Photography by Marc Bessant
We weren't expecting one of the best albums of 2013 to be released this late on, but that's exactly what's happened. Bristol shoegazers The Fauns have given us their sublime second album 'Lights' which is newly out on the excellent Invada label. We couldn't resist taking the chance to have a chat with them about the record which you can stream in its entirety below.
TSOC: Can I start with saying thanks for giving us what has to be one of the albums of the year. Your debut dropped in 2009, so that's quite a gap. Do you think that gap has been beneficial in the creation of 'Lights' or has there been frustrating times when you've been sat on some great music just wanting people to hear it? How do you think 'Lights' may of sounded if it had come out more quickly to it's predecessor?
TF: In an ideal world it would have been sooner but life kind of got in the way I guess. Overall the gap probably has benefited the second album as we kept removing tracks that were perhaps not up to scratch, we've also learnt a lot more about music production in that time.
TSOC: There are some cinematic qualities to 'Lights', was there any residue/influence from Clint Mansell on these pieces, or is it just a part of your sound? Did any one have the balls to ask him what it's like going from Pop Will Eat Itself to Hollywood?
TF: I'm a massive film buff and I do collect soundtracks, they are a definite influence on our sound, especially the intros and outros. I really hope one day we'll get the chance to work directly on a soundtrack. I don't think PWEI has been mentioned to Clint, what a great band, I was a massive fan back in the 80s (I still have the "Eat It, Loop It, F*ck It" t-shirt).
TSOC: You've signed to Invada. How important for you was it to be on an independent label? Obviously Geoff Barrow has a wealth of experience, and has always done things his way. Was this singular streak what brought you to the label? With both you and Invada being Bristol based (as well as myself), who approached who, or was it one of those cases of perfect timing?
TF: Geoff is a friend from way back but that actually has nothing to do with us being on the label. When the offer came we thought long and hard about whether we fitted with Invada. The timing and the ethos of the label fitted very well and we went ahead and signed. Redg and Geoff are brilliant to work with, there is a lot of mutual respect between us all.
TSOC: Do you see yourself as part of the local scene in the city? It seems at the moment every week there is another great band surfacing from the Bristol. Do you think it is just a case of happen-stance or that there is a real buzz building again? Do you think that the city's musical heritage has hindered the growth of bands, that the shadows of Massive Attack and Portishead loomed large and long? Who do you see as your contemporaries?
TF: We're definitely part of a local scene but it's also healthy to think outside of that and aim for other cities and countries. It's all too easy to over-play locally and then fade away. We're trying to break out (but still play Bristol) and it seems to be working. I wouldn't say that Bristol's musical heritage has hindered bands... Most of the 90s and early 00s were dominated by DJs so bands just slipped out of fashion. I think there is a definite return to live music In Bristol now though. I can't think of any bands I would call contemporaries, we just do our thing.
TSOC: How do write? Is it collaborative, based around everyone in the same room? Or someone brings in the song, and others add little touches to it?
TF: On the whole we write demos using our laptops and home recording set ups. File sharing is part of the process, basically remixing each others demos. As the tracks form we then start to bring in the live elements and see what works best. We're not a jamming band at all.
TSOC: We're reaching the end of the year, and so it seems apt to ask how the year has been? What have been the highlights? What are your hopes for the next year? Any New Year resolutions that you are going to make and then miserably break?
TF: Radio 6 Playlist and session and the Clint Mansell remix, these were all highlights. Really pleased we finally got there with the album and that people are into it. The main resolution is that next year we're really going to push the writing and try and get the third album ready a lot sooner.
TSOC: Where do you draw your influences from? Is it purely musical, or does the environment, literature, cakes etc have any bearing?
TF: Comics, the weather, dance music, a very long bath, films, the plight of bees, dreams, autobiographies, photographs, travel, a really hot cup of tea, sex, a bassline misheard through the wall of a nightclub, comments heard in passing. It can be anything.
TSOC: 'Lights' feels like a real journey, a compete piece. Was this an important aspect to the album? Was it written in this way or more that the tracks fell into certain places? To me, the way you go from 'Nothing Ever' to 'Lights' is a perfect example how dynamically well the album flows.
TF: It was a very important aspect to get the flow right although this wasn't taken into account until much later as the album started to come together. The tracks appeared pretty much randomly and then we started to arrange them and decided on what kind of tracks we were missing.
TSOC: Are there any new bands that are exciting you at the moment that you would recommend?
TF: Yuck, Salope, Beak>, Tame Impala, Besnard Lakes, Halfsleeper, Aspen Woods.
TSOC: To our final question. You are headlining your own festival, and can pick five bands/artists past or present, who would you choose?
TF: The The, Prince, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Mr Mister (that's not a joke!)
The Fauns' website