Brendon Urie FAULT Magazine Online Covershoot

Words: Courtney Farrell

Photography: Miles Holder

Styling: Edith Walker Millwood

Grooming: Oliver Woods

 

This weekend,  Panic! at the Disco’s ‘Pray for the Wicked’ debuted at No.1 spot on the Billboard 200 Album Charts and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re proud to present our latest FAULT Magazine Online cover star is non-other than band frontman, Brendon Urie! You can also find more images and exclusive photographs within our next print issue but for now, enjoy our very special cover feature below!

 

“Hey Look Ma, I Made It”, one of the songs from your new album, Pray For The Wicked, opens with the lines “All my life been hustling and tonight is my appraisal / because I’m a hooker selling songs and my pimp’s a record label,”  Do you often find yourself torn between celebrating your successes and battling the evils of your industry?

Brendon Urie: It’s not too far from the truth, I am a hooker that sells songs. I’m a glorified t-shirt salesman. I go out on the road and I play songs to make people happy, and to interact with them and so that we can all celebrate, but at the end of the night I’m really trying to sell clothes, right? I’m like, “buy my merch please so that I can have a great life as well and we can all support each other.” It’s a weird contradiction the way the music industry is. Luckily I do this because I have a passion for it, and the byproducts of things I get to talk about ironically a little more tongue-in-cheek, like yeah, I’m a whore that sells my own music, and my record label is a pimp that pushes me to everybody, distributes me, talks me up, and gets as much mileage as they can out of me. It’s a dark realization, it’s a dark truth, it’s a very real thing, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. This is something that I’m so passionate about that I would never want to give up, so it’s bittersweet really.

 

You reference your childhood dreams coming true, but you probably didn’t expect to become somewhat of an LGBTQ icon for your fans. Between the success of Girls/Girls/Boys and your cameo in Love, Simon, it seems that LGBTQ positivity has become a big part of your brand. How do you feel about that?

BU: It makes me so happy. Growing up and having friends who weren’t accepted in certain circles, whether they were gay, not a certain religion or creed, or whatever, it’s nice to know that now I feel a part of a family that maybe I didn’t feel an affinity to in the past.

What’s even cooler than that, is that I write songs for myself about things that I’m feeling personally about my own life, and fans can take a song and completely give it a new meaning, which makes me so happy. I wrote the song “Girls/Girls/Boys” about my first threesome, and kids grabbed onto that and took it as a universal language for like, it doesn’t matter who you are, we can all love whoever we want to. That’s a way cooler idea, and the fact that fans have the mentality and the mobility to do that just inspires me to move forward in a more generous light and try to give as much as they’ve given me.

 

That song really has taken on a life of its own, when you play it live you’re handed rainbow flags and fans light up rainbow hearts. That must be amazing.

BU: It’s my favorite. When I look out into the crowd and I see how happy they are and how liberated they seem to be, that makes it all worthwhile. That’s better than any drug, that’s better than any other experience. That right there, that interaction, I get to see the immediate happiness that they receive from that. It makes me so proud to be a part of whatever this is.

Jacket – Ben Sherman | T- shirt – Brendon’s own

Pray For The Wicked is your sixth studio album, and you’ve managed to stay active and successful for the 13 years since your first album. Do you ever consciously think about staying relevant or is it not important to you?

 

BU: Honestly, I don’t really care about that shit. It’s not that I don’t want to do things, I only do things if I have a passion for it and I can see a greater outcome, not just for me. We get offered things all the time, whether that be endorsements or shows or whatever, and I say no most of the time. My manager will send me some stuff and he’ll ask what I think, and the majority of the time I’m saying no because it doesn’t feel right to do something just for a company because they’re looking for a handout or whatever it may be. I only do things if it feels right, if it makes me proud to have done that. I never used to think that way until the last year or two, so that has changed a lot of what I do for the better. I think it’s much better to do it that way, I just want to do better all the time.

 

That ties in with a line from “Say Amen (Saturday Night)”, which is “I can’t change into a person I don’t want to be.” It’s about honesty, is staying true to yourself important for you?

 

BU: Absolutely. That’s one of the most key things I think for any human as a trait. Honesty is one of the most important qualities to have as a human being. Other people say that politeness is key, and that’s fine. It’s good to be kind and polite to other people, but at the same time don’t change change your views. Have courage behind your convictions, know who you are. You’ve got to be you. You have to be unapologetic about who you are, don’t ever apologize for that. If people get offended, they’re just looking for something to be offended by, and if not they’re just offended by it and they have a more delicate sensibility and I couldn’t give a shit, you know what I mean? That’s not to say I don’t care, but I want to make sure that honesty and directness come across as more important.

