In Focus – Faux Pas
Hailing from York, indie punk rockers Faux Pas have recently been taking their ear & eye catching live show around the rest of the UK. After just finishing their headline TV Made Me Paranoid Tour, SOUNDS sat down with singer/guitarist Ru and guitarist Lewis to discuss their latest escapades and bring you an In Focus introduction to this exciting new addition to the punk/grunge scene.
Photo Credit: Joe Hudson
Sounds: Faux Pas! what first drew me to you apart from the sound of the band was the image, what’s going on there? Are you in character?
Ru: That’s exactly what we’re like, we are those people, I walk around day to day just sort of like that, and you know it’s quite enjoyable. But, on a more serious note, there’s a big emphasis on character performance and all that sort of stuff I suppose. It’s kind of a way for us to embellish the true meaning of the songs and get it across in a way that’s maybe a little bit more poignant for the average person that comes to a gig. We are so passionate about the music that we didn’t really feel like it was right to portray it as “just another indie band”.
Sounds: Does the band name reflect what you are doing visually?
Ru: It’s a weird one really, I’ve been taking the name literally in the literal translation of “fake not” and I suppose a lot of what we do is trying to point the finger at stuff that’s bullshit and just going “nope”. But at the same time, it’s kind of like a light-hearted little phrase isn’t it, a faux pas, like “woohoohoo I fucked it up haha”, but you know, it’s sarcastic really.
Sounds: You’ve just finished your UK headline tour, how’s it been?
Ru: It was amazing yeah, really enjoyed it
Lewis: I think, obviously playing on a boat was really great, London was a fun show in a really packed out room which is always nice, we played with some great bands, and Manchester was also a lot of fun.
Ru: Yeah, I think London was really cool because we played with bands that we’re just not even a little bit like and it’s always nice to do that because it feels like someone’s just claw picked you up from somewhere else and gone “fuck it let’s see what happens”. But yeah the people saw what happened and some of them enjoyed it, some of them definitely didn’t but overall everyone’s richer for the experience really.
Sounds: And what would you say are the good and bad parts of touring?
Lewis: Spoons, spoons is a really good part. We’ve got to the point where we can maximise our spoons experience up and down the country, we know which ones to avoid, which ones are good and what’s going to be good.
Ru: I’d say it’s really hard trying to find friends that you can stay with, obviously you have to sort of reignite that friendship just a little bit so it doesn’t seem like you’re just saying “hey, how you doing, can I stay over at your fuckin’ house?”, but at the same time you don’t want to be full of shit because most people will just let you stay. It’s bad when you message all your mates, and everyone says no.
Sounds: You mentioned playing a show on a boat during the tour, pretty different… what was that like?
Lewis: Good, but rocky
Ru: Not for us though, for us it was okay. We played on the Friday night which was pretty okay in nautical terms. The place we were playing in was really cool, it was like a lot like the place in Brooklyn Nine Nine where the Pontiac Bandit plays, the all ages piano lounge. It was really chilled, everyone was sat down in this 1920s inspired bar with a balcony, which is really fun because it’s a whole new dimension of people to fuck with which was nice.
Lewis: Boom, punk rock.
Ru: But yeah for us it was pretty stable but for the bands on the second night it was super rocky. I remember in particular, MAURITIA came off and I was like “oh, how did you find it” and they said it was good, but three members of the band were throwing up.
Sounds: Sticking with the theme of live shows, a little longer, do you have any pre-show rituals that you like to do?
Ru: Yes, lots, I think everyone does. Joey will do his hair…
Lewis: And look slightly different to what it did before.
Ru: He’ll get himself psyched up, I like to do a full physical warm up, almost like callisthenics, if you will, to really get myself limbered up. One thing you notice when you do consecutive dates is that you’re absolutely fucked after the first one so by the second one you’ll feel totally broken.
Lewis: None of us do any other exercise so prior to tour there’s definitely a thing of making sure we’re not being lazy and being active. As far as my pre-show rituals, I don’t like to be bothered too much, there was a time where I would properly get myself hyped up, downing drinks and just jumping in to it but as I’ve gone on it’s been more just getting in to the right head space as it can be tiring physically and emotionally.
Ru: I think for me I just do my own version of the hacker, looking at myself in the mirror with full gear on…
Lewis: I’ve seen it.
Ru: …and listening to some really sort of dirty horror grunge buster punk
Sounds: What’s your favourite song to play in the live set?
Lewis: At the moment it’s actually a song which hasn’t been released yet
Ru: I think for me it’s Hey Antoine (also unreleased) because you get a really good range of stuff that we do, I get to sing a little bit in that which is nice because a lot of the time it’s very rough screaming, and the end is just all out sonic buttfuckery
Lewis: Is that Golden?
Ru: No pay attention, still on Hey Antoine.
Lewis: They’re all buttfuckery really.
Sounds: Do you have any embarrassing stories from playing live?
Lewis: Does it have to be a Faux Pas gig because I fell off the stage in the school orchestra once and that was sad. Joey’s fallen off his stool a few times, I’m sure he’ll love us for telling that.
Ru: Not something I’ve ever done but something I’m very afraid of is actually pooing myself because again with touring, you have to really not eat actual piss, because if you do then you’re utterly ruined for when it comes to gig time. Especially if you’ve had a coffee in the morning to get out of someone’s house, get on the train, and when you get on stage and pop your earplugs in you feel a clench where you don’t want to feel one but fortunately that hasn’t happened yet.
