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Faker Are The Real Deal

It strikes you in every dealing with Faker; from listening to their debut album Addicted Romantic, to conversing with members of the band, there’s a real irony in the title by which these talented musicians choose to identify themselves.

It’s a cliché to mention those manufactured idols and media spawned performers, but in a time when they abound, it’s refreshing to be confronted by such stripped-back honesty as found in both Faker’s music and in Nathan Hudson and Phil Downing as we sit musing over this very fact. “It’s good though”, Phil contemplates. “It’s a good stage. When the market is plastic it’s easy to come in with something real and make an impact.”And making an impact is what these guys do best.

At first listen Addicted Romantic had me hooked. Interviewing Nathan, Faker’s singer/songwriter, and Phil, guitarist and newest addition to the Faker team pulled in line, sinker and rod. These guys are unbelievably down to earth and incredibly passionate and adept when it comes to their art. When I arrive Nathan is just finishing a phone interview with a magazine. One of those interviews where you’re afraid they’re going to ask what colour underwear you’re wearing. Phil and I are already joking about this when Nathan joins us.

“They always make me nervous”, Nathan says. I assure him I’m not going to ask what colour underwear he’s wearing and instead decide to open with a lighter question. “So, how old were you when you first had sex?” To my relief he gets the joke and it’s no holds barred from there on in.

In hindsight the directness and subject of that mock opening question isn’t so out of place after all. Faker are a band who are not afraid to candidly explore the sexual and the darker sides of humanity. “The first track on the record is about casual sex and confusion through sex”, says Nathan. “It’s not like that stuff hasn’t been spoken about before in music, but sometimes it’s nice to get straight to the heart of an issue and I hope we’re doing that. With bands like The Cure it was all about beauty and timelessness and that kind of romanticism – sex was always wrapped up in cotton wool. Hopefully an aggression’s there in our music that I don’t think was there all the time in their music and part of that is the sex.”

“I find we’re riding a line,” says Phil. “There are certain sensibilities in the music. There’s that very emotional side of things and then there’s also the raw sexiness and it’s kind of weaving its way through. It’s almost like I feel we have to put the reins on a little bit sometimes”.

We chuckle as Nathan goes on to reveal that they do have a couple of gratuitous guitar solos in their record. “But I love the context of it” says Phil.

It’s apparent as the conversation continues, that the myriad of sides exposed on this album reflect the depth of the individuals behind it. Not surprisingly, there is a sense of fun and humour that’s been communicated on the album, which contrasts with the darker moments and complexity of the themes explored.

Many writers are very cerebral in the way they approach their craft, but the band manage to capture and explore the emotional side. As the main songwriter and lyricist, it is important for Nathan to live what he writes in order to capture that emotion.”Teenage Werewolf was written not too long after a breakdown/anxiety attack”, he explains, “and it took going through something like that to actually write the song. I sing about experience, but rarely pinpoint a specific experience. I’ll usually relate in one song to a series of experiences, which is maybe my own cotton wooling or something like that”.

“Sometimes I feel like music is my most succinct form of communication. Sometimes I feel really inept in articulating what I’m going through verbally. And sometimes it takes sitting down and writing a song over a period of time to actually go ‘Fuck! Yeah, I went through that’ and that’s exciting”, Nathan reveals.

And while on the topic of exciting, there’s the signing to Capitol records. This is essentially the way the band could see themselves moving forward, and was the obvious next step to them.

“Sometimes people worry about losing control or feel like their loosening the reins by signing to a major, but for us it means that we can get down to the music” Nathan explains “It’s a relief”, says Phil, “And the label is so passionate about the music. I was really spun out. You’ve gotta have a certain cynicism about it, because maybe that’s bred into you as a musician. But I just can’t believe the amount of people that we’ve met that just love music, that are so passionate about music. It’s just fun, I think we’re very lucky. Well… maybe deservedly so (laughs)”.

Long term, there are plans to take this music machine to the world, but for now it’s really important to Faker to get it right here first. “We made this record here, we grew up here and we want to see it work here,” muses Nathan.”It’s a good breeding ground” adds Phil. “Doing it in Australia is again lucky, but it’s also a unique environment to really develop yourself. I’ve always wanted to travel the world with music. When friends or siblings and relatives were working and then taking holidays to travel the world, I’m going ‘No, I’m going to work at this and I’m gonna make music take me around the world’ and it was what I always wanted to do. I think that growing up in Australia and developing the band in Australia is a really rock solid foundation to do that.”

“There’s a lot going on, and other people are helping to take care of that now,” says Nathan. “So we’re still concentrating on making music, living in the now and just existing with the music. It’s still very down to earth and real for us”.Which brings us full-circle to that irony thing again. But with the media playing on the Faker name at every turn, perhaps now that’s a cliché too. And no, I didn’t ask, but “They’re grey” Phil adds with a laugh.

Don’t miss Faker when they play at a venue near you.
Wed June 22 – The Foundary, Cannington WA
Thur June 23 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury WA
Fri June 24 – Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
Sat June 25 – 3 Bears Bar, Dunsborough WA
Sun June 26 – Swan Basement, Fremantle WA
Wed June 29 – Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour NSW
Thur June 30 – Surf Club, Mooloolaba QLD
Fri July 1 – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Sat July 2 – Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta QLD
Sun July 3 – Hotel Great Northern, Byron Bay NSW
Wed July 6 – Green Room, Canberra ACT
Thur July 7 – Oxford Tavern, Wollongong NSW
Fri July 8 – Annandale Hotel, Sydney NSW
Sat July 9 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Sun July 10 – Embassy Hotel, Penrith NSW

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