FAULT meets Dead!

London-based quartet Dead! are proof that hard work and determination pays off. Made up of vocalist Alex, guitarists Sam and Louis and bassist Chappell, the band released their first EP in 2014 and are now gearing up for the release of their debut album. Produced by the acclaimed Charlie Russell, who has also worked with Madonna and Jamiroquai, the band have crafted a record that they hope will become a part of the rich tapestry of rock ‘n’ roll that has preceded them. FAULT is Dead!

Your album is ready to drop really soon, what can you tease us about it?

Chappell: Not much.

Louis: It’s done, it recorded, we spent the whole of December recording it.

Where was it recorded?

Louis: We recorded it at Dean Street Studios in Soho with a guy called Charlie Russell who has worked with Jamiroquai, and he’s engineered for Madonna as well, so a really mixed bag. There were quite a few people that we tried and some of them were safer routes. It might have made more sense to go with a more rock orientated producer but because it was our first ever album we thought we could experience things that were new and he could experience them as well and it felt very natural because of that.

Alex: He’s done a variety of pop stuff and some slightly rock stuff, he definitely has an ear for things unlike somebody who has just done rock bands in the past. He sat back a lot more than other producers we’ve worked with but you notice two sessions later that he’s said something earlier in the day that has snowballed on subconsciously and mind-tricks you into writing something differently.

Louis: You start off and thin, ‘Does he know what he’s doing?’ But at the end you’re like, ‘He know exactly what he’s doing.’ It was really important to us that it was recorded in Soho, it had to be done there, we wanted to record down Dean Street. There’s not much point trying to do the best British rock album in a long time in the middle of nowhere in Lincoln or something, it’s such a vibe in Soho.

You’ve been a band for a lengthy time now, has your song creation process evolved? Do you think you have a formula?

Alex: Me and Sam used to solely write all of the songs, then in the last few years we’ve got our system down and rather than it being about the songs, it’s about each other and understanding what the person is like and how they work as opposed to just writing a song. That’s the thing that comes naturally and that’s the really fun part, we can just go in a room and write a pop punk song or a pop song just for fun and we enjoy doing that together, but when it comes to something like Dead! and what we’re trying to do, it’s having four guys’ opinions and four guys’ passions and trying to melt that all into one output. Sometimes that’s really hard and you can hit walls but, especially with writing this album, these guys have put in a lot more ideas and it’s becoming more and more in the rehearsal room with everyone chipping in and it feels more like a band writing a song together.

Louis: It’s quite impressive how lyrically he [Alex] can write something that, because the themes on this album are a lot more mature than anything we have done before, it’s mad how some of the things sum up what we’re all feeling. Obviously we gone through a lot of the same things together, touring in the van and we live together, stuff like that, but some of it is uncanny.

Do you think it’s become more of a movement as an extension of the band?

Louis: Yeah we very much live it, it is a 24/7 thing. It’s not a job, it’s not a hobby, it’s something else. I guess that’s a good word to use.

Alex: That’s the really good part and also the really bad part, especially at the stage we’re at now. We’re having to hang everything we want on something so fickle as the music industry, that’s the really terrifying part, but it’s also the most fun thing we’ve ever done our lives.

Louis: I don’t think you could be more invested in anything than we are in what we do at this point, this is it for us, in a great way.

Do you think it’s been quite a steady growth for you as a band? And is that more of a benefit instead of it happening straight away?

Alex: Yeah, I don’t like the words ‘hype band’ because when a band is instantly labelled as a hype band then there’s a certain amount of pressure for them to live up to it in a certain amount of time. Obviously you have the ones that come out of nowhere and do stay there, but that’s once in a blue moon. You see bands that grow steady over a period of time and they get their core fanbase, like Biffy Clyro, and we did it at the start with two years of DIY touring in venues you’ve never heard of with bands you’ve never heard of, with a handful of people every night. Having the album coming out later this year really excites me because we’ve got these festivals to build, and last year we did see from the tours we had done dotted throughout the year, places like Reading Festival, 2000 Trees and Download you saw an accumulation of all the fans we picked up on the previous tour and it’s really nice to see. As long as progress is there, whether it’s slow or fast, I’m happy.

Do you read your own press?

Alex: After tour I read reviews, and it’s like smoking, I want to stop but I can’t. Maybe that’s the younger side of me that’s still in there that needs to be validated but I don’t read the interviews because I cringe myself out.

Louis: It’s hard not to look, if you get ten good reviews then that’s great but you get one bad review and you’re like, ‘The world is ending!’

Are you influenced by other forms of art as well as music?

Louis: Yeah, movies are a big one, we like Quentin Tarantino films. For every song we recorded in the studio we had a big projector playing films and we had a different film for every song which was vibe building.

