18 Feb 2013
Interview | Fake Club
From Bangor’s brightest Two Door Cinema Club to the 90s pop troupe of seven, the idea of the ‘Club’ is no new notion when it comes to band monikers. Even unassuming North London quartet Bombay Bicycle Club switched between various aliases before sticking with the collective ring of similarly named Indian restaurants. Yet, unlike their pop predecessors before them, Fake Club are a band that won’t be accompanied by any sort of questionable kids TV show nor even a scent of their manufactured musical tones [or a Sag aloo for that matter!]
With hints of 70’s Led Zeppelin macho nonchalance in the bands garage rock riffery and growling lead vocals, Fake Club create a visceral, defiant and powerful noise. Kicking back against the “Gameboy generation”, the band only go to show fellow femmes out there that it’s OK to cut their nails and pick up a guitar and that’s something we fully applaud here at The Girls Are. So, what do the self professed haters of our reality obsessed generation think of X Factor generated, 1D going up against bands like the XX at this year’s Brit Awards and who were their pop muses growing up? We chat the relevance of the full length format, Daddy Warbucks and keeping it real with our blues sisters…
TGA: How did you all come together to form Fake Club and, more importantly, how can we join?
Chloe: Vicky and I knew each other from uni and Vicky was friends with Aicha so she got her involved. Aisha stole Rosie from another band.
Rosie: I was playing and Aicha saw me in my poor, little band who are now probably all working in Asda…[Laughter] but yeah, basically she came up to me and said ‘You have to come and have a jam with us. I came and had a jam and then we all went out to the Blues Kitchen in Camden one night and heard this amazing lead guitarist and were just like ‘What, the…?’ We obviously thought it was going to be a boy and then saw her [!] …
Vicky: She does have short hair!
Rosie: We were just like ‘Oh my god, Justin Bieber’s got really good at guitar’.
Vicky: Either way, if she’d been a boy or a girl; she would have been in.
Rosie: So, we took her back to our rehearsal space that night and all had a drunken jam with a couple of bottles of whiskey and a year later, here we are.
TGA: As you mentioned briefly Rosie, you were in another project before this [Big Kids with Mr Hudson] Are any of you doing any other projects at the moment or have you all dedicated time to this one?
Carmen: Not now…We did all used to have different projects but we’ve all said goodbye to those because we’ve found each other.
[what a lovely story]
Rosie : It warms the cockles.
TGA: To describe your sound, you do reference the Spice Girls [but with guitars] If you all had to have a similarly Spice girl-esque name for Fake Club, what would you all be called and why?
Chloe: We’ve got a few nicknames between ourselves anyway…I’m The Force.
Rosie: …because she loves Star Wars.
Chloe: I love Star Wars and I’m the rhythm guitarist so…
[TGA: a nod to The Edge as well perhaps?]
Rosie: Aicha is The Pacemaker being the drummer
Aicha: And, I soothe people’s hearts and keep them going, of course!
[TGA: We feel like you guys have probably already thought of this before]
Vicky: No, no! Well, we’re all stuck for ours though…and up for suggestions?
Rosie: I wanted to be Daddy Warbucks because I think it just sounds cool. So, then when I’m meeting people, I can be like ‘Hey, my name’s Daddy Warbucks but you can call me Daddy’. I thought that would be really cool…
Vicky: Maybe I could be something bear related as I do love bears…Grizzly V?
Rosie: Beetlejuice has been one in the past…Or Sticky Vicky?
Vicky: Oh, but that’s just horrible. The thing with the name Vicky is that all the shit things rhyme with it so you’ve got “sticky”, ‘Vicky’s got a hicky..’ Well, tricky.
Aicha: We call Carmen Tin Tin.
Rosie: Tell the story behind Tin Tin.
Carmen: There’s was this one day when my hair was kind of sticking up all over the place and I turned round to say I look a bit like ‘Tan Tan’ but they wouldn’t understand for about twenty minutes…They were all just like what’s ‘Tan Tan?’ So, I googled the picture and was like, ‘Look, Chloe- it’s this’.
Vicky: It’s because she’s multi-lingual.
