‘Deciphering The Pieces’ – FAULT Magazine discuss escapism with Puzzle

 

When did you know that being a musician is what you wanted to be?

I grew up in a very musical family – my mother and grandmother were singers and my great grandfather was a composer so I’ve always been around music. I decided to have music as a career fairly early on.

 

At what point did you transition away from the standard forms of pop and begin to experiment?

About three years ago I started to really hone my voice. I was doing backing vocals for a lot of artists and trying to find a way to express my feelings through music. I started soul searching and trying to find what was important to me musically and that’s when I started writing as Puzzle.

Chevron trousers: Sewing Boundaries

There’s a strong visual aspect to your artistry too – where do you draw your inspiration from?

Music and visually as very interlinked for me. I play a lot of video games and grew up playing games like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid and I feel like that’s where I tapped into a different world. The same can be said for the fantasy books I read too.

 

Great forms of escapism!

It’s all about escapism and opening worlds to people. The world is in constant flux which is always changing and I want people to take on those ideas when I make music. Nothing is set in stone and it’s all open to interpretation. It’s not reality, I’m trying to take people to a world of imagination.

Puzzle’s new single ‘Little Black Book’ is out now

 

When you’re a visual artist, how easy is that to transfer to the stage?

The makeup, the costumes and the presentation of my band is the first step. At one point we want to play with projections and play with people’s perceptions depending on where you stand in the room. It’s all a work in progress and for now, I want the people to come to my shows and see something they’re not used to seeing in their everyday lives.

Leather and suede jacket: Domingo Rodriguez Sweater: Oliver Spencer

Are you an artist who likes to listen to other musicians or do you try to block all other music in case it influences your unique style?

I believe strongly that every derives from something else and everything has been done to death and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with listening to people who inspire you. From there you can take inspiration from many sources and create something original. For me it’s important to go to concerts and to keep myself amerced in music – it’s something that I’ve always loved.

 

You make a lot of personal statements about love and politics in your music, is it hard to put it all out there?

I believe that for my music to resonate with people, it has to be personal otherwise, audiences can see through it. We’ve all been listening to music our whole lives and when something doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a place with truth, people can tell.

Front texture painting tee: Songzio

What’s next for Puzzle?

My first EP is coming out in March which is really exciting and there’ll be more singles and videos towards the end of the year.

 

What is your FAULT?

It’s a daily struggle for me to stay optimistic and believe that everything will work out and that everything you do isn’t your best. Every day I try to win the battle and tell myself that everything will be okay and that I can achieve my dreams and I think that’s something a lot of people go through.

 

Puzzle’s Babylon EP release in March!  Pre-order it HERE

PHOTOGRAPHER – STEPHANIE YT  

PHOTOGRAPHER ASSIST – ERICA FLETCHER 

STYLING – KIM LATIEULE –

GROOMING – LILLIE RUSO @ ERA

FAULT Magazine in Conversation with Maximilian Wiedemann ahead of his Collier Bristow Collaboration

 

 

While planning this feature and our upcoming collaboration, I’ve read many other articles on Maximilian Wiedemann and his work and in my opinion, none have managed to capture and convey the soul of Max or what he is trying to show with his artwork. Like many artists, the more journalists that attempt to write and add outside narratives to his creations, the less people are listening to Max’s true voice which lives within his artwork. As Max gears up to launch his new range of t-shirt designs in collaboration with Collier Bristow, we wanted to learn more about Max and his views on the art world and beyond.

Rather than further muddy the waters and assign another box to place Maximillian’s artistry inside, I asked him to describe it in his own words for us.

 

Max: I’m a graffiti based artist. I come from the good old days inspired by modern art and subway artistry. I started painting on walls which were uninteresting to the public and it started to get me jobs and I was able to continue. If I had to describe my style, I’d say it’s where Haute meets street art.

Oozing with iconography and vibrant palettes, the rawness of his early work still appear in his contemporary pieces. In many ways, Max fills the space in the modern art world which Andy Warhol left behind. Despite his love of Haute, fashion, and the refined, Max stays true to his roots of street art and his original inspirations for creating. Observing his surroundings and finding art in the discord, Max’s work often plays on modern perception, themes, and self-reflection.

 

With the latest generation, I’m very aware that 15 minutes of fame is hugely sought after and admired but as an artist my job is to bring self-reflection to a relevant zeitgeist and plant new seeds for healthier ideas and ways of thinking.  

