English duo Fly Yeti Fly shine with a soft and loving folk light on their album ‘Make a Ring,’ a hopeful and dreamy reflection of a deeply raw human core.
Stream: ‘Make a Ring’ – Fly Yeti Fly
I’m halcyon in mythic times; I zigzag as the river bends and climbs….
Gentle, warm, and wondrous, Fly Yeti Fly’s sophomore album is the stuff of dreams:
A sweetly stirring folk collection inspired by the beauty of nature and the magic of life itself. It’s a record filled with intimate moments of connection and catharsis, its glistening acoustic songs a finely balanced mix of radiant melody and lush harmony, reality and fantasy, fact and fiction, past and present, mythology and chronology. Yet wherever Fly Yeti Fly are and whatever they’re singing about, in every piece of music they make there lies a deeply raw human core. Honest, hopeful, and dreamy, their twelve-track Make a Ring shines with a soft, lilting, and loving folk light. It’s the product of a pair in touch themselves, their instruments, and their histories.
Released November 28, 2021 via Tiny Bigfoot Records, Make a Ring is a bright, tender, and colorful (re)introduction to duo Fly Yeti Fly, who put out their debut, Shine a Light in the Dark, in 2017. Hailing from Wiltshire in in South West England, the duo of Lorna Somerville and Darren Fisher make music in their houseboat studio, which floats on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Immersed and enmeshed in the natural world, Fly Yeti Fly’s music is a direct result of their environment – both lyrically, and sonically (including all the unseen stops and starts due to “all manner of unusual, sometimes infuriating, phenomena – high winds, heavy rain, chugging boat engines, quacking ducks, [and] interrupting swans.”
Just as industrial music tends to evoke visions of concrete slabs and dark, foreboding hallways, Fly Yeti Fly’s stirring acoustic folk evokes visions of the idyllic forests and wildernesses of deep greens and blues.
“We began writing the first songs for this album while on a tour of Cornwall, a beautiful coastal region in the Southwest of England,” the duo tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s a land of Celtic mythology, and being the most southernly part of the UK, it feels very secluded and almost cut off from the mainstream mindset. The remainder of the album was written at home, on our houseboat, which is moored up on the Kennet and Avon Canal, in the county of Wiltshire, famous for crop circles and of course stone circles such as Stonehenge.”
“Once again, this connection to an ethereal land steeped in ancient history proved very inspirational for our writing. The canal that we live on meanders all of the way from the Western city of Bristol to the nation’s capital, London, where it splinters off into different canals that connect the rest of the country. We feel like we are living on a piece of history as these canals were originally built before the train network popped up and were the main means of distribution during the early days of the industrial revolution, and this historical connection filtered its way on to our record.”
“With the songs mostly written, so began the process of recording, but just as we love to let songs develop during our live set, we felt they also needed to develop during the recording process and to avoid the pressure of time within a commercial studio, we opted for a more organic recording experience within our tiny recording studio on the boat. We wanted to capture the natural sound of the wooden interior of the boat so we didn’t have any sound proofing, which left us exposed to outdoor influences such as another boat passing by, ducks quacking, swans pecking at the algae on the side of the boat, you get the picture. There’s nothing worse than coming to the end of a take where you know you have nailed it only to hear a duck fight suddenly erupting outside, but we learned to be patient and eventually we were happy with the recordings and excited to have them mixed in a studio.”
They continue, “After the first songs were written, it became apparent that circular imagery would be playing a major part in this record and so what began as a simple exploration into seasonal movements, evolved into the age old cliche of the circle of life. A celebration of those that have come before us and optimism for those whose day is yet to come. In art you can create your own world and we wanted to create a moment in time for the listener to step away from the busy day-to-day of modern life and find grounding in a world built on hope, freedom, community and humility. The more the album progressed, the more we yearned for this escape.”
Collaborating with musical friends Alex Pearson on double bass, Jo Hooper on cello, Annie Baylis on violin, and Catherine Hurley on flute, Fly Yeti Fly create a full-bodied enchantment that guitars and mandolins simply cannot evoke on their own; yet with this suite of timbres and tones lifting every song to its highest potential, Fly Yeti Fly succeed in tickling our ears and our imaginations at once.
