The story of Ten Fé is a love story, of sorts. For the songwriters at the centre of it – Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan – the band is the eventual realisation of two respective careers spent navigating the bumpy terrain of the music industry. Both have been in bands before, some successful, some less so, until in each-other they finally found a musical partnership built on a deeper understanding.
Leo Duncan is from the Black country - the ‘armpit of England’, he jokes – raised in an Irish household, steeped in a tradition of folk singing. Ben Moorhouse is from East London and found his musical feet at school – picking up a guitar, and moving through Britpop into psychedelia and then jazz as he progressed through his teenage years and onto a Royal Academy music degree. They met around the time Ben was enjoying success playing bass in indie outfit Golden Silvers and the pair began working together on the side-lines.
Between busking on the London underground, they wrote songs in each-other’s bedrooms, and eventually in 2015 started releasing music in their own right. Ten Fé was formed. Their debut album Hit the Light arrived in early-2017 and received widespread acclaim, with comparisons to Britain’s Madchester scene of the late '80s and early '90s and Springsteen-esque Americana. It struck a chord, enjoying in excess of 30 million streams on Spotify and inspiring sold out shows in the UK, America, and Europe.
They felt a renewed sense of confidence when it came to writing the ever-daunting follow up. They set up shop in a vacant driving licence office in Walthamstow where the majority of the writing has been done. As they neared the end of the process, they took their collection of songs and the rest of the expanded Ten Fé band - Rob Shipley, Johnny Drain and Alex Hammond - to Oslo where they tracked the record before returning to London to finish it off with producer Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode, Petite Noir, Anna of the North) and have it mixed by Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, Florence & The Machine, Amen Dunes). Finding a sweet spot somewhere between the woozy drawl of War on Drugs and the taut melodrama of Fleetwood Mac, they focused their sound into something distinctively Ten Fé.
All attention is now focused on the resultant record - Future Perfect, Present Tense - which is due for release on March 8, 2019 via Some Kinda Love/PIAS. It is a poignant, uplifting meditation on everything that’s brought them to this point, and all they’ve left behind in getting there. Already introduced by first single 'Not Tonight', and now brand-new offering 'Won’t Happen'; an early standout which bounces with a lithe groove while Leo Duncan, on vocals, laments and repents for his past indiscretions.
What Future Perfect, Present Tense adds up to is a record about time – the time it takes, the time you’ll never get back, and the times still to come – from a band with a deep appreciation of taking the rough with the smooth. The journey to its completion has been about stripping away the distractions and being truthful to themselves. After everything, Ben and Leo brought it back to a simple connection that is unique to the two of them. Translated into English, Ten Fé is the Spanish for “have faith”. New album title Future Perfect, Present Tense conveys further their commitment to the cause and a reminder of their unwavering optimism. Both of these mottos are apt for the pair of songwriters – a band who’ve learnt to trust each-other, and know the rest will follow.