It’s all going on for Fear of Men at the moment. They’ve got a new single out, and they’ve just come back from a national tour supporting Best Coast. We catch up with Jess Weiss and Dan Falvey to hear first hand how things are going for the band.
I kick things off by asking about the new single, released on 7″, called Green Sea. It’s a woozy slice of guitar pop that’s a bit more layered than their previous releases. In a moment of clumsiness, I stumble over the word murky to describe it. Dan laughs and replies that their producer had actually used the phrase “less murky” to describe how he wanted the record to sound, but that the band pushed back against that: “with Ritual Confession, the vocal was higher and that was something we were battling against too”. Jess tells me that the lyrics come from a stream of consciousness on relationships referencing things as far and wide as Philip Larkin and Greek mythology.
The 7″ is pressed on white vinyl, which struck me as possibly a wasted opportunity to tie the colour in the title with the colour of the disc, but Dan and Jess make a point of not doing the obvious thing, like not making the record sleeve green either, and not having the sea in the video despite being so close to it.
Instead, the video was filmed in Dan’s living room, on a budget of fifteen pounds – the cost of train travel from London for the guy who filmed it. Everything else in the video was just stuff they had around. This was as much about the will of the band as cost though – “We get sent treatments from people and we think ‘that’s just not like us at all’. They’re just trying to put their own idea and our song would just be the background to it, so we’d much rather get involved and make something more our own” Jess says.
The band put their recent support slot with Best Coast down to will and persistence too. It’s easy to understand why when you hear that without Best Coast, Fear of Men may not have even formed – Dan and Jess were at the front row of their gig at Horatio’s for The Great Escape Festival in 2010, and that gig was the inspiration needed for Jess to start playing electric guitar. Two years on and they’re sharing a stage. The Brighton date was the last night of the tour, but Dan and Jess didn’t get to show Beth Cosentino and Bobb Bruno the bright lights of their hometown because Best Coast had to leave for the Isle of White Festival at 4am.
The Coalition show was their last Brighton date for a few months, because the band are stepping away from things for the summer to work on making their upcoming album as good as it can be. “I want to put out something that we’re really proud of and is a real statement of what we want to say, rather than something that if we had had another month to work on it or put some more time in it would have been better” Jess says.
On now to the band’s name. Fear of Men aren’t an all girl band (there’s a 50/50 gender split in the members) and their name isn’t as simple as being a direct feminist statement: “It came about by accident. I was writing about weird medical disorders, and I was looking through a book and found androphobia which was defined as fear of men and I thought that was a good name, but I like it because it sounds quite cruel and succinct, and evocative, and I like it because it brings in the kind of mortality thing of what men fear, of what we’re all facing” Jess tells me.
The band were unfazed by their appearance on the cover of Brighton Source last year, and seemed a little surprised that I suggested that they might have felt the pressure from a magazine cover so early in their career. Instead, it reaffirmed their love for Source Magazine, and for a town that supports its local talent. “Before I came to Brighton I used to live in Southampton, which didn’t really have much of a music scene. It was a much smaller place with without much culture. But I used to go to Manchester and be really impressed that everyone was behind the bands. I really like how the Source always have someone local on the cover, when they could have any of the big names visiting the city” Dan says.
Finally, with no local gigs on the horizon, and the band disappearing off to write their album for the summer, I ask them what they have got for us to look forward to. The next release is going to be another 7″, coming out on the legendary Too Pure record label, due in mid October. “We’re very excited about that one – it’s going to get mastered at Abbey Road” Dan tells me.
Green Sea is out now on Sexbeat records.