Committing to email interviews with talent can be a tricky thing. Often times, wit and/or humor - attempts at it anyway - can get lost in translation and you run the risk of a piece coming off lamer than the last 20 minutes of Machete Kills! Thankfully, that wasn't the case with Fanfarlo's Simon Balthazar, who fielded an online Q&A like a webbed-toed tennis pro, returning funny, meaningful questions (methinks anyway) with far better answers via the information superhighway that Al Gore literally built with his bare man hands. Balthazar and his London band just dropped their third studio album, Let's Go Extinct, yesterday and performed "Landlocked" off it exclusively for A-Sides last week and it's all kinds of goodness. The aforementioned email interview followed it shortly thereafter, but let me just say this: the best musicians don't just sing, they paint pictures with their songwriting. Fanfarlo do both so darn well you almost hate them for it. OK, love is a better word. The band is on tour in the states starting in San Diego March 24 and ending in D.C. a month or so later. Get those dates and more right here. But first, sit back and watch their poignant performance of "Landlocked," and grab a cup of something hot (it's frickin' cold in New York anyway), and read through that email interview below.
Let's Go Extinct is an interesting album title for a band who has had the legs you've had, and by "legs" I mean each of your individual, respective legs - not your stamina in the industry.
Over here they call legs "pins". A rather surreal image of people walking around on some sort of long pointy stilts, if you ask me. "Let's Go Extinct" refers to the human race and not the band Fanfarlo, but luckily we've never had to explain that up until now.
Watching your work, I have to ask - is there an instrument out there you guys haven't used on a song or in a set?
Paul Simon once spent a week with the studio floor covered in coke bottles, on his hands and knees trying to find "that perfect coke bottle sound". We haven't used coke bottles yet. But we did once dig up an old rusty radiator out of the ground behind the studio trying to create the perfect junkyard sound.
There's always a special visual element to each of your albums or shows - how annoying was it to perform a song for me with literally no strings attached?
We've actually been quite enjoying deconstructing the songs from the new record into acoustic versions. Had you asked us a year ago I'm not so sure.
2014 has started off pretty rotten. Bieber's getting arrested everyday. Philip Seymour Hoffman died. The Chili Peppers didn't play their instruments on the Super Bowl - name me a few things I can look forward to this year.
For all I care the Super Peppers can drown in their Chili Bowl, but I'm still holding out for a worldwide release of the last Jodorowsky film. In the meantime I suppose we can all at least look forward to a new episode of True Detective.
What's the tour schedule look like? Do festivals ever get in the way of an album-pushing mindset?
We'll do most of the club and theatre touring this spring, one month in Europe and one month in North America. After that we're hoping to finally go to South America! Although I'm probably jinxing that right now, aren't I?
Nah... Backtracking, did that last question I asked make sense?
Broccoli and cheddar omelet.
Well stated. What's the story behind the story behind the story of the band?
Before the globetrotting superstars you see before you today, there was a band playing all the indie clubs in London and releasing 7-inch singles on mates' labels. It's hard to spend 5 minutes in this town without starting a band. But before there was a band, there were some bedroom recordings back in Sweden.
Did that last question I asked make sense?
Curly kale quesadilla.
No thanks. Last question... cue the violins...You've been together for a bunch of years. How do you stay sane in an insane industry?
It helps being a bit insane to start with.
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Thus far artists who have appeared on the series include: fun, American Authors, Imagine Dragons (interview only), Jake Miller, Gary Clark Jr., Sleigh Bells (interview only), Dispatch, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, San Fermin, and more!
A-Sides' 2nd Possibly Annual Pop Goes the Culture is set!