Time for a new spotlight! We’re talking to another one of our favourite York up-and-comers Fawn Spots. Two of the band members Jonathan Meager and Oliver Grabowski talk to us about their influences, live shows, and the very exciting near future.
S] You’re quite known for your use of effects and lively music. Are there any in-particular bands that have influenced this style?
JM] “We started off with an obsession with No Age and My Bloody Valentine, almost trying to ape them, but without the ability to carry it off. Recently we’ve become a lot more focused on the songs, and how we relate together when we write, live, and when we record. For pure song-writing it’s all about Comet Gain and Television Personalities, but for sound, style and energy it’s got to be Rites Of Spring, One Last Wish and Husker Du. Since FS got a second guitarist and a new drummer we’ve paired down the effects we’re using. We’ve thought a lot more about tone, so now most of what you hear is clean guitar and fuzz. It’s meant that we don’t have to stand looking at our feet the whole time.”
OG] “I think for me there were a couple of bands with that ‘big’ sound that really caught my attention recently, Milk Music being the main one, the idea of everything adding up to make one big instrument.”
S] How did the record deal with Southern Records come to be and how do you find working with them?
JM] “Well, it wasn’t really a deal as such, John Robb, editor of Louder than War, liked our song ‘Spanish Glass’, and used his Southerner imprint to put it out. They gave us some useful advice and we certainly learned from working with someone like him. John’s been really supportive ongoing; he helped us get on Incubate festival in Holland and is always good to go to for advice on stuff!”
S] What were the main inspiration for your debut EP ‘Mess’?
JM] “Our friend said we needed something recording so we just did it ourselves in the basement at City Screen – it was the quickest and easiest way. We used like five mics, just took a stereo track for the drums, and miked up the PA for vocals. At the time we could barely play the songs, or our instruments, so recording it like that just seemed logical and appropriate.”
S] What were the major challenges of recording it?
JM] “Being able to play the songs! Mixing it; at the time we had a bit of experience, but nothing to write home about, so we rushed our way through it. We screwed up a load of the cassettes we recorded on too as well, I think a whole bunch!”
S] And the best bits?
JM] “It’s probably the most honest representation of who we were at that time you could get – no one else was involved in the writing, recording, or production. It was two guys with little idea of what they were doing, but that’s how Fawn Spots started.”
S] You’ve got lots of upcoming shows for the near future. We’re sure you enjoy all of your live shows, but are there any in particular you’re looking forward to?
JM] “We’re playing at Flashback Records in London which will be awesome, a guy from Comet Gain works there so we’re really excited. We’ve got some booked in Los Angeles which will be a treat too – particularly at The Smell.”
OG] “There’s talk of maybe organising a BBQ afternoon show in LA: this really pleases me. I am just looking forward to LA in general – I don’t really know what to expect but I think it will be fun all round.”
S] As far as audiences go, how is it playing for the audiences of your home-town York?
JM] “It’s always good to play in front of friends who have been there since the beginning, and we really do appreciate those familiar faces coming down and seeing us time after time. I don’t think anyone else in York really cares, and why should they!”
OG] “It’s a bit of a strange one for me that I am just getting into now. The first show we played at Stereo (RIP) was very difficult for me as I wasn’t sure how it was going to go down with the line-up having changed. Then after a couple more shows I just stopped caring and I think that helped a lot. I love it now, the last show we did at Bar Lane with Ice Age was so much fun and everyone who came down were rather amazing.”
S] Are there any other audiences that have provided a memorable great atmosphere?
JM] “We were really welcomed in Belgium and Holland, people are really open to all sorts of stuff there. Always have a fun time playing at TyeDie Tapes in Sheffield too.”
OG] “Ah you see, there was that guy in Enschede [Netherlands] who called me a mothef*cker whilst he was high – he subsequently berated our friend with racial abuse (our friend has the nickname ‘Turkish’!). It was pretty funny – he was wearing leggings and it turns out that he used to be a world class cyclist.”
S] You’ve recently recorded a Christmas song for a compilation album to raise funds for the Tiny Lights Charity. What was the inspiration for you to do this?
JM] “Tiny Lights Records asked us to put something on their compilation after we played their space. I wrote and recorded the song in between the old drummer leaving and Oli and Sean transforming Fawn Spots. It’s got a six-year-old on it, as well as Jade [Blood]’s female vocals, fire-crackling and a synth. I thought the band was over so just had some fun. Turns out it wasn’t over.”
S] We’ve been wanting to ask for a while now, about the inspiration behind a couple of your songs, ‘Spanish Glass’ and ‘Age Old’?
JM] “’Age Old’ is probably the second song we wrote. As soon as I passed 21, I started feeling old and that it was getting too late to really do anything about it. Most people I know, that I like, are either older or younger than me. ’Spanish Glass’ is funny; the tune is from listening to too much Jay Reatard but not being able to play like him – we play it a lot faster now. The lyrics are based on this ‘uber-cool’ label that screwed over one of my friend’s genuinely great label…though later it turned out the story he told us was bullsh*t anyway. Ha!”
S] Any new exciting projects and plans for 2013 except from all the touring?
JM] “We have a split LP coming out with Cum Stain from California on February 18. It’s called ‘Wedding Dress’ and has cover art by Joey Fourr who used to sing in Tubelord. Burger Records are releasing the cassette. We’re going over to LA in January to tour for a week which will be fun. We want to go back to Europe too. Oh, and we’re going to release an album. It’s not going to be more than 40 minutes long. It’s going to be called ‘Rick Witter’s Indie Disco’.”