My new t-shirt designs mirror the vanity and the foolishness of those in our society who believe that money rules everything. “The better you look the more you see”, “The only pain Is champagne”, I’m turning the mirror on those people and reflecting their current mindset upon them in the harsh light of day.

The more I look at society the more I’m seeing how materialistic it is becoming and how much less we’re looking at the true values of humanity the way those who came before us did. I want a return to a broader way of thinking and to show that while money talks, it has nothing to say.

 

It’s clear that Maximillian cares and his frustrations are sincere and from a genuine place. For a clearer understanding, it’s best to observe Max’s own entrance into the art world. Finding his talent for street art and graffiti (or vandalism to some) and having never studied a formal art course, Max has never strayed from his grass roots mentality. Despite being commissioned by some of the biggest names and working with many social elites, there is a disdain in his voice when he discusses the “rich art school kids” anyone (including myself) would have met at university. Max is an artist who has excelled through the grit of his talent and has had nothing handed to him – while not fully innocent of splurging nor claiming to never have indulged during his success, he refuses to be a person of excess and refuses to create artwork just for a paycheque.

 

The rich are getting richer the poorer are struggling more. I’ve self-indulged at times, but I’m not going to do art without being in the position of messaging. My statements in this collection are directed at materialistic people who’ll do anything for a pay day. I’m asking them directly, “what is your integrity worth?”.  These are basic questions but I see more and more people chasing money instead of humanity or anything else without a financial gain.

 

The message is clear in his tone and his words that his latest body of work is born from his own frustrations with modern society and what he perceives to be the chasing of skewed ideals. While he touches on the point about his own times of self-indulgence, I also know that Max worked within the advertising industry for over ten years. I quizzed:

 

FAULT: You’ve said in the past that the advertising industry strengthened your understanding on the power of art, but as an artist, how could you not feel stifled or insincere working for such large and sometimes soulless corporations?

In advertising, we played the game of seducing people but with my art, I’m playing with the art of seduction which is a totally different thing. Living in the world of advertising I’d often tell myself, “this isn’t a real world, it’s faulty and manipulative.”

Advertising is the art of seduction but my seduction is my art.

I’m just putting a mirror up and showing you who you are and letting you truly perceive yourself and your values. People go and buy Rolexes in hopes that others will see it and say “wow, look at him and his money” but I want them to truly see themselves how I do. I have a design which takes their “Rolex” and I change it to “relax” as if to say “well done you own a Rolex what next? What does it truly mean? Nothing. Just relax.”  

You should be cool for what’s inside, if you can’t sit on a street curb and share interesting ideas and insights and only have a shiny watch and large bank account to offer, then you really have nothing.

I’m not against the establishment, I’m against soulless people who use daddy’s money as a ticket to notoriety to then become popular figures and idols. I’m a self-made man and I thought a long time about if I could do this art thing. But I’m putting my life on the line for this project because I have a message which I need to get out.

People are chasing money to pay for a soulless lifestyle which forces them to keep chasing money for even more soullessness, it’s a vicious cycle.

As an artist, I’m here to communicate. My art is communication.

 

Throughout our discussion, I’m wanting more and more to quiz Max on his chosen medium for this project. Why t-shirts and why fashion at all? By its very nature, fashion is materialistic and I recalling Oscar Wilde’s essay from 1885’s New York Tribune ( also published again in The Philosophy Of Dress’) “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”

 

FAULT: Fashion is and has been known to be a revolving door of ideas, trends and physical materials, so why choose such a throw away medium for such a long lasting message?

A canvas appears in someone’s home or gallery and is tucked away to be seen only those who are interested but I’m thrusting my message at you on a street level. I know it’s hypercritical to put it on a t-shirt but I feed off of the irony for this project. All my statements derive from irony, “La Vie En Pose”, “Detox to retox”, “The only pain is champagne” I’m in the business of the ironic and that’s the hidden or not-so-hidden layer to what I’m working on now.

On the same level, the collection is called Raw and Ready and you wear them direct from the hanger without receiving any social merit based on the name on the label alone. You can walk around with an outfit made by huge high fashion designers and receive a social standing based on that but with my collection, you have vibrant messaging without the social labeling. Once again I return to my saying “money talks but has nothing to say”, but my collection has much to say and much to question.

