Interview: Fever 103°

Interview by Helena Markos

Today we introduce you to Fever 103°, a Euro-Bristolian duo which mixes glacial vocals, industrial synths and techno beats. Channeling the ghosts of John Balance and Christa Päffgen, Fever 103° aims to thread links between the ethereal and the oblivion inducing spirals of psychedelic and industrial-influenced dance music. Fever 103° have something special to present and share with their audience. They have been brewing obscure first-class material following the pandemic’s dark times and are now ready to return to their live acts and spread their unique, vibrant vibe. Music characterised by imposing dark textures caressed by Margot’s Circian vocals.

In this interview, they share their views on their creative process, the pandemic and reflect on how things will pan out in a post-pandemic era. A well-balanced reflection, providing the whole of the pictures, not leaving out the context in which the electronic music will emerge and continue evolving. We Will soon have the pleasure to see them playing live, alongside Broken English Club, on the 7th of August in Bristol; in the meantime, you might bump into them at Mickey Zoggs bar in Bristol.

Hi guys, I want to ask you how the pandemic and current status quo affect you?

Paul: It’s been a strange year, very isolating and lonely in many ways even though we managed to find some bliss and tranquility within it at times! We usually spend a lot of our spare time going to gigs or to clubs and it has left a proper hole in our lives. We’re both from out of the U.K and it has also been very isolating to be kept far from a lot of friends and family.

On a more positive note, we have taken this as a chance to record some music which we had barely done in two years of activity, worked on remixes which was very new to us, and have also started a radio residency on Station Station, a Paris based radio, where we try and showcase music we like and mostly music from Bristol!

Margot: I guess it felt like hitting a wall at full speed. We had a lot of projects and amazing gigs booked that obviously never happened and it’s been hard. It’s like being forced to press pause on things you really don’t wanna press pause on. But as Paul said we have found new ways to adapt and express ourselves.

What is happening in Bristol right now?

P : A lot, all things considered! It is hard to get a finger on the pulse of the city at the moment, but seeing places like Strange Brew or Mickey Zoggs open their doors in the strangest times has really given us hope and shown that Bristol won’t give up.

Also, we wanted to give a big shout-out to Miles who runs events with Gravy Train. He has been putting on socially distanced events, live and DJ sets, working with constantly changing conditions to bring people together for the love of music. His dedication and pugnacity is incredibly inspiring!

The city is also bursting with plenty of exciting artists, labels and collectives in all sorts of styles and genres and it’s incredibly stimulating to hear all the things coming out of Bristol right now, the scene has stayed very active considering the current state of things and we can’t wait to hold it in our arms again ❤

M: I feel like Bristol is waking up from a 15 months long induced coma, slowly but surely things are happening again.

Tell us a few things about your project…

M: We make dawn music. Our music is tailored for that moment when you leave the club as the sun is rising, your make up has run all over your face, your knees are bruised and you kinda feel like crying because you don’t know when you’ll feel that alive again, but also lying behind the surface is this strange feeling of quiet bliss you get from being free (this is what our song Leaving the Club is about actually).

How do you feel the electronic music world will emerge in a post-pandemic era?

M: It’ll probably be exactly the same capitalist, sexist, racist environment. Structural change does not just happen, and there’s a good chance the pandemic, with its exacerbated sense of precarity, will have made things worse.

P: Hopefully what has been happening around us will bring a desire for more radicality and independence within electronic music scenes. More DIY and self determined artists, structures. We are going to need this more than ever I think.

How would you describe your creative process?

P : Messy cables, oolong tea, lots of crying, cat walking on drum machines, watching Youtube tutorials and doing the exact opposite.

M: It’s always a very painful experience for me. I’m fine playing live, because I don’t see myself, but writing is like having to face my own inner judgements and it’s awful. I get so anxious actually writing or recording that I always leave it to the last minute, and then do it as fast as I can. I’m not the best at expressing myself, so to get anything out of me creatively it has to be taken out with a forceps.

What do you think are the major challenges that artists are facing?

M: I guess it depends on the artists and their situation, who they are and who they want to be. I guess for us being a ‘female-lead’ project is a massive challenge. We have to work harder to be taken seriously, and I have to really make the effort to make myself visible: there have been instances where people only mentioned Paul as a part of Fever, and completely erased me, when I’m actually the one who leads this project. Apart from that I guess a big challenge is the one of authenticity. The music industry is a capitalist mess, and we both really make a point of trying to do things differently and remain true to what we believe in. We want our music to be authentic, cheap and accessible.

Any upcoming projects/collaborations to announce?

The main thing on our mind these days is to get back to playing live shows. We just played our first live set in over a year supporting The KVB and are incredibly excited to play the next Strictly Yes night at The Exchange. Later in the year we also have a couple of shows supporting Scalping in London and Bristol. We just released a remix for Poisonous Birds alongside loads of super talented artists from Bristol and beyond. There’s another remix for a Bristol artist we adore coming out later in the year, and a new track on a HUGE compilation from one of our fav Bristol based collective due out soon too. Otherwise, we’re currently working on a collaboration with a visual artist we really love, and slowly getting back to writing new music, so expect to hear more from us in 2021!

Any album you suggest for mind/soul healing?

P: Probably a mash-up between Voices From The Lake and Sade’s «Lovers Rock ».

M: Whenever I need healing, I tend to go back to Coil.

Not a specific album in mind, but Coil is actual magick music, there is something in there that I can’t quite explain. It’s very intense, but it really feels like someone is cleaning your wounds : it hurts but you know deep down it’s for the best and you’ll feel better later. Also, and this is really specific to my own issues but, very randomly, Death Magic by Health has helped me out of a very deep meaning of existence crisis a few years ago. And Nico’s ‘Desertshore’ of course, always.