Fourth and Folsom: Interview

FOURTH AND FOLSOM speak to LUCY FEIBUSCH their debut interview.

‘This is fucking good coffee!’ was pretty much the first thing Jamie Davies, one of the four members of Fourth and Folsom, said when he and the band joined me for their debut interview. To my added delight, Theo Byrd was wearing one of his great selection of super cool t-shirts, one of which turns up at every gig without fail.

I’ve been to many of Fourth and Folsom’s gigs and I have come to love their incredible harmonies and original sound. They are a London-based multi-instrumental band influenced by early West Coast harmonies, Folk and Americana. Theo Byrd, Jamie Davies and Jack Manser are all singer-songwriters and guitarists, and Zac Cassidy is the band’s drummer. Having three song-writers makes their sound particularly unique — when you listen to their music I am sure you will be able to see how awesomely their voices and musical visions come together as their brainchild.

Jack Manser (left) and Theo Byrd (right) from Fourth and Folsom playing at The Old Queen's Head, Islington
Jack Manser (left) and Theo Byrd (right) from Fourth and Folsom playing at The Old Queen’s Head, Islington. Photograph by Lucy Feibusch.


F&F: It’s from on of our favourite parts of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Dean and Sal go to all the jazz clubs on the corner of Fourth and Folsom Streets in San Francisco. It’s there that Sal starts talking to a San Fran alto man who is just tooting on the street. It’s that idea of letting loose and dancing outside on the streets, that’s our favourite image of what our music should be like. The way Kerouac describes music – it’s like his own language. We are so influenced by the vibes and sounds of that era, it’s a feel-good thing.


F&F: Well, Jamie and Theo have been playing together for 6 years, so it was just a duo at first. Then we did the Garden Gigs Tour in 2012 and that’s when we started playing with Jack. After that, we just kept jamming together. Zac joined as our drummer in November, which has been really exciting because we updated our sound a bit. We’ve got a really strong, upbeat and fluid set now. We’re excited to see where that’s gonna take us.


F&F: I think that’s hard because nothing out there at the moment is like what we do. We take pride in being different and our harmonies are pretty unique. One band that really influences us are Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — there’s an interview where David Crosby is talking about harmony lines, not just standard, linear harmonies but really intricate ones, and that’s what we try to do with ours. We definitely try to both look back to that time and move forward and develop their ideas. We don’t want to just use the triads and chorus harmonies that are going on at the moment, we want to hear that 50s vibe coming through.


F&F: Short term? We want to be touring by the end of 2014. And we’ve got a new video and new songs too . It’s all getting pretty exciting — And long term, we want everybody to hear our music. And that means trying to achieve the most mainstream success possible while maintaining a vibe and sound that we are happy with. Once we start changing ourselves that’s not good.

THIS ALL SOUNDS SO GOOD. THANKS BOYS! – Fourth and Folsom’s next couple of gigs are at The Workshop on Thursday 13th March and at the Bedroom Bar on Thursday 20th March (both in Shoreditch).

In the meantime you can listen to their EP Bloodfire here — https://soundcloud.com/fourthandfolsom/

And loads more music here — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCniQ24PDfUctQFB9FeraZJg?feature=watch

And you can keep up to date with their gigs here — https://www.facebook.com/FourthAndFolsom

An extract from On the Road by Jack Kerouac (Part 3, Chapter 4: on the corner of Fourth and Folsom):

…‘Wheeoo! Let’s go!’ cried Dean, and we jumped in the back seat and clanked to the little Harlem on Folsom Street.
Out we jumped in the warm, mad night, hearing a wild tenorman bawling horn across the way going ‘EE-YAH! EE-YAH EE-YAH’ and his hands clapping to the beat and folks yelling, ‘Go, go, go!’ Dean was already racing across the street with his thumb in the air, yellow, ‘Blow, man, blow! A bunch of coloured men in Saturday-night suits were whopping it up front. It was a sawdust saloon with a small bandstand on which the fellows huddles with their hats on, blowing over people’s heads, a crazy place; crazy floppy sponren wandered around sometimes in their bathrobes, bottles clanked in alleys….
Everybody was rocking and roaring […]‘Whoo!’ said Dean. He was rubbing his chest, his belly; the sweat splashed from his face. Book, kick, that drummer was kicking his drums down the cellar and rolling the beat upstairs with his murderous sticks, rattley-boom! A big fat man was jumping on the platform, making it sag and creak. ‘Yoo!’ The pianist was only pounding the keys with spread-eagled finger, chords, at intervals when the great tenorman was drawing breath for another blast – Chinese chords, shuddering the piano in every timber, chink, and wire, boing!

From near to far, Jamie Davis, Theo Byrd and Jack Manser on stage at The Old Queen's Head. Photograph by Lucy Feibusch.
From near to far, Jamie Davis, Theo Byrd and Jack Manser on stage at The Old Queen’s Head. Photograph by Lucy Feibusch.