All designs exclusively by PLAKINGER
Photographer: Momo Chen
Model: Jie Gao
Make-up artist and hairstylist: Chen Chen
Assistant: Zisheng Zhou
All designs exclusively by PLAKINGER
Photographer: Momo Chen
Model: Jie Gao
Make-up artist and hairstylist: Chen Chen
Assistant: Zisheng Zhou
Charlie Simpson rose to fame as a member of multi-BRIT Award-winning boyband Busted, with sales of over 3 million records, and a win for Record of The Year in 2004. Prior to the band’s split in 2005, Charlie began as the lead vocalist, guitarist and co-lyricist of Fightstar, releasing 3 albums and an EP. His debut solo album Young Pilgrim was released in 2011, and followed up in Summer 2014 by Long Road Home, which entered the UK Independent Albums chart at number one. Charlie sat down with FAULT to discuss writer’s block, Warped Tour and life as a newly married man.
FAULT: You have spoken about the process of writing Long Road Home, in terms of going back to the drawing board and the obstacles that come along with that. Was the process of putting it together an enjoyable one?
Charlie: A bit of both- I always love working on a record but this was the first time I had experienced a bit of writer’s block. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and needed a break from writing. Luckily, it matched with me going off on the Vans Warped Tour in the US- I played 28 shows in a month and it was just a nice way to separate myself from the situation. I think I wrote some of the best stuff on the record after that happened. It feels like a record I had to fight for, which made it all the more sweet to finish working on. I’m really proud of it.
It’s interesting that you have referred to the ‘journey’ of writing Long Way Home, and it came out of your time on the road with the Vans Warped Tour. Do you find that being on tour helps the writing process?
Yeah definitely. When you’re writing at home the environment can become quite stale; being on the road adds fuel to your creativity. The album felt like a journey from one point to another where I sort of found myself again.
Since releasing the album this summer, are you now able to identify certain undercurrents and themes, or do you go into the process wanting to say something specific?
It’s strange because my last record was a lot more melancholy and I always find it easier to write sad songs, but when I started on Long Road Home I had just got engaged and so I was feeling pretty good about everything! I had to tailor the writing around that kind of mood, which was actually a great challenge as I’d never done it before. It was really good to express that kind of emotion on the record.
In terms of ‘tailoring the writing process’, what are the distinctions between writing as a solo artist and writing as a group?
As a solo artist I get complete creative freedom. In a band, it has to be majority rules; if you write something you really like and one other member doesn’t like it, it really makes you question things. With this album I was able to take it in any direction, which is why I think it took me longer to write. With that creative freedom comes more responsibility because it’s all resting on your shoulders.
When you are struggling with writer’s block, is it a case of producing a lot and then throwing a lot away, or is it just hard to produce anything?
It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t come up with anything, just that I wasn’t writing anything I loved! I’m my own worst critic and I have actually ended up with about 20 unfinished songs I didn’t use. It’s cool because maybe I will revisit them at another time, but it’s a really strange process.
Returning to your time on the Vans Warped Tour, how does the live experience and performing impact your songwriting?
When I’m songwriting in a solitary environment, the lyrics are a lot better. But musically, I can be anywhere- on the Warped Tour I had my guitar on me the whole time. I tend to write the music first, and then I go into my little hole and write the lyrics, but I’ve always been a melody man first.
Do you start with a vision for songs, or do they evolve with time?
Yeah sometimes I’ll literally have a vision of a song in my head, and I’ll go to my studio and just make it happen. I like for there to not be a formula to the songwriting- when it comes, it comes. I always equate it to fishing; sometimes you go and nothing comes, and sometimes you catch a big one!
You’ve worked with a lot of different set-ups and sounds. Are your influences quite varied?
It’s completely varied but it’s always been centred around heavier, Rock-ier sounds. I love Deftones and Metallica, but my Dad also put me onto artists like Jackson Brown and those West Coast bands from the 1970s like The Eagles and The Beach Boys. Whatever form of music it is, I have always just loved vocal harmonies and making big sounds with voices.
