Fakers: Keeping The Spirit Of Punk Alive

Earlier today I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Alex Sabey, vocalist for Derby punk band Fakers. I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with Fakers when we played the same bill at SOUPFEST 2022 and after hearing the bands new single “Idiot Box” I jumped at the chance to interview them. Below is the transcript of our conversation.

Oscar: So, Fakers, Derby punk n roll. What defines Fakers? Who are you and what is your mission statement?

Fakers: WE ARE FAKERS! We wanna keep PUNK ROCK N ROLL alive, have fun, play music we love, and keep it authentic (the name was a bit of a joke in that way haha).

Oscar: You’ve recently released a single “Idiot Box”. What was that experience like?

Fakers: It was great, it’s amazing to get some music out there and we’re really happy with the way the recording sounds! Jay Dean did a great job with the mixing and recording, capturing the live sound we wanted and Joe Caithness brought everything out perfectly in the mastering. Doing it at the new Dubrek was also a bonus (I think we were the first to record there).

Oscar: As a part of Derby’s music scene, I’ve always felt it’s underestimated by outsiders, often being compared to Nottingham or Leicester. How do you feel about Derby?

Fakers: I think the Derby scene is hard to measure in a way, there seems to be pockets of musicians, like little scenes, but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of major scene I can think of. I think it’s hindered by the lack of venues in Derby for new or unknown independent bands/artists to play. But there’s some great bands that Derby has to offer.

Oscar: Do you have plans to conquer the world with Raw Power? (Pun intended)

Fakers: Of course haha, we want to reach as many people as possible with our music and freak em out, but our main aim is to have fun, there’s no point if there’s no fun (no fun, my babe, no fun).

Oscar: Fakers have a very old school punk style, what is it like to be playing that sort of music 40 years after it was initially popular?

Fakers: I’m just glad that kind of music is still around, there’s band like Amyl and The Sniffers which we’re fans of that have a similar raw punk rock n roll energy and sound. It’ll never die, there’s always gonna be kids in their garage bashing out power chords and annoying the neighbours.

Oscar: Any words of encouragement for punks young and old who are getting into playing music?

Fakers: You can do it! Just keep going, if you can’t play a certain chord just yet, then write a song with the chords you can play or play power chords. Don’t hold back, just go for it, the only thing stopping you is yourself. As long as you’re having fun and do it for yourself, because you want to, then you’re a winner.

Oscar: Thanks so much for your time. Any final words to my readers?

Fakers: Keep an eye out on our social media (@fakersofficial – insta, fb @fakersband – twitter), we’re always making new announcements of gigs and we’ve plenty of surprises to come.

Fakers: Upcoming gigs (for the next couple of weeks)
Dot to Dot (The Angel 2pm) – Sun 29th May
Chameleon – Weds 8th June

Fakers: Cheers for the interview!

I really enjoyed having this chat with Alex, even if it was only via text, let me know if you’d like me to do some interviews in person? For now, check out Fakers and as always…

Peace, Love & Cowbells,

Oscar

Listening to Pop Music as an Alternative Music Fan: Emma Kelly – Under Pressure

Hey Folks!

Thought I would take a break from the usual “wall of distortion” bands that I usually review to talk about something rather controversial to the alternative music scene. Pop music. Adored by the masses and hated by the alternatives. I consider myself to be an alternative music fan, anything weird and I’m usually down! But lately, I’ve been listening to more and more pop music. I’ve always believed that even in alternative music, bands need to retain an element of pop. But when I was sent Emma Kelly’s new single “Under Pressure” I found myself listening to a highly produced, catchy pop track. And you know what? I enjoyed it!

Truth be told I don’t know enough about pop music to know which artists Emma Kelly is drawing from here. But I really enjoyed the track, it uses some really interesting instrumentation, such as the lo-fi strings in the introduction, contrasting the high production value of the rest of the song. I also really enjoyed the pre-chorus, it reminded me quite a bit of Dodie, another highly underrated pop artist I like. Under Pressure has the layers of synthesisers you’d hear on many tracks such as this which add some great atmosphere. The performances are all quality, Emma’s voice has a lot of character to it, however I felt that perhaps if the voice had been less hyper-produced during certain sections it may have had a bit more impact. My favourite part of the track has to be the bridge. This is where a lot of the layers pull back to really allow Emma’s voice to shine and the chords have a lot of weight to them. This is where the emotion really hits me and I applaud Emma for some simple but impactful lyrics. Lines such “my biggest saboteur is my everyday reflection” really evokes the self doubt and the pressure this song is written about.

I was a bit disappointed by the chorus, not only does it take far too long to get there, but it’s not overly singable. It’s over a minute and a half before the main full chorus kicks in, with a half chorus during the introduction. I really like the verse, I love the bridge, but pop music is centred around those chorus hooks. I definitely think this is a brave decision and I love the progressive nature of the choice, but if Emma Kelly wants to find a mass audience then she needs to focus on writing tunes that won’t get out of people’s heads.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this track. The production and performances are both superb and that bridge alone is to die for! That section alone makes this song worthy of your playlists. In fact, I’m going to include a new category in reviews going forward “worthy of your playlists”. I have never and will never give a number to rate something as complex as a record, but see this as a badge of approval from me. Stick that in your resume Emma!

Listening to pop music, as someone who just a few years ago wouldn’t be caught dead listening to tracks such as this, is not a bad thing. Any music that gets you to dance and singalong is to be applauded as its own unique art and should be appreciated along with all forms of music. So well done Emma, I look forward to hearing more from you!

Peace, Love and Cowbells,

Oscar