Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham have been making thoughtful music separately for years. They combined their musical talents in 2013 to form Aquilo. The duo spent the last few months on tour with Låpsley, performing tracks from their debut album Silhouettes and connecting with audiences across North America.
Silhouettes blends dark emotions and weighty lyrics with beautiful harmonies and a haunting keyboard. Aquilo originated in the basements of the guys’ family homes in Silverdale, a small village just south of England’s Lake District.
“We played Webster Hall in New York, which was just fantastic. To hear people sing our songs back to us is a totally amazing feeling. Our hard work has paid off,” Higham says of the transition from practicing in his basement to performing live shows on tour.
Higham caught up with DuJour to discuss Silhouettes, his heart wrenching lyrics and surprising love for metal music.
How was the North American tour with Låpsley?
The tour itself was insane. We get on with Låpsley really well. There were fourteen people on the bus and we were just driving around America having the best time of our lives. We both think it’s one of the most important things to be able to portray your songs live, so it was great to be able to connect with audiences.
What was it like recording your album?
We’ve been writing for about three years, so to finally have an album to show for it is great. We were very lucky in the way that we got to experience a lot of different places during the process. We went to L.A. and wrote a couple of songs and we got to collaborate with a guy called Ólafur Arnalds, in Iceland. We went to Iceland to record and it was absolutely breathtaking. There is a totally different way of life; everybody is so chilled out and relaxed. I’m not surprised that some of the most beautiful music has come out of Iceland. It makes total sense.
How did working in Iceland affect the album?
As artists, we do a lot of samplings. When we first started out, all we had was a laptop, guitar and headphones. Actually going to a studio and recording live strings is a completely different feel. It was a really special moment for both of us.
What kind of inspiration did you use for the album?
We both experienced break-ups during the creative process. It felt really good to write about them; it was sort of therapeutic. Most of the album is very sad. I think it’s harder to write a happy song than it is to write a sort of depressing one. We’re not sad people, we just enjoy sad music.
What is your favorite song on the album?
The first song on the album is called “Silhouette” and that’s the one we recorded in Iceland. I’d say that’s my favorite. Maybe “Human,” as well.
What is a band or artist that fans would be surprised to hear you listen to?
That’s a good question. I have a soft spot for metal music, actually. I used to listen to loads and loads of metal. Basically I’ve gone from angry to sad, musically. I used to love this band called Tool.
Silhouettes is available for purchase on January 27.