Tag: Fake Teak

TEC’s 2019 End Of Year Review

2019 was a year of 40th Anniversaries, celebrating the synth becoming the sound of pop when ‘Are Friends Electric?’ reached No1 in the UK chart in 1979.

While GARY NUMAN opted for ‘(R)evolution’ and two of his former sidemen RRussell Bell and Chris Payne ventured solo for the first time, OMD offered a 7 disc ‘Souvenir’ featuring a whole album of quality unreleased material to accompany a concert tour to celebrate four decades in the business.

That was contrary to DEPECHE MODE who merely plonked 14 albums into a boxed set in a move where the ‘Everything Counts’ lyric “the grabbing hands grab all they can” became more and more ironic…

MIDGE URE partied like it was 1980 with the music of VISAGE and ULTRAVOX, while SIMPLE MINDS announced an arena tour for 2020 so that their audience could show Jim Kerr their hands again. HEAVEN 17 announced some special showcases of the early material of THE HUMAN LEAGUE and got a particularly warm reception opening on tour for SQUEEZE as a trailer ahead of their own ‘Greatest Hits’ jaunt next year.

Celebrating 20 years in music, there was the welcome return of LADYTRON with a self-titled comeback album, while Swedish evergreens LUSTANS LAKEJER performed the ‘Åkersberga’ album for its 20th Anniversary and similarly GOLDFRAPP announced a series of shows in honour of their magnificent cinematic debut ‘Felt Mountain’.

Cult favourites FIAT LUX made their intimate live comeback in a church in Bradford and released their debut album ‘Saved Symmetry’ 37 years after their first single ‘Feels Like Winter Again’.

As a result, their fans were also treated to ‘Ark Of Embers’, the long player that Polydor Records shelved in 1985 when the band were on the cusp of a breakthrough but ended with a commercial breakdown.

Modern prog exponents Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson got back together as NO-MAN for their dual suite electronic concept record ‘Love You To Bits’, but an even more ambitious undertaking came from UNDERWORLD with their boxed set ‘Drift Series 1’.

Also making live returns were one-time PET SHOP BOYS protégé CICERO with a charity gig in his hometown of Livingston, WHITE DOOR with JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM at Synth Wave Live 3, ARTHUR & MARTHA at TEC005 and Mute Records veterans KOMPUTER at TEC006.

After a short hiatus, the mighty KITE sold-out three gigs at Stockholm Slaktkyrkan and ended the year performing at an opera house, while GIORGIO MORODER embarked on his first ever concert tour where his songs were the stars.

Although their long-awaited-as-yet-untitled third album was still to materialise, VILE ELECTRODES went back on the road in Europe with APOPTYGMA BERZERK and THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT. Meanwhile, Chinese techno-rock sextet STOLEN opened for NEW ORDER on their Autumn European tour and EMIKA performed in a series of Planetariums.

Despite the fall of The Berlin Wall 30 years ago, there were more evident swipes to the right than there had been for a long time, with the concept of Brexit Electro becoming a rather unpleasant reality. So in these more sinister times, the need for classic uplifting electronic pop was higher than ever.

To that end, three superb debut albums fitted the bill. While KNIGHT$ offered quality Britalo on ‘Dollars & Cents’, the suave presence of OLLIE WRIDE took a more MTV friendly direction with ‘Thanks In Advance’.

But for those wanting something more home produced, the eccentric Northern electronic pop of the brilliantly named INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP continued the artistic lineage of THE HUMAN LEAGUE.

QUIETER THAN SPIDERS finally released their wonderful debut album ‘Signs Of Life’ which was naturally more understated and Denmark had some worthy synthpop representation with SOFTWAVE producing an enjoyably catchy debut long player in ‘Game On’.

On the shadier side of electronic pop, BOY HARSHER achieved a wider breakthrough with their impressive ‘Careful’ long player but as a result, the duo acquired a contemporary hipster element to their fanbase who seemed to lack manners and self-awareness as they romped around gigs without a care for anyone around them. But with tongues-in-cheeks, SPRAY continued to amuse with their witty prankelectro on ‘Failure Is Inevitable’.

Photo by Johnny Jewel

Italians Do It Better kept things in house as CHROMATICS unexpectedly unleashed their first album for six years in ‘Closer To Grey’ and embarked on a world tour.

Main support was DESIRE and accompanied on keyboards by HEAVEN singer Aja, the pair took things literally during their cover version of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ with a girl-on-girl kiss in front of head honcho Johnny Jewel.

