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

 

 

FAULT FOCUS: Keeping Up with Mykki Blanco

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It seems that everything is falling into place for Mykki Blanco, a poet, rapper, and performance artist who is on the verge of dropping her debut album. Those who have been following the North Carolina and California native turned New York tour de creative force shouldn’t be surprised. Her 2012 single “Wavvy” was just a small albeit impressionable preview of Blanco’s eclectic rap persona; the compelling body of work that has followed is fueled by a mixture of urgency and determination that Blanco (27-year-old Michael David Quattlebaum Jr.), has not denied. The genesis of Mykki Blanco was sparked by a consistent connection to the arts from childhood to young adulthood; she moved to New York in 2008 and took on performing as her main career in 2010. Her diligence has catapulted her across both ends of the globe, from national and international music festivals (Afropunk, Distortion Fest, Roskilde, to name a few) to fashion campaigns and artist residencies. While staying in Copenhagen, Blanco had a few minutes to chat about the current state of culture in addition to reflecting about her artistic trajectory.

 

FAULT: Hi Mykki, where are you at the moment?

Mykki Blanco: I’m in Denmark right now; I’m in Copenhagen.

 

Are you working on new songs?

MB: Not yet. When I go to London next week, I’ll start recording.

 

That’s awesome.

Yeah. I’m taking-we’re taking about a nine day break before I start to go to Australia, so it’s gonna be a nice, relaxing time.

 

It seems like you’ve been all over the place…and I saw that you’d played the Distortion Fest last weekend in Copenhagen. Was that the biggest festival you’ve played so far?

Oh, not at all. I played Roskilde last year and Slipknot and Rihanna played that festival. I played–last year, when my EP came out, I played almost like every size, I literally–almost every festival in Europe…so this year, I’m playing a few festivals and more club shows. Basically I’m touring all summer because in September I start working on finishing my album.

 

Speaking of festivals, are you going to be at Afropunk this year?

Not this year. I did it last year.

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Photographer: David Lotri?

In the process of working on songs….who would you say is your current inspiration or inspirations?

MB: I’ve been listening to Ghostface, who I always listen to, I always listen to—-I’ve been listening to Nicki Minaj and and The Carter…One of the critical things about myself that I wanted to work on was I felt like all the songs I’ve written are kind of long, so I wanted to try to get better at closing a song out at like….2:40, 3 minutes…in-out but it still packs a punch.

 

Blanco is quite active with her fanbase via Twitter and Facebook, in addition to vocalising her opinions concerning the politics of the music business and pop culture. Knowing this and the way that the social media can start activism, I ask:

Do you think that those kind of things help awareness or do you think that they cause more problems than intended?

I think to have such a rigid opinion actually would be the wrong thing. I think that intelligence breeds awareness and I think that people are more socially intelligent now than ever before. If intelligence and awareness goes hand in hand-I’m not saying that there are more geniuses in the world than there were 10 years ago or 20 years ago, I’m not saying that, but I do think, in my opinion, that people, in general, are a little bit more socially intelligent. I don’t think it’s this rigid back and forth between between whether it trivializes or whether it shows awareness, obviously it’s both, obviously both are in symbiosis with each other.

 

When I ask Blanco about upcoming projects planned for the near future, she is hesitant to reveal too much. However, she does say that she’s thinking about going to Moscow to collaborate with a “secret weapon” of a producer. She also confirms that she will be shooting the video for “Wish You Would” with the track’s co-MC and fellow downtown underground visionary, Princess Nokia, in Paris. The most revealing of all: before we share our goodbyes, she tells me the name of her album: Michael.

 

Words: Vanessa Willoughby

Ameriie – exclusive interview and photoshoot for FAULT Online

 

American-Korean artist Amerie Mi Marie Rogers first hit the airwaves back in 2002 with ‘All I Have’ – although it was 2005’s ‘1 Thing’ that really pushed her to international prominence, reaching number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 in the UK.  Fast forward to 2014: the name is now Ameriie (spot the extra ‘i’), and she’s back with a bang.