“We’d like to think that it captures the spirit of connection -– our connection to each other as partners, but also to the wider world and how we find a space within it,” the pair say of their album. “Musically, we’ve tried to create a delicate balance between intricate guitar arrangements, strings, and voices in unison. Hopefully it introduces us as honest and thoughtful, dosed with a little child-like humor and energy.”
The name Make a Ring is itself inspired by the circular nature of life and connectivity –
a theme that runs through the songs on the album “and a reminder that life is never linear,” Lorna Somerville adds. “We also liked the friendliness of it – making a ring can be about community, coming together, and an invitation to all who decide to join us on our musical journey.”
One of the great beauties of folk music is that it is an evergreen genre; despite being part of our cultural heritage and dating back several generations now, Fly Yeti Fly’s soothing Americana and sun-kissed folk sounds feel both fresh and refreshing. From the golden-hued opening track “Start Listening” and the Appalachia-infused “Blue Yonder,” to the heavy and heartier “Firewood” and the stunningly soul-stirring “Dreamer,” Make a Ring aches with an everlasting beauty and charm. Further highlights include the visceral “Entwined” and the bittersweet “Heads Above Water,” two back-to-back songs that showcase the richness and radiance of Somerville and Fisher’s combined vocals.
“If we had to choose [favorites], Lorna would pick ‘Firewood’ for its fierceness, and ‘Stay Humble,’ which never fails to mellow her out!” the duo note. “For Darren, ‘Lost on the Wheel,’ which gives a subtle nod to his all-time favorite band, Pink Floyd! We’re proud of the moments of catharsis we feel we’ve created in a few of the songs – we really wanted the album to be uplifting, to wrap listeners in a warm and cozy blanket of Yeti love!”
Lyrically, the duo are quick to highlight a few favorite lines as well:
“Come out of the rain, you carry the weight of a runaway train, in a world that refuses to put on the brakes before it’s too late, gotta keep our heads above water” (Heads Above Water)
“Find me in the shimmer of the day, I’m water witch, a devil’s needle in the hay” (Dreamer)
“Another ring scorched to the bones on the tree of my life” (Lost on the Wheel)
“All things animate, alive, aware, we are the earth we share, stay humble in our world, it’s all we have” (Stay Humble)
A gentle giant capturing the intimacy, the intensity, the uniqueness, and the universality of the human experience,
Make a Ring brings it all home in a record folks can connect to on a deeply personal and profoundly special level. “Hey, it’s your day, it’s your life, we only get one, so they say… We’re the same, you and I…” Fly Yeti Fly sing on the wondrous and wistful ballad, “Lost on the Wheel.” “Stay humble in our world; it’s all we have,” they remind us on the following track. Take from these songs what you need; they’re here to soothe, to stir, to inspire, and to capture a bit of life as it floats along the Kennet and Avon Canal. Fans of everyone from Simon & Garfunkel and Big Thief, to Led Zeppelin’s more acoustic material are sure to find favor in Fly Yeti Fly.
“We want it to be an honest experience, and give people a momentary escape from the modern world,” Somerville and Fisher share. “Personally, we’ve learnt a lot from recording this record. Having recorded the majority of it during the pandemic, the themes of community and connectivity were given new resonance, and we found that recording something in an organic and natural way could be really illuminating – it’s hard for an artist to define their own work, but piecing an album together definitely brings some clarity to the message behind the music and what we’re about. If Make a Ring brings the listener some comfort, or joy, or sense of humility, or hope, then we’ve done our job!”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Fly Yeti Fly’s Make a Ring with Atwood Magazine as Lorna Somerville and Darren Fisher go track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their band’s sophomore album!
Stream: ‘Make a Ring’ – Fly Yeti Fly
:: Inside Make a Ring ::
“Start listening…you won’t regret a single thing I swear” – it’s quite a brazen way to open a record, but it really is meant in the humblest of ways. We wanted the opening track of the record to warmly invite all that may listen to join us on our journey, where Spring has sprung, the flowers are budding, and we’re getting on our rowing boat, ready to head down river. We’ve stepped outside of our modern world, we’re tuning into Mother Nature, and we realize we are all a part of this together. When we truly start listening, we are all singing the same tune.