It’s interesting talking about your childhood influences and you mentioned music has been in your family for over 200 years, from composers and musicians to a former head of the Royal College of Music. Now you are married, is it fair to say family is an important focus for you?
It’s actually the most important! One of the themes of the record is how you can be in a dark place, and be unsure of what is going on, but the one constant is family. I’m really blessed to have a loving family, and that will never change. I’ll always have my family, my wife, and (hopefully) my kids.
Is that easily compatible with the music industry?
When I was younger I loved just getting out on the road, and I still do. I love making music, but I love getting out and playing it just as much. But that’s getting harder as I get older. Family life and being a musician aren’t that compatible, there has to be a balance.
You scored the British film Everyone Is Going To Die, which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2013, and you’ve mentioned this as something you’d like to pursue more extensively later in your career. Can you talk more about the relationship between the music and the visuals in your work?
It’s huge! I love film as much as I love music and the marriage of visuals and music is such a wonderful thing. With scoring a film, someone else tells a story and it’s your responsibility to bring out the emotion in it. When you’re writing your own music, you constantly feel that it’s not just music but somehow a representation of your entire make-up. It’s nice to take that pressure off a bit!
You’ve now been a touring musician for over 10 years. What changes have you seen in the music industry?
The industry is almost unrecognisable. Facebook, YouTube, Spotify – none of these things existed! The landscape of the industry has changed so much, you’ve just got to go with it. Whether streaming or downloading, as long as people are still consuming music (legally!) it’s a good thing.
What is your FAULT?
You should ask my wife! (laughs) I would say I’m pretty impatient, which can be a good thing. I get quite frantic and when you’re in the studio that can be a good thing, but in other situations it can be a nightmare.
FAULT spoke to the Swedish quartet earlier this year at Way Out West, a local festival for the Gothenburg residents. We’re delighted to unveil our exclusive interview and photos from their inevitably effervescent performance on the eve of the latest single release. ‘Underbart’, the fourth single from the group’s fourth album Nabuma Rubberband, is out in the UK and internationally on 15th December:
It’s not often that I get excited about a festival. Long gone are the days where I want to spend a night in a tent, not seeing a proper hot shower in what feels like an age, and having to deal with tripping over mountains of mud face-first. By contrast, however, my invitation to Way Out West 2014 brought a breath of fresh air. A Swedish city festival in a league of its own, it prides itself in being fully vegetarian with a 30,000 strong crowd. Set in the ‘oh-so-pretty-it-hurts’ city of Gothenburg, the line up was one of the most exciting I have seen since the release of the Coachella lineup in 2012 (albeit post 2pac performing ‘live’ by hologram!). Le’s set the scene: Little Dragon, playing in their hometown, Neneh Cherry playing her first Swedish festival in over a decade. Not forgetting dynamic duo Icona Pop and electro heartbreak queen Robyn, performing with Röyksopp. It’s not hard to believe that so many of the incredible women who currently dominate the pop scene are Swedish, given Sweden has voted a feminist political party into European Parliament. And let’s not forget who gave us ABBA (for better or worse…).
Getting into the festival I rush to make sure that I don’t miss a thing . As I handed in my ID to get my pass sorted, I was greeted by a gigantic portal, beyond which lay the lair of Way Out West.
The first time we interviewed Little Dragon their second album had just been released, they had just toured with Gorillaz, and the world had not entered their Kaleidoscopic universe. This time we met them before they went on stage. Collaborations with SBTKT and Outkast’s Big Boi, who are also headlining the festival, have followed since that album, as well as everything from Boiler Room sets, to playing at a Givenchy Show in Paris. They count Drake and Damon Albarn as fans – after all, it was the latter who personally asked them to join Gorrilaz on tour after being introduced to them by his partner. Nabuma Rubberband, the group’s fourth studio album sees them collaborate with Dave from iconic hip-hop trio De la Soul.
