Face to face with The Fauns

The Fauns
Atmospheric, eerie The Fauns are not the band to be missed if you like your music beautiful and mysterious. The band’s debut self-titled album, which was released in 2009, was a great success for a then new band: it sold more than 5000 copies without any promotion, but purely with the help of word of mouth. At the moment The Fauns are preparing for the release of their sophomore album ‘Lights’, which is out on 2nd December via Invada Records. ‘Lights’ was co-produced by Jim Barr and Tim Allen and the band’s bass player Michael Savage and presents an atmospheric, ambient piece of music from one of the finest up-and-coming UK bands. Michael tells Rock Britain about ‘Lights’, the visual element in The Fauns’ music and gives valuable advice to up-and-coming bands.
– Your sophomore album ‘Lights’ is out on 2nd December. While working at the album, what were your main goals you wanted to achieve on it?
– Our aim was to write an album which improved on the first whilst retaining The Fauns sound (which if I’m honest came from naivety with regard to recording techniques). First time around I had no idea what I was doing. Second time around I’ve gone out of my way to be awkward and to take or leave good advice in favour of gut feeling. Because of this I think the album does what we set out to achieve… It’s much better in many respects but retains the randomness that works for us.
– Your debut album was self-released and ‘Lights’ is coming out via Invada Records. What does it mean to you to be part of this label? What’s the experience of working with them like for you?
– I wouldn’t want The Fauns to be on any label other than Invada. We reached a point where we needed help and we linked with Invada at the right time. Redg (label manager) and Geoff (label owner) are close friends first and foremost which means we can all work very closely and that there is a lot of mutual respect. In my view that’s the best basis for any kind of partnership.
– There are four years that separate the two of your albums. How does it feel to come back with the whole album of new material after such a break? How have you changed as a band since the times of your debut?
– In the past four years we’ve had a lot of fun with The Fauns but there have also been some tough lessons learnt. At present we’re the strongest we’ve ever been as a unit. Firstly we’re much more confident live now after getting some tips from experts who really know their gear. Our stage sound can now be summed up as “less is more”. Finally the writing of tracks is much more of a group effort than it was, this adds subtle new flavours to the new songs.
– How important is the visual element for you in your creative work? In what way do you think visual arts and music are connected?
– It’s very important to us… In recent years the use of music videos has returned with Facebook and Youtube and we’re embracing this. So far we have three videos for the second album with another two on the way. On the live side we’re working with video artists and painters to create projected backdrops, we’ll roll these out as we start to tour again. I’m also particularly proud of the sleeve artwork for our first album by Dave Hole and our second album by Sarah Jeffs.
– The year 2014 sees you embarking on a big European tour. While on tour, how does it feel to be going to places you’ve never been to before? What trait is the biggest attraction of your live shows?
– We’ve had a couple of short tours around Europe with The Telescopes which we organised ourselves. This European tour is a beast, we’re really looking forward to the experience of living on board a night liner bus and visiting places like Finland and Lithuania. Some of the venues look amazing. Can’t wait to get out there.
– What’s your dream place to play at?
– Ewok village on planet Endor.
– You said that you would like to lend your music as a soundtrack for some film. What kind of film would you like it to be? If you could make your own film with your music as a soundtrack, what would the film be like?
– I pay as much attention to the soundtrack of a film as I do the film itself. My personal taste is for quite minimal, thoughtful films that leave room for the music as a character… Good examples of this would be “Drive”, “The Fountain” or “Let The Right One In”… These are the kinds of films that I would like The Fauns to be involved in or that I would make if I could. I think I have a movie inside me… I watched the feature film “Love” the other day which is produced and scored by the band Angels & Airwaves. It’s very good for a low budget sci fi and I found it very inspiring as to what can be achieved. Also… if there is a “Dredd II” I’d love to get to do something for the soundtrack.
– If you were to arrange your own music festival, what would your ideal line-up be like?
– I’m into everything really (I own a record store) but I’m having a prolonged  AOR/classic rock phase at the moment so… Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Tangerine Dream, Steve Winwood, Billy Idol… I bet you didn’t expect that!
– What do you think is the key point for up-and-coming, underground bands in staying afloat and pursuing their goals in music?
– Abandon the idea that your band will be discovered and elevated from nowhere by a label or individual with money. There is always the slim chance of course but the best approach is to move the project along under your own steam until the right opportunity presents itself. Remember that we only signed to Invada recently, the years before that have been spent laying foundations with very little outside help. If you want to make a real impact outside of your city your band needs to act like a label, a manager, a PR company or a radio plugger. With the internet you can do any of these things until help comes along… and even then you just have to work harder to compliment what they are doing for you.
– What are, in your opinion, The Fauns’ biggest achievements so far?
– A big one would be getting on the Radio 6 playlist, I still find it hard to believe we’re getting national play. On the whole though the achievements are subtle… finishing a track for me is a big achievement, seeing an audience member moved to tears, spotting someone wearing a Fauns t-shirt on the street… It’s the little things as well as the big things that count at the moment, it all adds up.
‘Lights’ is out on 2nd December
Catch The Fauns live on the following dates:

4 December LONDON Rough Trade East (instore)
5 December LONDON The Old Blue Last
8 December BRISTOL Rise w/ Factory Floor (instore)

 

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