Monday, November 14, 2011

Fake Problems Interview with front man Chris Farren and guitarist Casey Lee

Photo by Bryan Sheffield
 Fake Problems, the Naples Florida group made up of vocalist/guitarist Chris Farren, bassist Derek Perry, drummer Sean Stevenson and guitarist Casey Lee have gained a great deal of attention since the release of their second full-length album, Real Ghosts Caught on Tape. On this record, the band flawlessly combines a wide variety of genres to create a unique one-of-a-kind sound. Currently the group is working on new songs for their next full-length record.
I had the chance to briefly speak with guitarist/ vocalist Chris Farren and guitarist Casey Lee, before their show with Carter Hulsey, A  Rocket to the Moon, Plain White T’s and Never Shout Never.
For more information on the band, and latest tour dates please check out their website:
How has the tour been thus far?
Farren: it's different. We been touring for six years, and it's the first time we've ever been on a tour like this before. I mean, we've been on the force before but we haven't played for such a youthful audience. But it's cool because I think about how excited I was to go to a show when I was 13, it's really exciting. We’re shaping their brains to like the music.
Lee: They’re that young that their skulls are still soft. They're basically newborns, so that's how we are shaping their brains, physically. I go out into the crowd every night and do at least five or six. Want to know how I make them? Long. Real long. So in about 10 years, you see some guy walking around anywhere we go with a really long face, you'll be like "Hey have you ever seen Fake Problems live?” An they’ll be like “no, I just have a really long face (Laughs)."
Farren: “Yeah, people ask me that all the time (laughs)."
As far as new music goes are you guys working on anything new right now?
Farren: We’re just writing I guess. We’ve been talking with Ted Hutt, the producer of the last record, just making another record. Is coming together kind of slowly, but are we definitely writing as many songs as normal.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys?
Farren: Usually all write a song on my computer or acoustic guitar, and then we'll just bring it all together and write our own parts to it and everything like that.
Are you a continual writer?
 Farren: Like constantly? Any time we’re at home, I'm writing songs.
Listening to the last album, you guys definitely seem to pull together a variety of genres. Why doyou think that is so? Is it because you guys have completely different influences?
Lee: Yeah, I think it's because we have different influences and we are all over the board anyways. It makes sense that sounds like a mishmash.
Farren: Also, definitely on our last record I think it all comes to a cohesive level or point.
What kind of genres do you think mix in? I hear a bunch of different stuff personally.
Farren: We used to be pretty heavy on country, I’m not to say it's gone away, but it's definitely not the primary thing anymore.
Why do you think that is?
Farren: Once you do something for long enough, you're like “well, I know how to do that. Let's see what else I can do." On Real Ghost Caught on Tape, we tried to make classic pop arrangement songs, a lot like the Phil Spector and Girl Group arrangements. That was the emphasis for sure.
Before you guys began writing and recording, did you have an idea of what direction you wanted to go in?
Farren: Not before we began writing. Usually how will go is I will probably write 20 songs and there will be like five, that sound like this, and five that sound like this. There are a few different directions, whatever direction we are most excited about steers us.
Are they for songs? Or are they just ideas?
 Farren: Yeah, they're always full songs. Sometimes they might just be acoustic, but rarely will I just bring a riff or part of the song. That seems like it would be annoying, four people trying to write one song (laughs). I mean we all write the songs, but that would specifically be a weird process.
Casey do you bring any songs in specifically?
Lee: I would never (laughs), let them be part of the genius in my brain. I don't think they deserve it. Everyone else is pretty good, but I don't know if you noticed, I'm pretty amazing.
Farren: we do have one Casey's songs on How Far Our Bodies Go, called “Crest on the Chest.” We named it after his own tattoo (laughs).
Lee: I did not name it. I was too distracted with shaping heads and writing more genius ideas down.
Who are some people that you guys are into right now? Anyone you specifically see shaping your music?
Farren: I have just been listening to podcasts. I'm really into podcasts right now.
Which podcasts?
Farren: I like Comedy Big Bang, Professor Blastoff, WTF, Adam Corrolla, the Nerdist, the Judge John Hodgeman and This American Life.
Lee: I like a few the podcasts.
Farren: Casey and I are going to make our own podcast, called “Gabbin’”. It's just, at least once in seen I try to go for a walk around town that we are in, like maybe walk to Starbucks, and just the whole way there we talk about stuff and then we play some games. Casey has some games where the stakes are that if I guess some correctly…
Lee: I will buy whatever he want wherever we go. I usually pick where we go (laughs).
Farren: I can't think of any music right now, specifically.
What were some of the main influences when the band began?
Farren: They were mostly “saddle creek” bands like Bright Eyes, Cursive, the Faint and Rilo Kiley. Just all the kind of early 2000's indie rock. That got us into more classic country music.
Like who?
Lee: Randy Travis (while pointing at was shirt). We have a 7 inch of a Waylon Jennings cover, so that makes us cool (laughs). So if anyone is listening or reading, if you are wondering if we are cool or not, I am. We are.
I'm excited to see you guys play tonight, and I've heard you guys have a pretty energetic show?
Farren: These shows are some of the funniest shows that we’ve ever played, because the crowds are so different.
Do you find yourself calming it down when you're on stage?
Farren: No! I kick it up a notch for sure. When I'm playing shows, I don't feel as judged as I normally do. I'm free to do whatever I want. Don't get me wrong, I love playing with The Gaslight Anthem and Murder by Death, but the crowds consist of a bunch of old jaded dudes. These kids are just impressed by you walking out on stage (laughs).
What do you have coming up after the tour?
Farren: We are going to be home for the holidays and then I don't know! Write 20 or 30 more songs? Who knows?

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