Alex: The fight scenes are the best when you’re ripping a guitar.

Louis: Until you’ve got to do a slow song [laughs]

Chappell: But on the last day we were a bit hungover so we just put Spongebob on.

Louis: Having the visual cues definitely helped a lot. If you find books and films that you love and let them influence you, you might find yourself a bit more sidestepped from what other people are making.

You’ve got a single out called ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’, what have you had enough of?

Alex: The song is a very self-critical song and I think I’ve had enough of, when you’re going through the stage of growing up – we were teenagers when we started this, and now we’re 22 – you have to learn to adapt and change, and sometimes that is so difficult because it’s been ingrained in you to be a certain way. To make certain things work you have to compromise and you have to make an effort and I’ve had enough of not doing that.

Louis: I’ve had enough of blandness and beige, mostly to do with music, just because that’s what we do so we’re quite wrapped up in that. Not anyone in particular but I think there are a lot of bands that follow trends and it’s watered down nothingness, which might be fun for a few years but ultimately it’s nothing.

Chappell: Mine is the same, that’s fair.

Do you listen to anything that’s a bit more mellow than your own sound?

Louis: Yeah, we don’t listen to the same stuff at all

Alex: I’ve just discovered a guy called Mark Jenkins, it’s a bit like SBTRKT but a bit more hip hop and that’s really cool. We all have a really vast taste. Whilst recording the album I didn’t listen to any rock stuff at all.

What’s your most rock ‘n’ roll story?

Chappell: When we first started we bought a van, which is a stupid idea when you’re a young band just starting to tour, and we had our mate drive the van because none of us could drive – we were the only people to own a van that couldn’t drive – and we were going to Leeds and a 22 tonne lorry crashed into the side of the van and completely wrote it off, I don’t know how rock ‘n’ roll that is.

Louis: That’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll, almost dying.

Chappell: We still played the show that night, our mate had to sit in the van to stop people trying to steal stuff because there were no windows.

What is your FAULT?

Louis: How long have you got? [laughs]

Chappell: We gave our band the one band name you can never Google, that’s a pretty big fault.

 

Words Shannon Cotton

Photography Stephanie YT

Grooming Lynda Darragh

Photo Assistant Erica Fletcher

Pixie Lott – Returns to FAULT for an exclusive Online covershoot

Shorts:  Dsquared2 | Top: OWNTHELOOK.com | Heels: ASH

 

Returning to the music scene after three years would be seen as a challenge is anyone’s book. However, Pixie Lott is embracing this new chapter with vigour. After competing on Strictly Come Dancing, starring in a West End play and coaching on The Voice UK, Pixie is back with a bang. Now working on her fourth studio album which is set for release later this year, we quizzed Pixie on her brand new dance track, her love of acting, the best advice she’s ever been given and accepting her FAULTs.

 

Your new song ‘Baby’ has recently been released – tell us a bit more about it.

It’s a dance track which is really exciting for me because it’s so fun and I just love going out. I’ve not released music for a while so it’s nice to do something fun with it – it’s a very different sound for me. My favourite kind of music always has a soulful vibe so to have a dance track to come out first is really exciting. That being said, I have an acoustic version recorded where it’s literally just me and the piano. So when I perform it, I get the best of both worlds!
What were the inspirations behind this music?

Just having fun really! It’s a collaboration with Anton Powers – we met each other years ago at Party in the Park festival and we reconnected when I was in Ibiza with my best friends from school and he was out there djing. We said “let’s get in the studio” and it finally happened!

Dress: Laurel | Jewellery: Links of London

 

Last year you starred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s on the West End. How does acting on stage compare to singing?


It’s completely different. I love them both; singing is my number one passion, it’s what I will do forever – I couldn’t live without it, but acting is something that I really enjoy and I’m learning. That’s what’s so exciting about acting – you’re always learning with every new project and every new script you’re learning a new character. That’s why it really excites me, there’s so many different avenues. I would love to go into it more in the future whilst singing is something I’ve done my whole life.

Skirt: Genevieve Sweeney | Body: Boux Avenue | Jacket: Joshua Kane | Boots: Ego

 

Will you be acting again any time soon?
I think music will always take the front seat but if the right project with the right script comes up and they think I’m right for it and they want me to be a part of it as well then I will one hundred per cent do it. I love anything in the performing arts so anything that comes up which feels right, I will definitely do it. I want to keep learning.

 

What would be your dream role?
I think something similar [to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s] but on TV or film. I learnt so much in the theatre and I would definitely do it again, it’s so much hard work – the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I would love to get experience in the TV and film world because I’ve only done a tiny bit.