 

One take away from our discussion is the clarity of Max’s resolve to insight change of some degree to modern society. While conscious about adding another long and drawn out personal analysis of Max and further muddy the waters as mentioned in the article’s intro – it is important for me that Max’s message does not come across as false to our readers. There is a reason this interview is so challenging and far from the “What are you promoting? Why? What is your FAULT?” format some might expect. Launching a for-profit business in hopes of revealing the greed of modern society, sounds confusing on paper but through challenging discussion, we can hear his true motivations. A graffiti artist finds their canvas in the environment most needing of a message, and an artist finds a medium most suitable for their ideas – it’s no surprise then that Max has chosen fashion for his latest art piece.

As Max is passionate about having his name tied to this collection as am I with FAULT’s as we gear up to present the launch at Lights Of Soho this month. Grilling? Perhaps; but from this interview Max’s message is as clear as day and really fills us with excitement for his new collection. Time will only tell if the change Max is calling for will be acted on or if the statements he is making will be heard, but one thing is for certain, Max will keep creating and keep questioning as all great artists do.

Money may talk, but Max has far more too much to say before he listens to it.

Words: Miles Holder

 

Maximilian Wiedemann & Collier Bristow will launch their collaboration at Lights Of Soho on November 9th. For more information head over to lightsofsoho.com

FAULT Magazine in conversation with Carl Cox

 

 

This year it’s a seminal and historic season, it’s ‘The Final Chapter – Music Is Revolution’ with the closing of Space so I imagine that it will be quite emotional for you? 

I’ve never been involved in something so strongly as this. This is my only residency that I’ve taken on apart from Ultimate B.A.S.E. Here I’m 15 years on and everything is at the highest level. There is a team of amazing people surrounding me and we all feel a part of the success. Once this is gone the family will break and we will inevitably move on and go our separate ways.

 

So have you felt like your sets this season so far have had an element of nostalgia?

Absolutely and I feel the more I go into this season the more it’s gonna be like that because people want to experience what has made and defined the club over the years. So I don’t want to just play pure upfront techno and dance music or tech house which is the current sound, I want to play the music that people have forgotten about and make people think, ‘I remember exactly where I was when this record came out.’ Or if you’re so young that you don’t remember it, you can experience the vibe and the sound that made the club great.

Tell me about how your sound has evolved over the years?

I was born in the late sixties and I grew up in the seventies with bands playing funk, soul, disco and R&B, jazz and modern jazz. My adaptations and what I play with my music comes and stems from all of these moments in my history. I have lived all of those moments and my knowledge of music is an expanse, it’s a lot. My brain should almost be exploded with all this music knowledge that I have come to acquire. If you go back 30 or 40 years I look back at the amount of music that I’ve played, shared, begged for, borrowed and stole (he laughs) and it’s got me to where I am – my life has been dedicated to music.

 

When did you first arrive to the island?

I first came to the island in the mid eighties. When I was about twenty one I came to Space and I thought, once day I’m gonna be playing at this club and I’m gonna make sure that they’ve never heard a DJ play like me. And that’s how it started.

So from an early age did you dream that you would become one of the greatest DJs in the world?

Well I never went out looking for that title. Music was always in me, to understand it, nurture it, respect it, love it and once I had it – to share it. This was instilled in me from my mum and dad. My mum has now unfortunately passed away, but her legacy of who she was is within me to continue the legacy of the Cox family in the way that I believe I’m put on this planet to do.

What makes Ibiza your utopia? 

I wanted to go to Ibiza when I was younger cause Ibiza had so many clubs. I was drawn to Ibiza from day one since1984 or 1985 I’ve been coming to the island and not really missed one year over the last twenty years. I’m here to give to the island. I share the love of my music with people, I have always had that notion, and that is the reason I do what I do.

 

*Interview taken from an excerpt from the Ibiza Icons book in partnership with Bulldog Gin

 

FAULT Future: Sody making the most of her ‘youth’

 

Listening to Sody, it’s easy to forget how young she is in her career and life. At just 15, her vocal range and power is just as brilliant as performers many years her senior. Gaining great acclaim from her single entitled Sorry, last month we were treated to a new collaboration with Martin Luke Brown entitled ‘Wasted Youth’. FAULT sat down with Sody to find out more about her artistry, history and bright, bright future.

Has singing always been the dream? 

Yes, absolutely!

