Isle of Wight Festival 2018 starts tomorrow!

This year, FAULT will be sporting our finest glittery glad rags to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Isle of Wight Festival 2018. Guaranteed to be a cracking year and soundtracked by none other than FAULT Issue 27 cover star Liam Gallagher, along with The Killers, Kasabian and Depeche Mode.

Isle of Wight Festival 2018 lineup

Every year Isle of Wight continues to bring some of the best live music around! With the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Nile Rodgers, Rita Ora and Chase and Status also making an appearance, there’s guaranteed to be an act for all to enjoy.

And of course, it’s not all about the music, Isle of Wight is also a fantastic opportunity to unwind and get stuck in to some fine dining. With a huge variety of food stalls on offer at the Octopus’ Garden, you’ll be able to experience a range of culinary delights.

With the Old Mout Cider Kiwi Camp back for a second year, they’ll also be providing plenty of entertainment with Disco Yoga, Rockaoke and much more, running all day and night.

Or, if you want to just kick back on the sofa swing and take it all in. The bar will be fully stocked with that crisp, cold, fruity stuff that Old Mout make so well.

We’re most excited to see James Bay return to the stage to perform his blistering follow up album Electric Light, along with The Killers belting out some familiar stadium-sized hits and Liam Gallagher adding some swagger to the stage.

Liam Gallagher is headlining the Isle of Wight Festival 2018 (Saturday 23rd June)

Liam Gallagher is headlining the Isle of Wight Festival 2018 (Saturday 23rd June)

There will also be a range of awesome indie tunes being blasted out This Feeling, the UK’s best club for future rock and roll, which is making a welcome return and bringing with it to the stage Hey Charlie, Avalanche Party and many more – all of which gives this year’s Isle of Wight a real edge in the UK top festival stakes!

 

Visit the Isle of Wight festival website for more details: isleofwightfestival.com

Words: Jack Lloyd

MAALS Watches: guest post by co-founder Andy Sealey

In the beginning: the start of MAALS Watches

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon brushed steel by MAALS

 

Guest post by @AndyLSealey

My brother and I have always collected watches. None of them too expensive – some old, some new – but all a bit out of the norm in design. After years of talking but not doing, we bit the bullet and finally decided to start our own watch company and design watches that we’d be happy to have in our own collections.

This series of blogs will be about our journey from cool idea to reality. We’ve never written a blog or started a company before, so this is a whole new exciting – but a little scary – world for us. Welcome to MAALS Watches.

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Etched caseback art by The Art of Okse on the steel and black versions of Jump Over The Moon

 

MAALS Watches: the history

 

I, (Andy), started collecting watches when I moved to my own place at 18. New job, new city, new flat, so (of course) new clothes and a new watch or two had to be done. I started off with a Storm Camera which I stumbled across in a trendy charity shop in Worcester where I was living. That first one sparked an interest in Storm watches and their designs. After that I picked up a Storm Navigator and a lovely Storm Bubble, then a couple of Tokyo flash pieces.

The Storm Bubble was swapped for drinks on a special works night out by a friend of mine, whom I’d lent it to – we had some serious words about that one. The rest of my collection was unfortunately stolen – along with the TV, Stereo, photographs, (honestly, why?), and my housemates’ car – when the house I was living in was burgled. I stopped collecting after that for a long while. Partly because there wasn’t anything I really wanted, but mostly because I simply didn’t feel like collecting anymore.

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon black and steel – UK designed, unique moonphase timepieces

 

I started collecting again thanks to my other half who bought me an Armani as a birthday present. My small collection now consists of:

  • Armani
  • Two Skagens
  • Nooka Zub Blue
  • Nooka Zaz with its see-through dial
  • Storm Ovnik Blue
  • A gorgeous brushed rose gold Lasser jump hour, which is about as old as me I think.

My brother Bruno’s love of watches started much longer ago than mine. Old Mr Manny, who lived upstairs from us in the block of flats we lived in when we were both young, used to repair watches and taught him about movements and some basic repair bits for mechanical watches.

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon black steel by MAALS

 

MAALS Watches: the watch collectors

 

Time moved on and so did we. Bruno went to Uni in Liverpool in the 1990s where he brought his first watch: an Adidas sports watch, with money from being a lifeguard and working for the university. He had been given several by then but this one was with his own money. That was followed quickly by one of the first Puma watches, which he unfortunately lost. Several digital watches came and went while living and working in Japan, which would have been exceptionally cool if he still had them.