Bra: Bjorn Borg | Net top: Miss PAP | Leather: Richards Radcliffe Heels: Chie Mihara | Trousers: J.Kwan

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always said “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”, which I always go by. I think the most important thing is happiness, to enjoy yourself as much as possible because life’s too short, nobody knows what’s going to happen, so just to try to embrace every little moment and really appreciate your friends and family.

Flat cap: Joshua Kane Leather: Sadie Clayton Body: Boux Avenue Shorts: Voir Lab Boots: Ego


Your life is followed closely by the media. How do you deal with the public interest?
I think by just by acting a little bit oblivious to it, not really reading into it too much. I’m sort of used to it I guess. I don’t let it affect me. I still do exactly the same things that I did when I was at school before I released any music, I still have exactly the same friends. We still go to Nando’s and Pizza Express and still have just as much fun.

 

Trousers: AQ/AQ Top: Sadie Clayton Jewellery: Julia Burness Heels: Furla

 

What is your FAULT?
I have lots of FAULTS! Time-keeping and forgetfulness, which really go hand in hand! I’m also quite unorganised. Those sort of traits will always stay with me. I’ve gotten a lot better than I was but I think it’s just in my bones unfortunately. My sister is the complete opposite – she’s so organised and always on time, everything she does is planned and thought out to the utmost, whereas I am nothing like that.

 

 

Words: Aimee Phillips

Photography Rossella Vanon

Styling: Rachel Gold @ Red Represents

Make up: Christabel Draffin using Charlotte Tilbury

Hair: Enzo Volpe @ Mandy Coakley using Color Proof

Nails: Georgia Hart@Stella Creatives using Orly

Photography assistance: Jessica Gates

Retouching: Rossella Vanon and Alice Galiotto

Location: Huddle Studios

FAULT Reviews: ArtBaB Fair, Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain may be small but it punches above its weight in the wealth and new tech stakes. It is now establishing itself as a leading cultural destination in the Gulf via ArtBaB.

Guests at ArtBaB

Guests at ArtBaB

 

FAULT’s sister publication, The Art Collector, visited ArtBaB (Art Bahrain across Borders) which is just in its second year. ArtBaB’s mission is to create a platform for both local and international galleries to engender a dialogue on how art bridges geographical locations by a shared aesthetic and artistic language. The incubation of high-quality home-grown artists juxtaposed against international ones created a fascinating platform for comparison of both the differences and the similarities.

There are several factors that contribute to making an art fair globally significant. The foundation is, as ever, great art; the structure is heavyweight collectors; the organisation is logistics, sponsors, media and invited guests.  This is what has made the Frieze Art Fairs a superbrand.

A spade of art fairs in the UAE means that ArtBaB fits nicely into the emerging rhetoric of the Middle East as a cultural hot spot that is shaping up as a formidable contender to the West.

The requisite art-collector-guest ratio that is needed for a successful art fair is beginning to coalesce around ArtBaB. The fair is still young, but it means that ArtBaB is able to cultivate high-quality artists and works whilst building a more substantial art platform. The fair has already attracted renowned Middle Eastern artists and a handful of high-end commercial galleries from around the world such as Maddox Gallery, London, XVA Gallery, Dubai, Project 88, Mumbai and Bait Munza, Oman.

DSC_6536

The artists

For the seasoned art circuit-hopper the art might come across as not edgy enough. At the same time, the works on show were underpinned by great skill and good taste. This is art that is not pandering to trends but has its own agenda. Some of the works had an iconic quality about them and will pass the test of time. It is, after all, the strength of talent that will place Middle Eastern (and Bahraini) artists into the cannon of contemporary art.

A good example are the works of  Lulwa Al Khalifa defined by her own mission statement:

“Today art is weighed down by pretension that defies its true purpose, to inspire, evoke, provoke and delight. I believe that art is for everyone, it should be shared and appreciated.”

A self-taught painter, her oil canvasses are a mixture of abstract expressionism and the figurative. The blend creates a mellifluous hazy texture in the background, which is often in stark contrast to the very real and very beautiful figures in the foreground. The result is a magical – filled with colour and emotions.

You can view a sample of her works here.

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Omani artist Ahmed Al-Shukali was one of the few Omani artists exhibiting at ArtBaB. His introspective portraits draw in the viewer who are confronted with a very raw and real view into the everyday life of the working man. The portrait photographs are intimate and, relatively uncontrived, show every human’s basic essence – with the only difference being the eyes, which, as the proverb goes, are the window to one’s soul. Equally impressive are the expansive landscapes which breathe new life into an often empty space.

Structure: the Collectors

The fair has already attracted a few patrons from the Gulf and a trickle of quality collectors from around the world, clearly aiming at becoming a contender to the well-established neighboring ArtDubai.

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The fair

With several well-known international galleries firmly entrenched at ArtBaB, it is evident that in a few years the fair will be booming with talent from around the world.