Other ITIB acts on the tour dependent on territory included DOUBLE MIXTE, IN MIRRORS and KRAKÓW LOVES ADANA. But the best work to appear from the stable came from JORJA CHALMERS who became ‘Human Again’.

There were a variety of inventive eclectic works from FAKE TEAK, MAPS, FINLAY SHAKESPEARE, ULTRAMARINE, TYCHO, THE GOLDEN FILTER, FRAGRANCE. and FADER. Meanwhile VON KONOW, SOMEONE WHO ISN’T ME and JAKUZI all explored themes of equality while BOYTRONIC preferred ‘The Robot Treatment’.

But expressing themselves on the smoother side of proceedings were CULT WITH NO NAME and notably SHOOK who looked east towards the legend of YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA.

Dark minimalism reigned in the work of FRAGILE SELF and WE ARE REPLICA while no less dark but not so aggressive, WITCH OF THE VALE cemented their position with a well-received opening slot at Infest.

Touring in Europe with OMD and MIDGE URE, TINY MAGNETIC PETS unleashed two EPs ‘The Politburo Disko’ and ‘Girl In A White Dress’ as fellow Dubliner CIRCUIT3 got political and discussed ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’.

2019 was a year of electronic instrumental offerings galore from NEULAND, RICARDO AUTOBAHN, EKKOES, M83, RELIEF, FEMMEPOP and OBLONG, although ERIC RANDOM’s dystopian offering ‘Wire Me Up’ added vocoder while BRIAN ENO celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing ‘For All Mankind’.

The King of Glum Rock LLOYD COLE surprised all with an electronic pop album called ‘Guesswork’ just as PET SHOP BOYS set an ‘Agenda’. HOWARD JONES released his most synthy work for years in ‘Transform’ and while CHINA CRISIS acted as his well-received support on the UK leg of his 35th Anniversary tour, their front man GARY DALY ventured solo with ‘Gone From Here’.

Among the year’s best new talents were IMI, KARIN MYGRETAGEISTE and ALICE HUBBLE with their beautifully crafted avant pop.

And with the media traction of artists such as GEORGIA, REIN, JENNIFER TOUCH, SUI ZHEN, THE HEARING, IONNALEE, PLASMIC, ZAMILSKA, IOANNA GIKA, SPELLLING, KANGA, FIFI RONG and I AM SNOW ANGEL, the profile of women in electronic music was stronger than ever in 2019.

Sweden continued to produce quality electronic pop with enjoyable releases from the likes of MACHINISTA, PAGE, COVENANT, OBSESSION OF TIME and LIZETTE LIZETTE. One of the most interesting acts to emerge from the region was US featuring the now Stockholm-domiciled Andrew Montgomery from GENEVA and Leo Josefsson of LOWE, with the catalyst of this unlikely union coming from a shared love of the late country legend Glen Campbell. Meanwhile, veteran trio DAYBEHAVIOR made the best album of their career ‘Based On A True Story’.

However, Canada again gave the Swedes a good run for their money as ELECTRIC YOUTH and FM ATTACK released new material while with more of a post-punk slant, ACTORS impressed audiences who preferred a post-post-punk edge alongside their synths. DANA JEAN PHOENIX though showed herself to be one of the best solo synth performers on the live circuit, but artistically the best of the lot was MECHA MAIKO who had two major releases ‘Okiya’ and ‘Let’s!’.

Despite making some good music in 2019 with their ‘Destroyer’ two-parter, the “too cool for school” demeanour of TR/ST might have impressed hipsters, but left a lot to be desired. A diva-ish attitude of entitlement was also noticed by The Electricity Club to be disappointingly prevalent in several fledgling acts.

Synthwave increased its profile further with the film ‘The Rise Of The Synths’ narrated by none other than John Carpenter. MICHAEL OAKLEY released his debut album ‘Introspect’, BETAMAXX was ‘Lost In A Dreamworld’, COM TRUISE came up with a ‘Persuasion System’ and NEW ARCADES were ‘Returning Home’.

Scene veteran FUTURECOP! collaborated with PARALLELS, COMPUTER MAGIC and NINA prior to a hiatus for the foreseeable future, while there were promising new talents emerging in the shape of POLYCHROME, PRIZM, BUNNY X and RIDER.

However, several of the sub-genre’s artists needed to rethink their live presentations which notably underwhelmed with their static motions and lack of engagement.

While promoters such as Outland developed on their solid foundations, others attempted to get too big too soon like the musical equivalent of a penis extension, leaving fans disappointed and artists unpaid. Attempting to turnover more than 10 acts during in a day with a quarter of an hour changeover has always been an odious task at best, but to try 15?!? One hopes the headliners were well paid despite having to go on at midnight when most of their supporters went home so as not to miss the last train…

Now at times, it was as if a major collective midlife crisis had hit independent electronic music in the UK during 2019.

