Fake Major

Fake Major Web-20

Our email tagline is ‘while Scotland sleeps we listen’ which means that when we do wake up, there is frequently a facebook-twitter deluge to wade through. The reaction summary the other day went a bit like this:

  (Sadness) -“Endor broke up!”

   (Relief) – “Endor is now just not Endor”

   (Joy) – “there’s a new song and video!”

   (Hell yes!) – a message from Comets and Cartwheels asking if we’d have any interest in doing a feature.

From over here it seems that it was all a  closely guarded secret. How well coordinated was the roll out? Is there a story to the new name?

“Surprisingly not as well coordinated as you might imagine. We have been working on our new project “Fake Major” for the last 6 months, and when we finally got our first track completely finished (and we were both happy with it!), we put it online two days later. It wasn’t so much a closely guarded secret, as much as we didn’t just want to tell everyone who had helped support Endor that it was over and nothing else. We wanted to show those people that we were still writing and recording, and had something new to offer them. The name comes from a feline friend that lives on my street. We thought it sounded good and stuck with it!”

With this duo you’ve gamely entered ‘Over The Wall’ and ‘TMTATC’ territory. I’m guessing this change has been a creative boon and way to move forward musically. Would you characterize that as being the case?

“I think when you start anything new, there is always an excitement at the beginning, and this has helped us be more creative in everything we have been doing recently – writing, recording, and making videos.

We have definitely changed the way we write and record music. In the past we limited ourselves to what we could reproduce at a live show, but now there is a real difference between our recordings, and how we reinterpret the songs when performing.”

Releasing the video on the same day was well played.  If I had heard the song ‘Little Researcher’ the first time without knowing the source, I can’t honestly say I would have instantly recognized it as being Endor. Listening to it a few times, I’m struck by how ‘well considered’ it all is.  Other than just extorting the questioner to listen, how would you say your song craft has developed?

“Little researcher was originally written as our previous band was falling apart, so for Jarv and I it was even more important that we scrutinized every single line. We continually revised the song until we were both happy, and I think we have delved a bit deeper with all the songs on our upcoming EP. Each individual part  – whether a guitar line or vocal harmony – has been more considered than before, make sure every part has its purpose and hopefully adds something interesting.”

The video is undoubtedly one of the finer debuts I’ve seen in a while. It probably seems impossible now, but did you ever consider any other narratives to present the song?  My favourite part was when the stethoscope is placed to the glass and the music itself slows down a beat shortly after.  Who came up with idea for the final notebook entry?

“We are extremely proud of the video, and it was a great creative experience to work with Jolene and Richard (of Precious Productions). I don’t think we did consider other narratives. Jarv had the idea of a child trying to make sense of the world around them, and together we all developed the different scenarios. Richard (of Precious Productions – we call him “Richard 1”) did an incredible job editing it all together, as you have picked up on it the stethoscope! We were lucky enough to have a star in the making play the heroine. Lots of the video was made up of things she already owns, and I think the final notebook entry was her doing. A future star in the making for sure.”

Since we last chatted, people have started sending us ‘press kits’ and I’m still fascinated by the nearly contradictory usefulness and meaninglessness of them.  Which four songs on that Snow Patrol album do I need to listen to again more carefully?

“Ha! Yeah press releases are a strange thing. Jarv sang on Open Your Eyes, Shut Your Eyes, Make This Go on Forever and Hands Open on their Eyes Open album.”

 The snippet from the press blurb that did make me take note was “The truest version of Fake Major exists somewhere between the record and the venue” This strikes me as a much deeper observation.  Could you describe that place yourselves? 

“The original idea we had for this band was to write songs that would sound great with only two people performing them, and equally as good with a full compliment of musicians. We hope that when people come to see us perform live, they can appreciate the different interpretations of the songs, while being able to relate to them from the recordings they have heard. As a bonus, it’s a lot easier to tour with two people rather than seven!”

The first EP is “to follow”. Any sense of the timeline? How many tracks? … Any information you could share would be most welcome.

“The final tracklisting is still to be decided, but the EP should be out in April 2013. We plan to release material as we have it, so expect more to follow.”

It seems that your first ‘official’ show was a few weeks ago in Dundee. We’d very much like to hear how it went. 

“The show in Dundee was great thanks. It felt good to be back on stage performing after hiding away for what seemed an eternity. It is always interesting to take the songs out from the practice space, and get an idea of what parts work better in larger rooms (and which definitely don’t). It’s especially satisfying when certain areas of a song unexpectedly sound great, it’s a real ear treat!”

Thanks for introducing us to Michael Cassidy. Can you tell us anything about him from previous experience? (or from what you learnt from the support slot)

“Michael is a lovely guy, and a great singer songwriter. This is the first time we saw him play with a band, and there is a real country influence that is probably less evident when it’s just him and his guitar, which I really liked. Special mention needs to go to his guitar player who was quite spectacular.”

Have you secured Ms. Crawford for the next video? 