DSC_7975

In terms of juxtaposition between art from the West and that from the Middle East, the former was dominated by trendy styles that are recycled in a lively manner with an array of pop art, the conceptual and the abstract. The Middle Eastern art, on the other hand, appeared to retain its traditional roots all the while experimenting with contemporary ideas. The Middle Eastern rhetoric is supported by traditional motifs and references, and enhanced by contemporary ideas and styles. It is already both well-received and exhibits all the hallmarks of enduring relevance.

 

 

 

ArtBaB is evolving organically, striving to combine authenticity with quality, as it grows to join the ranks of international art fairs. Having already generated sales of over 200,000 Bahraini Dinars this year alone, it is already making serious strides in that direction – both in terms of the works on show and in terms of high-profile attendees.

Art Bab

With thanks to sponsors Gulf Air for assisting with the flights and the Four Seasons Bahrain.


Originally posted on The Art Collector

TCTS’ Dancefloor Anatomy Fault Playlist

I’ve put together some of my favourite records featuring anatomical references and body parts. Fair warning, I’ve been quite liberal in testing the limits of this, some links are tenuous like.. “call you BACK”…

1. TCTS – Do It Like Me (Icy Feet) feat. Sage the Gemini & Kelis

When I wrote this I wanted to make a club record with a bit of swagger, as I’d just bought myself some new trainers and felt my feet looked good – hence Icy Feet. For it to turn into what it has, and to now feature these two artists is mad.

2. MANT – Bodywerk

This is getting a lot of play in my sets at the moment. I’m a big fan of these guys, and their new record on Salardo’s Sola? imprint is huge.

3. Ninetoes – Finder

In my opinion this is a modern classic. One of my favourite DJing memories from last summer is playing this on the terrace of Amnesia, it’s always such a switch up and always gets a warm reaction.

4. DJ Funk & Will Clarke – Booty Percolatin’

A typically fun and tongue in cheek record from Dirtybird mainstay Will Clarke and DJ Funk, I’m always reaching for this one.

5. Rene Amesz – Mind, Body & Soul

This guy has such a good sound, all his records are really chunky and groovy. Thankfully one of them included an anatomical reference so I could put him in the list!

6. Claptone feat. Jaw – No Eyes (Kyodai Remix)

Claptone has had a big few years, and this track is a remix of one from his album. I started getting really into Kyodai after hearing one of their tunes in a Laurent Garnier boiler room, and this is a great example of what they do.

7. Josh Butler & Bontan – Call You Back

Super tenuous link, however I was determined to squeeze it into the list. Both these guys are incredibly talented musicians, and this collab was never going to disappoint.

8. Lovebirds – Want You In My Soul ft. Stee Downes

For the sake of this exercise the soul is a part of the anatomy. This is an Ibiza sunrise tune, its very sexy.

9. The Bucketheads – The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind) (Armand Van Helden Re- edit)

Another classic record, just a total party vibe. Written by Kenny Dope and reworked by AVH, it’s a pretty hefty slice of house royalty on one record. Also worth checking out is Federico Scavo’s ‘BUG’ which samples the horn type sound, and also gets heavy rotation in my sets.

10. Laurent Garnier – The Man With The Red Face

Laurent Garnier is one of my heroes, and this is a masterpiece. Those keys chords, and that saxophone solo.

Honorary Mentions:

Frankie Knuckles – Your Love

Armand Van Helden – Wings

Emanuel Satie & Roberto Rodriguez – Ride Your Body (Sabb Afterdark Remix)

Tiga – Blondes have more fun (Jonas Rathsman remix)

Scuba – Hardbody

Lauren Lane – Diary of a Madwoman

Do It Like Me (Icy Feet) feat. Sage the Gemini & Kelis is out now.

 

Michelle Branch returns in this exclusive Fault shoot and interview

Michelle Branch is back with Hopeless Romantic, her first solo studio album since 2003. While Branch’s early-2000s bangers were recorded on big budgets in fancy studios, Hopeless Romantic was more of a DIY production that she created in the home of former Black Keys touring bassist Gus Seyffert. It was produced by Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, with whom Branch fell in love while making the album.

 

FAULT: What inspired you to make another LP after not doing a big project for so long?

Michelle: It wasn’t really a decision. I’ve been actively trying to release music for [counts silently] seven years. I turned in two albums to my old label, Warner Bros., that both got shelved. In 2014, I finally got out of my contract and immediately started writing this record. So it just happened to be this is the one that made it across the finish line.

Shirt – Teija / Jeans – H&M / Shoes – Chie Mihara

FAULT: What’s been your label situation since then?

Michelle: I ended up signing with Verve in July of 2015. I went into the studio about two weeks later to start this album. We got the budget to do, like, three or four songs, because I had never worked with Patrick before and we just wanted to see how it would go.

