OD – Can you explain the name of the band and why you choose it?
Lias – It came from Saul (Guitarist) who came up with it and saw “Fat White Duke” written on someone’s dressing room door or something of that nature. I can’t quite remember, but I guess it’s kind of funny because some of us are related to each other and it kind of makes sense. Originally we were called “Meat Divide” but we got rid of that because it was a bit shit.
OD – How did you all come together, and did you start out with the premise of a six piece band?
Lias – It was originally just myself, Saul, Dan and my little brother Nathan. We were all living in a house together in Peckham in London and we were kind of just trying to play gigs in other bands and trying to do the scene thing. We used to play an acoustic club called “Hank Dog’s” every Wednesday which was about two minutes walk from out house, so that’s kind of where we started off together.
OD – Did you meet the other guys through that venue, or did they just come along after?
Lias – They came along a little later. Joe came along a while later as we had another bassist called Jack for a little while and then he left. Adam was the last one to join. I think it came along as we progressed. We were initially an acoustic act and then we just got louder and louder to the point where we weren’t allowed to play at the acoustic club anymore. That’s when we decided to include other members and turn it into a proper group.
OD – You have experienced the “pay to play” situation that most clubs/promoters are practicing, how have you avoided this and have you any advice for other bands?
Lias – We did things the long way around. We decided to not play those type of venues that were even remotely fashionable. We spent quite a long time playing in places to absolutely nobody, which I think is actually a good thing. You can hold it in a little bit and get your live performance down and tight. My advice to other bands would be never to do those shows and find a shitty pub somewhere that will allow you to plug in your amps and put your own night on. We set up our own night in a pub which as been going for about three years now. It was by no means a music pub. We used to do gigs there and get our friends to come down. Sometimes there would be only seven people there, but we kept doing it and doing it and eventually it started to grow a little bit. My advice is to just basically keep going with things and try to do your own thing.
OD – With Saul having had the experience of a large corporate record label and the demise of “The Metros”, I’m sure that you are all aware of the pitfalls and the rampant bullshit that exists in this industry? Do you find it heartbreaking that you have to encounter this, just for the sake of playing music and earning a living off of it?
Lias – It’s a complicated question, I mean it’s unavoidable. Your compromised really. You have to try to get on in some way’s with the industry. People’s reaction to some bands is kind of disturbing. We have had people reject us for our association with the NME, which I find crazy! It’s like, those guys help us to fill out venues around the country and make our living. It’s all well and good for people to have high held principles, but when it comes down to it, I’m not saying we should go out and do a Coke a Cola advert or anything like that but you have to be able to make ends meat.
OD – You were in “The Saudis” with your brother Nathan and now with FWF, you must have a very solid connection to be able to spend so much time together?
Lias – We are actually all right with each other. We have lived together for pretty much our entire lives, we just get on very well together. It’s never really been an issue really. I just know that I have someone in the group that I can really rely on and trust. We have the same sense of humor and it just makes it easier.
OD – You introduced a much darker sound to you music in 2011 can you explain some of the influences that encouraged this?
Lias – The stuff we were listening to had an influence. Darker kind of stuff like The Fall, Charles Manson were artists we were listening to at the time and still do. Anything kind of weird and wrong appeals to us. It was also the fact that all of us were on the dole and nobody had any kind of money and were just miserable and bitter. We set out to write music that was just different.
OD – Fat White Family has a very unique sound, a mix of many different styles and influences, do you all contribute to the writing process or is it just a small minority that do this?
Lias – Well, Saul and I write the bulk of it, then Nathan and Adam bring in different angles. Generally I would do the words and Saul would do the music.
OD – At Overdrive we especially admire artwork and imagery with music and feel that over the years it has been pushed to the back with digital formats being so popular. Do you have any thoughts on imagery associated with music? How important do you think it is?
Lias – I think it is very important when your trying to get out there. Videos and artwork kind of anchors the whole essence of the music. It gives the music a kind of cover, almost. I guess it is pretty important for the general aesthetic and the feel of the band. I think it is also a great opportunity to work with lots of different people outside of the group, which is really good fun and interesting.
OD – Do you or anyone in the band collect vinyl records?
Lias – Saul collects vinyl and has a good collection of stuff. I don’t actually have much of anything as I’ve been moving around with no real permanent place to live for the last few years and I just don’t have much stuff at all. But Saul collects and so does Adam.
OD – What is your favourite album cover that comes to mind?
Lias – There is so many. I liked the cover of The Pogues first album “Red Roses For Me”. It’s not really a great cover but I just loved the way they squeezed in the bloke in the bottom corner of the album. It’s like he turned up late to the photo-shoot or something and missed it. I quiet like the sheer amaturness of that cover.
OD – Can you explain the idea behind the title of your debut record “Champagne Holocaust?
Lias – The name came from a very late night that we were all up listening to Oasis of all things. It was that special time of around 5.30am or something. “Champagne Supernova” was playing and we just started messing with the words and “Champagne Holocaust” came about and we just though it was funny.
OD – You show here in Dublin is on May 6th, what can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your gigs?
Lias – I don’t really know (laughs), it depends on how we feel really on the night.
OD – We have seen the SXSW footage and the word that comes to mind is refreshing! You don’t come out and stare at your shoes and put on a live rehearsal. It’s a proper live show.
Lias – Yea, well it’s likely to have a spontaneous feel to the gig. We try to make it different every time and give it 100%. Something fresh and different. This will be our first ever show in Ireland.
OD – Have you ever been to Ireland?
Lias – Oh yea, I grew up in Galway and Tyrone and am fully aware of the culture and look forward to getting over there again.
OD – What is the plan for the near future?
Lias – We have been writing and are about to put a new single out in a month or two. We are playing a load of festivals including Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading, Greenman, Latitude and then we are off to America this year as well.
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