After a few years experimenting with different musical styles, Ameriie has been keeping a beady eye on the pop industry in recent times. New single ‘What I Want’ is a punchy, 80’s inspired song that feels right at home in today’s music climate. With a plethora of different projects on the way, both within music and outside of it, she found time to chat to FAULT about her new single and plans going forward.  ‘What I Want’ is available as a lyric video on YouTube now, while Cymatika Vol. 1 and Because I Love It 2 are the next projects to look forward to. FAULT Online got an insight into Ameriie’s creative process in this exclusive London interview:

 

Dress : Julien MacDonald Earrings: Maria Black

Dress : Julien MacDonald
Earrings: Maria Black

 

FAULT: What have you been up to in the last 5 years?

Ameriie: The last 5 years I’ve been constantly creating new music, it’s something I always do. I was recording for Cymatika, which is Part 1 of a Trilogy, that I’ll be releasing in the future and also simultaneously recording songs for BILI [Because I Love It] 2.

I’ve been recording songs, writing and co-producing as well – and then depending on the sound of the song, that dictates which project the song will be landing on because Cymatika has a very distinctive sound, sonically it’s very tight. BILI 2 has a certain sound as well, but the sound is not as extremely specific as Cymatika is.

I’ve been doing that, and I’ve also been writing – because when I was younger, I used to write little short stories and I would staple them together and make little books and newsletters and see if neighbours would buy them, which some of them did because they were very nice!

 

How does it feel to be releasing music, and what made you decide that now was the right time?

Whenever I’m about to release a new album, I usually feel like a new artist, maybe because I’m constantly creating and so I’m always used to hearing it and I usually keep a lot of the music to myself. I don’t really give it out or play it for a lot of people, it’s just something I create and put away and so it’s kind of the first time people are really hearing it because it’s not like I play it for a lot of my friends, everything feels very fresh.

It feels like the right the right time because both projects are close to being complete.

 

The single What I Want is a your lead single – what made it the choice for your first single, and is that indicative of the sound we can expect to hear from you on future music?

It came about because my husband who produced the record, he really knows what I love and gravitate towards. I love percussions and break beats, so he had the idea and I loved it and so he ended up creating the track and I was like ‘wow this is really great!’

It’s a bit of a departure for me because for the most part I’ve been recording these new songs, creating the track around the melody, coming up with the melody, lyrics and everything, so in this instance, it was amazing!

The song took a long time – sometimes I can create a song in literally 5 minutes and it just comes but you never know if that will be the case. In this instance it took 8 months because I didn’t want to force it. I never sat down and said ‘it’s time to write the song and let’s just do this’, it had to be organic, it had to come to me, I didn’t want to think about it, and I wanted it to be driven very much by feeling and nothing cerebral. One day the pieces really started falling together and it just came.



Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf Coat: Daniel Pillott

Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf
Coat: Daniel Pillott

 

What kind of music have you particularly been listening to and do you feel that’s changed since you first started out?

No I pretty much listen to the same music, the thing about it is I don’t actually listen to a lot of music – and when I do listen to music, I tend to get into a zone and I listen to the same few songs over and over.

I love Kanye’s music, I really enjoyed his ‘Yeezus’ album – I wouldn’t say it necessarily inspired this project but I think everything is an inspiration…whether it’s television, films, paintings, music, books…just ideas.

I’m inspired a lot by things that aren’t usually related to what I’m doing, to me this was more of an aura of energy and I was inspired a lot by human energy of the frantic sort. I did a lot of running, and a lot of exercising while I was listening to it –I’ve really been listening lately to Lorde, Lana Del Ray, Kanye and lots of instrumentals, Hans Zimmerman, a lot of scores.

 

Do you feel the music industry for you has changed since you began?

I think everything changes. I think that right now it’s a great time because there’s so many opportunities. I think the mixing of genres, as far as in the music we listen to is so much more open to different genres. Mixing genres isn’t strange, and you have people that listen to Taylor Swift and Lorde, who also listen to Kanye and they listen to everything.

I can appreciate that – I think that’s changed a bit – but I think that’s not just music, I think it’s just what happens with the world, it’s globalisation. People in NY are eating sushi and people in LA are eating Ethiopian food and we’re all enjoying everyone’s culture, and that includes music, food, film, clothing and style. There’s less division with people now, which I think is good, and an appreciation of different things.

 

Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf Coat: Daniel Pillott Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf
Coat: Daniel Pillott
Shoes: Christian Louboutin

 

Is there anyone you would want to collab with in the future?

