‘Faux – The Real Deal’ – FAULT Magazine in conversation with “dirty pop quartet”, Faux

 

Self-styled ‘dirty pop quartet’, Faux, are standing on the brink of their biggest year yet, with the recent release of single Hot-Headed, a main stage spot at Teddy Rocks Festival and supporting Counterfeit on their UK tour this April. Luckily for us, vocalist/guitarist, Lee Male, managed to find a few minutes to sit and chat with FAULT about the band’s roots, guilty pleasures, and life on the road.

 

So, let’s talk about your new single, Hot-Headed – you’ve mentioned previously that this song is about dealing with a big personality within a small group of friends; is there a particular story behind that? 

It was really just topical in my life at the time, so it felt organic to write about that subject. The funny thing is that people assume songwriters are generally writing about other people, but that song is actually about me! It was kind of about me within my own friendship group and realising I’m a bit of a pain in the bum

Well, either way, the track sounds awesome – is this any indicator of the style we can expect from a new album or EP?

At the moment, we’re continuously writing as much as we can, like most bands. I think the topics are always going to be quite eclectic because I do like to write about what’s going on around me. Some of my friends write stuff about stories they like or books they’re interested in, but I haven’t done that yet. Not saying I wouldn’t ever do it, but at the moment I’m at a stage where I like to be able to relate to what I’m saying on a direct level

I think, if we were to demo an album now, it would probably be a mixed bag in regards to the tone of the songs and even the overall vibe – we’d have some happy songs, and some that are a bit more grumpy.

You call yourselves a dirty pop quartetbut what exactly is dirty pop? I’m guessing it’s got nothing to do with Pop by NSYNC?!

Firstly, NSYNC are great, just putting that out there! I think ,as much as we’d like to ignore it, we’re always going to sound a little bit emo, because that’s the music we’ve grown up listening to and we just have that kind of edge to what we write. But, as we’ve come into our mid ‘20s, we’re moving on from heavy bands and we do feel that we want to make interesting pop music now. We want to write songs that we would want to hear and, at the moment, we’re mostly listening to indie and pop music. It feels natural and it’s where we want to be, but I think that we will always be a bit more raw than typical pop; someone described us as ‘dirty pop’ once, and it just kind of stuck!

NSYNC aside, who do you look to for influences or inspirations, musically?

Well, it’s a bit of a tall order as they’re both incredible bands ,as far as I’m concerned but probably The 1975, and Brand New – I’ve been into them for the longest time, so they’ll always be a massive part of shaping how I’d like to sound. And stuff like Blossoms too – I guess we’re just trying to find a good middle ground. We’re still on a bit of a learning curve, but I feel like this is the year that we’re going to come into our stride and find the balance of where we were, and where we want to be.

Do you have any guilty pleasures that you love to listen to?

I like a lot of stuff that I probably shouldn’t  I like a lot of Phil Collins, and I like really poppy stuff like Ariana Grande, I can’t lie! But I don’t really feel guilty about listening to that because it’s great. 

And how did Faux come to be – did you all meet in Southampton

I and Luke, our bassist, were doing the Southampton music scene in two separate bands, but we knew each other through mutual friends. Then both of our bands kind of came to a natural end with people going to university and stuff, so we got together and started jamming. Jamesour drummer, went to university with Luke, and we managed to convince him to get involved. 

Then we went to The Ranch production house in Southampton and we met Daly, who was a producer there, and eventually, Daly joined the band too. Everyone got to spend time together beforehand and had a chance to become really good friends, which makes life a lot easier.

Are there any other bands from the Southampton scene that you think we should be looking out for?

Creeper are great, and they’re doing really well at the moment, and Signals – I’d definitely recommend checking out with them. I mean, we’re all friends, but they’re also just two great bands who are doing – or will do – really well.  We’re quite blessed that we’ve got bands from Southampton that are doing well across a lot of genres – from indie rock bands to stuff like Bury Tomorrow, which is really heavy metal. It’s a good mixed bag here.

Next up for you guys is a UK tour with Counterfeit and Tigress, do you know these guys well already?

No actuallywe’ve had a couple of chats just to say, like ‘Hi, we’rthe guys who are going to be annoying you for two weeks‘, that kind of thingWe haven’t met in person yet, so hopefully we’ll be saying hello to the right people on the first day and not the bar staff or something. We couldn’t be more excited about it – it’s a bit like Christmas Eve, we just want to go now!

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So, this is going to be your biggest tour yet, but what have been the highlights and challenges on previous tours?

The best part is definitely meeting people who have heard you for the first time, and – hopefully – hearing good things from them. That’s a real highlight when people say you were really tight and that they enjoyed it. With recordings being so good these days, it is easy to get sloppy live, so we work really hard to that how we sound on the record is reflected when we play live

As for hardships… probably just four boys being with each other every minute of the day, for a long time. I’ve always thought that being in a band is kind of like having a girlfriend, but instead of a girl, it’s three guys! You’ve got to be aware that everyone has different personalities and traitsbut we’re fortunate that everyone does get on well. We’re all very close, but you don’t have much personal space. or time to yourself.

Do you have any pre-show rituals to psych yourselves up before going on stage?

I guess just boring stuff, like having a warm- up? This will be our longest tour and everyone is a bit nervous, so we’re going to go into it pretty reserved and focus on keeping ourselves healthy. We just like to hang out and relax, then when it’s time to play we just get on with it. I feel like we need a ritual now though! 

April is a busy month for you guys – as well as the tour, you’re are at Teddy Rocks Festival too, so are there any bands you’re hoping to have a chance to see there?

Yeah, we did Teddy Rocks last year as well so we’re really pleased to do it again, it’s a great cause. I’ve never seen Twin Atlantic live, so I’m excited to see what they’re all about, and Scouting for Girls are playing – they’ve been around a long time, so I’m expecting them to be good live. Our friends Gun Shy are playing too, and Tigress. It’s an awesome festival ,whichever stage you find yourself at there’s going to be something cool to watch.

And lastly, what is your fault?

I think, as a band, we over analyse everything we do a bit too muchLike, when an artist says you just have to walk away from a picture because you’ll keep adding colour, I think we do that playing live and when we’re recording – especially with live shows, actuallyWe want to play at 100% every night, but I guess we’re a little too hard on ourselves sometimes, we should just enjoy the situation and relax a little.

For me, I think my main fault is that I really like to have all of my ducks in a row. So, if someone says they’re going to be at my house at 4pm, but then they turn up at ten past, they’ve probably got two emails, two texts, a WhatsApp message, four phone calls and an Instagram DM form me! I can adapt to plans being changed, so long as I’m told. I just like a good solid plan, and when that goes amiss I need someone to take the reins and tell me what’s happeningOnce I get a plan in my head, then a plan B isn’t really an option – it’s either plan A, or I have a nervous breakdown! 

Catch Faux on tour with Counterfeit and Tigress between 18-29 April or at Teddy Rocks Festival on Friday 28 April – in the meantime, check out the video for Hot Headed here.

Words: Jennifer Parkes

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