Interview: Fake Club
Published on January 31st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
First rule of Fake Club: you don’t talk about Fake Club.
Wait, scratch that. First rule of Fake Club: you don’t talk about the Spice Girls. There are five of them, and they’re all female, but – whatever reports based on an off-hand, jokey comment may have you believe – one listen to their sleazy rock monster of a debut single “Do What You Gotta Do” and you’ll realise that the comparisons pretty much end there…
When Rocksucker sat down with Aicha, Carmen, Chloe, Rosie and Vicky at their Holloway studio, that was the only track to have been made available out of the two albums’ worth of material they’ve apparently already recorded. Now we also have the attitudinal blast of “Over and Over” to whet the old appetite…
Fake Club are also set to play Camden Barfly on Thursday 7th February (click here to buy tickets) before launching a monthly series of nights at their studio, so however much they may be “giving up growing old”, they would appear to retain a healthy appetite for rocking the nuts off anyone within an eighty-mile radius. (Dig that tenuously constructed journalistic cliché…)
Here, then, is the transcript of Rocksucker’s highly entertaining meeting with the five-headed whirlwind of energy that is Fake Club…
Fake Club… Bloody nailing it
Are you happy with the press you’ve been getting for “Do What You Gotta Do”?
Rosie: The only thing is the misquoted “they say they’re the Spice Girls with instruments”, which keeps coming up!
Vicky: Basically we said to The Accidental Tourist that we’re the Spice Girls with instruments, but it was a bit of a joke. Not that we’ve got anything against the Spice Girls.
Rosie: Love the Spice Girls! But they keep saying “they call themselves the Spice Girls with instruments”.
Aicha: So don’t mention the Spice Girls. Er, even though we just spoke about it.
It did strike as an odd comparison upon hearing the song. I gather the album’s recorded – when can we expect it to be released?
Aicha: This year at some point, hopefully, but we haven’t pinned down a date yet. We’ve got another single to put out first. It’s called “Over and Over” and it’s a high-energy song.
Rosie: We don’t want to do things conventionally – we just want to release stuff when it feels right. We might release an EP before the album, or a set of EPs…
Aicha: We’re kind of aware and sad about the fact that people don’t buy albums anymore. We’ve made an album where the songs sort of flow into each other and it takes you on a bit of a journey, but obviously the kids aren’t listening to music like that anymore so we’re in this dilemma: do we work out something new and fresh, or do we just release the album?
Rosie: We’ve been thinking about doing a pick ‘n’ mix thing where you have a selection of songs, and people can make their own album out of them.
Carmen: We’ve recorded the second album already, so when that gets mixed and mastered we’ll have a total of about twenty songs or more to put on iTunes for people to make their own album. We haven’t pinned it down as of yet.
Rosie: Everything’s so up in the air in the music business these days that you’ve just got to think of new ways of doing stuff. It’s all changing and we want to be at the forefront of that.
Aicha: There are no rules anymore.
Last I saw, Rosie, you were part of BIGKids along with Mr Hudson. Is that still ongoing?
Rosie: That was basically my mistress, my sordid love affair over the summer! BIGKids was so much fun, we got an amazing album and I’m so happy that I did that, but this is my main focus now. I put it like this: they’re my husband that I’m happy to be back in bed with!
Is “Do What You Gotta Do” a decent indicator of what your other material sounds like? Big, sleazy riffing and whatnot…
Vicky: I think so, yeah. We thought it was quite a good taste-maker.
Rosie: It’s the heaviest.
Vicky: It’s quite heavy, yeah, but then so is our second single [“Over and Over”]. I think it’s heavy but it’s groovy and catchy, and people seem to be really loving it.
Aicha: It’s quite a simple song as well, not saying too much.
Rosie: The thought process behind that being the first single was that we wanted to put out the track that was most in opposition to the kind of thing you hear in the chart at the moment – so we wanted it to be the heaviest, weirdest, darkest track. A really sleazy, dark thing.
Aicha: With no Auto-Tune!
Vicky: We want to prepare people for what’s in store. We’re very much a rock band and we want that to be clear.
How often do you find yourselves – as per the lyric in “Do What You Gotta Do” – chewing on matchsticks and sucking on tin cans?
Rosie: Almost every day. There’s not often an hour goes by when I’m not sucking on a matchstick.
(Rocksucker is handed a matchstick to chew on for the journey home)
That was a frivolous question, so let’s follow it with a serious one: got any gigs coming up?
Rosie: We’ve got a warehouse downstairs so we’re going to put on our own nights here. The next one will be at the beginning of March – we’ve got a few gigs in the lead-up to that, but that’s going to be the big one. We want to put on bands that we really believe in, have loads of entertainment and make it an amazing night out. That’s part of what we want to be doing as well.
So you practise here as well?
Vicky: Yeah, this is like our home.
Rosie: It’s like Byker Grove.
Aicha: …or Heartbreak High.
Rosie: (Laughs) Classic!
Come on, let’s do the lame one: if you were the Spice Girls, which one would you each be?
All: We’ve already done it!
Vicky: We’ve basically realised that we align quite well with them. Can you guess who’s who?
I wouldn’t dare.
Rosie: Yeah, that’s like “do I look fat in this?” You don’t know what to say! For our last show here, we did an encore where we came back onstage dressed as the Spice Girls.
Vicky: We did a rocky cover of “Wannabe”.
Aicha: So, Rosie is Geri, obviously. Vicky is Posh. Carmen is the Baby.
Chloe’s from Liverpool, so she must be Sporty.
Chloe: Yeah, and I sing most of the backing vocals!
(There is then some debate concerning Rosie’s change of hair colour to blonde and how this might which Spice Girl she is)
Fake Club… Even Statler and Waldorf had good things to say
How did you come together in the first place?