Lewis: I threw up in my mouth once at Brudenell social club.
Ru: One thing that hasn’t happened for a very long time, but I remember there was a gig in Lincoln or somewhere nearby where someone was like “can you sing happy birthday to my daughter”, not really, I’ve just driven 150 not to sing happy birthday to your daughter, so if you could just put a lid on that, that’d be nice.
Sounds: For people who haven’t heard of you, what would be the best way to describe your sound?
Ru: To quote Dave Grohl I’d say the best. It’s really hard for me to explain because I spend a lot of time really picking it apart in my own head so when someone asks me it’s like when you do a bibliography and you’ve got 50 different references and it’s like “where has this come from” well, you know, childhood was rough “argh”, school bad “arrrgh”, bad parenting decisions “ahhhhh” which is just music.
Sounds: What is your typical writing process like?
Ru: Actually can we go back, I’d describe it as sonically throbbing. But I suppose it follows a formula in the respect that someone will bring something in but we’ve been playing together that long now, not to use that like “oh, we’ve been in the business for years man” but we know each other well enough that someone can just bring something in and everyone just jumps on it. It doesn’t take long for us to get on a wavelength with each other and we tend to be able to just jizz stuff out now a lot quicker and a lot more passionately. I think it’s really easy for us to do stuff now because a lot of what we do has to be done spontaneously, not in a pretentious writing everything first time sort of way, but we have to come up with the main body of what the song is going to be and what it’s gonna represent with each other in that room.
Lewis: We put a lot of emphasis on making sure that hearing the song just as each individual stem almost, sounds good. So we’ll have the bass and drums play together and we’ll listen to that and make sure it all works, then we’ll do the two guitars, then guitars and bass.
Sounds: Is that more of a studio thing?
Lewis: No no, we do that in rehearsal rooms.
Ru: No, definitely. We place quite a lot of emphasis on making sure the guitars are incredibly dynamic and reactive to one another in terms of what they’re doing at the same time. We’re lucky that Joey and everyone we play with on the bass are just unbelievable musicians, so the rhythm section for us is just guaranteed to fuck shit up, in a biblical sense.
Sounds: Who would you say inspires you the most?
Ru: Probably the musicians around me, like I said, I’m very lucky to play with the people that I do play with. Especially, not in a derogatory way, but I know a lot of people struggle to get bands together for years and years and it never really works out, so we’ve been lucky to come together in the way that we have. Even when shit hits the fan, but that’s just life, so yeah, the musicians around me and the friends that I have, you know, they’re a very supportive group of people that really would give an arm, leg, bollock and appendages.
Lewis: I feel like it’s anyone who chooses to do the right thing, I know that sounds corny.
Ru: Yeah even really little stuff, like there’s a guy that comes in to my work and we have a games night on called dungeons and flagons, where people go in the back and play board games and stuff. There’s a guy that comes in every single week and he’s about sixty years old. He comes in with his 30 year old son who’s severely autistic and he’ll take him in, sit and have a meal with him, then his son will go in and play games and he’ll just sit there reading his book for like 4 hours and he’ll take him home at the end of the night. Just little things like that, the tiniest genuine bit of raw love blows my mind.
Sounds: Right, some quick-fire This or Thats… Mornings or nights?
Lewis: Nights, I suck at mornings.
Ru: Mornings are really hard.
Lewis: We’ve worked in bars, so mornings are like the middle of the night to us.
Ru: My body clock has shifted so mornings don’t exist until like 12
Sounds: Cats or dogs?
Sounds: Marvel or DC?
Lewis: Marvel, I’ve got my Endgame tickets
Sounds: Studio or Live?
Ru: I personally prefer live, there’s parts of the studio I really hate. I have no shame in admitting I’m not the strongest technical player in the band, although I do like to think I bring a bit of flavour with me…
Lewis: Chocolate sprinkles…
Ru: … so when I get to the parts where I actually have to nail it sometimes I’m like “AHHHH” it’ll go great and sometimes it won’t everyone will just look around the room and try not to make eye contact. So live shows are a different experience every night, you get to really throw stuff in there, and we trust each other so much that you can just throw something in there that’s bizarre and no one will really bat an eyelid.
Lewis: I’d have to pick live, because if I’m thinking about doing one for the rest of my life, as much as I absolutely love what Mickey (our producer) does to everything and there’s something really nice about having a finished product, I’d have to pick live because it’s a thrill that can’t be compared to. Especially when you’re killing it.
Ru: And live you really get to fuck with people.
Lewis: Yeah you get to try new stuff, it’s the prime time because it’s when you’re really at maximum adrenaline.
Sounds: 80s or 90s music?
Sounds: Could you ever be swayed?
Ru: I know you’re only saying this because I’ve heard your ghastly 80s playlist, don’t get me wrong there are some parts of the 80s that I like, but I’m just not a big fan of gated snares.
Sounds: Wrapping up, what have you got planned for the next few months? Any chance of a debut album anytime soon?
Ru: Yes, we’re gonna do 3 debut albums. But I don’t know, I’d like to do an album.
Lewis: It’d be very good.
Ru: We’ve got two singles which we’re going to release, I’ll say the first one which we’re going to be releasing fairly soon which is called Gorilla Man. It’s quite short, very unique, so unique that you should all buy it. We’ve got gigs coming up, Live at Leeds, Stockton calling and some other things. But yeah, mainly gigging, shredding, riffing, loving and always throbbing.