Fake Problems

By paul

Andy recently put some questions over to the guys in Fake Problems. here’s what singer/guitarist Chris Farren had to say…

PT: Hello! Who am I speaking to and what do you do in Fake Problems?

Chris Farren: My name is Chris and I play the guitar and sing in Fake Problems.

PT: Where are you in the world and what are you up to today?

CF: Today we are in sunny Naples, FL. Today is our day of preparation for our short journey to SXSW in Texas. Getting our merch together, rehearsing, packing, etc etc.

PT: How’s the weather where you are? It’s raining here.


PT: Right, the new record – “It’s great to be alive”. Tell me five reasons you think it’s great to be alive.

CF: Hmmm. Okay,
1. Our new record is finally out.
2. We’re going to SXSW to see some amazing bands – M. Ward, Cursive, The Hold Steady, Cancer Bats, Matt & Kim, Look Mexico, etc etc etc,
3. We’re going on tour with the Riverboat Gamblers right after that
4. We’re going on tour with William Elliott Whitmore right after the RBG tour
5. Because we’re all best friends havin’ a great time during all of that!

PT: What was the writing and recording process like for this album? Was it an album written on the road? How long a journey has it been from the first songs getting written to finally getting it out there?

CF: The songs were all written at home – I have a serious problem with not being able to write songs on tour. The first song written for the record was “There are Times”, which was written sometime around January 07. The last was “Too Cold To Hold” which was penned I think early April 08. We drove to Omaha, NE to shape our record with amazing producer AJ Mogis (Cursive, The Faint, Planes Mistaken for Stars). We went in with a really specific scope of what we wanted – with sheet music for the horn and string arrangements, every auxiliary instrument in hand, and notes for every song.

PT: What experiences shaped the lyrics on ‘it’s great to be Alive’?

CF: Every day life really. Something I think is a positive aspect of not being able to write songs on tour is that there are no songs about tour. I’m sick of songs about being in a band, songs about being on the road. It’s so boring.

PT: It’s an album that expands a multitude of genres – what bands or musicians have influenced your sound on the album?

CF: The Hold Steady, T. Rex, Bright Eyes, Cursive, The Faint, Weakerthans, Brand New, M. Ward

PT: What are your favourite songs off of ‘It’s Great to be Alive’ and why?

CF: My favorite song remains “There Are Times”, mainly because of the horn and string arrangements at the end. Our best friend Matt Agrella, of the band Look Mexico, arranged a plethora of beautiful sounds on a lot of the songs. He’s the best.

PT: How do you translate the songs live? There’s a whole mix of strings, horns and orchestral instruments in there, do you bring other musicians on the road with you?

CF: We’re working on getting extra people to come with us. Right now we’re practicing with a cello/mandolin player and it’s going great! We’d like to have a horn section if we can find the right people.

PT: In your opinion, how does ‘It’s Great to be Alive’ compare with ‘How Far Our Bodies Go’, lyrically and musically? How different are you as band now than when your previous album came out?

CF: The main difference is “How Far” was really such an improvised record. We had the basics of the songs written, but we really did a lot of screwing around with them in the studio. With “Alive”, we knew exactly what we wanted for every song – we had such a precise idea of where these songs would end up, how they would sound, how the should sound. Lyrically I’d like to think I’ve just gotten better at it – learning over the years of writing songs what works and what doesn’t. What connects and what alienates.

PT: You’ve released ‘The Dream Team’ as a single – the video looks like it was a hell of a lot of fun to make. What was the shoot for that like? How much input did you get on the creative side of it?

CF: Isaiah Seret was the mastermind behind the video – he’s done a lot of great work for other artists as well. We flew him down and shot the whole thing in Derek’s backyard. It actually was just a crazy party that we got on film.

PT: Right, you’ve announced some dates in the UK for October. Firstly, why do we have to wait so damn long?! Any chance you’ll be making appearance at any festivals on our shores this Summer?

CF: We’re hoping to come out for Reading & Leeds, but we’ll have to wait and see. We really love the UK, so much.

PT: Those October dates will be with Frank Turner. Are you guys fans of his?

CF: SUPER FANS! My friend Jeremy in California gave me a CD-R of “This guy I saw open for Jonah” and I was blown away. Casey Lee, our guitar player, loved it so much he released it on vinyl on his record label! So we brought Frank over twice and toured around with him the states, and now he’s returning the favor. Luckily for us, he’s a lot bigger in the UK than we are in the US.

PT: You were over here not so long ago playing a few dates with All Or Nothing. What do you like/dislike about touring the UK? How different is life on the road for a band here than in the States?

CF: You guys never turn on your heaters at your houses when it’s cold. I recall almost freezing to death in someone’s living room. Turn your heaters on! If you have a heater, and it’s cold – make it hot.

PT: You’re a band renowned for their long stints on tour. What do you miss most when on tour for long periods and what do you do to keep yourselves busy on the road?

CF: We watch/download a lot of TV shows and keep our minds stimulated through that. It’s only hard the first few weeks of not sleeping in your own bed, not being able to have any real free will, missing loved ones – but you get in the swing of it after awhile and if you love what you do, you’ll appreciate your time on the road.

PT: Finally, what are you most excited about in 2009? What are your musical predictions for the coming year?

CF: I’m excited to go on many tours and interested to see our growth as a band and what kind of new songs we come up with. I also hope to tour with THE HOLD STEADY.

PT: Thanks for your time, anything you’d like to add?

CF: Thank you! We really, really appreciate it!!!

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]