Chloe: Vicky and I were friends from uni, and Vicky knew Aicha.
Vicky: I met Aicha in a rehearsal room in Stoke Newington.
Chloe: Then Aicha knew Rosie.
Rosie: Well, she’d seen me playing in a band I was in, and she basically came up to me after the gig and said, “We’re starting this band, can you come and be our singer?” I said, “I’m already in a band.” Then we had a play and I thought, “I’ve got to be part of this.” Then we saw Carmen playing in the Blues Kitchen in Camden and we thought she was a boy. Not because of her looks! We just saw this amazing lead guitarist and it turned out to be her, so we went up to her after the gig and told her to come down to our little rehearsal space and have a play.
Aicha: We said, “You don’t know it yet. but you’re already in a band.”
Rosie: We bundled her in the back of our car and tied gaffer tape round her mouth.
Carmen: I was kidnapped, basically.
Rosie: She was tied to a chair for the first two weeks until she agreed.
What can we expect from a Fake Club live show?
Rosie: Broken noses.
Aicha: Ceilings cracking, floors falling down…
Rosie: Bruised knees, vomit…
Vicky: Sweat, singalongs, laughter hopefully…
Rosie: Torn T-shirts. The best night you’ve ever had in your life.
Aicha: The beat thumping right through your chest.
Vicky: And, at our next gig, hopefully whistles.
Chloe: And 3D glasses.
Rosie: A good time, basically.
Are you signed to a label?
Rosie: No, not at all.
Is it something you’re seeking, or is it not really necessary?
Aicha: We’re managing to reach out to people without a label. We’ve got a great team around us and we’re really picky about who we work with. We need everyone around us to be on the same wavelength as we are in terms of what we’re doing, because we’ve got a very clear idea of it.
Rosie: As a band, what we want to be representing is the opposite of what’s going on in the charts at the moment. We want to be something that’s as real as possible. All those talent shows and whatever have their place, but we want to be the opposite of that: paying intense gigs with real instruments, do something really real.
Carmen: At this early stage, you wouldn’t want to conform to the kind of creative control that a label can have.
Vicky: At the moment we’ve got some strong ideas and we’re allowed to be really free with what we do. If we did have a label, we might be constricted. It would depend on who they are, of course, but I think it’s important that we establish who we are and what we’re doing first.
Do you take issue with X Factor and the like?
Aicha: Of course we do. It’s a bit of a cheat, isn’t it? We’ve all come in the hard way, practising our instruments for the last ten years then being lucky enough to meet each other and write music together. There are people who haven’t put that time in who can just turn up to an audition and make out that you’d be taking their whole world away if they don’t win. “I’m not going to do music any more” – well, why don’t you just play in the pubs around the corner like everyone else does?
Rosie: Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but what that show has bred is a generation of people that don’t think about the graft you have to put into something, that want to be famous without thinking about what they want to be famous for. That empty fame is starting to implode on itself because it’s not filled with anything.
Carmen: It’s got no longevity.
Aicha: Our strength, the way we do things, is because of the journey we’ve had leading up to this, and that’s so important towards backing up everything you do. There’s no other option for people like us who are that into what they do.
Are they any other up-and-coming artists that you’d like to give a shout-out to?
Aicha: I know everyone loves him at the moment but I really like Jake Bugg’s music. He’s keeping it real, writing his own songs and playing some interesting stuff.
Rosie: I love the Haim girls. I think they’re wicked.
Vicky: We’re lucky that we’re coming into an age of people writing their own music and guitars coming back.
Aicha: The magazines are talking about there being a guitar revival, and that would be good. There are so many backing tracks these days, so much trickery and fakery.
Am I right in thinking you record without a click-track?
Aicha: A lot of our songs aren’t necessarily metronomic – it requires ups and downs in dynamics and movements. I’m not saying I wouldn’t use a click if I was recording a dance track or something, but with our music it’s not really necessary.
Vicky: We begin each session all playing at the same time and if something good comes out of that then we’ll stick with it.
Rosie: Recording here is the next aim. We’d love to do an album that’s completely live.
Aicha: We have to do the vocals over the top because the studio where we’ve been recording doesn’t have the facility to capture the different instruments in isolation – it would need to be a bigger room. So we do the instruments all live then put the vocals on top.
Vicky: Rosie loves recording the vocals with the music blaring out in the control room. She’s not in a little booth with headphones on.
Aicha: Running around the control room.
Rosie: I don’t do headphones! We had one week to record the first album and six days to record the second album, so we needed to rehearse our tits off in this room to make sure we could just put down those tracks quickly and not fanny about cutting and pasting.
Carmen: We try and do everything in three takes.
Aicha: We do whole takes as well, so it’s not like anything’s copied and pasted or anything like that. That goes for backing vocals that bump up the choruses an anything like that – there’s no “drop me in here”.
Vicky: We want everything to do to sound exactly as it would live.
Aicha: We’re also aware that it’s human nature to want everything to be perfect and therefore you can overdo it, but what Fake Club is is staying true to how you are as what you are, and accepting that, capturing it. So when someone says, “That take’s not as good as it could be,” the other four have to turn around and remind them of that!
Carmen: People are losing that a bit, so we want to bring it back.
Aicha: Everything’s over-quantised these days. I’m into drummers like John Bonham and Mitch Mitchell: that’s real musicianship. You can’t quantise that shit, it’s got too much feeling in it.
Finally, if you each had to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, with the back catalogues of just three musical artists for company, whose would you choose?
Rosie: Prince, Michael Jackson and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Vicky: Jeff Buckley, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Biffy Clyro.
Carmen: Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.
Aicha: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes.
Chloe: Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and The Beatles.
Rosie: Wait, I want The Beatles too!
Fake Club, thank you.