There is something quite special about listening to Yukimi[ Nagano, lead singer]’s voice as it gently caresses the algorithms of synth-infused pop. A focused and unashamed parallel reality Little Dragon simply just make life all that much more fun, colorful and bouncy. It hard not to get dancing feet at the idea of seeing them play in front of a home crowd. But first there was the small matter of our interview to which to attend…
FAULT: This is your biggest home crowd, how do you feel?
Little Dragon: It’s our hardest crowd, we have all our friends and family, and they are always the hardest to impress. They’ve seen it all before! It’s like having the end of year school concert, like a Christmas gift to your parents.
You’ve managed to break out internationally, before breaking out in your home country, you’ve collaborated with some pretty big international names. Who’s been your favourite collaborator?
Håkan Wirenstrand: Hahaha! No favorite! I mean he is my favorite collaborator. (Hakan points at Erik) And that point about us breaking out internationally, we never really pushed it here in Sweden. And it was through this organic flow of distribution. It was actually Damons wife who first heard our record and then played it to him. Next thing we know we are being asked to collaborate and go on tour. That was a great collaboration. It was much more than just a song we did left on an MP3. It was a full tour, life long friendships.
How long have you guys known each other?
Erik Bodin: Oh! Quite some time! Hahaha!
How do Swedish people even make friends? They seem so much more reserved!
H.W: We are a little afraid of strangers. We are pretty closed up in the winter, and a little crazy in the summer. You know we talk to whoever on the bus stop!
Could you see yourself living outside of Sweden?
E.B: Or we could just dismantle the Swedish Border so that we are still in Sweden, but just not staying here anymore.
H.W: I wouldn’t mind a Mediterranean climate though.
Where do you go to unleash your creativity? How do you embrace your creativity?
E.B: In our brains somehow we carry the creavity inside us. We don’t really have to go anywhere specific to channel it out. It’s good to be very bored, and to stay away from it once in a while too. I like life here its simple, I have family I have here. You can make your creative lifestyle more of an everyday thing. You don’t need to travel to Hawaii or find yourself in India.
Who are you guys listening to right now?
E.B: I’m listening to Yung Lean. The rap and hip-hop thing seems to a good scene right now. I think its very healthy to break out and doing something different. Not just wear skinny jeans and do the whole indie rock thing.
H.W: We like Bob Hund.
Apparently Gothenberg is the Indie Rock capital of Sweden…
E.B: I thought that would be Linköping…
E.B: And you know down south in Malmo, they have a few freaks that really like to push boundaries. You know, that break all the rules.
Listening to the album feels like walking through a little dream, an emo electric pop dream. You all must so different to eachtother. You can hear so many influences
E.B: I think that it’s true we are all very different and have so many different influences. I think we like it that way too. We kind of started with just, you know, jamming. At a certain age we had a lot of time for jamming… For example, Hakan bought the whole synthy atmosphere into my life. You know? And it was very different for me. It was also very lucky that we were interesting in something that we didn’t already know.
H.W: I think it’s also a misunderstanding that I am the only one that plays the synth. It’s come to the point where all just explore eachothers instruments. And when we are trying to get an idea across. Sometimes we have to just head in and use whatever expresses the best. We end up influencing and inspiring each-other.
E.B: Everyone plays on his synths.
H.W: Maybe I have the biggest collection of synths. I’m building a little system, which I have been using on stage. That’s my most creative output. When you have to patch a synth. Its like opening your fridge, and trying to work out what you can put together and eat.