It’s been amazing. There was a minor bump in the beginning of starting this record that I think ended up being really important to the project:

The old label president—emphasis on old, because he’s no longer there—came to see our first three or four songs, and he hated them. He was like: This doesn’t sound like you. I think you’re making a big mistake. The guitars are too aggressive. I’m not gonna release the rest of the budget.

At that point, having come out of my situation at Warner Bros., I was in a moment of sheer panic, like: Great, I’m right back where I was.

Patrick—once we got all of our frustration and immediate anger out—was like: You know what, Michelle? This record is too important for you to not make. You have to finish the project and see it through. I believe in it. Do you believe in it?

And I was like: Yeah, I wanna make this record.

So he offered to finance the album, and I turned off my phone, didn’t answer any of the label’s calls, and fired my manager. Gus, Patrick, and I continued to make the record. By the time we finished, [the old president] had been fired, and the whole company had been changed over. Danny Bennett was hired as the president, and one of the first things he did was call me like: Oh my God, I love this album. I couldn’t be more happy to have you on the label.

So it’s been green light since Danny has been on board. The crazy thing to think of is: Had I listened to the old president and stopped writing with Patrick and gotten together with whatever pop writing team he wanted me with, I don’t think I would’ve been able to make this record.

Through the process of making this album, Patrick and I started dating and fell in love. So it’s wild to look back on where I was making this record to where I am now.

Shirt – Teija

FAULT: Did working with Patrick influence your sound at all?

Michelle: I knew sonically that I wanted to work with someone like Patrick because I knew I wanted to make a rock record, or I guess more of a rock record. I wanted to be able to go on the road and play these songs with a band; I didn’t wanna rely on computers. Knowing that the lyrics were, across the board, extraordinarily sensitive and about love and romance, I wanted the drums and bass to kind of have a heavier backbone and really have a toughness to balance that out.

Patrick—probably the biggest influence he had with making this record was in doing my vocals. I remember going in and initially putting the scratch vocals on stuff and singing them how I normally would sing, which is kind of more like belting shit out. At some point, he was like: You know what? It sounds really good, and you’re hitting all the right notes, but something’s not right. I think you’re singing too hard.

I had come from this background where I worked with John Shanks, and he always pushed things as high as my range could go. He never liked me going falsetto. He was always like: Sing it, full voice.

So I came from basically being drilled to sing that way, and Patrick was like: I think you need to be softer and more conversational and sing it, like, almost talking.

Once we figured that out, that was an epiphany for me on the record—being able to just sing it the way I would sing it, if that makes any sense.

So I feel like that was the biggest change on the album. People who have heard it say: Wow, your voice sounds completely different than it used to.

Shirt – Teija / Jacket – Weekday / Jeans – H&M / Boots – Michelle’s Own

FAULT: What are your plans for after the album’s released?

Michelle: Yeah uhm, [sips coffee] I’m planning to go on the road starting in June in Japan, which is gonna be really fun. And then I’m touring in the States in July and August. Then my first proper U.K. tour will be in September, which is crazy because when I went to the U.K. before, I played these bizarre festivals where everyone was dancing and, like, playing to track. I showed up with my band and wasn’t dancing. It was really bizarre. So I’m excited to not only play in London, but actually do a proper tour.

FAULT: What has been like to watch the music business evolve from CDs to downloads to streaming all in the span of your career?

Michelle: It’s crazy. The other day, a box showed up at the house, and it was a bunch of CDs of my new album. I was like: This is amazing, but I don’t even have a CD player except for my car [cracks up laughing].

The biggest change has been radio. I’m historically a radio artist. Before an album, I used to be out six months before the release doing radio promotion. Now that streaming has happened, the radio part of my world has changed dramatically. I’m sitting here a few weeks out from my record release, and I’ve barely done any radio promotion. The song will go to radio like 12 days before the album’s out. So that’s totally different. I think the way people consume music—as far as, like, hearing stuff on the radio—has been the biggest change.

Shirt – 2ndDay

 

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Michelle: I’m one of those people who apologizes for everything. I can say “sorry” all the time, and it’s so annoying. I’m trying to be unapologetic.

Hopeless Romantic is available now.

Words Cody Fitzpatrick

Photography Jack Alexander

Styling Edith Walker Millwood

Hair & Make-Up Lauren Griffin

Special thanks Princess of Wales

Live Review: Blaenavon & Anteros at Heaven, London

On the day that their highly anticipated debut album ‘That’s You Lot’ is released, Blaenavon take to the stage at London’s Heaven for the last night of their UK tour, bringing Anteros along for the party too.

