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

Conrad Sewell Exclusive Video Premiere on FAULT Magazine

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Conrad Sewell has been on FAULT’s radar ever since his track  Firestone with Kygo stormed the charts last March. Now a year on, Conrad is flexing his vocals in this exclusive Naked Noise  performance session.

Singing track ‘Who You Lovin’ , Conrad lets rip on the mic with vocals so powerful you’d think you were watching Conrad on his own headline tour! Calm and controlled to begin with, Conrad truly crescendos into his zone at the 1:35 and then it’s all uphill from there.

We’ll stop writing and just let you check out the performance for yourself below! Also be sure to check out our exclusive Shoot and interview with the star from last year here.

Preview – Fleur East Exclusive Debut on FAULT Magazine

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Words: Olivia Pinnock Photographer: Zoe Mcconnell
Fashion Editor & Art Director: Rachel Holland
Make Up Artist: Nicky Weir @ Sarah Laird using MAC
Hair Stylist: Takuya Morimoto @ Brooks and Brooks
Nail Artist: Diane Drummond @ Baptiste Agency Set Designer: Andy Macgregor
Photographer’s Assistant: Nick Graham
Styling Assistant: Emma Ellen
Photographed At Holborn Studios

 

The music industry has hit out at X Factor contestants in the past for being wannabes who take the easy route. Last year’s runner up Fleur East, certainly doesn’t fall into that category. In between her first appearance on the show in 2005 as part of fiery girl group Addictiv Ladies and her show- stopping finale performance of ‘Uptown Funk’ last year, Fleur has been chasing her dreams hard.

With nothing to apologise for, Fleur is taking the first and (arguably) the hardest steps of her career as she attempts to put X-Factor defeat behind her and reach for the stars! We caught up with Fleur in an exclusive photoshoot and interview! Pre-Orders for FAULT Magazine – The Unapologetic Issue are available here.

In the mean-time, enjoy this preview below!

 

What made you go back to X Factor a second time?

To be honest with you, I felt like I’d tried everything else. I got to the point where I’d featured on songs, I’d done backing singing for major artists, I’d done all these shows but it was always for other people. At this point I thought ‘What do I do now?’ I either go, just get a job doing something else, but that terrified me because all I know and all I love is music. My friends and family were saying to go on X Factor. I was dreading it and I didn’t really want to, I just knew how much pressure it was and how much of a risk it would be but I thought, I’ve got nothing to lose.

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What is it actually like going through the X Factor process?

It’s a lot less glamorous than it appears. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. There’s so much pressure but I think if you really love it, if you truly love it and it’s your passion to sing, then that’s what will get through. I think if you don’t have that, you’ll realise quickly.

 

Was there are any part of you that wanted to be a runner up because in the past they’ve had more success?

A lot of people were saying that to me when I joined the process but I never really thought that because, how do I go into a competition and not want to win? That doesn’t even make sense. I was a little scared afterwards to be honest because I was thinking, ‘a contract is only guaranteed for the winner and I’ve come second, it’s not guaranteed for me.’

Is there a theme to the new album?

It’s all very positive, very uplifting. I think that music can sometimes be taken too seriously. I enjoy what I do and I want people to feel that. I’ve put a lot of time and a lot of love into it and I hope that people really get behind me and enjoy the music as much as I do.

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What do you want people’s reaction to be?

I just want people to react to it as though it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s sort of old school meets new school. It’s got a lot of old school influences, old school funk, old school hip hop, sounds that people miss. Influences like Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, proper good music that we all love.

 

Simon (Cowell) has said that with this album you ‘discovered who you wanted to be’, who is that?

I was fortunate enough that on the show, the songs that I was given represented the sort of direction that I wanted to go in. It’s basically really strong, sassy, full of attitude, really confident, vibrant and energetic.

 

What would you never apologise for?

I would never apologise for being myself and doing what I believe in. I think for years I was always like that. I was really shy. I’ve got to the point where I know, you’re not going to get anywhere if you think like that.

 

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 22 – THE UNAPOLOGETIC ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

(Premiere) Ayer – Black Diamond (The Soundmen Remix)

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The cross-country duo The Soundmen (Scott Durday and Justin Jamison) have teamed up with Ayer to record original material along with remixing his most recent single, “Black Diamond.” When asked about the remix, Scott said “our goal was to take the original and dark it up and infuse our hip-hop flavored electro production.” We’re proud to premiere this remix today and The Soundmen have been nice enough to offer it as a free download. Stay tuned for more from The Soundmen for their single featuring Avan Lava. 

 

 

FAULT INTERVIEWS: Woman’s Hour

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Hailing from London, Woman’s Hour is the unlikely four-piece of siblings Fiona Burgess (vocals) and William Burgess (guitar), along with Nicolas Graves (bass) and Josh Hunnisett (keyboards). who’ve been quietly flying under the radar for the past few years. In 2001, The Guardian selected them as their new band of the day, praising Woman’s Hour for their experimental yet accessible brand of slow burning seductive shoegaze. Today the band announces a new single “Her Ghost” ahead of a string of North American shows, including an appearance at SXSW. “Her Ghost” has Fiona’s same demure vocals complemented by languid synth flurries that come together to create a blissful 3 minutes and 24 seconds of hazy romance. We had the opportunity to sit down with frontwoman Fiona to chat about the beginnings of the band, lyrical inspiration and what’s on the horizon.

FAULT: Hey guys, thank you again for taking the time to do an interview with us! Just wanted to start off with a pretty routine question but where did the name Woman’s Hour come from?
Fiona: When we first started writing music we didn’t know what to call our songs, so we used the titles of Radio 4 programmes as namesakes. So when it came to our first gig we had a set list of Radio 4 programmes but didn’t have a name, and Woman’s Hour just stuck.

Fiona, you started Woman’s Hour with your brother. How has being siblings either positively or negatively affected your working relationship?
We’re all close friends so it feels quite relaxed, but you should probably ask our bandmates what it’s like. I’ve only ever made music with my brother so I don’t really have anything to compare it with, but it seems to work alright.

How is the whole band dynamic when it comes to the creative process? Can you walk me through how you guys come up with a track?
Every song is different. Someone will bring something to the group – it could be a melody, a guitar riff or synth line, or even just a sound – and we’ll layer things on top of that. We always try to be open to trying new ideas out, pushing something as far as it can go and then striping it back to find the elements we like best.

I absolutely love the band’s black and white aesthetic – how would you describe Woman’s Hour’s ‘brand’ in three words that start with W or H?
well-made
hardwearing
heavy-duty

Tell me about your new track “Her Ghost” and what the inspiration for the lyrics there is.
I try to avoid explaining what a song is supposed to mean, or what inspired it. There’s often many forms of inspiration. But more importantly, I want the listener to have the freedom to respond to our music in whatever way they want. The beauty of making music is that you can create something that has a very specific meaning for you personally, but other people can respond to it in a very different way.

What are you looking forward to the most at SXSW?
I think the food will be exceptional

Finally, what is your FAULT?
I have too many to mention!

Woman’s Hour Tour Dates:
March 11th – 16th: South By South West Festival, Austin, Texas
March 17th: Bardot, Los Angeles
March 19th: Mercury Lounge, New York
March 21st: Glasslands, New York
April 3rd: The Purcell Rooms, London
April 25th: Gulliver’s, Manchester
April 26th: Cathedral, Sheffield
April 27th: Bodega Social Club, Nottingham
May 7th: Louisiana, Bristol
May 8th: The Great Escape Festival, Brighton