His collection today is very eclectic and goes like this:

  • Adidas sports watch
  • Next Prism
  • 1973 Damas 17 jewels automatic jump hour
  • Swatch London
  • Swatch California
  • Zirro Mercury
  • A Skagen
  • A Mondaine
  • Citizen Eco Drive Stealth
  • Lip Mach 2000 Chronograph
  • Xeric Xeriscope Square
  • A Garmin fitness tracker/sports watch

And

  • 3 Disney watches

I did say it was eclectic…

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon black steel with MAALS handmade leather watch pouch

 

MAALS Watches: The brand

 

Coming up with the idea for our watch has been far easier than creating the brand for it, to be honest. At first, we just wanted a cool name, which sounds easy but, frankly, every idea sounded rubbish. Eventually moving away from trying to be cool, we settled on simply making the brand personal. The idea being that the more it means to us, then the more we’ll put into it. It all sounds so obvious now that  I’m sitting here writing it…!

MAALS stands for Mark Anthony Andrew Lee Sealey – the initials from my brother and my name tailed with our family name. Simple and personal.

After that it was just a question of researching the watch market, creating a unique watch design, finding a reputable manufacturing partner, creating business and finance plans and lots more besides…

Still: at least the name is simple.

 

For more information on MAALS watches, visit http://maals.co.uk

Follow MAALS watches on Facebook | Instagram |

Follow MAALS watches co-founder, Andy Sealey, on Twitter

Talking to Jamie Lawson about life on the road with Ed Sheeran

 

With an incomparable support slot on Ed Sheeran’s current 46-date tour, Jamie Lawson is conquering arenas around the country with emotional new single ‘Fall into Me’. We sat down with Jamie for an interview before he hit the stage.

 

FAULT: You’re in the middle of a tour with Ed Sheeran, how’s it going?

JL: Yeah, at St James’ Park tonight – it’s crazy.

 

Did you ever think you’d be playing at such large stadiums?

JL: Not really no, it was never on my bucket list really. We’ve got Hampton Park, St. James’ Park and Wembley next week. Then the Principality Stadium the week after.

 

You’ve played Manchester and Glasgow already, how were they?

JL: Yeah they went well, crazy. Everything’s been great; was nice to play in Ireland but it’s great to be back in the UK which meant I got to go home for a few days which has been great. 

 

Give us an insight into a tour day with Ed, what happens?

JL: There’s a lot of sitting around waiting for things to happen. I’ll take you through the day; we have a soundcheck on the first day of the run so we leave for the venue at around 11am, and go straight to the catering and have some food, because the food is amazing. Then we go and soundcheck, we run through all the songs and today we tried out a new song which is cool. Now we’ve got a few hours to kill before we go on. We’re on about half 6, before Anne-Marie. We’ll stick around and have some food and watch Anne-Marie and then watch Ed. Then we’ll try and get out before everyone else leaves because it’s just mayhem when 50,000 people all try to leave the stadium at the same time.

 

Do you get to sit down all 3 of you, to chat about how the show was?

JL: Yeah kind of, we do. I made a huge faux pas in Glasgow by mentioning London in the night so that was amazing, I don’t know how I did it; I’d already mentioned Glasgow about 50 times and then for some reason London came out. We talked about that and they were both incredibly shocked by [laughs]. But yeah we have drinks and all the crews get together and have a chat about how life is on this sort of thing.

 

On social media you’ve posted that you’ve been working on writing new songs, can you tell us more?

JL: Yeah I have, yeah. So the last few days we’ve been in Glasgow and been in a house where we set up in the living room. We’ve been rehearsing new songs and kind of recording them in a very basic manner, just to demo them and see what they sound like. One of those songs we’re sound-checking today with, it’s really nice to hear how it sounds in a big, big venue to see if the sound works in that sort of environment. Some of the songs don’t but this one did. That’s what we’re doing really, trying to use the down time the best we can. It will be more likely that I write a few more songs in August to October and then record in November and December time, with hopefully a new record out by next April, something like that. Fingers crossed that I write the right songs, thats always important. [Laughs]

 

You released your latest album last year on Ed’s label, how has the reception been?

JL: Pretty well in terms of people liking it, it’s definitely my best record to date. I know Ed liked it a lot so I think it was pretty good. Saw that since the tour started it’s gone back into the iTunes chart which is nice and so has the ‘Jamie Lawson’ record. That’s pretty cool. We’re reaching new people everyday because of the arena.

 

Has your new single ‘Fall Into Me’ been received well on tour being on the setlist every night?

JL: Yeah it has, it’s the one we open with actually. It does the job to make sure people get up and get ready to start clapping along and that they’re in for a night to remember, you know. It’s the song that kicks the whole evening off so it needs to be a big song to do that and it seems to do the job well.

 

How do you prepare to go on stage?

JL: It feels very different to one of my own shows. Even though we only play for half an hour I need to get ready a lot earlier so I actually start 2 hours before; singing and warming up in the dressing room and getting into the mindset of what I’m going to do. You kind of have to build yourself up to such a level where you’re at the end of your show already before you even start. So it’s really weird and it wipes you out even though it’s only a short time. I don’t know how Ed does it to be honest, he plays for an hour and a half, so he must be absolutely exhausted.

