The newest signing to Manchester based Faith and Hope records, Fraction, are all set to release their debut single 'Heroes' at the beginning of November. Room Thirteen fired some questions over to drummer Barney to find out a bit more about the band:

R13: Hi. A quick history please: Who is in the band? What do you do? How long have you been doing it for?
B: Hello. I'm Barney Ibbotson, I play drums then there's Ben Watts who plays bass and sings, Robbie Roberts who plays guitar and sings and Toby Gawne who plays guitar, keyboards and sings. Robbie and Ben used to be in a band called Valve and released a couple of singles. When the contract ended, Valve split up and Toby and myself, who were big Valve fans, met Robbie and Ben in Manchester. The original idea was to reform as Valve but after a few rehearsals and some new songs it was obvious that the band was going to sound more edgy and rocky than Valve and therefore we thought we should be re-named.
R13: Interesting choice of name you made, how did that come about?
B: Names are always hard to pick! We played with lots of different names for a while but Fraction seemed to be the only name we all agreed we didn't hate and that wasn't already taken.

R13: You are based in Manchester; do you feel the city's musical heritage in any way affects either the sound of the band or the way in which people perceive you?
B: We all live in Manchester but Ben and Robbie are both from Kent originally and Toby and myself are both from Cheshire. We are fans of Manchester music from past and present (from Joy Division and The Smiths to Doves and Elbow), but we have never deliberately aim to emulate a certain Manchester sound. Our sound derives from many different musical influences.

R13: What are your views on the current music scene in Manchester?
B: We don't feel that there are many bands around that we particularly like but every so often a good band stands out from the rest. Ben and Robbie are particularly into a band called Polytechnic at the moment and Toby likes a band called I Remain. Red Stone Dancer are another favourite.

R13: How did the Faith and Hope deal come about?
B: Faith and Hope saw us supporting Leaves at Night and Day in Manchester and signed us shortly after.

R13: What are your hopes for this debut release?
B: We just want people to hear the single and find out what the reaction is really. We are pleased to be releasing it on vinyl, which is a great format.

R13: How do you write your songs, in collaboration or individually?
B: A bit of both really. The original ideas for the songs come from Ben, Robbie or Toby and from there the band shapes them into a Fraction song. They often come out sounding a lot different to the originals but always like Fraction.

R13: The two songs on the single are quite immediate but do you feel experimenting as songwriters is important to how you wish to portray yourselves as musicians?
B: The single is pretty immediate but our songs vary quite a bit in terms of impact and subtlety. We chose the songs on the single to grab people's attention.

R13: How do you feel the bands sound sits in the current UK music scene?
B: We don't really feel like we're part of any UK music scene. In terms of contemporary guitar bands, we feel that there is a lot more creativity coming out of America. The current crop of new-wave revivalists do nothing for us, we would rather listen to the originals. Major labels seem content too keep pumping out band after band that sound the same which is a safer bet financially, I suppose, but that's not what music should be about.

R13: Who do you consider to be contemporaries worth emulating, from home or overseas?
B:I'm really into Queens Of the Stone Age at the moment. The rest of the band are into stuff like Death Cab for Cutie and Minus The Bear, both great bands from America, from back home we really like what Goldfrapp have done.

R13: Off the back of the single, do you have any gigs or tours lined up?
B:Yeah, we play - Bull & Gate, Kentish Town London on Monday November 7th, The Lamp in Hull on Wednesday 9th November, Manchester Bierkeller Friday 11th November.

R13: Why should people come and see you for the first time?
B: If you like the sound of us from this, visit the website and then come and check us out.

R13: Future plans with Faith and Hope?
B: More singles and an album next year.

R13: What would be your biggest ambition for the band?
B: Just to produce some really good music I reckon. To quote Ian MacKaye from Fugazi "We want to make records that other people want to sound like and not make albums that sound like other people".

R13: What is immediately next on the agenda for Fraction?
B: Playing the shows we have lined up and building our fan base. Some recording is imminent also.

R13: Favourite song not of yours, old or new, at this very moment?
B: 'Friday Night, Saturday Morning' by The Specials.

R13: Any parting words, shameless plugs or fatherly advice for R13 readers?
B: The single is out to buy on the 7th November. We'll also be appearing on Michelle Mullane's show on BBC GMR on Thursday 10th November to play a couple of songs. Check the website for updates!

Heroes/Tiles limited 10" released on Faith and Hope records 7th November, available to download from I-Tunes right now. Check out the website for further details.