 

You almost named this album “fame is the thirst of youth,” a quote by Lord Byron, which reminded me of “Dying in LA”. Is that a direct correlation, that as time goes on the less fame means?

BU: Yeah to a certain extent, that is a pretty fair summation. When I was younger, I thought it was going to be so cool to be famous, but I didn’t think about it a lot. I was still focused on the things that I loved, like just making music, performing, making music videos, doing records, wearing funny clothes, putting on makeup. All this stuff was so fun for me to do, so I wasn’t really thinking about what I’d do when we get big. There were a couple instances over a couple years that I maybe didn’t handle fame that well. I realized that I was never searching for it. I think my goal is never to be famous. I’m never trying to not be able to leave my house because I’d be noticed all the time, that would suck.

 

When you released “High Hopes”, you tweeted that you’d “worried about how it felt to fail,” and “had to aim high and fail, fail, fail in order to keep growing.” Have there been any moments throughout the years that felt like failures you wouldn’t be able to overcome?

 

BU: For me, failure in the moment always feels like I’ll never overcome it. I have to push past a certain point and almost have faith that I’m going to get through it because it’s happened every single time fear hits me. I just have to hit a certain point and trust myself that as long as I show up and as long as I’m doing what I’m passionate about it’s going to work out in the way that I saw fit because I tried and I did the things I was passionate about, rather than hoping that people like me, hoping that I get notoriety, hoping that I get a number one album. That’s all byproduct. It’s cool if it happens, but it’s not what I’m after. I’m after making something that I’m so proud of that I can share with however many fans. That’s something better than drugs, it’s better than most things in my life. Being able to be on a stage, connect with fans, meet them and hear their stories, see their tweets, read their amazing poems, and hear their covers of our songs. They inspire me and it’s really cool to know that as long as you’re doing what you love, how can you be wrong?

 

You’ll be headlining Reading and Leeds Festival later this summer, are you looking forward to it?

BU: I’m losing my mind! I’m losing my mind because it was billed as a co-headline show with Kendrick Lamar, but I’m not treating it that way. I’m treating it the same way that I treated the Weezer tour, like we are opening for Weezer. We are the warm up band for Kendrick Lamar, and that’s how I’m going to treat it because I have such a love and respect for Kendrick Lamar as an artist and a human being. His seems like his head is in the right place, he’s so wise beyond his years, and I’m just a fan of the music. I’m going to have to stay away, they’re going to have to get extra security. He just seems like the coolest person ever so it’s an honor to be on the same bill as him, I can’t wait to watch him live.

 

What is your FAULT?

BU: I feel like everything is my fault. This whole album is my fault. I didn’t expect to have an album out, but I’m so glad that I did. I’m so glad that I felt inspired, because I was not expecting it and it was the biggest, most pleasant surprise I could have asked for.

 

Isle of Wight Festival 2018: review and pictures

As the Isle of Wight festival 2018 celebrated its 50th anniversary, the sun shone as golden as the glittery glad rags parading around the festival field…and we got our cameras out:

Isle of Wight festival 2018: Friday

Grooving on the main stage Nile Rodgers and Chic performed a flawless performance that fired out hit and hit and got the fans on their feet. While the Big Top tent saw Bedford boy Tom Grennan cause a storm on stage and solidifying his status as one of the hottest sounds of 2018.

Friday night came to a close with Kasabian performing a by the book performance that saw the band belt out tune after tune suited for the main stage, Chase and Status caused chaos as fans piled into the Big Top tent desperate to dance into the early hours of the night.

Tom Grennnan @ Isle of Wight Festival 2018 - FAULT Magazine

Tom Grennan performs on the Big Top stage at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Saturday

The sun continued to shine though out Saturday as areas such as the Old Mout Cider Kiwi Camp kept things cool with their delicious array of ciders and light entertainment like Disco Yoga and Rockaoke.

Brit award winner James Bay was back trading in his trademark hat for slick back hair and riffs galore as he jammed on stage to his follow up album Electric Light. While man of the hour Liam Gallagher pulled in a sizeable crowd and belted out Oasis classics such as Rock n Roll Star and Supersonic that proved to be still some of greatest songs ever written, the downside being a shared stage and not having the time to truly shine.

