Consisting of two singular but equally accomplished talents, the collaboration between Fyfe & Iskra Strings shows how two disparate talents can create something with a strength well beyond the sum of their parts. Together they create pop music with a cinematic twist, using songcraft as the foundation for their experimental fusion of electronica and post-classical.
Both artists are renowned on their own merits: Fyfe for solo releases such as the recent ‘Games’ EP and his David’s Lyre moniker, as well as production for Foxes, Gabrielle Aplin and Mika; Iskra Strings as violinist, composer and string arranger for acclaimed albums by The xx, Vampire Weekend, Sufjan Stevens and Caribou.
Fyfe & Iskra Strings now take the first step towards their debut album together as they share the brand new single ‘Interiority’. It’s their first release as a duo after releasing two self-titled EPs in 2018, which were combined in the following year’s ‘Extended Play’ collection.
‘Interiority’ brims with the essential traits of both of its creators. Fyfe’s lyricism sources the inner beauty found within grand existential questions, while his offbeat production merges his naturalistic voice with intriguingly manipulated sonics. Iskra Strings takes the song to a different dimension, as he expertly applies elative strings to maximise the song’s melancholic majesty.
Fyfe explains: “During a recording session James mentioned that he’d read that most of the elements in our bodies were forged in stars. This impossibly huge truth felt so diametrically opposed to what was one of the most insular moments I had ever experienced - being under national lockdown with a very small child - that the lyrics just flowed out in real time.”
Iskra Strings adds: “Interiority’ is influenced by cosmology, Douglas Coupland’s 90s novel ‘Microserfs’ and revisiting old science fiction films. The song imagines our finite smallness connecting to an infinite wonder.”
‘Interiority’ was written by both artists, with production provided by Fyfe. The song was completed by two award-winning female creatives, with mixing from Manon Grandjean (Dave, Stormzy, AJ Tracey) and mastering by Heba Kadry (Björk, Deerhunter, Beach House).
Fyfe (Paul Dixon) and Iskra Strings (James Underwood) first met in the early 2000s when James was hired by Paul’s parents to provide him with violin lessons. They began to build a bond long before their connection blossomed into a full-blown artistic alliance. In his early days as a solo artist, Paul would send James his music for critique, which led to James asking to contribute to some of the tracks.
Their occasional collaborations expanded early in 2018 after James spent time at Paul’s home studio contributing strings for the rapper Baloji. After sharing new ideas after the session, Fyfe & Iskra Strings soon became a reality.
Fyfe says: “Having spent the last few years making records alone, working with James helped to open my eyes to the power of collaboration. Reacting in real-time to someone else’s approach to harmony, melody and structure meant there was a real momentum when developing ideas together and a definite release from self-consciousness.”
Iskra Strings adds: “Fyfe has undoubtedly been an anchor in my life and making that connection has been really important to me.” Expect more new music from the pair to be unveiled soon.