It was not unlike how “born again bikers” have become a major road safety risk, thanks to 40somethings who only managed Cycling Proficiency in Junior School suddenly jumping onto 500cc Honda CMX500 Rebel motorcycles, thinking they were Valentino Rossi.

Something similar was occurring in music as a variety of posturing delusional synth owners indulged in a remix frenzy and visions of grandeur like it was normal behaviour, forgetting that ability and talent were paramount.

This attitude led to a number of poorly attended events where attendees were able to be counted on one hand, thanks to clueless fans of said combos unwisely panning their video footage around the venue.

Playing at 3:15pm in an empty venue is NOT performing at a ‘major’ electronic festival… “I’ll be more selective with the gigs I agree to in the UK” one of these acts haplessly bemoaned, “I’ve played to too many empty rooms!” – well, could that have been because they are not very good?

Bands who had blown their chance by not showing willingness to open for name acts during holiday periods, while making unwise comments on their national TV debut about their lack of interest in registering for PRS, said they were going to split a year in advance, but not before releasing an EP and playing a farewell show in an attempt to finally get validation for their art. Was this a shining example of Schrodinger’s Band?

Of course, the worst culprits were those who had an internet radio show or put on gigs themselves so that they could actually perform, because otherwise external promotors were only interested in them opening at 6.15pm after a ticket deal buy on for a five band bill. Humility wouldn’t have gone amiss in all these cases.

It’s a funny old world, but as The Electricity Club comes up to concluding its tenth year as an influential platform that has written extensively about not one or two or three or four BUT five acts prior to them being selected to open on tour for OMD, luckily the gulf between good and bad music is more distinct than ever.

Artwork by Heloisa Flores

The Electricity Club had a compilation released by Amour Records gathering some of the best music from the last 10 years and reached No2 in the German POPoNAUT charts.

It will be interesting to see if the high standard of electronic pop will be maintained or whether the influx of deluded poor quality artists will contaminate the bloodline.

So The Electricity Club ends the decade with a complimentary comment by a punter after TEC006 who had also been to TEC004: “You don’t put on sh*t do you…”

May the supreme talent rise and shine… you know who you are 😉


THE ELECTRICITY CLUB Contributor Listings of 2019

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: UNDERWORLD Drift Series 1
Best Song: MOLINA Venus
Best Gig: RAMMSTEIN at Milton Keynes MK Bowl
Best Video: SCALPING Chamber
Most Promising New Act: SCALPING


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: NO-MAN Love You To Bits
Best Song: NO-MAN Love You To Shreds
Best Gig: RAMMSTEIN at Stadion Slaski Chorzow
Best Video: RAMMSTEIN Deutschland
Most Promising New Act: IMI


SIMON HELM

Best Album: PAGE Fakta För Alla
Best Song: PAGE Fakta För Alla
Best Gig: LAU NAU at London Cafe OTO
Best Video: LAU NAU Amphipoda on Buchla 200 at EMS Stockholm
Most Promising New Act: THE HIDDEN MAN


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: KNIGHT$ Dollar & Cents
Best Song: OMD Don’t Go
Best Gig: KITE at Stockholm Slaktkyrkan
Best Video: NIGHT CLUB Your Addiction
Most Promising New Act: IMI


RICHARD PRICE

Best Album: KNIGHT$ Dollar & Cents
Best Song: OMD Don’t Go
Best Gig: MIDGE URE + RUSTY EGAN at The London Palladium
Best Video: IMI Margins
Most Promising New Act: PLASMIC


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: MECHA MAIKO Let’s
Best Song: KANGA Burn
Best Gig: DANA JEAN PHOENIX, KALAX + LEBROCK at London Zigfrid von Underbelly
Best Video: IONNALEE Open Sea
Most Promising New Act: PRIZM


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Ian Ferguson
16th December 2019

FAKE TEAK Achmelvich 1 EP

With diverse influences such as Krautrock, Afrobeat, funk, rock and electronica, FAKE TEAK released their self-titled debut album in 2018 with the quirky HOT CHIP influenced danecefloor friendly ‘No Shame’ being one of its highlights.

But for their latest release, the London-based quartet of Andrew Wyld, Alastair Nicholls Joanna Wyld and Andrea Adriano have taken a back-to-basics approach, journeying to a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands for inspiration in a road trip up past Inverness and north-west to a small settlement called Achmelvich.

