Saturday, June 29, 2013

Interview With Fake Problems (6/10/13)

Fake Problems may have felt pretty inactive over the past year or so, but the band has actually been busier than ever. The band has been working on a brand new album, and while the process has taken longer than expected, the band hasn't kept us in the dark. To prepare us for what should be a phenomenal follow-up to the fantastic Real Ghosts Caught On Tape, they recently released a split 7" with Florida buddies You Blew It!, and showcased a number of new songs on a big tour supporting The Menzingers. We caught up with the band on the DC date of that tour, and talked about topics such as the new album, the end of their partnership with SideOneDummy, Taco Bell commercials, the band's love for covers, and far more that you can read below.

Firstly, can you introduce yourself?

My name is Chris Farren, and I’m in a band called Fake Problems.

You guys are currently on tour with The Menzingers, Restorations, and Captain We’re Sinking. How’s it been so far?

It’s been great. We only have two shows left after tonight, so it’s been a great great time. We’re already friends with most of the bands on the tour and most of the guys in the bands so it’s just been like hanging out with old buddies for three weeks.

You’re probably the lightest and poppiest band on the tour. I know you guys are associated within that “punk” scene due past tours and being on what is classically a “punk” label but is it still kind of weird to have that different a sound and style from the others?

It’s always kind of been an interesting thing in our career I guess. We don’t really necessarily think we’re that much of a traditional punk band. But I wouldn’t say that The Menzingers are either. Or Restorations or Captain, We’re Sinking. I think the lines of punk are getting more blurred as music in general progresses. So I think the tide is just beginning to turn in our favor. So it’s not that much of a big deal that we have some lighter songs and more indie rock songs because from what I’ve been noticing, the scene has gotten more inclusive of anything. If it’s good music, people will enjoy it.

This is your most widespread tour in quite a while. How’s it feel to finally get on the road for an extended period of time again and hit those places you haven’t hit for a while?

It’s been great. I hate not touring, I wish we were always on tour. We’ve just had a lot of trouble in making a record and trying to record it and lots of boring business stuff, so it’s been pretty great to finally get out of that mode and get back into being an actual band and touring and playing shows and hanging out with friends. I would rather do that than anything in the world, really.

Where on this tour are you most excited to hit again, or have already hit so far?

It was great to get back to Boston. Boston’s always a great city for us. Even though we live in Florida, we still hadn’t played in Orlando too recently so it was great to get back there. And I’m excited to play in Brooklyn and Asbury Park. It will be awesome.

Just a few months ago you released a split 7” with You Blew It on Topshelf Records. How’s it felt to have new music out for the first time since 2011?

It’s been great. It’s wonderful, and people seem to really like the split. I think it’s really good and I love the You Blew It! songs. Like I said, we’ve been working on music for a really long time. I’ve written probably 100 songs for our new record at this point, so it’s just a matter of whittling it down to what it’s actually going to be. But yeah, it’s great to get music out there. We’ve been playing other new songs during our set as well.

What’s the deal with the Topshelf thing? Was this a deal due to You Blew It or are you guys not working with Side One Dummy anymore?

We’re not with SideOneDummy. We left them about a year and a half ago. No hard feelings, it just wasn’t the right fit for us. You Blew It! was already on Topshelf so they already had that relationship, and we know those guys and we like those guys at Topshelf, so it was just the easiest thing to do to do a split and have Topshelf put it out. Boom.

Are these new songs going to be exclusive to this 7” or are they going to be reused on the next album?

Those will just be on that 7”.

I know you guys have been working on that new album for a while now. What is the current status of it?

At this point, we’re going back and forth with our producer Ted Hutt, who did our last record, and just kind of hashing out the details of getting in the studio together and recording it.

Are we going to hear that this year?

I would hope that we’ll have something to hear this year, and maybe for release early next year. I’ve hoped for a lot of things in my life.

You’ve been playing a bunch of unreleased songs for a while such as “16,” Never Shoulda,“ and I Don’t Miss Anyone.” Are those songs going to be on the new album?

I think “16” probably will. Maybe “Never Shoulda,” it’s hard to say. When I do an acoustic thing I like to just throw out whatever new song I can think of to say at the time just to kind of see how it feels. Like I said, I have a hundred songs so there might be songs that we ultimately decide fit better than some of those. It’s really hard to say until we get into the studio and start forming the actual record and see what songs fit together.

I heard a rumor that a new song got added to Spotify for a day or so and then got taken down. What went on with that?

It was a song called “Sugar,” and it’s in a Taco Bell commercial. It was just a demo of ours, and we sent it to Taco Bell and was like “hey, here’s a song if you want to use it or anything” and they were like “yes,” so they put it in a commercial but that commercial has only played in a few markets and it’s supposed to go national at some point, so we’re just waiting to kind of make any announcement about it until we get at least a clip of it. But I have no idea what’s going on at this point, it’s been a long time. They paid us for it, so they have to use it!

I know you guys have worked with Taco Bell in the past in putting your songs in their commercials, as well as for other companies. How does it feel to hear yourself on TV? What’s the feeling and reaction to it?

I love it. It’s great. It’s very exciting. It’s exciting because it’s great to know that you’re getting your music out there, plus we get paid every time it plays. It’s double excitement for that reason. It sounds stupid and cheesy, but Taco Bell has really been the best to us and has really helped us out with a lot of stuff. That kind of has helped us live for a while now.

You guys have always been big with covers, whether it’s been with covering songs by Alison Weiss or Sam Cooke to being covered by bands such as The Gaslight Anthem and NeverShoutNever. Why do you think that covers are so important to the band?

I was thinking about this today. The best covers that I’ve ever heard were songs that a band I love covered of a band I’ve never heard before. And then I get into the band and the song through the cover. For example, Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes covered a Magnetic Fields song. It’s foolish of me, but I had never really listened to Magnetic Fields until then and it opened me up to a whole world of Magnetic Fields. That’s kind of what we like to do. It’s fun, but it’s also goofy to cover a really popular song, like a “Party In The USA” type situation, but I think it’s really amazing when bands cover their friends that maybe their fans haven’t heard of or just something that influenced them that may be a little off the radar. I think that’s actually a really great thing to do, and kind of an important thing for artists to do for each other. I believe we gained a lot of fans from the cover that Brian from Gaslight did of our song. We just attempt to repay it to whoever we can.

What are your upcoming plans for after the tour?

Just get this record done, or die. I’m so sick of not having a new record it’s unbelievable. So that’s the main goal in my life right now, to make a record and put it out and tour for the rest of my life. And then make another.

Any final things you want to say?

That’s it! Thanks for doing this interview.

I'd like to thank Chris and the rest of Fake Problems again for speaking with us. On a stacked Menzingers tour package with the likes of Restorations and Captain We're Sinking, the band put together easily the most fun set of the night, a perfect combination of energy and entertainment. The band's split with You Blew It! is a fantastic little release, and you can still buy one of the last few remaining copies of that on Topshelf Records. Also, be sure to keep updated on the band's progress on the upcoming LP on their Facebook page.

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