Sigrid at Isle of Wight Festival 2018 - FAULT Magazine

Sigrid at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Sunday

Sunday saw Sheryl Crow keep things light and breezy while Cuban-born Camila Cabello gave a scorching performance that added a little heat to the already blistering day – although it was arguably a little tepid compared to that of the England team. Spirits were raised as high as the English flags waving through the sky when the England vs Panama result began to ripple through the raucous crowds, convincing everyone present that football was truly coming home.

It was a welcome return for Sam Duckworth – aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – to the stage as he was supported by a full band that helped transform previous electro-experimental efforts into a vibrant array of melodic splendour. The full ensemble breathed new life into his debut album The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager, sounding as fresh as it did back in 2006.

Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid unfortunately felt the strain of technical difficulties eating into her allotted time by an extra half hour, but was welcomed by an sympathetic crowd filling out the Big Top tent before rushing off to see headline act The Killers take to the main stage.

The Las Vegas band pulled no punches as their perfect blend of indie rock and bruised Americana with a Springsteen-esque twang attracted multiple generations to the main stage. Spectators witnessed a dazzling performance accompanied by festival fireworks soaring almost as high as the bands brilliant finale Mr Brightside, proving that Isle of Wight is one of the biggest and brightest festivals around.

The Isle of Wight Festival 2018 celebrating its 50 year anniversary - FAULT Magazine

The Isle of Wight Festival 2018 was celebrating its 50 year anniversary

 

Keep tabs on tickets for next year’s Isle of Wight Festival here: www.isleofwightfestival.com

 

Words and photos by Jack Lloyd

FAULT Magazine interview with Jack Brett Anderson

Photography: Miles Holder

StylistEdith Walker Millwood 

Grooming: Charmanique Thompson

Assisted by Leslie and Felicia

While you might know Jack Brett Anderson’s face from the stage with a lead role in Tina Jay’s ‘Held’ or his portrayal as Prince Edward in the Christopher Marlowe’s King Edward II, many art and history buffs have recently fallen in love with the young actor following his portrayal of Honoré Joseph Géry Pieret in National Geographic’s Genius: Picasso. . With so many prestigious roles behind him and we’re sure many ahead, we caught up with Jack to find out more about one of 2018’s most exciting acting talents.

 

When you’re depicting a historical figure as opposed to a fictional character, is there more pressure on you as an actor to depict them exactly as they were or are you able to interoperate and change the roll to more suit your style?

I think telling anything factually has a huge sense of responsibility, to portray it as accurately as possible so people get a true reflection of the story. So yeah, I think there’s a lot more pressure as opposed to a character that has been created, that’s when you can add your own flare.

What first drew you to the character of Géry Pieret when you saw the script?

When reading and doing my research on this character, it came to light that he was a free spirit with such poise and confidence in the face of the most powerful characters and one way or another he made his way. I loved that about him and his involvement in Picasso’s life and all the ways that he influenced him.

What’s been the best part about playing such an interesting character?

The freedom of it and I guess, getting to play out scenes that I can never do myself, like steal from the Louvre and sell them to Picasso haha. Doing those scenes, knowing they happened once upon a time, that was the best part for me.

Did you have much previous knowledge on the whole story of Picasso and his life before joining the project?

Yeah, I knew of Picasso, from school, his art and that he has a huge impact on the world. I think that’s the best thing about this job – the retelling of real stories and how much you can learn and then be able to share what you’ve learnt and created. One thing I did know about Picasso was his Cubism. Picasso’s genius was his Cubism. How he did that is incredible. He was a true visual artist, an original trendsetter.  

What’s been the favourite part of your acting journey so far?

This job has been one of the hardest to get and keep but once you do get your foot in the door, but it can be the most rewarding. I’ve been able to see the world, so much of it while doing what I love, to perform, and I can say it’s all been a dream so far but my favourite part is meeting all the amazing people I have. I think that’s what life is about, meeting people and forming relationships. That’s why we tell stories right?

What’s next for you this 2018?

This year has been one busy time for me already and I’m real proud of the stuff that people are getting to see and the things that I’ve done already. I’m gonna take my time and find the best project, something fruitful and that the fans can get their teeth into, but coming next will be my film ‘Acceptable Damage’ a british Indie and ‘Intrigo:Samaria’ – directed by Daniel Alfredson.

 

What is your FAULT?

You know what is my fault, us being here talking about all this, that’s my fault because I worked really hard and never gave up and I guess that’s my message too. Never give up on whatever you want to do, you never know what may come of it.

 

Keep up to date with Jack’s projects over on Instagram @jackbanderson 

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