FAKE TEAK have used the loch side location as a retreat free from the usual pressures of life to relax, write, rehearse and record. The fruits of these retreats form a series of EPs, the first of which is ‘Achmelvich 1’. With the practical and artistic restriction of just guitar, bass, drums and a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer as their only tools, in an interesting move, regular lead vocalist Andrew Wyld takes a back seat as his bandmates take to the mic. ‘Panel Beater’ sees Alastair Nicholls go first with a funk laden tune punctuated with burst of synth.

Although voiced by the choir girl soprano of Joanna Wyld, musically ‘Prufrock’ recalls the ballads of John Grant, an artist whose more recent output has partly been inspired by his relocation to Iceland. Lyrically, TS Eliot’s ’The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ is one of the sources of inspirations. There are hints too of earlier Jeff Lynne-led ELO like ‘One Summer Dream’, something that is also has a subtle omnipresence on ‘Carousel’; string synth driven but more gently lilting rhythmically, Andrea Adriano’s introspective lead voice is beautifully harmonised by Joanna Wyld.

The pared down nature of these very good songs however does leave the listener wanting more aesthetically; it’s not difficult to imagine them reworked with more synths and drum machines, and it’s interesting that drummer Andrea Adriano in his dual role producer utilises a Linn Drum snare type sound on ‘Panel Beater’.

With further EPs in the ‘Achmelvich’ series to come, this is certainly an adventurous experiment where the earthier honesty of the songs are the main focus rather than the instrumentation.


‘Achmelvich 1’ is available on the usual digital platforms including CD Baby at https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/FakeTeak

https://www.facebook.com/faketeak/

https://twitter.com/faketeak

https://www.instagram.com/faketeak/

https://soundcloud.com/faketeak


Text by Chi Ming Lai
8th August 2019

FAKE TEAK Fake Teak

FAKE TEAK were actually first name checked on The Electricity Club by VILE ELECTRODES back in 2011.

With diverse influences such as Krautrock, Afrobeat, funk, rock and electronica, the band has since evolved and it would be fair to say they have a unusual hybrid sound that falls neither into exclusively synth or alternative music circles.

After a long gestation period, the London-based quartet of Andrew Wyld (bass, synthesizer + vocals), Alastair Nicholls (guitar, synthesizer, bass + vocals), Joanna Wyld (synthesizer, flute + vocals) and Andrea Adriano (drums, production + vocals) finally get to release their self-titled debut long player.

As an opening statement of intent with hand-driven organic synth sounds galore, the spectre of LCD SOUNDSYSTEM looms heavily on ‘Dance Like Nobody’s Watching’ while on the frantic seize the day mantra of ‘Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount’, early TALKING HEADS enter the mix via a groovy rhythmic backbone. Meanwhile, ‘Post Office Tower’ is a quirky ode to that London monument with the revolving restaurant, traditional yet slightly off-the-wall.

The new wave flavour of ‘Solid-State’ makes good use of an ARP Odyssey Mk1 as FAKE TEAK sing of “going electronic again” while the unwavering art funk of ‘Recall A Thought’ explores an inner Byrne.

‘Whole Lot O’ Grief’ throws offbeats and flute into the equation alongside a bassy synth rumble, but ‘Lagos 82’ takes on a great energetic FRANZ FERDINAND feel and codas with a wonderfully glorious chant. Meanwhile, ‘101’ is not a tribute to DEPECHE MODE but actually comes over bizarrely like DR HOOK backed by AZTEC CAMERA and when the Roland Juno 60 strings kick in, it sounds even weirder!

But the best is saved until almost last; an affectionate parody of HOT CHIP’s ‘Ready For The Floor’, ‘No Shame’ is a delightfully odd but catchy disco tune about that strange moment when people with nothing in common come together on the dancefloor.

With plenty of synth action, there’s a rousing church-like middle section in which each band member contributes vocals to provide a rather fabulous harmonious effect, recalling the Alex Kapranos produced CITIZENS! Closing with the eerily filmic ‘Breathless’, the syncopated rhythmics are offset by layers of synths and eccentric vocals.

What stands out about FAKE TEAK is how they don’t stylistically pander to any musical fashions.

And despite their use of vintage synthesizers, the synths are not the excuse for the song, but neither are they for pose or just part of the background to fill out the odd chord here or there.

If you like the idea of a distinctly English take on LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and TALKING HEADS, topped with a dash of HOT CHIP and FRANZ FERDINAND too, FAKE TEAK may be right up your country lane.