“We are currently having heated discussions with Ms Crawford’s agents (/parents)! Child stars are extremely unpredictable.

Picture 5fakemajor

I like how Fake Major end up right under Endor on our band list. Here is another video release for the song ‘Camera

Thor

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Comets and Cartwheels

Growing up in Southern Ontario, I was fiercely loyal to a small independent Toronto label called Ready Records. It was only in existence from 1979 to 1985, but considering I was 15 in ’79 it was disproportionally influential. With a refreshing (at the time) focus of promoting and developing local artists, the label quickly developed a strong presence; if it was on the label it was probably worth buying. I’ve transferred some of that independent label loyalty to Chemikal Underground. Looking a ways down the road, what can both artists and music fans come to expect from Comets and Cartwheels?

“We hope that a few years down the line we’ll be known as a label that puts out great bands and works hard to get their artists out there. We’d love to build up a good list of acts and get a few album releases under our belts, as this is where the great reviews and attention really seem to come in. From early teenage-hood right up to now I’ve been obsessed with the ethos surrounding great labels like Saddle Creek, Bella Union, Fence, Sub Pop, Arts and Crafts etc… to whom I would consistently  return to discover fantastic new music. If we could be known as a label like that one day I think we’d be sporting some smiles on our faces. I guess just being known as a collective family of musicians and creatives would great too. We’re also really look forward to building up our catalogue of music promo videos. We were lucky enough to work with a very talented London based director called Mat Sheldon on Quickbeam’s debut single Seven Hundred Birds, and it turned out stunning. I’d highly recommend checking out his short films at crushfilm.com.”

How did you conjure up the label name?

 “It’s nothing too profound. Paul and I just decided to pick one word each, I don’t know why I chose Comet, but Paul chose Cartwheels cause it’s his favourite Reindeer Section song.”

Currently you have 3 artists: Endor, Quickbeam and Partwind Partwolf.  It is a nicely balanced bunch. Do you have a strategy, perhaps better said – a philosophy, for how you intend to seek out or attract other artists in the future?

“At present we are really open to receiving demos from anyone and there are no real rules as to what we would and wouldn’t consider signing, since our tastes are pretty eclectic. At present everything is still within the indie/rock/folk vein but that’s not to say we wouldn’t want to branch out in the future into other genres. Ultimately as long as the music affects us and we feel it has artistic merit then we will be willing to work with the artist. I’d like to think that those bands looking for labels will judge whether they want to work with us based on our previous releases and the previous success we’ve had with our roster. Ideally I’d like to put out a mix of singles, EPs and albums, with the latter of course being released in physical formats too. We’d like to secure a distributor in the next year and continue building our relationships with press/radio and music video producers in order to continue offering our artists a full release package. I’m really excited at the prospect of possibly working with some international artists going forward as well, particularly because we have strong music links with Canada through friends there.”

The first release on April 9th is from Quickbeam and it is digital only. How soon can we look forward to a physical release? Will vinyl receive any special attention or emphasis?

“I think we’ll avoid 7″ singles, but I’d be very interested to release an album on vinyl/cd and digital. Endor are currently working on new material for their second album and if we get the funding together I think it’d be great to release that on vinyl if the band were up for it. We’re keen to offer high quality physical product that has real aesthetic value, and vinyl definitely ticks those boxes, and widens the scope for working with visual artists on designs for album artwork.”

Pedro and I took in the Creation records documentary the other week. When is someone going to make a Chemikal Underground documentary?

“Give Forest of Black a call, they make awesome documentaries. I know I’d watch it! Our friend Hubby (RM Hubbert) signed with Chemikal last year, and absolutely everyone should listen to his second album, it’s incredible.”

I’ve fairly recently re-discovered vinyl.  The appeal is obvious. I’ve also noticed a smattering of cassette tape releases. My personal experience with the format was quite horrible. Is this purely a novelty or is there another dynamic I’m missing?

“My band actually released an album on cassette last month. I’m not really sure what the motivation behind it was but it seemed to garner us some really good press attention! I have a cassette player but the catch on the tape deck is broken and won’t stay shut. So I can’t listen to it. I’d vote vinyl any day over cassette, though I do love the portability of those iPod thingys.”

If I could wish upon a Comet and Cartwheel, I’d wish for the re-emergence of an A.C. Acoustics record. Isn’t it about time? What would you wish for?

“I’d wish for a Reindeer Section reunion show!”

T&P

I’ve just downloaded the new Quickbeam single ‘700 Hundred Birds’.  Up until now I’ve only listened to snippets and practiced my  translations skills on a few German reviews. It is a lovely delicate song that even though it runs for 3:46 seems to end all too quickly. ‘Empty Space’  continues in a more  plaintive and melancholic vein. I can’t wait for the full length. Hopefully they’ll go well north of 10 tracks. Don’t forget to take advantage of the earlier free release of ‘Tide’.  http://quickbeam.bandcamp.com/album/seven-hundred-birds