Sparkling both in terms of musicality and outfits, Anteros kicked off proceedings. Vocalist Laura Hayden’s sultry swagger is prevalent from the moment she steps foot on stage to opener ‘Cherry Drop’. The track is lifted from the four-piece’s EP ‘Drunk’, dropping at the end of April, and is a zooming pop anthem that sets the tone for the rest of their set. Building riffs and tectonic drums bleed through into new single, and aforementioned EP title, ‘Drunk’, detailing intoxicated antics that only too many of us will be familiar with as Laura sings, “I’m so drunk and in love with you, been doing all the things that I shouldn’t do.” ‘The Beat’ fuses disco sensibilities and a thumping bassline before ‘Breakfast’ bounces around the London venue. Ending on ‘Anteros’ it’s evident the band are going from strength to strength with a sound big enough to fill a space of this size by themselves soon – the future’s bright, the future’s Anteros.

Turning the venue into glorified Blaen-Heaven, the Hampshire trio crash through opener ‘Hell Is My Head’ with primal percussion juxtaposed against a delicate guitar riff. Immediately noticeable, the presence possessed by the band is utterly compelling, moving theatrically around the stage with captivating confidence. Noticeably while sometimes the band can descend into a magnificent sonic ruckus, their music holds unfathomable delicacy, particularly within the lyrics written by singer Ben Gregory, seen in tracks like ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘Lonely Side’.

‘I Will Be The World’ descends into a beautiful musical whirlwind with crashing instrumentals. Old favourite ‘Into The Night’ also gets an airing, much to the delight of the die-hard fans in the audience as Frank Wright’s bassline snakes around the room while Harris MacMillan’s percussion is beyond palpable.

Beginning the encore a two-piece string section join the band for a precious rendition of ‘Swans’. Re-imagined for their debut, fan favourite ‘Prague ’99’ closes the show and incites a stage invasion of monumental proportions. Departing the stage in a biblical fashion, Ben turns around and falls backwards into the remaining crowd, much like a guitar-wielding Jesus dramatically falling to his disciples. That’s our lot.

Words: Shannon Cotton

Photos: Lauren McDermott

Preview: Oliver Stark talks ‘Into The Badlands’ and finding success inside FAULT Issue 25

 

Words by Miles Holder | Photography by Irvin Rivera at Graphicsmetropolis| Styling by Monica Cargile |  Grooming by Preston Wada at Opus Beauty using Kevin Murphy | Photography assistance by Phill Limprasertwong at phillldotcom

 

Fans of British tv and cinema will likely recognise Oliver Stark from various independent movies and UK television dramas. While the roles were small, they gave Oliver the confidence he needed to join a long list of British actors to head to the states with hopes of landing a big time role in Hollywood. It’s a move that many make but one that very few manage to succeed at and while Oliver knows all too well what defeat can feel – he conversely has seen what persistence, courage and the drive born from those setbacks can produce. On his second attempt to crack the US television market, Oliver landed the role of Ryder on  AMC’s ‘Into The Badlands’ and the rest, as they say, is history.

As his career climbs to new heights, we sat down with Oliver inside FAULT Issue 25 to discuss his journey into Hollywood and to find out what’s next for the London-born actor with so much more to give.

 

When the first season came out, no one had an expectation of you but now you have fans and Ryder has fans who want to see him played a certain way. Is that more pressure on you as the actor?

In a way, yes but at the same time I’m more excited that nervous. The first season was my first ever time being a recurring character on a show and I felt like I was finding my feet. Now with the second season I feel a lot more assured with what I want to do so I’m excited to see how Ryder grows alongside my personal growth.

So we’ll be seeing more character progression from Ryder in Season two?

Ryder is in a very different position from where he was in season one which is exciting because I got to step into a different world of Ryder.

Are there any similarities that you share with Ryder?

He’s struggling with finding who he is and where he fits in which I think is something that at some stage in our lives we’ve all dealt with. He’s just in a world where he has to work it out very quickly or end up on a sword but I think the idea of working out where one fits in is where I most resonate with Ryder.

What is it about a script or a role that draws you in?

I think that’s changed over the past year. Now, I really want to be involved in projects focussed on what’s happening around us on a social level and tell a story that has a relevance to society. The way the world is now and where it’s going as a population, I think there are stories that need to be told and I’d love to be a part of that.

How daunting was your move to LA?

I first came our here in January 2014 and I originally came for two months with a head full of dreams and didn’t actually have the best time if I’m honest with you. I wasn’t very busy and I didn’t do very well in auditions so I came home very dejected after that. The second time I went out was a much bigger deal for me because I had to rebuild all the confidence I’d lost and it was on that trip that I booked Into The Badlands.

It’s a big commitment to British actors to do it because it’s a lot of money and you have to readjust your entire life so there is a certain level of commitment to the craft actors show when they make the jump.