 

‘Wasted Youth’ has been on repeat in the office all day! How did the collaboration with Martin Luke Brown come about?

I was at the Reading festival last year and stumbled into a tent for his set. I thought he was amazing and asked my manager to reach out for a session. ‘Sorry’, my first single, was born from our first ever writing session and then ‘Wasted Youth’ followed! He’s my big bro AND bestie!

 

‘Sorry’ is such a powerful song with a huge vocal. Do you prefer punchy belters to the more stripped back tracks?

Everything starts stripped back for me. I write using piano so it’s always fun to build it. I love to get lost in a track I can really push myself on. Sometimes the challenge is more intense and exciting when you do a  track  stripped back for live as you feel more exposed. I think both elements should always make up any album or live show.

 

You’re at such a young age but you’re singing about love and other quite mature themes, do you ever feel a disconnect between your personal life and the themes of your music?

I’ve grown up with 5 older siblings, so when I wrote my first song at 10 it was definitely inspired by the life of others. Growing up in that environment has influenced my maturity levels and how I see the world. Now I do write most of my songs from personal experiences but if you are writing with others, a little of their experience can wash over the song too.

 

What can people expect to hear from your EP?

A small piece of my soul cushioned by bass, beats and synths! Gritty, dark, unapologetic pop?

 

What other musicians are you listening to at the moment?

Oh Wonder and Aurora. 

 

Biggest inspiration?

Definitely Ed Sheeran because I love how instantly recognisable his song’s are and how unique his tone is. On a more alternative side, I think Jack Garratt is pushing musical boundaries and his live shows are just on point plus he has the best laugh.

 

What do you have planned for the rest of 2016?

Writing, Gigs, Festivals, Friends, Food and FUN!

 

What is your FAULT? 

Clothes all over the floor… and leaving lids off EVERYTHING!

 

Sody’s EP is out now 

 

Jen Kirkman Talks To FAULT Magazine about new show at the Soho Theatre

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The title of comedian Jen Kirkman’s book tells us a lot about her. I can barely take care of myself, is a situation lots of us, in what our parent’s generation call arrested development, can relate to. Not only has the book been empowering lots of women to be proud of their choice not to have children, but it speaks to those of us that feel like we aren’t living up to the expectations our parents have for us. Her recent Netflix special, I am going to die alone (and I feel fine), is not a call to arms, it is not a message and it is not a movement Jen is creating, but it feels like it.

Performing at the Soho Theatre in London this month, we began speaking about what can and can’t be said on stage.

Political correctness is a huge issue in comedy. Do you ever have to edit yourself in case things get taken out of context or blown up into something bigger than they are?

Some people may think I swear too much or don’t like when I talk about grey pubic hair but those aren’t things that usually offend the so-called politically correct. I’ve never been censored nor felt en masse that audiences have made some huge sea change and can’t handle comedy.  I think what people can’t handle is ignorance and I’m glad that people who are lazy joke writers are now being challenged past using words like gay or retarded as a punch line.  Political correctness is a complaint of the boring status quo. Every comedian will be FINE and to the comedians who whine about political correctness, I say, in the words of Joan Rivers, “Oh, grow up.”

Speaking of what people think of you, Twitter lets you receive instant feedback on everything you do. What does that do to your psych?

Nothing. I don’t read many @ comments that much anymore.  It used to tear me apart.  It’s not so much that I don’t like it when people don’t like what I do but I don’t understand the culture of having TO TELL THE PERSON DIRECTLY that they suck.  I never wrote a letter to Mickey Dolenz to tell him that he’s my least favourite member of The Monkees.

Your last book seemed to have anger or frustration at people that asked you why you wouldn’t have kids, and the expectations put on you and women to have kids. Was this consciously the start of a movement?

I do appreciate that it feels like a movement but it was already there, and that’s why it was the perfect time to write a book.  I’d been frustrated for years with people butting into the lives of women who don’t want kids – and I knew LOTS of women who felt the same way. I’m not equipped emotionally with what it takes to have kids.  There’s nothing wrong with people being confused as to why women don’t have kids, after all I have the plumbing and the hormones, but it’s just that it’s not THEIR BUSINESS to say it to my face. I wouldn’t even say this is just a woman’s issue either. Men get the same stupid pressure to reproduce that women do. People think that your marriage isn’t a marriage unless there’s a child or that your life isn’t fulfilling if you only have a job as your major commitment. It’s always something.

