Emerging four-piece FAUNSHEAD are bringing their rock’n’roll vibes to London with a duo of shows. Mostly inspired by 70’s psychedelic rock, 80’s punk and 90’s grunge and stoner rock, FAUNSHEAD bring a bold new rock sound set to cause havoc in the mosh pit. Recently the band have unleashed their debut album Can’t Dance, an incredibly well-composed project with electrifying guitar riffs and basslines.
I caught up with the leadsinger Matt, and we chatted about poetry, Berlin and many more interesting topics! Check it out below!
Can you give me an introduction to your band for those who don’t know you?
We’re a rock band and we all come from very different backgrounds. I’m from New York, the drummer from Tirol, the bassplayer from Lisbon and the guitar player is from Rome, Italy. I guess we all grew up listening to the same influences of music, it ranges from rock’n roll and jazz. I went to a Jazz school, Francesco went to Berkeley and we all met in Berlin. I had a nice opportunity to finish my major in Europe so I moved there and I met those guys. I started FAUNSHEAD on my own and originally it had a different line-up, but it’s been like this since 2015.
So did you meet the new members at jazz school?
Not really actually. I went to record an EP with the previous line-up at some studio in Berlin and there I meet the engineer with who I became friends later and I studied composition and arrangements and obviously it was what drove me cause I’ve been in bands since a little kid I guess but I had an idea to build a production company and own a studio. When I was in Berlin, I worked on a lot of projects and figured it would be nice to have our own gig. So I rented a studio for a second EP and for various reasons the three members just left so I was kind of auditioning musicians and eventually these guys felt right with and that’s how it came about.
…who came up with the band name? What is the meaning behind it?
Oh, a lot of people ask me that because the name is kind of peculiar. The story is better than the name, though. When I decided to head out with the project I had a friend who is a writer and lives in Paris. He helped me out with the website, and we were looking for a band name that was also a domain name that wasn’t totally exhausted by the internet, you know what I mean? I was always fond of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud and there’s this book which includes lots of his work. I remember it was always on my nightstand and I used to read it all the time, so my friend was like let’s look in there, there has to be something good in there. So there was one poem called Faunshead, it’s a metaphor which describes Arthur Rimbaud homo-sexual relationship with another poet from his time. My friend kind of really liked the meaning behind it and it never hit me until then. It’s just funny how it’s written. Of course it’s an allegory but it’s one faun – half goat, half man – and goes around seducing nymphs and my friend was like this is you. Obviously it was a joke but the name just stuck.
You founded in Berlin, why is it that you moved to London? Was Berlin too techno?
Yeah, and it’s just very clubby. The German market is very conservative, they are extremely peculiar in how they pick their newcomers. Even the newcomers who sing English but are German just sound really German. About us, they said it’s just really indie when it’s not. Whenever they cannot categorise music, they just don’t like it. When we played shows, the audience did not expect that and gave us great feedback though. But distributing our stuff was difficult as well as booking shows. None of us is German and it kind of went naturally that we moved to London. Here people are more excited about our music and much more open-minded to newcomers, the British mind-set is simply great. No wonder movements like Grime are coming from here – they are just so open-minded for something new. For me, the vibe in London makes me feel closer to home.
Having in mind that you’re influenced by genres from the 70’s-90’s such as rock and grunge – are there any artists from back then that you look up to and who you draw inspiration from for your sound?
We really listen to a lot of stuff. A few artists come back though. Queens Of The Stone Age for example. Also quite a lot of old school hip hop stuff like Public Enemy and Cypress Hill – it rocks! The bass player is a huge D’Angelo fan. Francesco, the lead guitarist is so into Frank Zappa, it can be really annoying sometimes haha! It’s pretty cool though, because different techniques come together.
Tell me about your album Can’t Dance! What was your approach when writing those songs?
The new record is basically about us finding ourselves, coming to a new place and leaving home. Berlin is a very aggressive city but very sexy. It reminds me of a kid, it had that vibe of a 90’s east side village, and seducing at the same time. It’s not easy to live in Berlin. There are lots of bands so you just have to go through that ocean. You think you can fulfil your dreams but then it kicks in your face and we all kind of felt that.
So you played your first show at The Fiddlers Elbow in London last night, a well-known music venue! How was the experience? Was it your first time performing there?
We did a show last September at the same place and were really happy with it so we wanted to come back. So we gave the guys over there a call and they had a slot for us yesterday. It was really cool. We were in Switzerland the week before so we were really tired but played the best we’ve ever had.
What else can we expect from you this year?
We’re doing a lot of shows! Also a festival, close to Leeds. Also a few gigs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We’re also going to release more videos, with a videographer we have previously worked with and he has amazing ideas. We also want to release live videos of just us playing.
Listen to their album Can’t Dance below:
Catch them at New Cross Inn, London, on Sunday May 28th!