Inspired by the wild nature of our rescue dog, Tinker, Blue Yonder is an upbeat song about the beckoning of the great outdoors. We can really relate to the conflict in Tinker’s mad spirit between comfortable, domestic life and the call of the wild – this song throws caution to the wind and indulges the adventurous spirit.
Written after hearing a fellow boater’s story of a winter that was so cold they were forced to burn the furniture on their boat to stay warm, Firewood is the tale of a couple who are iced-in, in the dead of winter, and has some fun with what can happen when a relationship is truly pushed to its limits. The fireplace is the heart of the boat, but as our couple begin to burn their most treasured possessions, so the flames rage and tempers boil. The fire that once kept them warm now burns the threads that tie them together. But with fiery endings come new beginnings.
Dreamer is a fluid fairytale of a song. We read a poem that mentioned the ‘dratsie’ (Celtic word for ‘otter’) – an animal we’ve had the fortune of encountering a few times here on the canal – and it inspired us to explore other animal folk names and got us thinking about what those animals meant to us, as symbols of change and transience. Nature often feels like a secret, hidden world when you really stop to look and listen, and Dreamer is really about getting swept up in the magic of that world.
A Simple Idea
When we first moved onto our boat we were immediately moved by the sense of community among our fellow boaters. The simple idea that inspires this song is just that, simple. It’s about looking out for each other, being kind and encouraging each other’s dreams.
This is a really wistful song about the endless days of youth, summer holidays that seem to go on forever, and familial bonds that feel as though they could never be broken. As we grow up, families drift apart, people change, life gets in the way. Lyrically, we wanted to capture that sense of sanctuary and affection that the innocence of youth affords.
Heads Above Water
Heads Above Water was written after the UK general election 2019, when a divisive media campaign derailed a political movement of the people and installed a government that we viewed as morally bankrupt. Faced with a growing tide of hatred and forced out of a union with our European neighbors, times for some in this country were very dark indeed. We hoped that this song could provide some comfort to our friends, and to anyone struggling with the world.
Honeybee is kind of a plucky coming-of-age song. Sparked by failed long-distance relationships and the restless desire to always be on the move, it’s about toughening up and accepting the things you can’t control.
See You on the Other Side
Honestly, this song is about endless love. We know how corny that sounds, but it’s true. The lyrics describe lovers’ memories as shades of color and light, and deals with the vulnerability and fleetingness of life. In the end, all we’re left with are the memories we treasure – those magical, fleeting moments that are hard to put into words but are etched into our souls. This song turns those moments into everlasting light and imagines a place where they are immortal.
Lost on the Wheel
We originally wrote ‘Start Listening’ as two parts – Spring and Summer, and ‘Lost on the Wheel’ followed as a song for Autumn, hence the opening line, ‘Fall down as leaves hit the ground’. It’s kind of a breakup song for the sun and how we mourn the loss of warmth and light, yet it stays positive in that the loss is not linear, it’s circular, and the light will once more return to bring renewal and hope.
The lyrics to Stay Humble are a direct consequence of reading a powerful interview with David Abram, an American ecologist and philosopher. Abram spoke of the animate world, the more-than-human world, the necessity of humility in acknowledging our place in the world, and collective sensitivity. It really struck a chord with us. That sense of breathing with the world, of belonging. We felt really moved by his words, and playing this song is always a pleasure as it’s a humbling and meditative reminder of what we value.
Make a Ring
Make a Ring is inspired by Samhain, the Celtic festival which, of course, inspired Halloween. Samhain was traditionally the Celtic new year and a time for new beginnings. It was also said to be the time when the portals between this world and the afterworld were most closely aligned and so it became a time to honor and communicate with those that have passed. In the song, we gather around the fire and pay respect to those that have come before us.
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:: Stream Fly Yeti Fly ::