Doing something with Kanye [West] would be really cool, I really have a lot of respect for him as an artist. I hear what he’s doing and I feel like, without speaking to him about it, I know where he’s coming from artistically and so I feel a certain kinship with him, sonically with the things he puts together so he’s someone I would like to work with.

 

What do you feel the future holds for Ameriie (both musically and also outside of that)?

I’m just riding the wave. I look forward to everything that life has in store for me and I’m in a really great place, and I’m open.

Leotard: Zeynup Kartal

Leotard: Zeynep Kartal

What is your FAULT?

I’ve got better at it but  one of the things I’ve always struggled with is that I’m a perfectionist and a lot of that has to do with my personality. I’m a little OCD, certain things will bother me if they’re not in the right place.

Recently I’ve realised that everything does not have to be perfect. You can be as precise as you want when you’re creating a song or you’re designing something, but you have to accept that everything will always be imperfect because we’re human beings.

Now I strive for things to be perfect in their imperfection. As an artist, you have to know when to stop. You can continue to do something over and over again, do a vocal over and over again, over think something, a video treatment, anything – and sometimes that can stagnant and stall you, and you have to know when to let it go.

Ameriie on the web: Twitter/ Facebook/ YouTube

Photography: Miles Holder – www.milesholder.com

Words: Kevin Lyster

Styling: A+C Studio

Grooming: Patricia Obaro Odje

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

FAULT INTERVIEWS: Breton

Returning from their self-imposed isolation period within Berlin’s ‘Funkhaus Studios’ – Breton release their second album War Room Stories’ with a live performance at the historic Rough Trade East. FAULT went along to see the band perform and catch up with vocalist Roman Rappak to see just what they’ve been up to.

 

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FAULT: It’s been two years since your last album, what have you been up to?

Roman: Touring the record and really getting to bottom of what being in a band actually means. It sounds strange but you put together some tracks and you think you’ll make some films and do this and that but it isn’t until half way through touring that you realise what you’re working with. You write something and think it will work in a show but until you play a gig from start to finish, it’s hard to understand your own creation. It’s about creating a big ball of chaos and slowly moulding it as you tour and perform it.

 

Where did you record the album?

We found a place in Berlin called Funkhaus and we were trying to find a place where we could switch off and be left alone. I think that if you’re too surrounded with bands that sound a similar way or a scene that pushes a particular way, you end up never pushing too far away from what everyone else is doing. I think that the opposite is true, the things you come up with in your fourth week detached will just sound different to what everyone else is doing.

 

You’re off on tour soon, where are you most excited about going?

It’s hard to say but I’ll give you a top 5 in no particular order – Montreal, Detroit (even though you can imagine it’s a weird abandoned city), anywhere in Switzerland, Munich and Hamburg.

 

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As a band with such an individual style, do you find it hard to find inspiration?

Not really, it’s an exciting time to be any kind of artist be it music, photography, journalism etc. Information is so readily available so new tracks, or new films can inspire you all the time. The huge flood of things coming out all the time is the exciting a part of it; we’re never at loss for inspiration and if anything we are overwhelmed by all the great stuff available.

 

If you could describe your new album ‘War Room Stories’ in 3 words what would they be?

Post Internet Hard-core.

 

Bands are forming up and down the country everyday and very few will get a glimpse at the success you have seen. What’s the secret?

It’s difficult to say, I think one thing I’m grateful for is success enough to be able to make a second album. That doesn’t necessarily mean selling albums or making money but it definitely means that we can have an idea at the beginning of 2013 and it can turn into an album today. I think to any Indie band starting up, you should never aim for any kind of success other than creative success. If you are creating something creative then you are doing it and you are making it. It doesn’t matter if 10 people come to your shows or if no one comes to your shows or if your band never plays a gig! If you’re making any kind of art then you’re making it as something you can engage with.

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What is your favourite tour story?

I think the craziest thing that has happened is on a random night in Prague when we ended up going to this illegal bar which was basically a bloke bribing the front desk of his private student halls and turning one of the rooms into a bar. It was just an unexpected and amazing way of seeing the city.

 

What is your FAULT?