 

Going back to your roots, is there a dream venue you’d like to play?

JL: Well I originally did Shepherds Bush Empire in London and that was definitely one of my dreams coming through. That was one of the venues I always wanted to play so that was great fun, I loved it. It was a great tour in March, really enjoyable. We played a few lovely venues in here and in Europe as well. But now that I’ve done that, I’ve got my eyes set on the Royal Albert Hall next. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that level but that would be cool, in such an iconic place, you know? If we ever get there that would be a dream come true.

 

Any fears on going out to a crowd of over 40,000 people?

JL: No, not bothered about that really; it’s surprisingly easy. [laughs] It probably shouldn’t be but it really is. It’s more about loving it rather than knowing it, it really is about the enjoyment of it and feeling very at home on the stage. It’s always been that way for me for whatever size that stage has been, I’ve always felt comfortable. I don’t know if thats a rare thing or not but if you know the book by Tracey Thorn, ‘Naked at the Albert Hall’; talking about how frightening it is but it’s always been the opposite for me. I’ve always found it very easy.

 

What is your FAULT?

JL: Probably a thousand, I wouldn’t know when to stop counting. The biggest thing in my career that has set me back is what they would call ‘networking’. Speaking to other people and meeting the right people, that sort of stuff. I’ve never been any good at that so I don’t know if that’s a fault. Talking about yourself positively all the time is a little arrogant but some people are very good at it, but I never have been. The album was out in Ireland 5 years previously before Ed put it out. But I never met the right people and I guess you just wait until someone good comes along and for me it happened to be the biggest pop star on the planet, so that was lucky. [Laughs]

 

 

You can catch Jamie Lawson and his band as the tour rumbles onto Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on the 21st June for 4 nights before heading to Amsterdam Arena on the 28th June for 2 final nights. New single ‘Fall into Me’, taken from his latest album Happy Accidents (Gingerbread Man Records / Atlantic Records UK) is out soon.

Interview by: Stuart Williams

FAULT in conversation with Warpaint’s Theresa ‘TT’ Wayman

Words: Jennifer Parkes

 

Have you heard of TT? The moniker may not be too familiar right now, but you’re almost certain to know of Theresa Wayman, founding member of iconic indie rock band Warpaint, and otherwise known as TT.

 

While the group’s psychedelic dream pop has enticed and entranced fans for the past 14 years, last month saw Wayman release her own offering, LoveLaws, under her two-lettered alter-ego. But this is no band break-up – Warpaint shows no signs of slowing down, with several tour dates in the diary for 2018. FAULT caught up with Wayman in between shows to talk more about her debut solo offering, the challenges facing women in the music industry, and dream festival line-ups…

 

So, you’ve just released a solo album, which is pretty exciting! What made you decide to do that alongside Warpaint?

I just needed to be expressing more than I can do in Warpaint; it’s been 14 years being in a collaborative process, and I wanted to experience being on my own and having more control.

 

Did you approach this album differently at all to how you approach creating an album as a band? What were the challenges in that?

I didn’t have to do it in any specific timeframe, so I was able to indulge myself and question things more. It was scary to do that at times, and I worried I would never make it to the end – sometimes it seemed like I could keep questioning forever, but I figured it out!

 

You examine love and relationships in a number of ways across different tracks, but I’m also intrigued by the album’s title ‘LoveLaws’ – how did that come to be?

I thought of that title as a good concept to build an album from. I was feeling ruled by love and romance, and also seeing love as being a fundamental of life in so many ways. It seemed important to write about it.

 

Who would you say your influences have been, both in your own music and as a band? 

First and foremost, my music is always influenced by my emotions and mood. I tend to go into starting a song feeling blind, like I have no idea what will come out of me until I see it on the page. But then I start to hone it and let influences in, like Al Green, Sade or Trip Hop like Portishead and Massive Attack. Also current artists like King Krule, Rihanna and Adele, and that song ‘Get Free’ by Major Lazer.

 

How do you feel Warpaint’s sound has developed over the last 14 years?

I think Warpaint has gone in many directions over the years; we’re becoming more concise with our arrangements and clearer in what we’re saying. We used to jam a lot and write together in a room, but we did less of that on this last album – I think we’re into the idea of going back to that again, just because that old way now seems like something new and different.

 

 

It’s impressive that, as an all-female four-piece, Warpaint has stood the test of time in a notoriously misogynistic industry – how have you dealt with challenges that you’ve faced over the years in this respect? 

I think there’s more freedom in the indie-rock world for a girl band to exist, and not feel as much pressure and expectation to be something appealing to men. I think that’s a lot more common in the pop world.

 

I’ve generally felt very welcomed by our male peers, although there are times I’ve felt excluded from “the boys club”, like I can’t be a part of some technical conversation or ask questions. But I think the guys that act like that are the most insecure, and ultimately want to exclude women just because they just don’t know how to talk to them or don’t feel attractive to them.

