Wednesday 7 November 2007

Nevermind your Vice-endorsed lifestyle-approved Top Shop-bought electrosleazehipsterbootycrunk, the next big thing, a second time around, is shoegazing. Over the last few years there's been a slow groundswell of dazzling music from bands and producers like M83, Ulrich Schnauss, Pluramon, Guitar and many more all utilising the shoegazing template that is now over a decade old, but reinvigorating it with new meaning.

Plenty of UK based musicians are exploring the sound such as
Orange Yellow Red and now Bristol four piece THE FAUNS. Here at BUG we're a sucker for a melody and being longtime fans of the first wave of bands like MBV and Slowdive, it was with great interest that we perked up our ears when we heard their music playing in notorious basement record mecca Prime Cuts. There was plenty to love in that sound, as much a hark back to another time as it was a look to the future. So we caught up with Fauns founder Mike for a quick chat ahead of their next gig at THE CROFT on Sat 24 Nov as part of the Invada "Secret Garden" CD Compilation launch party.

So where did it begin for The Fauns, how did you guys get together?

"The Fauns began with myself and an idea that perhaps it isn't hard to put a band together, kind of a challenge to myself. Nine months ago I couldn't play an instrument and had no band experience. At that point it was very hard to explain to people what I was trying to do... I was so lucky that Emily could see the potential and as soon as we had vocals it was easier to recruit Oli on guitar and Oliver on bass. We're consciously not using a drummer at the moment until we're comfortable with the live thing."

What was the thinking behind the name?

"Originally it was going to be "The Thorns" but I found that it was taken. I do however have a slight South London accent so I pronounce my "th"s as "f"s so all along I was saying "The Fauns" anyway. The name stuck, I then saw "Pan's Labyrinth" and that sealed it. Fauns are playful yet have a dark side, I guess that's what we're trying to do musically, also it will look good on a t-shirt. I'll die a happy man if we have a t-shirt for the band."

Was it a conscious decision to look to shoegazing as a genre for inspiration?

"Very much so. I'm purist when it comes to musical genres... I think Bristol has a tendency towards bands that are "a bit funky, a bit ska and a bit hip hop" which is fine but not for us. I just wanted to say straight down the line when asked that we're a shoegazing band. I always felt that shoegazing was about to return so I think this genre specific decision was right, it seems that we're in the right genre at the right time."

How do you feel as a band you adapt or alter that template?

"Hmmm... It's hard to say as shoegazing is a very narrow genre and it's quite hard to alter before it becomes something else. It sounds funny but there are unwritten rules that need to be followed for a band to be a shoegazing band just as there are rules for other genres. I try not to think too much about our take on shoegazing. Our influences are quite obvious and I’m proud of those influences but I think that we have our own sound. A lot of this is down to Emily I think."

How do you see the movement adapting for 2008?

"It's an exciting time. There has been a proliferation of home recording technology and easy access to the sorts of effects needed to make these sounds. Now there are hundreds of shoe gazing bands around the world with Myspace providing a forum for them. It's a family and Ulrich Schnauss seems to be at the head of the table (such a nice guy). I think the difference between shoegazing then and shoegazing now is the electronica influence, I like it but we're trying not to go down that route too much."

What's next for The Fauns?

"We're babies really so the priority is getting ready for our first live gigs and writing like mad. Surprisingly we've been contacted by two indie record labels (one in the UK, the other in Japan) asking if we would like to do an album. It looks like they tend to different territories so we can deal with them both... So... Looks like we're doing an album. We're very excited."

Give us a Top 5 (of anything)!

"Top five shoegazing classics and the places you should listen to them for full effect...

1) My Bloody Valentine "Cigarette In Your Bed"... In bed, with your mad love whilst having sex (cigarette optional).

2) Loop "Collision"... Whilst walking home in the dark in a black mood, with your ipod up full blast.

3) Ride "Vapour Trail"... On a train, after being dumped by your girlfriend/boyfriend who has gone off traveling.

4) Lush "Sweetness & Light"... When you are in the company of someone special to you.

5) Slowdive "Catch The Breeze"... Alone by candlelight, getting stuck into your second bottle of Southern Comfort."


The Fauns - "The Sun Is Cruising" MP3