FAULT Magazine Issue 25 Preview: Counterfeit. – Together We Are Stronger

 

 

Surely you remember the Counterfeit. boys fronted by our FAULT issue 22 Cover Jamie Campbell Bower. Long story short, they’re basically part of the FAULT family now. When we last caught up, the boys were only just releasing their debut EP. Well, fast-forward six months and they’ve got a brand new record out. We caught up again with the group and here’s a little teaser for what’s about to come out in our FAULT Issue 25. 

 


It’s been 6 months since we last caught up and back then you were only just releasing your EP. Look at us now, with you guys releasing your debut album! What’s the vibe in the Counterfeit. camp at the moment?

Jamie: It’s pretty good. We’ve made an album over the past six months since we saw you last. We’ve sort of been gearing up for the release ever since, while being locked away in a tiny room.

Now that you’ve got a full body of work that represents Counterfeit. if we were to listen to your EP back to back with your album, would we notice any differences?

Tristan: Yes definitely, it’s a step up from our EP. Mitch, the guy who we worked with on our album, is really talented. He’s worked with people like Rattlesnakes and the sound that he’s created for us is really raw.

Jamie: The album in comparison to the EP is a lot tighter and closer. Sonically, it’s a lot beefier and thicker than what we’ve done before. The sound that we wanted for the album compared to the EP comes from this love of a nice kick and a heavy snare rather than a roomy sound, so that’s definitely a step up in terms of how we went about it. But it’s still very much Counterfeit. It hasn’t changed. There’s room for mistakes in the record and those moments of ‘Oh what’s that?’ are really nice on an album. As opposed to, you know, something general and clean-cut from beginning to end.

 

I remember you were saying that most of your songs come from a very personal and honest place. Which one was the hardest for you to write and put out there and what’s the back-story?

Jamie: There are a few out there that are quite tough. The record opens with a song called ‘Washed Out’ and that’s a reflection of a period of my life from about 15 to 26 when my life was going in a direction and I didn’t really know which way it was going. I would actively do things that were negative that would have a negative impact on my life. Just the way that I acted or certain actions that I did, I wasn’t really ready to accept life on life’s terms. It was more about blowing everything up, because I didn’t really feel I had control. I was always trying to put a brave face on, like ‘No, I’m fine, I’m cool, I’m grand!’ But the past like two and a half years, I think all of us collectively just did some growing up. I also made some significant changes in my life, in regards to the way I behaved and the things that I did. ‘Washed Out’ was probably one of the first tracks that I wrote. It was a tough song to write. It’s hard to talk about being a mess and it’s not an easy thing to look back on.

 

What was the most difficult part of producing this record? You already had quite a solid body of work beforehand, but surely there must’ve been times when you felt stuck.

Sam: We all had moments when we went away from it for a little and when we came back we could discuss what troubles we had with the others with a clear head. We work quite well together when it comes to communicating ideas.

Jamie: There was one song – You Can’t Rely – that we’ve never played live, it was written at home and it was still very much in demo format. The chorus part needed to be changed and as soon as we got into the studio we realized that it needed some work. But it wasn’t like something that took a week to get over; we did it in like 4 hours. But the record was made quite quickly; it just took a while to find the time to do it, because we’ve all got our own things going on. But if you were to accumulate all the time that we spent together, it basically just took us 25 days to make a record. And I think that’s a really important factor in terms of what this record is. It’s frantic and struggling to survive and I think recording it over such a sort time-span contributed to those feelings.

 

Come March-April – you’re going back on the road again. Will we see anything different from Counterfeit on stage?

Jamie: I think the show this time is going to get like bigger and better. We’re getting our own technicians in to do our stuff for us. This band is very much home grown and passion grown, so it’s very important to us to have our own people with us on the road. We want to continue to take the show to bigger and better places. The way that we see it and the way that we see it in our minds is like a huge fucking rock show, and that’s what it needs to be and that’s what we have to provide for these people. We’ve done the tours already, it’s great, cool, and fun, call it whatever and we want to step it up. We want to give it the beans in terms of visuals as well. But yeah, Sam will definitely be put in danger again. I’m thinking less boat this time. I don’t know, maybe an inflatable whale.

