‘Hey OG, me, Greta, and Martin are wondering if you’d like to start a band?’ and Orla was like, ‘Yes, let’s go.’”
With each of the quartet being an established artist in their own right, joining forces in a collaborative project came with its own learning curve. “We’re so used to being to the front of our projects and having people that work sort of with us and take our direction, so this was like a very leave you ego at the door and just all become one big brain cell,” says Isaac.
For some, joining forces would seem challenging, but once FIZZ set foot in the studio, Gartland admits it felt second nature. “I think us slipping into operating as a unit was very effortless in the end. It was just as if the songs wrote themselves,” she said. That effortless energy bleeds throughout the album, with each song feeling like a group of friends having fun together in one room, which is exactly what they wanted.
Opting for an unconventional choice, the quartet chose to record communally, rather than in separate booths.
“The whole thing was just inherently very old school, all of us being in the room all around like four mics recording at the same time. The whole process felt quite seventies,” Brown says.
This tactic played to the group’s strengths, allowing them to count each other in and ad-lib. On counting each other in, Brown says, “I think there’s just something in the vibe and the sort of spontaneity that feels magical. We didn’t wanna cut that.”
Gartland adds that lines like “Give them the berries” were, “Just like annoying things to say to each other because we’re so overfamiliar and have this collective ADHD and just say things.”
It’s ad-libs like those that make this project feel special. “It feels like the album is like a time capsule. So I think having those moments of what we were doing right before we started and just pressed record is really lovely and I think we’ll be grateful to have them in 30 years,” Isaac shares.
When asked what inspired them, FIZZ felt like it came from a love of childhood and a dash of nostalgia.
“I think unintentionally, with trying to get back to a sort of childlike play, we were inspired by a lot of the music we listened to as kids, which is usually the music that our parents brought us up on,” Dodie notes. Those inspirations include the likes of Abba, The Beatles, and Queen, whose influence is heavily felt in the final track aptly named “The Grand Finale.”
“We had this idea for like a song called ‘The Grand Finale’ and we all just off of that alone had this sort of shared vision of it going through like all these chapters and being a bit sort of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ vibes where it’s sort of formless and changes all over the place,” Martin explains.
Using mugs, champagne glasses and plucking piano strings, “The Grand Finale” is just that: Grand and chaotic all at once. It’s a fitting send-off to the band’s brand new debut album, The Secret to Life (out now via Decca Records).
I think unintentionally, with trying to get back to a sort of childlike play, we were inspired by a lot of the music we listened to as kids, which is usually the music that our parents brought us up on.
– Dodie, FIZZ
While “The Grand Finale” is definitely a unique ending, FIZZ’s opening track “A New Phase Awaits You” is just as tantalizing. An infomercial-like opener, voiced by close friend Soren Bryce of Tummyache, the starting track is something all too relatable, that keeps you waiting for one thing: The secret to life.
“A New Phase Awaits You” leads into the title track, which was the primary inspiration for its infomercial-style predecessor. Speaking on the title track, Gartland says, “That had become an obvious album title and, for me, I think the whole song is sort of selling you hot air…So I kind of just wanted to play off that a little bit and be like, if our album’s the secret to life, then that’s what we’re selling you.”
I’m a supercharged, supersonic
Freshly poured gin and tonic
I’m your stage, hop up on it
Everybody gather ’round
I deserve a shiny crown
So listen, you’re missing
The secret to life
This is the secret to life
As for the secret to life, each member has a different take.
“I think it’s specifically tea with oat milk, but also gratitude,” says Dodie as the rest of the group chuckleds (They later admit they’d been trying to sneak the word milk into the interview as a game, and were finally successful).
Gartland and Isaac agree with gratitude, with Isaac adding it’s the group’s friendship.
“I think having been friends for so long, you just have this fluidity in your friendship where you can talk very in-depth about stuff and have the space to be vulnerable and sad, but also transition into an eruption of laughter within a few seconds is all like part of the secret to life,” she says.
In the midst of prepping for their debut album, FIZZ are also prepping for their tour. Having already played a few gigs, they cheekily admit that those lucky enough to attend have already heard a majority of the album, citing “The Secret to Life” as a crowd pleaser.
“‘The Secret to Life’ goes off. People love that one ’cause it’s Stump Clap Stump clap and there’s a really fun hook riff,” Dodie exclaims. “We’ve already had the pleasure of playing these songs live in some shows and festivals as well and yeah, that one is really fun.”
The Secret to Life is the product of friendship, love and a little magic.
The quartet hope that fans feel lighter after, in Brown’s words, ingesting it. “Everything’s so heavy and dark and don’t get me wrong, I’ve been like that. I’ve written about heavy things and dark things, but I think for more than anything else I’ve ever been involved in, this just feels like a real celebration of life and all the good things,” he says.
The Secret to Life is out now on all platforms via Decca Records!
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© Nicole Ngai
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