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I was always told that to be a normal adult one must go to high school, then college, then get a girl/boyfriend, have a career, own a house, move in with that boy/girlfriend, get married and then have kids. If that’s not what adulthood is, then what is it?

My next book, I Know What I’m Doing And Other Lies I Tell Myself, is sort of the next step in all of this.  It’s about how everyone’s life looks so different and why anyone would tell anyone else what’s best for them based on what they have done – makes no sense to me.  I write about how I prefer to rent a place over own, being divorced, being forty-one and just finding the courage to explore the world on my own, having romantic relationships but not knowing how to do them well, having family obligations that frighten me etc. There is no normal. Thank God. We should all just talk about it more.  I think there’s still this perception that if you’re not a parent, married, with a house and a garage that you’re some kind of vagabond who hasn’t gotten their life together yet. It’s not just either or anymore. There are so many kinds of toilet paper – why can’t there be so many kinds of adulthoods?

What is your fault? 

What is my fault? EVERY THING is my fault.  And my fault is everything you can imagine.

Words: Chris Purnell

Jen is at the Soho Theatre in London 16 – 21 November. More information can be found at www.JenKirkman.com

FAULT Magazine Online interviews the electric ‘Parlour Tricks’

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FAULT: Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you all meet, how did the band come together and what made Parlour Tricks into the band that it is today? 

Parlour Tricks: We met in college. I had started writing songs suddenly and was curious to know if they were any good, and what they’d sound like with a full band. So I started playing with my friends Terry, Brian and Angelo. We played some truly awful gigs around the city. Everyone does that; its the ritual sacrifice of becoming a band.  After a few months I realized that I was writing every song with three-part harmony in mind, and after some well-intentioned attempts by the guys to sing, we knew we had to add two more people. Chicks.  I wanted women’s voices. The addition of Morgane and DeeDee, two singers whose voices I’d admired at school, was the game-changer.  I consider their entrance into the band as the real Beginning.

 

You used call yourselves “Lily & The Parlour Tricks” and now you’ve gone for a shorter moniker. What was the reason behind that?

Mostly practical. “Lily & The Parlour Tricks” is a mouthful. Whenever we’d say it to someone, they’d ask us to repeat ourselves.  Also we found that bookers were very quick to put us on the same bill as other “[Girl’s Name] & The [Band Name]” bands, even if we didn’t fit together musically. I bet a lot of them didn’t even listen to us, they just assumed what we sounded like based on our name. We were being pigeonholed. It was tiresome.

 

You just released your debut album Broken Hearts/ Bones in June. How much time did you spend working on it? How far back do some of these songs go? 

It took about a year and a half, but when we started we didn’t know it was going to be an album. We were making some demos for a record label we’d been in development with. We had no idea of the relationship we’d end up creating with our producer (Emery Dobyns) or the connection we’d have with Nashville, where we’d been sent to record. After the development deal fell through, we kept going. Over the course of 2014 we went back 5 times, often with songs I’d just written which we’d never played together before.  Only a few of them had been with us for a while, like “Little Angel”. The rest were pretty new, or newly re-arranged. Many of them were written after I got a phone call from Angelo a few days before we were set to leave for Nashville – he’d call and dare me to have a new song done before we left. I worked well under pressure. We got three or four songs that way, including the title track.

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Now that it’s been a while since the release and you’ve had time to let everything sink in, do you feel contempt with the overall response that you’ve had from the people that listened to your album? Do you feel that they’ve taken away from your record what you aimed to put out there in the first place? 

Contempt?  No, never.  We’re pretty honest with ourselves about this business and about managing our own expectations.  We didn’t aim to put anything out there but music we think – we hope – is listenable. I know that sounds like humble bullshit, but it is that simple. We weren’t trying to make a larger statement or anything.  I loved writing these songs. We love playing these songs. We’re proud of our work and also acutely aware of the fact that this is our first offering – it’s just the beginning.   We want people to take from this record what they will. Whether they love it or hate it, whether they like two songs and could toss the rest; that’s all OK by me.  But the reaction has been good, so far.  We can’t wait to release it in the UK.

 

How much input do you have on your visuals? Lovesongs and Requiem are old videos of yours, but could you tell us a bit about their backstories?