E.B: Like Kalles Caviar and keso [cottage cheese] on a banana…
Gosh, that sounds awful. I’m going to try and un-hear that now…
Little Dragon – full UK tour dates below:
Brighton – Corn Exchange – 17th November
Birmingham – The Institute – 18th November
Bristol – O2 Academy – 19th November
Leeds – Met – 21st November
Manchester – Albert Hall – 22nd November
Glasgow – O2 ABC – 23rd November
London – O2 Academy Brixton – 27th November
Oxford – O2 Academy – 29th November
General tickets available from:
‘Nabuma Rubberband’ available to download via iTunes: http://po.st/NabumaRubberband
Photographer: Aaricia Varanda & Amelie Blondel
Stylist: Tara Ziegfeld
Hairstylist: Jonathan Dadoun
Make up Artist: Vichika Yorn
Model: Maya Coline @Marilyn Paris
Stylist Assistant: Angélique Lancelle
Photographer Assistant: Louanne Core
Photographer: Raen Badua – www.raenbadua.com
Stylist: Brendon Alexander
Makeup Artist: Eric Vosburg
Hairstylist: Simone Grant
Model: Ulla Reiss | SILENT Models
The BJM‘s new EP, ‘+-‘ (that’s right: plus minus), is out today – and it’s a cracker. While we’re pretty sure that Anton (Newcombe, the front man and sole consistent member of what has eventually become more of a musical collective and general concept) was just trying to fuck with music writers everywhere when he decided on the internet-unfriendly name for the record, his latest offering shows few other signs of messing about.
+- is a return to the classic, timelessly awesome style that saw the BJM establish themselves as the figurehead for ‘real’, guitar driven, psychedelic rock music way back in 1990. Anton and co have largely eschewed the changing trends and passing fashions of the hits list ever since and the release of their latest full album, Revelations, earlier this year stands as a testimony to their enduring popularity with an admittedly niche but definitely devoted audience.
The +- EP has since been released off the back of a highly successful European tour, which cemented Anton’s undisputed position as the ‘Granddaddy of Psych’, and exhibits both the trademark tones and wide-reaching diversity of the BJM at their best. A key influence for the likes of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Horrors, Tame Impala, the Black Angels and many more, a simple call to action for on-the-fence readers is that all-too-clichéd come-on: “You’ve tried the rest, why not sample the best?”*
*Ed: OK, so we may have overplayed our hand a bit there because there’s no real ‘best’ out of those bands. But the BJM, and this EP in particular, are pretty damn good.
“I’ve always known what I’ve liked and I’ve always gone in the opposite direction of everyone else. I get bored easily of seeing the same thing over and over.” – Corrine Day
Few women have changed the face of fashion like the late, great Corrine Day. Beginning her 20 year career as a self-taught photographer in the eighties, Day grew to become one of fashion’s most celebrated, prominent and well-loved characters – not only for her groundbreaking work with publications such as Vogue, i-D and The Face, but for her gritty, personal documentary photographs which captured a frank and disarming snapshot of nineties post-rave London from the clubs and council estates where they transpired. Four years on from her untimely death in 2010, the anti-glamour photographer’s unquestionable nous for capturing glimpses of happiness, sadness and incredible beauty in everyday, kitchen sink situations remain as seminal now as the day they were taken.
A one-time international model, Day begun to toy with cameras in the mid-eighties whilst bored on set in the company of Mark Szaszy – the former male model who would later become her husband and treasured life partner. With no formal training, she began shooting her surroundings with a natural instinct that would follow her throughout her career. In 1989, Day had an interview with Phil Bicker, art director of The Face. Through Bicker, Day met stylists Anna Cockburn and Melanie Ward, with whom she was to create some of her most iconic images. Photographing an unknown 14-year-old Kate Moss, plucked from the fringes of Croydon, the unlikely cockney duo shot the notorious ‘Third Summer Of Love’ editorial (had the second really ended?) for The Face whilst having a lark together in Cambersands. The eight-page shoot saw a rambunctious Moss frolicking on the beach clad in Romeo Gigli, Joseph Tricot, battered Birkenstocks and the most magnificent (albeit impractical) feather head-dress from the now defunct Covent Garden boutique World.
“I was just having a laugh,” Moss is quoted saying of the shoot. “Corinne just wanted to bring out everything I hated when I was 15. My bow legs, the mole on my breast, the way I laughed.”
She would then take Moss with her to Vogue, subsequently forming a formidable friendship that would last until Corrine’s untimely death (Corrine is credited with being the first photographer to shoot Moss for a Vogue cover.) In 1993, Day was commissioned by newly appointed editor, Alexandra Shulman, to inject some much needed reality into proceedings. In the UK, Bjork’s debut portrayed the Icelandic songstress messy haired and clad in an oversized grunge knit, Blur had just released their seminal album Modern Life Is Rubbish and acid house raves were evolving into darker jungle and happy hardcore all-nighters. Cool Britannia was just around the corner, magazines like i-D, Penthouse and RayGun were reporting from the counter-culture underbelly whilst Vogue still touted the impossible and antiquated beauty of supermodels Cindy, Naomi, and Michelle.