Sam: Or just floating from above. Hang me from a cable. Sounds fun.

 

 Without getting political – but taking into account the current political climate, you come across as the kind of band who is not afraid to speak up. Now that people have something to rebel against, is this an area you’re willing to explore?

Jamie: I don’t think we are the kind of band that is afraid to speak up. We are reactive to what we experience and what we’re shown around us. Would I be afraid to take it into a political direction? No. But would I consciously make an effort to be a beacon? I don’t think I would do that either because I’m sure as shit no pillar of morality myself. Of course there are some horrifically negative people in this world and the things that are happening around us right now tare very scary. I think that maybe if we feel the desire and burning passion to make a socio-political comment on that, then we should and it would be right to do so. But I would never force us to go into that direction. It wouldn’t be a conscious thought. If we were to do it and if we had to do it, it would have to be genuine.

Roland: Another interesting thing is the fact that the album is called ‘Together We Are Stronger’ and for us, it’s like a thank you to our fans. But at the same time it’s a message of unity and coming together. We seem to just live in a world where people just cut you off and simply don’t care. Our message is basically that whoever you are, it’s all good.

Jamie: The world does feel very fractious. I definitely get the sense of fracture and isolation and I think that’s terrifying. Because I don’t come from a place where I want to live on my own and lock all my door and shut all my windows. I’m not a small-minded individual. I truly believe in acceptance, love, understanding and peace.

And on that happy note, have you guys acquired any new FAULTs over the past few months?

Sam: I’m still losing things! I’m losing fewer things though cause I’m taking less things with me.

Jamie: He’s losing less things cause he lost most things already.

Roland: I used to be very good at bowling, but last time I went I lost, so that’s a fault.

Jamie: Over the last six months, I think I’ve been under a lot of pressure and haven’t actually managed to deal with stress in a positive way. I let it get to a point where I just blew up.

Tristan: My fault was disappearing for two days while doing the album.

Jimmy: I’m perfect.

You can order Together We Are Stronger here – available NOW

In anticipation for FAULT Issue 25 – check out an exclusive behind the scenes video with Counterfeit. More to come!

 

Words: Adina Ilie

Photography: Chris Moore

Photography Assistant: Matthew Lloyd
Grooming : Fabio Vivan using Bumble and bumble and grooming with Braun
SPECIAL THANKS TO TAPE LONDON – TAPE LODGE

 

FAULT Magazine: Keeping it real with Counterfeit

 

 

 

Going back a FAULT issue ago, you surely remember Jamie Campbell Bower as our Menswear and Back Cover. Fast-forward and it’s about time we caught up again and had a little chat about his new punk rock band– Counterfeit. This isn’t Jamie’s first go at music – most of you remember The Darling Buds – but Counterfeit is nowhere near that. You can throw it in the ‘past tense’ bin and grow up a little because the boys are miles away from the bubble gum that they used to be. Call it a family affair if you will – you do have two Bowers in the mix now – and add some hardcore spice to it as well because the guys are nothing short of mind-blowing. We won’t be giving away too much; this is definitely a band that you need to go and see live in order to get the point. Throwback to our last interview, Counterfeit was only just taking shape. A year later and with nearly 30 shows under their belts plus a nomination from Kerrang! Magazine, it’s safe to say that they’re here to stay.

 

You toured Europe and the UK with only a few tracks under your belts. Can you remember what your first show was like? 

Jamie: The first time we played in December was the first time we’d been on stage all together, at the O2 Academy in Islington. And we sold it out. It was mental. At that stage, for me anyways, it was a stage of ‘I know how these songs have been written, I know how they’ve been recorded, but are they going to work live?’ Like ‘Is this band actually going to be a band on stage’? We played the first song and, all of the sudden, we realised that it works. Doing something that was a) personal and b) a venture into something that was a completely different beast was an exciting experience and I think we all learned lessons from that show. It was a great first gig, but at the same time, how far the set has come in only 3 tours is miles apart from where it was. It’s a lot angrier, it’s a lot faster, and it’s a lot more fluid than it was back then.