 

Are there any new artists that you’re into at the moment you think we should keep an ear out for?

Kali Uchis, who I’m sure you’ve already heard of! And Dick Stusso – he’s from Oakland, he’s a really great singer/guitar player/overall musician, and he’s self-produced.

 

You guys have a few tour dates  over summer, including playing at All Points East Festival – are there any bands you happened to catch while you were there, or at other festivals?

Yes! War On Drugs at All Points East, and I saw Bjork and Fever Ray at Primavera – they were absolutely incredible!

 

If you were to host a festival, anywhere in time and space, what would your dream location and line-up be? 

Probably on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean. It would be Bjork from the Homogenic tour, so that she’s playing songs from debut and post too, with Portishead, Nirvana, Al Green, Kendrick Lamar, Fever Ray, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Bob Dylan playing all my favourite songs from over the years (I would get to choose)… the list could really go on and on!

 

Lastly, something we ask all of our guests, what is your FAULT?

I can be really stubborn and not let things go, and I always need to be right. I’m working on it!

 

LoveLaws is available to buy now – visit ttlovelaws.com for more info.

 

First Aid Kit talk Ruins, burnout & brave new beginnings for FAULT Online cover

FAULT Magazine X First Aid Kit

Photographer: David Yeo, Fashion Editor: Rachel Holland

 

FAULT: Stay Gold came out in 2014. What were you doing for the four years until Ruins?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): We toured Stay Gold intensely for about a year and a half following it’s release. After that we felt quite burnt out and exhausted. We could’ve kept touring forever. However, since we’d toured pretty much non-stop since we were teenagers we felt like we needed a little break. We needed time to figure out our lives, beyond First Aid Kit. We lived in separate countries. I stayed in Stockholm while Klara moved to Manchester for two years. It was necessary to get a break from not just the band and the music, but from each other. It was pretty difficult but we feel like we learnt so much about ourselves and about life during this time period. We built serious relationships, bought our own apartments. Klara started taking acting classes. I got a driver’s license. We needed to catch up on some grown up things we’d been missing out on.

 

When did you start work on Ruins?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): When we took our break we told ourselves we didn’t need to work on new material straight away, we didn’t want to rush another record. We didn’t even have to listen to any music or go to any shows if we didn’t want to. However, pretty quickly after the touring ended we felt quite eager to perform and write again. Klara broke up with her boyfriend and had a little bit of a life crisis. This inspired the theme of the album and sort of got us started on it.

We went to Los Angeles for six weeks in April 2016. We rented a house in Echo Park and went on road trips across California. We hung out with other musician friends and gathered inspiration. That’s when we finished writing most of the tracks that ended up on Ruins.

 

 

How does it differ to your previous records?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): We wanted to try new things on Ruins. Because it’s dealing with a relationship ending, the lyrics are both more personal and more universal than on our previous records. Before our lyrics were a lot more fictional and had more story telling elements. This time the songs are more direct. I think it stems from us being older, more experienced and more in touch with our own emotions. We’re also braver in a sense, it takes a lot of courage to write so openly about your inner feelings.

We decided to work with a new producer in a new city, so we reached out to a long-time favorite producer of ours, Tucker Martine. We told him we wanted to make an album that was less polished, had more of a live feel and a little more edge. Previously, we’d been pretty strict about the sounds we allowed on our records. It had to be very folky, pretty and acoustic. This time we sort of through all those ideas away, and we’re very open to new things. Whatever fit the song, we went for. It was super refreshing.

 

First Aid Kit - FAULT Magazine

Johanna Wears: Red Silk Slip Dress by Amanda Wakeley, Black Poloneck Top by Alice McCall, Red Boots by Zadig & Voltaire, Pearl Hooped Earrings by Dower & Hall

 

Obviously, this is your fourth album, has the process been different to your others? 

Klara (First Aid Kit): The songwriting process hasn’t changed that much since we started, but this time we wanted to make sure we really took the time we needed not to rush the record. All songs stem from a line, an idea, a lyric and then we work from there. Sometimes that takes less than five minutes, sometimes it takes years. In the end the most important thing for us is that we end up with songs that feel real and interesting. Something that makes us curious.

This time the recording process was different because we had a live session band that improvised a lot in the studio. It was so much fun! Getting to hear all these musicians that we’ve looked up to for so long play on our songs was a dream come true.

 

First Aid Kit - FAULT Magazine

Klara Wears: Black Blazer by Stine Goya, Red Tule Skirt by Amanda Wakeley, Black Top by Black Gold by Diesel, Red Loafers by Kim Kwang, Gold Curved Earrings by Dower & Hall, Silver Ring by Dower & Hall

 

How have you grown since your 2010 debut?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): When I watch old YouTube clips of us performing I feel like we’ve changed so much. We were just kids when we started out, although we felt like we were so much older back then. We were pretty insecure. We can hear in our old songs when we’re trying to imitate our idols and it’s kind of cute. It’s definitely not something we’re ashamed of.