We had all the input since we made both videos by ourselves.  “Requiem” was shot in Nashville. We’d drive around in the mornings before going to the studio, pick a random spot in the city, set up a camera on a tripod and do this dance that Angelo and Brian had “choreographed”  backstage at a show once when they were bored. It started as a dance video, but quickly devolved into a learn-to-dance video when we realized we weren’t the best dancers… We sent the footage to be edited by our friends at Afloat Design Group and they added the magic.   “Lovesongs” was also shot in Nashville a few months later. The concept was looser; aliens doing karaoke? For better or worse I think that’s the best way to describe it.  We borrowed a green screen and some lights, got some body paint, stripped and just rolled with it. Didn’t think too much. Sent the footage to Afloat again and they made it so pretty.   We have new videos in the works that we can’t wait to share. They will be very different than the last two.

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Do you find it easier or more difficult being in a 6 piece band as opposed to the usual 3-4 members? Like how’s your songwriting process when you have to brainstorm with 6 other people? 

I’ve never been in a band with 3-4 members so I couldn’t say. We’re an easy group of people. We all know and respect our roles.   I’m the songwriter; its my responsibility to have the songs mostly finished when I bring them to the other five members. Together we take as much time as needed to flesh out the arrangements, and some songs take more time than others.  But it’s never contentious or anything. We try stuff, we listen to each other, we’re honest when we disagree. At the end of the day if we can’t reach a democratic decision, I make the final call.   Had we not been set up like this from the get-go maybe it would be more frustrating, but as it is we’re pretty lucky. We work well together.  If it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it.

 

What do you feel are some of your most prominent music influences that you can also deduct quite easily from the record itself? 

While we were recording we were listening to a lot of Francis & The Lights, Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, St Vincent, and The Chordettes song “Mr. Sandman” on repeat

 

If you could have the opportunity to collaborate with any musician/songwriter/producer or creative of any kind, whom would you go for and for which reasons? 

Brian Wilson as producer. There is no greater wizard when it comes to vocal harmony.

 

You’ve got an upcoming London show at Birthdays. What can we expect from it? Do you feel that your album can be translated smoothly into a live show? 

Yes!   The music from the album translates easily but we approach it a little differently. We’ve been playing live so much longer than we’ve been recording. There’s a lot of raucousness onstage that you just sometimes can’t get across in a record, and that area is our comfort zone.  It’s sweaty and loud and fun.  Making our audiences dance is of paramount importance.   We can’t wait to play in London. See you there.

 

What’s your FAULT? 

My one-and-a-half year old nephew knows how to say “Elvis”.

 

Words: Adina Ilie

Charlie Simpson Exclusive Photo-shoot and Interview with FAULT Magazine Online

 

 

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Leather Jacket: BLK DNM
Collar shirt: Karl Lagerfeld
Knit: Karl Lagerfeld

Charlie Simpson rose to fame as a member of multi-BRIT Award-winning boyband Busted, with sales of over 3 million records, and a win for Record of The Year in 2004. Prior to the band’s split in 2005, Charlie began as the lead vocalist, guitarist and co-lyricist of Fightstar, releasing 3 albums and an EP. His debut solo album Young Pilgrim was released in 2011, and followed up in Summer 2014 by Long Road Home, which entered the UK Independent Albums chart at number one. Charlie sat down with FAULT to discuss writer’s block, Warped Tour and life as a newly married man.

 

FAULT: You have spoken about the process of writing Long Road Home, in terms of going back to the drawing board and the obstacles that come along with that. Was the process of putting it together an enjoyable one?

 

Charlie: A bit of both- I always love working on a record but this was the first time I had experienced a bit of writer’s block. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and needed a break from writing. Luckily, it matched with me going off on the Vans Warped Tour in the US- I played 28 shows in a month and it was just a nice way to separate myself from the situation. I think I wrote some of the best stuff on the record after that happened. It feels like a record I had to fight for, which made it all the more sweet to finish working on. I’m really proud of it.

 

It’s interesting that you have referred to the ‘journey’ of writing Long Way Home, and it came out of your time on the road with the Vans Warped Tour. Do you find that being on tour helps the writing process?

Yeah definitely. When you’re writing at home the environment can become quite stale; being on the road adds fuel to your creativity. The album felt like a journey from one point to another where I sort of found myself again.

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Leather Jacket: BLK DNM
Sleeveless Shirt: BLK DNM

 

 

Since releasing the album this summer, are you now able to identify certain undercurrents and themes, or do you go into the process wanting to say something specific?