What’s it like to meet fans of the show?

I think the greatest compliment I can receive is “I didn’t know you were British” because that is always a phew moment because it means I’ve got the accent nailed at the very least.

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?

There’s a movie out in March called ‘Mind Games’ which is a really interesting sci-fi action movie which looks at if the church can coexist with science. It’s a mind-bending movie!

What is your FAULT?

The inability to escape my own head at times because there is always that voice back there that in a room full of great actors will ask “do I deserve to be here?” I think it’s something that everyone struggles.

Read Oliver’s  full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

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JoJo is back and doing things her way in UK-Exclusive Fault Shoot and Interview

Endlessly talented and wickedly catchy, JoJo is no stranger to the spotlight, having had her first number-one single at the age of 13. Now, after a 10-year studio album hiatus caused by label issues, she’s back on the scene with “Mad Love,” a critical and commercial success that showcases her voice and songwriting – both of which are stronger than ever. FAULT had a chance to speak with her while in the midst of her four-month worldwide tour, and we uncovered just what makes that brilliant mind and talent tick.

 You have the tour coming up. What are you most looking forward to?

 I’m personally really excited to perform songs from my new album and connect with fans in places that I haven’t been to in a long time or some places that I’m going to for the first time. It’s just my favorite place to get shit out: on stage. It’s my happy place.

 

Any particular place or song you’re looking forward to performing?

 I feel like every night is different, so I don’t have any expectations; I’m just open to whatever experience is supposed to happen.

 

So it’s kind of more of an in the moment type of thing?

 Totally. That’s how I try to live.

 

I saw you brought Albert Stanaj on board. What made you think he’d be the right complement to your tour?

 I’m just a sucker for an amazing voice, and he has one of the most exciting voices that I’ve heard in a while. I’ve known him for a couple of years, and when he decided to put out music officially after he signed to Republic, I had my eye on him and thought that he might be a good fit for this tour, so I’m so excited that he’s joining in North America.

Outfit – Jovonna London

 

I totally agree; I listened to a few of his songs and was just blown away. He has an amazing voice.

 Yeah, he’s a star.

 

I saw on Instagram you took your second solo trip of the year to Arizona. What inspires you to take those independent trips?

 As a woman, I realized that I had a lot of fear about traveling by myself, not necessarily being alone with my own thoughts, but traveling by myself, and I wanted to feel empowered and self-sufficient. I also just wanted to have time to journal and think and reflect, and I think it’s been a good thing for me to do at the end of the year. I started last year after my dad passed away and I just needed some time to touch base with how I was feeling, and it’s best to do that, I think, when you’re alone. So, it’s just something that I want to do at least once a year. I’ll probably find a different place in the world or in America every year and do my solo journey.

 

I’m always interested in the feminist side of performance culture and how that’s continually evolving. Can you speak more to that?

I think we live in a really amazing time where rules don’t apply, and I feel really comfortable and empowered to do what I want to do. I think that embracing both the feminine and masculine sides of me makes me feel like myself. I think there’s no one way to be a woman, to be a young woman, to be successful. I think it’s a wonderful time to be a woman in music because there are so many different representations of what’s beautiful, what’s excellent. There’re a lot of different things going on, and I think it’s healthy.

 

What made you decide to go vegan?

 I first was interested in a plant-based diet because of my voice. I struggled with my allergies for a long time, and I wanted to try something different to combat that. I’m singing every night, and I wanted that to be easier for me. So, I cut out dairy first, and then I started talking to my vegan friend and I started to feel what they told me about how when you eat animal products, you’re ingesting fear, death, and disease. I didn’t feel good about doing that anymore. So, I just slowly made a transition. I’m by no means a perfect vegan, but I do eat plant-based. That’s how I try to eat. After reading Russell Simmons’ “Happy Vegan” and watching documentaries, I feel like it’s the choice for me.

Hoodie – Vintage / Corset Belt – Richard Wilbraham

 

How rough is the tour on your voice? What’s your daily routine?

 My daily routine when I’m on tour is typically to wake up, get my caffeination going, work out, warm up a bit while I’m on the treadmill, do some singing and breathing exercises, then I’ll soundcheck and do interviews and the show. I warm up vocally before the show and I warm down after the show. I started taking care of my voice that way because I really want to sing forever. I want to be in my 70s, singing, so I feel like if I want do that, I have to take care of my instrument, what I was given.

 

Your voice sounds fabulous; your new record has been on a lot my playlists.

 Thank you!

 

Speaking of the new record, you had a bit of a gap between the last release. What did you find was different this time around?