We’ve always been good at what we do and had a strong core in our music, but we’ve just grown so much more confident with the years. Both in the studio and on the road, we trust our instincts much more and can relax. I don’t think we care so much about what people think anymore. We’ve always sort of been following our gut feeling, and it’s lead us this far…so we must be onto something, right?

 

Does this last album feel like the most “First Aid Kit” like album?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): I think all records are very ”First Aid Kit”-like in their own pretty ways. They’re just documents of who we were at that certain period of our lives. We think of them as time capsules. We don’t want to stick to a sound too much, we truly are open for experimenting. Who knows what the future will bring, getting too comfortable in a certain style is boring.

 

So talking about Ruins, can you tell me a bit about the lyrical inspirations behind it?

Klara (First Aid Kit): When we went to Los Angeles to write the record I had just gone through a breakup. The wound was quite open. I thought I was going down one road and then it all changed. The songs came through that and so of course, they all mirror that intense experience of this major loss. Visually, we see the record as a ruin of a relationship, walking around it, exploring it and trying to understand it. It felt like an important record to write as honestly and boldly as possible. That is how you get a real connection with people, which is always what we strive for.

 

And musically?

Klara (First Aid Kit): We always follow where we feel the songs want to go, arrangement wise. We usually have more a broad sense of what we want a record to be – this one we felt needed to be a little more raw with more of a live sound. Honestly, it’s all about the gut feeling. You go on in with ideas and expectations but in the end you go with what feels right and good.

We were listening to a lot of different music during the writing process, like Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Whitney and Mitski. We are always returning to our old favorites Townes Van Zandt, Joni Mitchell, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan too. The list is endless. It’s hard to pinpoint where the inspiration comes from, it can be so random.

 

You’ve said that most of the record is about questioning yourself following the breakdown of a relationship. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Klara (First Aid Kit): It’s so easy to grow comfortable and be blinded by what you once thought was good. It’s hard to uproot yourself and leave it all behind. You feel so very lost. In the midst of all that it’s hard not to second guess yourself, looking for simple answers to things that will never really make sense. The record was written during a really vulnerable, exciting, scary time.

 

Do you find it cathartic to write about these kinds of subjects?

Klara (First Aid Kit): It is very cathartic. Writing is the way that we deal with whatever is hard in life, which is why our music is so sad, haha. Getting to share our deepest emotions with people, even though that can be scary, is so rewarding. The connection that we feel with people who love our songs is so special. Playing shows and singing the lyrics to another human being in the crowd, seeing their reaction and knowing the song means so much to them, there is nothing like it.

 

You’ve previously said that you wanted this album to be “more real”. Can you tell me about the ideas behind that? 

Klara (First Aid Kit): That wasn’t something that we planned to do but the songs ended up being more direct and open. Like we previously stated, we wanted to have more of a raw feel, of a live performance.

 

First Aid Kit - FAULT Magazine

Klara Wears: Tan Leather Jacket by Scotch & Soda, White Embroidered Shirt by MCQ by Alexander McQueen, Black Leather Skirt is Klara’s Own, Black & White Ankle Boots by Malone Souliers, Silver Ring by Dower & Hall

 

Is it difficult knowing that such personal songs will be listened to around the world?

Klara (First Aid Kit): All the songs and themes are very universal. We left out names or anything that felt too personal. The songs are still very emotional and of course that can be scary but it’s ultimately the most rewarding thing, when people react to something that came straight from the heart.

 

How has your relationship with each other changed during this album?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): I think our relationship is stronger now than ever. Touring together for so long has been hard. We’ve been put under a lot of pressure and pretty much been around each other 24/7. No wonder we some times argue and can’t get along.

For a while I think we were on totally different wavelengths. We wanted different things for the band but didn’t express it clearly enough. We’re much better at communicating now to make sure we’re on the same page. We also know when we need space from each other. We have so much more fun together now, too!

 

Now that it’s out, how has the reception been?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): Honestly, it’s been pretty darn amazing. Releasing Ruins was scary, especially after that four year break in-between albums. We didn’t know what kind of reaction to expect from either music critics or our fans. We didn’t know if anyone was still into our music. We never expect anyone to care or take our popularity for granted.

Also, when we’re making music we’re constantly torn between feeling like what we’re doing is the greatest thing ever and feeling like it’s a complete piece of shit. Sometimes when you’re in the studio singing a song you feel like it’s a masterpiece. Then when you get home and get some perspective on it, you listen to it and get doubts about it. That definitely happened with Ruins in a sense. However, it’s been amazing playing these sold-out tours full of crowds who know the new songs by heart. When we look at our listeners we can tell that the songs mean so much to them. It’s powerful.