It’s strange because my last record was a lot more melancholy and I always find it easier to write sad songs, but when I started on Long Road Home I had just got engaged and so I was feeling pretty good about everything! I had to tailor the writing around that kind of mood, which was actually a great challenge as I’d never done it before. It was really good to express that kind of emotion on the record.

 

In terms of ‘tailoring the writing process’, what are the distinctions between writing as a solo artist and writing as a group?

As a solo artist I get complete creative freedom. In a band, it has to be majority rules; if you write something you really like and one other member doesn’t like it, it really makes you question things. With this album I was able to take it in any direction, which is why I think it took me longer to write. With that creative freedom comes more responsibility because it’s all resting on your shoulders.

 

When you are struggling with writer’s block, is it a case of producing a lot and then throwing a lot away, or is it just hard to produce anything?

It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t come up with anything, just that I wasn’t writing anything I loved! I’m my own worst critic and I have actually ended up with about 20 unfinished songs I didn’t use. It’s cool because maybe I will revisit them at another time, but it’s a really strange process.

Returning to your time on the Vans Warped Tour, how does the live experience and performing impact your songwriting?

When I’m songwriting in a solitary environment, the lyrics are a lot better. But musically, I can be anywhere- on the Warped Tour I had my guitar on me the whole time. I tend to write the music first, and then I go into my little hole and write the lyrics, but I’ve always been a melody man first.

 

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Coat: Phillip Lim
Collar Shirt: Mohsin

 

Do you start with a vision for songs, or do they evolve with time?

Yeah sometimes I’ll literally have a vision of a song in my head, and I’ll go to my studio and just make it happen. I like for there to not be a formula to the songwriting- when it comes, it comes. I always equate it to fishing; sometimes you go and nothing comes, and sometimes you catch a big one!

 

You’ve worked with a lot of different set-ups and sounds. Are your influences quite varied?

It’s completely varied but it’s always been centred around heavier, Rock-ier sounds. I love Deftones and Metallica, but my Dad also put me onto artists like Jackson Brown and those West Coast bands from the 1970s like The Eagles and The Beach Boys. Whatever form of music it is, I have always just loved vocal harmonies and making big sounds with voices.

 

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Overcoat: Dent De Man
Sleevelss shirt: BLK DNM
Bracelets: Hermes Jeans, Shoes and Watch: Charlie’s Own

It’s interesting talking about your childhood influences and you mentioned music has been in your family for over 200 years, from composers and musicians to a former head of the Royal College of Music. Now you are married, is it fair to say family is an important focus for you?

It’s actually the most important! One of the themes of the record is how you can be in a dark place, and be unsure of what is going on, but the one constant is family. I’m really blessed to have a loving family, and that will never change. I’ll always have my family, my wife, and (hopefully) my kids.

 

Is that easily compatible with the music industry?

When I was younger I loved just getting out on the road, and I still do. I love making music, but I love getting out and playing it just as much. But that’s getting harder as I get older. Family life and being a musician aren’t that compatible, there has to be a balance.

 

You scored the British film Everyone Is Going To Die, which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2013, and you’ve mentioned this as something you’d like to pursue more extensively later in your career. Can you talk more about the relationship between the music and the visuals in your work? 

It’s huge! I love film as much as I love music and the marriage of visuals and music is such a wonderful thing. With scoring a film, someone else tells a story and it’s your responsibility to bring out the emotion in it. When you’re writing your own music, you constantly feel that it’s not just music but somehow a representation of your entire make-up. It’s nice to take that pressure off a bit!

 

You’ve now been a touring musician for over 10 years. What changes have you seen in the music industry?

The industry is almost unrecognisable. Facebook, YouTube, Spotify – none of these things existed! The landscape of the industry has changed so much, you’ve just got to go with it. Whether streaming or downloading, as long as people are still consuming music (legally!) it’s a good thing.

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Overcoat: Dent De Man
Sleevelss shirt: BLK DNM
Bracelets: Hermes Jeans, Shoes and Watch: Charlie’s Own

 

What is your FAULT?

You should ask my wife! (laughs) I would say I’m pretty impatient, which can be a good thing. I get quite frantic and when you’re in the studio that can be a good thing, but in other situations it can be a nightmare.