One of my MANY faults is that I’m constantly trying to work out how to better things. Which in one case is positive but it does mean that I’m never 100% happy, but maybe happy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

 

INTERVIEW & IMAGES: MILES HOLDER

FAULT interviews Guns N’ Roses guitarist and virtuoso musician Bumblefoot

Lads and gents, please make a bit of space in your minds for the great, the talented Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal. If you’re a vet, you’ll probably be aware that ‘bumblefoot’ is some form of weird, little known animal infection. If you’re not, then you should know that Bumblefoot has been playing lead guitar for Guns n’ Roses since 2006; although when he’s not, he has a bit of time to kindly answer a few questions for his favourite magazine on Earth (FAULT). We caught up with Bumblefoot while he was in London for a masterclass for a quick interview and some exclusive live and backstage shots at the class, which quickly turned into a jam and then a full-on gig at London’s Caipirinha bar.

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FAULT: Your guitar playing is simply stunning. Who was your teacher?

Bumblefoot: Thank you! I started studying at age 7, taking one-on-one lessons for eight years from different teachers. The focus was reading, music theory, and I’d learn songs on the side.

 

Virtuosos, and you are one, are more often associated with classical and jazz. Why did you choose rock instead?

I grew up listening to rock, punk, this was the music that surrounded me, and what I most enjoyed and felt a connection to. I studied and listened to jazz and classical as well, but my interest was mostly in vocal rock music.

 

Honestly, what happened to rock music in the 90’s?

New branches grew on the tree. There was a up-and-coming generation of society that felt like the current trend of music wasn’t speaking on their behalf.

 

They say Cobain killed it…

Cobain did nothing more than make his music, it was the rest of the world that decided what would happen with it. But I don’t think in terms of ‘OR’, that’s how you miss out on half of what the world has to offer. It’s about ‘AND’. Did jazz kill blues? Did rock kill jazz? Did metal kill rock? Of course not. Decades don’t kill decades. We have all these styles of music that add soundtracks to moments in time, and they all have something valuable.

 

Do you agree that the world is becoming increasingly insensitive towards refined and/or elaborate music?

That music is the popular music from another time. Along with technology and social changes, the style of music that’s considered ‘popular’ changes. But there will always be a section of people to continue appreciating and connecting and supporting different genres of music. We hear this music every day in TV and film, the music is alive and well, and perhaps flourishing more than ever.

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Electro seems at the height of fashion at the moment (music sounding like bus doors opening in rhythm, in my opinion). Where do you stand on electronic music?

I’ve opened up to it more. I can’t learn and grow with a closed mind. If I don’t understand something, it’s because I can’t see in it what others do, and I need to broaden myself. I don’t have to like everything, but I at least try to find something I can potentially grow from.

 

Where has all the softness gone? (power-ballad forbidden area)

Everything is out there, just have to look for it…

 As a rock guitarist, how do you appreciate classical?

With my heart and my ears, just like any other person. 🙂 I’m a person first, rock guitarist second…

 

What is your favorite Opera?

I love Tchaikovsky, maybe more for the concertos than operas, but even as a kid my favorite opera was Carmen – it’s bouncy, fun and melodically unforgettable.

 

Has contemporary music ‘evolved’ into something better or is there an argument for going back to good old-fashioned, western classical music?

Better is a matter of anyone’s personal opinion. There’s good in both. The world can have both. Something for everyone…

 

 Say you have a night with your wife/best friends and have to choose between seeing a Tchaikovsky concert, or a performance of Carmen, on the one hand and an arena gig of Metallica on the other. Which one are you going for?

I’d probably choose the opera. I like seeing rock shows, and playing them, but when given the chance to do something different, that’s what I usually go for, something that breaks the pattern.

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Have you got anything to recommend to someone who hates guitars?

Drums.

 

How would you describe your style of playing?

I just play how I feel and do what’s natural. If I start to analyse, it’ll get in the way of things….

 

 To finish with, do you have any guilty pleasures? I mean, what is your FAULT?

I love 60s/70s ‘lounge’ music – Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck… and horror movies, strange movies, “B” movies. I enjoy insanely spicy food, and have a line of hot sauces. But to be honest, I feel no guilt about these pleasures, I like quirkiness, it’s part of what makes everyone special!

 

Honestly, Bumblefoot, you’re pretty much like Santa Claus: You have that long beard, you’re full of gifts, and everyone loves you. Thanks so much for your time!

www.bumblefoot.com
www.twitter.com/bumblefoot
www.facebook.com/bumblefoot
www.youtube.com/bumblefoot
www.instagram.com/bumblefoot

 

Interview by François Mauld d’Aymée
Images by Lill-Veronica Skoglund