 

First Aid Kit - FAULT Magazine

Johanna Wears: Pink Embroidered Suit by Alice Archer, Silver Silk Shirt by Bogdar, Silver Mules by Jones, Gold Earrings by Dower & Hall, Silver Rings by Dower & Hall, Bracelet by Dower & Hall

 

What do you want people to take away from your latest album? 

Johanna (First Aid Kit): We want people to feel comforted, to not feel alone in their feelings. We hope it’s a relatable album. Everyone goes through heartbreak in their lives, one way or another. It’s important to realize that it’s completely normal and that things are going to be OK. That’s the beauty of sad songs. They allow you to wallow in those sad feelings for a while and then hopefully gather the strength to move on.

What are you working on next?

Johanna (First Aid Kit): Though we just started touring Ruins, we’re already thinking about the next record and future tours. We can’t say much at this point. All we know is we think we’ve got a really exciting future ahead of us.

 

Interview by Ely Watson

To find out more and to purchase RUINS, visit here.

Photographer: David Yeo
Fashion Editor: Rachel Holland
Make-up artist: Jaimee Thomas at Untitled Artists
Hair Stylist: Jordan Leigh
Nail Artist: Diana Drummond
Stylist’s Assistant: Ana Carnu
Photographed at Yoyo Studios

MNEK roars back with exclusive FAULT Magazine Photoshoot and new video ft. Hailee Steinfeld

Words & Photography: Miles Holder

Styling: Edith Walker Millwood

Grooming:Bianca Simone Scott

Styling Assistants: Leslie & Felicia

 

MNEK returns today with a brand new track from his upcoming debut album! It’s hard to imagine, but despite years of releasing hits to the world, MNEK is still only 23 years old. New track entilted ‘Colour’ also features vocals from Hailee Steinfeld. We sat down with MNEK to talk all things music, his big battles and look to what will no doubt be, an even brighter future.

 

In other interviews, you’ve mentioned never having a figure like yourself in the industry, is it harder to pen an album when you don’t have a reference to learn from? 

I think when I say that, I mean that I don’t have an artist who is like me. Just as far as being out and being an openly gay musician and I drew influence from different areas of music that I love. I always grew up loving 90’s rob, prominent voices and dance music and so it was just an amalgamation of all those things but with my spin on it. Doing it without a point of reference makes it more fun too because there aren’t any rules that I have to follow.

Colour by MNEK & Hailee Steinfeld on VEVO.

 

Your early music and all-around demeanour at the start of your career was far more muted that it is today, did you ever feel like you were being pressured to tone it down back then?

 

I think I was figuring it out. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the evolution of artists being a sudden “now I’m the real me and doing when I want” but really evolution is about the changes that lead up to that point. I can say that getting to that point 18/17 when I was releasing records, that’s who I thought I was. There were some things that I was maybe surprising, but I guess that comes from the knowledge that I have now. Now, when I’m surpessing something, I know that I’m doing it, but more importantly, I remember when to stop. When I first started putting out records, I didn’t think I was gay. So all the rudimental records stuff, was me figuring things out while growing up and being on tour and getting into the Industry and it was a lot! Now thankfully I’ve established myself as a writer-producer which has given me the comfortability to be myself and find myself

 

 

What would you say is the goal of this record?

I have a bigger goal and more of a target and what more my career can do. I think when I was putting out music, these were all songs that I loved and I’d written, but now I come with the knowledge that if I’m putting myself out there, it has to help people or for me to be the template for young artists that I didn’t have.

 

And what is the overall goal of your career in music?

To be the template, I think the main thing for me is not to be the main one, while it’s great for me to be out here saying “I’m the only openly gay pop star” what my goal is, is for me not to be the last.

 

You’ve made a point about always being yourself, but that can be a detriment to your fanbase and people who don’t agree with your choices – why not stay silent?

 

Everything happens for a reason, and I have a unique career in the way that it’s not conventional for the person I am to be making music that I’m making. I think that everything I’ve done up to this point has happened for a reason and I’m at a point where I’m doing all that I could have dreamed of.

 

It’s a great album, I was expecting because of the messaging, for it to be a more melancholic album, but it’s really uplifting!

I sometimes think when it comes down to the gay narrative, it can come across as unrequited love and sadness or that being gay is a hard knock life when in fact, being gay is jokes and so much fun. I have great friends, incredible stories to tell both mine and others and I think there are ways of singing about our experiences and still having a good time. I have ballads on there which are sad, but it’s mixed with sass and my score sting.

 

You’ve written a lot for other artists, how different is your process when writing for yourself?

It’s both different and the same. When I’m writing for another artist, I’m tailoring it for them. I’ve got to talk to them, and I ask “what are you going through” but when it’s for me, it’s the same conversation, but I’m just having it with me. The way I see the world is different to how DUA will see the world or Zara or Beyonce so I can help paint the picture but it’s got to come for them.

