The New Faith
WILL, from Brighton's The New Faith, talks about...
the band’s formation and what their new track, Fritter Away, is all about. I ask him about Brighton – where they are based – and how influential the city is. He talks about their new album, Me on You, and the stories/inspiration that went into it. I was curious to know what the remainder of the year holds for the band and, given that ecumenical-sounding name, there is any religious aspect to their moniker.
The band talk about the albums that mean the most to them and the artists that inspire them. I learn about their creative process and why they favour a more stripped-back and lo-fi approach to their music – mixing that with modern technologies to create something rich and different.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello! Thank you for asking!
It’s been a mad week…Acoustic Sessions in London last week - a Birmingham show the day after. Football with Starsailor at the weekend and band practice two days running.
We’re active…we’re an active band!
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Will and I front (in) The New Faith. The rest of the band are:
Sam – Co-Writer/Guitar
Jenna – Keys
Stephen – Drums
Ali – Bass
Various – Strings/Choirs/Saxophonists/Percussionists
‘The New Faith’ is the band-name. What is the derivation of that name? How much is it based on divination and belief?
Ironically, there’s no forecast there as no-one gives a sh*t about us - and I can’t imagine anybody putting any personal investment into it...then again, I’m sure most cults aren’t rated by everyone.
Can you talk about the new single, Fritter Away? What is the story behind the song?
Fritter Away is all about looking back and warning about the future...
There are many repetitions: life can put you in the same place time and again. Don’t make the same mistakes, basically.
I was sending a message to my former self to re-assess...
It is taken from your album, Me on You. It sounds like a 'saucy' title but what were the events and ideas that went into the L.P.?
I’m glad you say ‘saucy’!
The main running themes of the album are love/youth/loss/time and repetition. There was a time of trying to talk about ending up in the same place over and over. I realised it was happening in all aspects of life - still getting pissed up; still breaking up with people and still getting crap jobs! Where a lot of the album is talking to a younger-you: I wanted a title to cover all bases - dirty, kind and poetic all-in-one.
The original title was I’m Forever the Man That I’m Going to Be, Forever - but I thought it made me sound like a pretentious cu*t…and I don’t need a title for that.
I believe there is a narrative and sense of chronology about the album – charting movement and relocation. Was the album inspired by upheaval and a sense of uncertainty?
I lived in Berlin and left with no money and no girlfriend.
Again...sort of expecting to go back into the cycle on my return but ended up being worse - definitely uncertain.
The album is filled with older technology and a stripped-back production approach. Do you favour a simpler approach to recording and did the lack of luxury afford the music greater naturalness and a better sound?
There were aspects of older technology: there was experimenting with tape; an old Moog and classic instruments.
I would say that there was a lot of luxury in the end as Dave Izumi, the producer, took us into his lair (really a studio) and gave the tools to make this album huge. There is definitely a balance, though; a few stripped back piano tunes as well as big, super-massive instrumentations.
Some have compared you to The National and The Divine Comedy. It sounds like you have a balance of seriousness and humour in the music. Would you say this is fair and are these artists influences?
It’s fair to say there is a balance of seriousness and humour. However...
They only really have come about because they have deep voices. I don’t know anything about The Divine Comedy - other than National Express - and The National are hugely overrated - and I wouldn’t cite them as an influence.
(Everything went downhill after Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers)
There is flamboyance and various instrumentation in your music. How do songs come together and is it complicated getting all those strands together?
I wouldn’t say complicated, necessarily.
A lot of hard work has gone in from Sam and I. Getting everything in working order and getting the music written for people to play was a long process. The sort of work we put into this album is one of the defining characteristics of this album…
The band hail from Brighton and Will, you front The New Faith. What is Brighton like for a young band and can you tell me how you all came together?
Sam and I met on the Internet (we’re very modern, don’t you know) and we had to get a band together.
Everyone else was a combination of friends of friends; friends of musician friends and Internet strangers.
Do you all have similar tastes in music? Who are the artists you all grew up on?
There’s gonna be a huge mix in there!
Sam definitely the oldies: loves Bob Dylan and a bit of Prince. I was into the Dischord bands; Punk bands. - we both meet in the middle with The Fall, I think.
I used to love all that angst-driven music: everyone being dissatisfied and sticking it to THE MAN, man.
What tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we see you play?
13th October - The Brighthelm (Brighton)
21st October - The Victoria (Dalston)
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
Sunan, who is yet to reveal themselves to the world, is a name to remember - outrageous stuff.
If you each had to select the album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Will: Anthony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now
It’s an unrivalled expressive personal journey. It’s open, it’s honest; there are some wonderful featured artists and the songs are extraordinary. I’m envious of somebody who could put something together that would have such a big impact on the listener.
Sam: Zombie Crash - No Mercy
It's the greatest (possibly only) lo-fi Metal album you'll ever hear. The energy on it is insane - and it's a complete hook-fest.
Stephen: ABBA - Gold
Fifteen years ago, my mum passed away and she used to love that album. I remember she'd always drop it at parties and though I hated it at the time. It’s a compilation album: it's full of stone-cold hits.
Jenna: Bonobo - Black Sands
This album inspired me to invest in my first MIDI keyboard and music production software because it was the first album I listened to which really experimented with a variety of synchs and layers – as, before this, I primarily just played the piano. This is one of the many reasons I love playing The New Faith tracks - because we experiment with many synth sounds on the tracks!
Ali: Music for Airports - Brian Eno
Do you get the chance to relax/have downtime away from music? What do you all get up to when you have time to detach?
Ok; maybe we’re not that active…
Sam and I have a label to run - so can’t get away from it!
We’re all (minus Jenna) in Brighton – so either get boozy or eat vegan food in hip cafes.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
If you do bother; don’t be original and copy the same old sh*t and be a fad band - you’ll at least get eighteen months of touring and free booze!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Will: Rites of Spring - For Want Of
Ali: Mac DeMarco – On the Level
Ste: ABBA - Does Your Mother Know?
Jenna: Talking Heads - Girlfriend Is Better
Sam: Zombie Crash – 2010 (from No Mercy)
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