Carmen: Well, it’s a Belgian cartoon. I just didn’t realise you guys call him Tin Tin.
Aicha: We say Totem Carmen sometimes…
Rosie: Spaghetti Carmenara?
TGA: The band is co-managed by Guy Chambers who is notorious for his work with Robbie Williams; how did that collaboration come about?
Chloe: We played at one of his gig nights and he really liked us and wanted to get involved.
Vicky: We always joke that he’s a bit like the film ‘The Runaways’. He’s a bit like the manager in that.
Rosie: We’re so honoured to have him as part of the team though, it’s amazing. To have someone like that thinking what we are writing is amazing is so encouraging…
Aicha: …and he leaves us to it, as well. He just lets us get on with it and then says that’s cool. We’ve got amazing managers really; we’ve got a wicked team. We are kind of strict with who we work with so, we just want those people to be on the same sort of level as us.
TGA: You’ve recently been in the studio, what are forthcoming release plans looking like for Fake Club?
Vicky: We’re not sure yet, really. We’re going to release a new single in January [now out] called ‘Over and Over’ and then after that we might do an EP. We would really like to do an album but you know, people don’t really buy albums anymore.
Aicha: We want people to though..
Vicky: We want people to pick up our stuff though so we’re just going to go with the times.
Rosie: Ultimately, we’re just going to do what feels right. We put ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ out; we got our amazing friend Ralph to put out a video for us and we put it out just to basically see what would happen. To see the kind of stuff that’s coming in off the back of that is absolutely amazing.
Aicha: There’s nothing contrived about this. What we’ve got is about 25 songs and loads of gig experience.
Carmen: Essentially, two albums worth so we can pick and choose.
Rosie: When it feels right to release the album; we’ll release an album.
Carmen: It could even be something we do to take on tour so we have something to offer out…it might not be. We’re seeing various different options.
Rosie: We’re looking towards doing something new as well, aren’t we? We had an idea of using these twenty odd songs for people to compile their own album.
Carmen: That way we’d have all twenty songs up there with a snippet and people can just pick their favourite tracks.
Aicha: With different covers as well because we all love the tangible side of the album thing and that idea of seeing who’s done what and who’s drawn which element. It is a big part of it and it would be a shame for that to die so we just want to think of ways for people to be part of that. So, maybe you will download something and then print something alongside that we might have designed some lyrics as well perhaps…
TGA: You were lucky enough to get Bob Ludwig to master the record who’s worked with some pioneers of rock in his time; Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins to name but a few. What was that experience like? Did you go over to the states?
Aicha: No, what happened was we recorded and self-produced our album basically with one of our friends and we had the studio for a week to ourselves. Kevin Killen heard the recordings that we were doing and absolutely loved it and wanted to get involved. We were chuffed and couldn’t really believe it, to be honest. So we sent the stuff over to him and it was through Kevin that Bob Ludwig got involved as they work quite closely together. I mean, that was just like the extra cherry on top really!
TGA: Obviously, Bob Ludwig has worked with some incredible bands in the past; were they your pop muses when you were growing up? Who inspired you to pick up your instruments?
Aicha: Oh yeah, definitely. Massively. I was the grebo at school, you know? We were all the grebos in our separate schools. We were all into Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Soundgarden and that sort of stuff.
Vicky: It’s just really important to us that people are doing it because they really like the music, not because they’re being paid to or told to. Bob really wanted to do it so he did and that’s incredible.
[TGA: It sounds quite organic as a process]
Aicha: Yeah, definitely. That’s one of the reasons and ideas behind why we’re called Fake Club because we just want to keep it real.
Carmen: Embrace the fake so you can keep it real.
Aicha: Embrace the fake, ey? Nice.
Rosie: One for the merchandise stall…
Aicha: But it is confusing and it is just about being in a band as a form of expression. You know, being with the people you want to be with and making something good and that you’re proud of and it’s amazing how complicated other people can make that.
TGA: You’ve said before in previous interviews that it’s not the fact that you are girls; this is just the music you want to make with the people you want to play it with. Genre rather than gender, would you say that’s true?