 My confidence. I recorded so many incarnations of the third album, and I had so many people telling me who I should be and what direction I should take, putting a lot of information out there that I attached onto. So, I feel like I was able to get my footing a bit more. Of course, there’s a big difference between when you’re recording an album at 14 versus 24. I had a lot of life experience, and I think my perspective changed. I just had more fun too! It was more pleasant.

Outfit – Thomas George Wulbern

 

I think that really comes across. I listened to it through a couple times; there’s this beautiful overall sense of, like you say, confidence and empowerment and just like you’re having fun. You had Wiz Khalifa, Alessia Cara, and Remy Ma. What made you decide to collaborate with them?

 So, when it came to “Fuck Apologies,” I wanted to keep it within the Atlantic family, which is my new label, and Wiz was one of the first people that came to mind. So, we reached out, he loved the record, and he really just embodies that sense of “this is who I am. You can take it or leave it.”

With Alessia, she’s become a friend of mine through the industry, and I love what she’s doing and the road that she’s taken for herself. Remy’s been one of my favorite rappers since she came up with Terror Squad around the time that I came up. So, when she came back on the scene, I was so hyped, so I was like: “Oh my god, it would be a dream to get Remy Ma on a record.” We sent her “FAB” after I wrote it, she got on it immediately, and I was like: “Oh my god! I can’t believe it!” So, I was hyped!

 

Speaking of writing, the lyrics have really stuck out to me on this album. Is there any sort of philosophy you have when you’re writing them?

My philosophy is: “Live your life and keep your eyes open for songs. Keep your ears open for songs.” I have found that when I was a little bit younger and dumber, I would put myself in situations or stay longer than I should have just to get as many songs as I could out of it. But now, I just try to write things down constantly and work with collaborators who bring the best out of me and who we work well together.

 

One I thing I thought was really interesting was the “Tringle.” That’s a really unique way to hype a record. What gave you that idea?

 It really came about because I couldn’t decide what songs to lead with. Well, it wasn’t that I couldn’t decide; I’m not the only person who decides, so there were conflicting opinions. So, I was like: “let’s just put out a few records. You know, it’s been so long since I’ve put out music officially and I’m with this new partnership with Atlantic, so let’s do something different.”

Outfit – Thomas George Wulbern

 

Do you have any future plans in mind after the tour musically or are you just taking it step-by-step?

 Absolutely! While I’m on the road, I want to start writing. I’m just really interested in putting out a steady stream of content. I’m feeling so creative and I’m itching to make a new body of work, so I just want to keep going and growing and keep on moving.

 

My friends who do a lot of tour work talk about how there’s this weird gap, because you record an album, and then by the time you release it and get out on tour, you can be a year or two separated from the writing of the material. Is it a little weird to be performing in one creative space while you’re trying to write in another creative space at the same time?

 This will be my first time trying to do that. So, I’ll be able to answer that better after this tour! But yeah, this will be my first time working on an album while I’m doing a tour. So, I’ll be doing material from my three albums, but I’m not sure!

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you with an instrument or a notebook?

 I’m not proficient on the keys yet, so what I do are lyrics and melody. Then, I’ll collaborate with a producer or sometimes a small group of people — three or four people — and we all bounce around ideas together. Comfort is key, to have that comfort with your collaborators so that you can throw out ideas and not feel silly and feel instead empowered. I don’t have a set process, but I do have so many journals laying around that sometimes, I’ll circle things and I’ll bring them to the studio. I have hundreds of notes on my phone, and sometimes, things will spark and I’ll start a voice note. There’s really no rhyme of reason to it. It’s just all of the vibes.

Top – Calvin Klein

 

With your new writing, do you have any sort of style in mind or collaborators? Any inspiration? Anything you’re looking to do?

I’m looking to just get better every day: be more honest, be more myself, and continue on that journey and surround myself with people who are excellent and inspiring. I do have a lot of different things that I want to achieve and a lot of inspirations, but I want to keep them to myself until I flesh them out.

 

If there was anybody in the world you could collaborate with — past, present, future — is there a special person you’d be interested in?

Bruno Mars. There’s so much amazing music and talent out there. I think Bruno is kind of the ultimate right now.

 

What is your Fault?

It’s my fault that I ruined my new tattoo! I shot a music video last night, and I ruined my tattoo when I got into a bath filled with milk and food coloring and bath bombs! That’s totally my bad!

 

MAD LOVE is out now.

Words Alex Cooke

Photography Jack Alexander

Styling Zack & Jamie (Zack Tate & Jamie McFarland)

Make-Up Kristina Theodoris using High Definition Beauty and Trish McAvoy

Hair Niki Black using @revlonprofessionaluk and @pop_pr_uk

Nails Naima Coleman using High Definition Nails

Photographer’s Assistant – Nathan Gascon-Saiz

Stylists’ Assistant – Thomas George Wulbern

Special thanks – The Kensington