Is it hard putting so much of yourself into your music

No, because I started in the industry when I 14, what was I going to write about at that age. So I grew up and went through things, and that inspires what I sing about now, and I don’t have a problem with it. What’s exciting about releasing this album, is it not belonging to me anymore and it will belong to the fans.

 

What’s your biggest fear?

Failure, but that comes in different forms. I haven’t learnt to drive a car, but I’ll be damned if I have to kill someone and to be in control of my transport.

 

What is your FAULT?

I’m incredibly self-conscious which is more from a vanity point of view, as a result of being a big kid and having the weight issue. I’m working at it, and we should all work on our mental health every day and making sure we are our best selves.

 

Acufocal: Focus on camera bag brand founder Robert Baggs

Acufocal is a camera bag brand founded by London-based professional photographer and FStoppers.com editor Robert Baggs. Launched after years of exasperation at having to lug around ungainly, unsightly rucksacks, Acufocal released their first design, the Orwell, in Summer 2017. Fashioned from quality, heavy duty black canvas while sporting stylish leather straps and glistening chrome buckles, the Orwell is just as slick and sophisticated as it is rugged and utilitarian.

Modestly priced in the £150 bracket, the Orwell’s stand-out feature is its bipartite design. Splitting the bag into two compartments, separated by a simple zip, means easy access to important gear – imperative for photographers working in testing environments. The fact that it’s beautiful and practical in equal measures is more than just a bonus: it makes it a no-brainer for freelancers for whom image is so important.

 

FAULT: There are a few designers out there trying to offer what Acufocal does. What gives you the edge?

Robert Baggs (Acufocal): What makes us different is the motivation behind the brand: my needs as a professional photographer who enjoys fashion. I don’t need to research what photographers need in this area, I just need to look at what it is I can’t seem to find when buying a camera bag and create it.

 

You’re a photographer yourself, and your website goes into a lot of depth describing your frustrations with having to choose between “function or fashion” in camera bags. Do you think that’s a universal concern among photographers or just for those who work in particularly fashion-conscious environments?

Acufocal: I try to remain as transparent and honest as possible, and the answer to that is: no, it’s not a universal problem. There are, I’m sure, myriad photographers who don’t care how their bag looks and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I also know there are lots of people like me who would love the functionality and the care for its contents that a good camera bag has, but with a design that looks more like a backpack from a fashion label. This has been confirmed by all the attention the Orwell has garnered and positivity, which has been gratifying. From the start my aim for Acufocal was and is to create products for photographers that don’t compromise fashion or functionality, despite how difficult it might be.

What were your top 3 concerns when developing the Orwell design?

Acufocal: That’s a tough one. Again, in the interest of honesty, the final design was far from the first sample we had made. My number one concern was always “where will I be expected to compromise functionality or style, and how will I get around it?” Second was creating enough space, padding, and pockets to house the plethora of gear us photographers carry, without infringing on the design; that was what changed the most from the first sample to the final product. Thirdly was achieving all my above goals, the highest quality materials I could get my hands on, weather proofing the materials (which takes a week), and heavy-duty zips and clasps, all without causing us to have to put a huge price tag on it.

 

What would you say the “hook” of the design is, functionality wise?

Acufocal: The bag being essentially comprised of two bags with the middle being unzippable to access the bottom section. Rucksacks make for great camera bags because equipment is heavy and it’s the best way to support the weight. However, trying to wade through everything at the top of the bag to get to the stuff at the bottom was so much hassle. To bypass that problem, the Orwell unzips in to halves.

 

Acufocal - FAULT Magazine interview Robert Baggs

 

You worked on the Orwell with the help of a fashion designer, and you’ve admitted that the prototype wasn’t perfect (to be fair, they rarely are!). It sounds like it was a bit of challenge to translate your understanding of how the bag should work into a final product. Did that come as a surprise to you?

Acufocal: Yes and no. I expected there to be problems before I’d received the first sample, but the areas that I wanted changed were not what I expected. The first prototype had a lower grade fabric, rougher cotton inside, cheaper leather, and so on. So, even after we made several changes to the design, I then had to just concede that I couldn’t accept a product that wasn’t the best we could possibly make, and so we upgraded every single element of the bag to the best quality we could get. The difference was utterly staggering and that really did surprise me. They say you get what you pay for and I’ve never seen that truer than in manufacturing.

 

Let’s talk price. For a boutique brand, your prices stack up remarkably well to your more mainstream competition (some of the nattier Nat Geo bags are priced in the region of £200). Is that sustainable for you, or will you be upping your prices for the Orwell or other products in future?