Shulman was to receive the much-needed injection of gritty realism that Condé Nast so desired. A waifish and milky-limbed Moss posed nonchalantly in the scruffy Brewer St flat Day occupied at the time for Under-Exposure. Grubby carpets, visible pubic hair, an uncovered duvet, tan tights pulled halfheartedly over sheer underwear. This was the first anti-glamour shoot Vogue had displayed of its kind. The on-paper lingerie shoot took a life of it’s own, paying homage to Day’s haunting personal photography style outside of the fashion world. Corinne Day later said that she took the famous ‘fairy lights’ shot on a day when Kate had been crying after a fight with her then-boyfriend, resulting in the vulnerability that turned this into one of the most iconic and controversial images produced in the ’90s. It’s the most reproduced image of the entire editorial, but the clothes (pink Liza Bruce vest and Hennes chiffon knickers) are rarely remembered, or credited.
The strapline on the March issue of Vogue that year read ‘London style…London Girls!’, but upon its release, the tabloids whirred into a frenzy, proclaiming the shoot promoted ‘heroin chic’ and ‘bordered on paedophilic’. In the wake of controversy, Day retreated from fashion, choosing instead to tour America with genre band Pusherman, documenting her travels in her lo-fi, grunge aesthetic. The result was her celebrated tome and exhibition of works of works, Diary. Released in 2000, the book contained graphic, raw and honest photos of Day and her friends – most prominently unlikely muse Tara St. James.
Shot amongst the shabby sofas and peeling wallpaper of run-down tenements of Soho and its surrounding areas, the collection documented the sex, drugs and squatting of her bohemian circle of young dreamers. We see Tara crying, smoking, nursing her baby, running around the flat in a string of tinsel, laughing amongst a grotty 3-piece bathroom. The photographs would be deemed voyeuristic were it not for Day’s proximity to and involvement with her subjects; in a harrowing few entries she documents her own brain-tumor diagnosis in 1996, preparal for surgery, and later recovery. By then she was extremely ill and no grizzly details were spared, omitted, censored, a true testament to her unquestionable skill for spotting beauty amongst ruins and diamonds in the rough.
Corinne was diagnosed with a slow growing, grade 2 brain tumor called in November 1996, during which time she was given a prognosis of 8 years to live. Despite her sudden death in 2010, Day’s presence is still felt in the industry today – so often we flick through a fashion glossy and spot some reference, homage or small semblance of Corinne’s celluloid thumbprint. To view her photos is to be invited into her world, one of honest realism – a raw energy that photographers still seek 20 years on.
Team FAULT are excited to be attending yet another showcase event in London’s ever-growing menswear calendar: Off the Rails London. Taking place in the trendy-yet-relaxed setting of the Old Truman Brewery on London’s Brick Lane, the emphasis of this sartorial pop-up bonanza is one of inclusivity and affordability without compromising on quality. In fact, the standard of men’s style on display represents the pinnacle of contemporary London-based design, with trailblazers such as tailors Markus Lupfer and Richard Anderson, shoemakers Oliver Sweeney and Barkers and the immortal Christy’s Hats - among many others (70 in total) - all holding court at this year’s debut.
With additional incentives including special discounts on many current lines, a pop-up ‘old school’ barber shop in the form of Shoreditch’s own Murdock London, personal styling sessions by Topman and booze and grub supplied by the Mr Hyde Bar and Patty and Bun Burger Store respectively, there seems to be few reasons for any self-respecting man about town in London NOT to attend – especially as tickets are available from just £6 each if bought as a pair (or more).
The event runs from today, Thursday 30th October – Sunday 2nd November at:
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane
London, E1 6QL
For event times and more information, visit www.offtherailsldn.com