Rosie: Yeah, that’s not really the point. I think the more you’re talking about the fact that it is a woman, the more it makes it a big deal. Hopefully, we prove that point that we’re a band that just happen to be girls..
Aicha: We just want to be compared to other bands, rather than other females.
Vicky: We’ll often get referenced to the likes of Suzi Quatro and the Runaways and we don’t actually sounds anything like them…it’s just the fact that we’re girls.
TGA: The other issue with that would be that there has been quite a flurry of similarly blues tinged, femme rock of late with the likes of Haim and Deap Valley; would you say Fake Club fit into that scene or would you place your music away from that?
Vicky: I’d say more Deap Vally than Haim, but we are different. It’s great that they’re out there doing that though. It makes us really happy.
Rosie: I don’t think musically we sound the same.
Aicha: Yeah, I mean with Deap Vally it’s a two piece for a start whereas we’ve got four instruments and four voices in this band. So, we actually do build layers and try to make big sounding songs. It’s a totally different sound.
Rosie: [whispers] five instruments…
Aicha: Oh and the cowbell, of course! So sorry, Rosie. But yeah, we want to make this a big sound. A lot of people nowadays would probably use a backing track for a keyboard or something to get that extra layer or texture, whilst we’d put another harmony in. So, it’s just coming from the five of us. What you see is what you get.
Carmen: What you hear is what you get too though. So, like the recordings we could do live. There’s nothing added in there. It’s just a version of our live show.
TGA: Tying into that idea, when recording your latest album, you recorded all the tracks live in the studio with no click and a maximum of two takes per song. Is it important for you to keep the live element to these recordings?
Aicha: Yeah, we want our songs to breathe. Music moves, there are pushes and pulls and as a band, you get tight and then you move together so having something metronomic in this style of music wouldn’t work. It’s got no relevance.
Rosie: Also, the aim of what we’re doing is that we want to be at a point where we don’t need it. You know, Aicha is an amazing drummer and she doesn’t need to have a click clicking in her ear. What we try and do is we will play with her and I will lay down a guide vocal as we’re going and sometimes we might even use that vocal take. Obviously, there’s a few bits that we keep and some stuff we might have to add over the top but the actual bones of the recording will be live.
Carmen: Basically, in the studio where we record you can’t keep the amps at full volume or they will feed into the drum mics so we play with her and she can hear us in her headphones but then we’ll go back and crank the amps up and do just one take. It’s basically live.
Aicha: I’m the one who definitely has to get it right!
Carmen: If she doesn’t do it in three takes, she gets a bad star.
TGA: The manifesto behind Fake Club, as you’ve already mentioned, seems to be steering away from the manufactured music that’s so popular of late. Sadly, we’re now in day and age where X factor generated, One Direction can go up against Mercury nominated acts like Alt-J and the XX for Best British Group at this year’s Brit Awards. If you were hosting your own underground awards show, who would you like to highlight?
Aicha: Jake Bugg is definitely the best male out there at the moment.
Rosie: Tribes are amazing, they’re doing their own thing and they’re insane.
Aicha: We’re going to be doing some support slots with them in the next couple of months too. We’re mates with them and they really like are band so that’s awesome.
Vicky: I think Lianne La Havas is a really good female, I know she’s not really like our style of music but she really knows how to play and sing. I’ve seen her live and she’s amazing. She’s been doing really well though, she got best album over at iTunes and stuff like that; she obviously had the Mercury nomination too so she is getting recognised but her live show is just insane. She’s a great example of female talent out there at the moment.
TGA: Can you sum up Fake Club in five words?
Aicha and Rosie in unison: Keep. It. Real. “!!”
Carmen: Love FakeClub [if you have Fake Club as one word]
Aicha: Keep it Real [comma] Fake Club.
Vicky: But this isn’t a sign off is it so we can have two more words?
Carmen: Keep it Real, fuck yeah.
Vicky: Keep it Real, Go Create.
And on that inspirational note, our time with the quintet is done as they kick back with some whisky’s in the hidden Holloway, Club house. The band’s latest free download single, ‘Over and Over’ is now available over at the bands soundcloud page. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the groups next North London club night up not to mention, those print out and keep album artwork designs.
Fingers crossed for The Force on A3!