Acufocal: As you can guess from my above answers, money was a real consideration for both us and our customer base. We didn’t and don’t have any investors, it’s just me and my business partner trying to realise my vision for a brand. I have spent twice what our bag costs on an ugly (albeit functional) camera bag and I really wanted to avoid that price tag. The price is sustainable, yes, but it wasn’t set by the business side of my brain, that’s for sure. The price won’t be going up though. I want to see my bags being put to good use and enjoyed, not just something for the elite.

 

Are you planning on developing other products to expand the line?

Acufocal: That’s top of my list. I would like to add more products and more colours of the Orwell, but as I say, this is my passion project and I’m not the front man of a large corporation. As we continue to grow I will put my ideas to our designer and see where we go.

 

What are your plans to grow the business in general? Where does Acufocal go from here?

Acufocal: My end game is to comprehensively fill the void of fashion-conscious bags for photographers. I will continue to weather the headaches in order to never compromise on function or style and it would make me very happy if one day we’re the go-to for photographers who care what they look like when they’re out and about.

 

What has been your proudest moment working on Acufocal so far?

Acufocal: Without question it’s seeing top photographers enjoying the bag. After all the work, time and effort that has gone in to transitioning from a dream of mine, to having the bags on sale, to having a photographer tag me in a picture of his Orwell was so rewarding. One of our customers is a videographer working on the Olympics opening ceremony and for whatever reason, that was particularly pleasing!

~

For more information, please visit:

www.acufocal.com
www.facebook.com/Acufocal
www.instagram.com/acufocallondon

FAULT In Conversation With RuthAnne

 

With more and more fans falling in love with RuthAnne, it might be surprising to hear that the award-winning Dublin-born singer-songwriter is behind some of the largest hits from acclaimed artists such as Niall Horan, Britney Spears and even FAULT 26 cover star Martin Garrix. Today with the release of  ‘Take My Place’ we caught up with the young songstress to find out more about her inspirations, process and of course, FAULTS!

 

Hi RuthAnne, who has been your biggest inspiration?

Hi! My biggest inspirations have been people like Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Carole King, Jeff Buckley, Coldpay, Kings of Leon, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Justine Timberlake.

 

You’re about to head out on tour, favourite thing about performing live?

I think my favourite thing about performing live is just having the interaction with the crowd, something you don’t get if you’re in a studio. And getting to see how different songs connect with people, like you can see it in their face and their eyes. And I actually love making people cry – I kind of want tears. Just being able to talk to the crowd and then just sing, that’s what I love.

 

Is there a different process when you go from writing for other people to focussing on your own music?

I used to think it was different but it is actually pretty much the same. The only think that’s different is when you’re writing for someone else, when they’re in the room with you, you’re trying to tell their story – so I’m not gonna tell my story with the artist in the room, I want to tell their story so I have to kind of be the therapist for them but for my process I have to be my own therapist and pull out my own stories, but it is the same process.

 

What’s the biggest challenge that you encounter when writing for yourself than writing for other artists?

The biggest challenge used to be that I wasn’t really sure what direction to go. I always knew I wanted to do soul, but when you’re writing for other people you’re just used to doing so many different genres, so the problem comes when you’re writing for yourself – how do you just stick to one genre? Cos you’re so used to switching. Writing this album sort of happened by accident – it was through heartbreak and a lot of things fell into place and it kinda just came out and then this sound just formed naturally, which was just all my biggest influences fused together. So the only challenge now is just having my own identity and not always being compared to my songwriting identity, y’know.

 

How did you come to working with Niall Horan?

I had written some songs on the ‘Four’ album for One Direction, but I’d never met him. Actually wait – I met him drunk one time at The Brit Awards and I spilt a drink on him, so I met him then and then my co-writer Matt Rad, who he’d previously written a lot with, was having a session with him for the new One Direction album, and so he asked if I wanted to go and write with him and Niall. I was like yeah. Went in and wrote with him, the stuff didn’t really work for One Direction but we became friends and then when he was doing his own stuff he just sent me a text saying he was doing an album and did I want to come and write with him for it. On the first day together we wrote “You and Me”, which is on the album. On the second day, we wrote “Seeing Blind” which is the duet that’s on the album. So it just worked and we’ve been really good friends ever since!

 


Releasing my album because it’s been a long time coming! Getting to perform more, sing more. Getting to just tour more – see different places and travel. I love travelling. And just taking some time to be the artist, as well as spending some more time back in Ireland which will be nice.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Relax and enjoy it! I got a lot of success as a writer really young and I didn’t really know how to enjoy it. I was stressed all the time because I was like “oh when you get it you have to keep getting it”, but I think I would tell myself to just relax and enjoy and trust the process. When I was younger I used to think I had to rush and do everything in the now, but now I realise everyone’s journey is different and everyone has different times where things are gonna happen for them. So just trust the process and grow into yourself and find and be your true authentic self.

 

What is your FAULT?

I get impatient. That’s my fault I think. I’m the type of person who will distract kids to skip queues at Disneyland, because I hate queuing and want everything now!