The internet is a fickle mistress. It can make you or break you. A band could be the next best thing one minute and yesterday’s news the next. Fear of Men are one of the many bands that have become caught up in the fame-making machine, proving a mixtape and discussion favourite among many bloggers. Determined not to be labelled as another ‘buzz band’ the group have set their own path, releasing singles on labels such as Italian Beach Babes and Sex is Disgusting.
the girls are caught up with vocalist / guitarist Jess to discuss where art and music intertwine, the band’s popularity and unusual practice venues.
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Hi Fear of Men. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jess, I sing and play guitar, Dan plays lead guitar, Alex plays bass and sings and Mike plays drums.
How did the band form?
The band started a year ago when I was at university making films and writing my own soundtracks for them, which were pretty abstract instrumentals. Dan heard them and liked them. We began trading mix tapes and it evolved into a more ‘pop’ focused project.
You’re based in Brighton and London – how does that work out for the band?
Well it means practice is generally pretty intense – we either go to the farm Mike lives on in the middle of nowhere for days at a time, or practice by the beach in Brighton. I like playing in the barn best- it’s really cold but it has great acoustics. We almost got snowed in last time we were there.
How did the name Fear of Men come about?
It seemed to evoke a lot of the same ideas as the films I was making; mortality anxiety, and I like that it is complicated by being a band with 2 boys and 2 girls. It also sounds very strong and cold and I liked that.
Your last demo tape, Alice Munro, sold out straight away. That’s quite an achievement – how did you feel about this?
It was great! People really seem to respond to that format. Our first demo tape sold out in just a couple of days before we’d even played a show. It’s really exciting how fast the turnaround is between writing the songs, recording them and having the physical copies in your hand.
We really loved the artwork for your demos and singles. How important is a particular aesthetic to Fear Of Men?
Thank you very much – it’s all part of the original project – sometimes stills from the films, or sometimes work that I’m making alongside the music. We want to build an aesthetic world for Fear of Men, and music is one part of that, but the design and visuals are very important to us too.
You describe yourselves as an artistic project as well as a musical project. How do you balance art and music?
It’s all part of the same ideas really, just choosing to explore them in different ways. Balance isn’t really a problem – I just read and research things I’m interested in which manifests itself in whatever I’m making.
Do you have any more plans to release another single or EP?
We’re going to be doing a 7″ single in the summer, and then another in October – we’ll be able to share more details soon hopefully.
What’s next for Fear of Men?
A single and hopefully some tours in the summer, festivals – Camden Crawl and the Great Escape coming up and hopefully some more after that.
Photograph by Jacob Lillis