Limelight: Baltic Fleet

Baltic Fleet's Paul Fleming standing on a hill with his arms outstretched
(Image: © Adam Banister)

Baltic Fleet is the brainchild of Warrington-based multi-instrumentalist Paul Fleming who has just issued his third album The Dear One. Building upon the success of 2008 debut Baltic Fleet and 2012 follow-up Towers, his latest fusion of post-rock, Krautrock and electronica is already meeting with even more effusive critical acclaim. A seasoned writer and performer, who once had a stint with Echo & The Bunnymen, his passions date from his earliest days.

“I got into music through my dad who was a musician in the 60s on the Merseybeat scene,” says Fleming. “Him and my uncle were signed and brought out singles and knocked about with The Beatles. My sister was musical as well so it was a musical household. I started playing in bands when I was 12, eventually started doing my own music when I was in college, and a few years later I started playing with Echo & The Bunnymen. I got friendly with Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch and it opened me up to a whole lot of other music like Neu!, Kraftwerk, Can, psychedelic stuff, and lots of other genres. When we were on tour I started recording on a laptop when we had downtime and that was where Baltic Fleet was born.”

Sometimes referred to as audio ‘diarising’, a striking aspect of Paul’s approach to writing is a strong sense
of place.

“It undoubtedly influences you. On Towers it was a bit more stark because literally from the room I was recording I could see a power station and that was always in my consciousness. With this new record, where I moved to it was difficult at first to find inspiration, but it was when I walked to the top of a hill and could see 20 or 30 miles away the power station near where I used to live, that gave me continuity and a link back.”

Baltic Fleet’s evocative atmospheres also exemplify tasteful restraint and a determination to constantly evolve in an arena where others often settle for pure self-indulgence and rampant nostalgia.

“I’ve not put any spiralling jams on there or really stretched things out, although some of the early versions were longer,” he says. “I think I’ve a natural way of composing and arranging that’s concise. I almost write songs with vocals but replace vocals with melodies and different movements, and I’ve just come to work in that way. My dad always brought me up to think progressive, don’t stay in one place, don’t copy anything too much, bring influences in but be progressive and build something that is adding to the future. I just keep trying to change it up, and if you listen to the albums, I’ve tried my best to do that. I don’t think there’s a Motorik beat on this album – I left that on Towers. I’ve changed the rhythms and tried to develop some of the chord structures and the way I write. I just wanna keep moving it forward. Being progressive is the biggest thing that drives me.”

PROG FILE

line-up

Paul Fleming

sounds like

Pretty yet pensive progressive electronic rock

current release

The Dear One is out now via Blow Up

For more, visit the Baltic Fleet website