 

Photography: Miles Holder

Writer: Will Ballantyne-Reid

Stylist: Vesa Perakyla

Grooming: Stefano Mazzoleni @ Emma Davies Agency

FAULT Interviews: Aubrey Plaza from ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Life After Beth’

She’s the star of new rom-zom-com Life After Beth, the story of a woman who comes back from the grave to her loving boyfriend before he then has to deal with her slowly turning into a Romero-esque zombie. She plays the dead-pan April Ludgate on the long running American sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation’. She is the girl whose face you know from that thing you thought was funny.

She also hurt my feelings.

It wasn’t personal. I got the sense that she hates all journalists.

 

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It’s fair to say that a fair few artists, actors and musicians hate talking about their work to magazines and newspapers. We’re seen as a part of the ugly side of show business. And we get it: Aubrey Plaza was deposited in a small, modern but clinical hotel room in Edinburgh before a million interviewers came in and asked her an endless series of the same questions all day. We’d hate it too.

With that in mind, we wanted to get through all the basic stuff up front so that we could find out who she really is.

FAULT: You must get asked the same questions all the time, so could you go through the answers that you give everyone else?
Aubrey: I improvised a little bit but we didn’t have that much time because we were on a really tight schedule. I did not prepare by watching any other zombie movies because I wanted to create my own zombie and I didn’t want to copy any other zombies and also, zombies aren’t real so there’s not like one zombie that I could watch to be like, that’s not an authentic zombie. A zombie can be whatever you want it to be, I like spaghetti… Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead… I don’t know. I really don’t like to be asked what my favourite anything is because I don’t like favourites.

Why not?
Because I’m indecisive and I don’t feel strongly about anything.

 

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Not caring does seem like your persona. I’m wondering how much of that is true.
I don’t know. I don’t know who I am. I don’t have a very good perspective on myself. You should ask my therapist. She would know better.

Do you watch any of the stuff you’re in?
No.

Maybe that will give you perspective.
Why? Those are just characters. Because my voice sounds monotone people think I’m being sarcastic all the time. When I’m in things on film or TV, people think I’m doing the same thing over and over again – but this is just how I sound normally.

Do you get that a lot?
Yeah, all the time. People say I’m, like, being dead pan or something – which I am sometimes when the role calls for it – but sometimes I’m not. My voice just sounds like that.

That sounds really dismissive…
That’s what people do, they just dismiss you.

People do? Like who?
People like you, interviewers, reviewers, everyone does it.

Yeah, we do. On any kind of long running show people are going to start to see you just as that character an nothing else. Do you consciously try and do something different?
I think because I’ve been on a TV show for so long, and because it was one of the first things I did, that’s just the first impression people have of me and they can’t get it out of their head. So I’m always trying to do things to surprise people – but I’m not so much concerned with that as I am with just doing good work. I don’t make decisions based on trying to battle my TV persona – but it is in my head. I can’t help it. It’s frustrating to be pigeon-holed but I like the challenge of changing people’s minds.

 

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So what do you look for in a role you take on?
It’s case by case. My acting coach told me that the parts that I want or the parts that I am drawn to are ones where the character has struggles that I am also trying to work out in my own life. I use them as therapy for myself. If I’m feeling really angry, like now…

No one is making you talk to me.
I’m drawn to parts where I get to be really physical and just kick some people’s ass or something. It’s cathartic.

That sounds great if you’re aware that is what you’re doing. Have you always been aware of that?
No, not always. I just realised recently. When I read scripts I think about them in terms of, “will this be something that would be good for me in my life right now?” Some actors can treat it like a job and then, when they go home, they go back to being themselves – but I just get really obsessed. I have to choose things that I really want to take over for a month or two months, or however long it’s going to take, because I’m inviting this thing into my life and I have to really embrace it.

 

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That sounds like a lot of pressure. Is that fun?
It’s fun while I do it, because I’m in it and not aware of what I’m doing, so I’m just being. Whenever I finish a movie, I always get really depressed. It’s like withdrawal. Being a character is like a drug that’ll get you high two months doing, then when it’s over you just stop and go home. I guess you’ll have to interview me while I’m shooting a movie and see if I’m acting like a crazy person or not.

I’ll check my schedule.
I’m going to call you every day to check.

I might be busy
Doing what?

How dare you! Writing about actors that I don’t care about. Feel that sting? Words hurt, don’t they?
I don’t care!

You established that earlier on!

 

Interview by Chris Purnell