Tristan: If you were to watch that show back to back with our most recent show, you’d see the progression clearly.

Jamie: But the last tour that we did, we started in the UK and went out in Europe. Not being on home territory, there’s this sort of forgiveness that you give yourself. There isn’t as much fear, I suppose. But because we were doing like home territory gigs and the UK is awash with really great bands in whatever genre, there was a trepidation and a definitive apprehension there. So we had to go out there and prove ourselves to the people who see bands every week.

 

As you mentioned earlier, the UK has a pretentious music market. How big was the pressure to prove yourselves?

Jamie: We had to rise to the top. And that’s what we continue to strive for. And yeah, there is loads of pressure to make your presence known. When we write, we’re always very aware of that. We’re very aware of Counterfeit – the band. Cause we can all write very different songs, but at the end of the day, it has to be Counterfeit – the band kind of material. The pressure is not put on by anyone else but ourselves and that’s a good thing. That’s where ambition comes from. We’d be cocky and ignorant if we just went out there like ‘Yeah no pressure we’re fine’. We want people to come to our shows and be like ‘Bloody hell that was mental’. There are a lot of people that come to our shows that have either never been to a punk rock show and then there’s the other side of it – where there are people who go to rock shows all the time. So, for those people who have never been to one, we want them to go away, go see another band and just go like ‘that’s nowhere near Counterfeit’. You want the show to really stand out.  You want people to go home and really talk about it.

 

So which one of you does the lyrics?

Jamie: *raises hand*

 

Are you okay?

Jamie: *laughs* I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. I just need a cuddle.

 

Most of your tracks come from personal experience, there’s raw honesty in there.

Jamie: The whole reason that this band came together was born out of a necessity for myself to really be honest with me. And to be as upfront as possible.

 

You’ve been brutally honest with yourself, in all fairness.

Jamie: I try to be. It’s more of an exorcism than anything else. It’s not an exercise it’s an exorcism. And it had to come from the heart. Cause I’ve written before, but it was all a bit like ‘Everything’s great, I’m having a wonderful time’. You know, roses are red, violets are blue. But actually, that wasn’t my reality when we started this band. My reality was being forced to look back on quite a large portion of my life. To re-evaluate whom I was. And through that, came this sort of fear, anxiety, anger and general frustration with not only who I am but also with the world that I was in and how I perceived my world to be. I needed to do that and yeah, I am a bit mental.

 

Doesn’t this exhaust you, both mentally and emotionally? Over time, it can get a bit too much.

Jamie: I wouldn’t say it gets too much. I mean yes – it is exhausting and yes – it is emotionally and physically and mentally very taxing to perform these songs for all of us, but I’ve got the energy and the want and the will to do that. It is a necessity more than anything – to remind myself of who Jamie really is. The decisions that I’ve made in my life have brought me to this place and that’s wicked. There’s really nothing better than going to play a show. Nothing better than going out there and just screaming the songs that mean the most to me. Because at the end of the day, you can go and watch a band that talks about things that are a bit wishy-washy, but you’re nowhere near as connected to a band like that than you are to a band that’s out there literally putting their balls on the line. It’s by no means an easy listen, but it sure as hell is fun.

 

 

Talk me through your live shows. They’re quite intense from what I’ve seen. You’re spending most of your time in the crowd or doing something potentially life threatening. Thoughts on health and safety? 

Jamie: I remember the first time I went to a rock festival. The shows that I was witnessing were like nothing I’d ever seen before. That inspired me. And I had been to loads of shows before, I’ve seen bands like The Strokes and I know that there’s a massive difference. A difference between going in to see a band like The Strokes and then going to a super heavy rock festival where people just go mental. My thoughts on health and safety are that they’re fucking pathetic and unnecessary. And yeah, I know I put myself on the line a bit, but I want to share my experience with the people that are in the crowd. One of my favourite shows that we’ve ever played was our show in Barcelona. We had maybe 150 to 200 kids there. So, for us, a relatively small show. And, basically, I played the whole set in the crowd. I walked off stage and there was this instant connection between the band and the crowd. It was so sick and I didn’t want to be standing on stage, I didn’t want to feel like I was in a fucking zoo. I wanted us to have this moment together. That’s what it’s all about for me. I like to feel exhausted and I like to feel shattered cause I’ve always felt like that when I’ve worked. If there’s any point in time when you go home from whatever it is that you’re doing in a creative industry and go like ‘I could’ve given it a little bit more’, it can be very soul destroying. It’s not a nice experience. Every night is a new challenge and it’s good to physically push yourself. I like that.

