Newark is a small city in Delaware, home to a little more than 30,000 people, a university and a burgeoning music scene. Most notably, though, it’s the birthplace of Fiancé, a four-piece experimental pop group who are bringing their local vibe to a grander level. The band’s members have been friends since grade school, always playing in and out of bands together over the years as they grew up. In January of 2013, Andrew, Jeff and Tyler got together and started a new project they dubbed Fiancé. The idea behind the group was vague, with the only goal to make music together that they all enjoyed. The band’s first song, a surging, static-laced indie rock number called “Division,” was released last March and quickly got picked up by several music blogs.
“We didn’t necessarily have a vision, but when we started writing together our influences were coming from early emo and dream pop,” Andrew says. “There was no real statement we were trying to make – just embracing what came out of us.”
By June, the band had added local Delaware musician Brian Bruce on the drums. Based in a big farmhouse in Newark where the musicians have lived over the past few years, Fiancé have established themselves as a local staple. They helped to cultivate the music scene by hosting parties and shows at their house, highlighting DJ’s and bands from the tri-state area.
The house also doubles as Fiancé’s recording studio. The musicians wrote the five tracks on their debut EP, titled EP 1, over the course of last summer and fall. Produced by Andrew and engineered by friend Ryan Williams, the entire EP was recorded to quarter inch tape on a Tascam 388 tape machine. The tape adds to the gauzy, fuzzed out aesthetic that threads throughout the songs. Their friend Rachel K. Haines also added her vocals to the end of the track “Climb the Stairs.”
“Recording in our house gave us the opportunity to experiment with the ways different rooms can effect the sound of a record,” Tyler says. “We have used the design of our house to hone in on our sounds for years and you can hear it on the EP.”
The EP opens with the group’s first single, “Era,” a layered, shimmering pop song Andrew and Jeff had initially written for a possible solo project before Fiancé started. “It wasn’t quite finished,” Jeff says. “And the other band members just made it so much better. We’re really proud of it.” “Climb The Stairs,” is a moody rocker that showcases the glimmer of darkness and melancholy in the group’s sensibility. “The songs are ultimately about change,” Andrew says, “Those moments when you realize that what seemed like such a strong connection to something, has become so fragmented that it may not be mendable.”
The group is currently translating the aesthetic on their EP into a full-length album. For them, the EP is an apt hint at where Fiancé will go next, but not necessarily a complete indication. “Our goal is to write songs that are meaningful to us,” Jeff says. “If our songs can impact other people in a positive way, then that’s great. But our true goals are more selfish than that. We want to write songs that are more honest then anything we’ve done before, ones that resonate with ourselves.”