 

 

Do you have a particular show in mind where things got a bit more intense than usual?

Jamie: There are some shows. The Italy shows that we play are always very intense for myself because I spend a lot of time in the crowd. With a crowd that’s over 800 people, you can get swamped very quickly. Literally, like actually completely covered by people. Those shows are very intense and they are very… grabby. We put Sam in an inflatable dinghy and sent him out into the crowd, being held up by these people.

Sam: It worked too well, I have to say. It worked way too well.

 

Is this something that you actually previously agreed to?

Sam: It was actually brought upon me. I think these guys had a meeting when I was out and then they were like ‘So, basically what’s going to happen is this.’ I was keen for it. And Jamie came up to me before the show and was like ‘Is this actually happening?’ and I was like ‘Oh yeah’.

Jamie: All I could hear in the back of my mind was out mother’s voice. If he goes and knocks a tooth out I’m going to be the one that’s in trouble, obviously. It’s always going to be the older brother. So, that was pretty fun, that was a good show. But like, as I said, Barcelona for me was a really good show – it was a real turning point for us as a band – to realise that you don’t have to have a crowd of however many hundreds of people to have a killer show.

 

 

You’ve already given us a taste of who you are as a band. When do you plan on releasing an album?

Jamie: It will be towards the end of this year beginning of next. We’ve pretty much got the record ready in terms of writing. I mean, obviously, we took out a certain number of songs on tour. But we’re ready to go in basically. It’s all about finding the time.

Jamie, this one’s for you. Last time we spoke, the only thing you seemed excited about was voicing a boat on Thomas and Friends.

Jamie: Yeah and? *laughs* I mean, I’ve got a lot of strings to my boat and when we last spoke, Counterfeit was only just taking shape. Like I said in the beginning of the interview, I didn’t know whether this was going to work on stage, it was a fear that was in the back of my mind. I like to downplay things that aren’t quite solidified yet, you know what I mean? So yeah, obviously Skiff was great and I loved that, but this right now is what I’m stupidly stoked about.

Hence the point – you seem more content right now. And for good reasons. Things escaladed massively and all in the right direction. Looking back on everything that you’ve done, do you all feel proud of Counterfeit?

Jamie: Hugely. We’re all proud of each other. We all want to be better. The only question is ‘Will we ever be satisfied?’ There’s always room to improve. We’ll never stop pushing and we’ll always want to get better and want to pick up on things.

Never settle.

Jamie: That’s what I think this band is about – it’s about being unsettled. It’s about, you know, not being comfortable in where we are and who we are necessarily. I know I always felt like that growing up. I’m comfortable now with whom I am, but still it’s like – this band has to be about becoming the best band in the world. That’s what it had to be about for us. There was no point in doing this if we didn’t want to become one of the greatest rock bands ever. That’s not me saying that we are – that’s me saying that this is what we strive for on a show-to-show basis. And the moment we become relaxed and comfortable and calm is the moment that the band dies and we start writing folk records. Not that I’m saying folk is comfortable!

What’s your FAULT?

 Roland: I can never decide between black and white socks.

Jamie: I’ll speak on Jimmy’s behalf: Jimmy’s biggest fault is that he’s not here. And that he’s always late.

Sam: Personal hygiene. Not as in me, but us.

Jamie: Don’t lump this on me, I showered last night. I think, musically, my biggest fault is that I find it hard to let go of the material. Once it’s done, I just can’t let it be because it’s so personal.

Tristan: I try to be too much of a perfectionist.