‘Fake Teak’ is available on the usual digital platforms

https://www.facebook.com/faketeak/

https://twitter.com/faketeak

https://www.instagram.com/faketeak/

https://soundcloud.com/faketeak


Text by Chi Ming Lai
5th November 2018

FAKE TEAK Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount

When Andy Pandy and Teddy were “waving goodbye” at the end of each episode, what was actually going on once the box was shut? Was it really “time to go home” or were the pair partying the night away?

London-based combo FAKE TEAK with their brilliant new video ‘Bears Always Party The Right Amount’ show that like girls, bears just wanna have fun. Cleverly filmed around the city and on the London Underground with seemingly no strings attached, Bear joins his pals Monkey, Giraffe, Dolphin and FAKE TEAK themselves for a night of disco revelry.

Self-directed by the band themselves, their puppetry skills have certainly not been in vain and the end result is one of the best independent low-budget music videos to have been made in recent years.

Giving away some of their trade secrets, singer and instrumentalist Andrew Wyld recalled: “We used broom handles with fishing line on them—since the breaking strain on fishing line is quite high, it was enough for the weight of the stuffed animals, but it’s also very fine and mostly doesn’t show! For close up work, we also used coathanger wire, which we slid inside the stuffed animals’ arms, for example, as in the scene where they share a drink…guitarist Alastair Nicholls came up with the concept for the video, I storyboarded it and then between us we figured out the shooting script and how we were going to move the stuffed animals”

It’s proof that once a band puts their mind towards some inventive visual representation to accompany their music, anything is possible. The song itself is an appealing quirky mix of LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and TALKING HEADS, driven by synth-derived organ sounds and a groovy rhythmic backbone from Andrea Adriano.

The second single from FAKE TEAK’s upcoming debut album, the band’s ARP Odyssey Goddess Joanna Wyld said: “’Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount’ is about everyone being welcome to be exactly who they are and to party exactly how they want. It’s about seizing the day and not caring how you look or whether you made a mistake. However much you want to dance: that’s the right amount. However we just played it: that was the right way”

Just a quick note that the Bear was not hurt during filming and even if he was, IT’S A PUPPET! 😉


‘Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount’ will be available as a download single from the usual digital platforms

FAKE TEAK launch the single with a gig at The Finsbury, 336 Green Lanes, Harringay, London N4 1BY on Friday 29th June 2018 – nearest tube is Manor House on the Piccadilly Line

https://www.facebook.com/faketeak/

https://twitter.com/faketeak

https://www.instagram.com/faketeak/

https://soundcloud.com/faketeak


Text by Chi Ming Lai
25th June 2018

Vintage Synth Trumps with FAKE TEAK

FAKE TEAK was founded by singer, bass player and synthesist Andrew Wyld back in 2011.

First name checked on The Electricity Club by Martin Swan of VILE ELECTRODES, the band has since evolved into a group of musicians whose ideas draw on diverse influences such as Krautrock, Afrobeat, funk, rock and electronica for a distinctive sound to soundtrack a dystopian present.

Completing the line-up of the London-based quartet are Alastair Nicholls on guitar, synthesizer, bass + vocals plus Joanna Wyld on synthesizer + vocals and Andrea Adriano on drums, production + vocals.

With a love of vintage hardware and a quirky new single ‘Post Office Tower’ b/w ‘Breathless’ just out, it was natural that FAKE TEAK would relish an opportunity for a round of Vintage Synth Trumps with The Electricity Club…

OK, first card, we have an Oberheim 8 Voice, does that spark any thoughts?

Joanna: There’s one in the Horniman Museum… I always ogle it even though it’s behind glass!

Alastair: They let you go into a side room where there are various instruments you can play, they have a thumb piano and some kind of tubes where you can whack them with flip-flops.

Andrea: My initial reaction was more notes, bigger chords!

Andrew: With the 8 Voice, it’s really hard to get it to do exactly what you want it to do because if you want to repatch, you have to do it eight times! It takes ages to do but it sounds amazing!

Andrea: Seven grand back in the day!!

Alastair: Isn’t there a HOT CHIP link here, because you played me ‘Flutes’ by them and you said it reminded you of the Oberheim?

Andrew: Yes, there’s a one line where an entire chord follows that line and it reminded me of what happened you play it set-up like a 16 oscillator synthesizer with 8 filters and 8 envelopes, or a chord using one note.

My first impression of FAKE TEAK as a band was that you were influenced by HOT CHIP?

Joanna: HOT CHIP is definitely one element, I actually prefer them live to their recordings.

Andrew: I think we have two strands, there’s the synthesizer sound from HOT CHIP, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and CAN plus TALKING HEADS in the writing strand.

Alastair: I’d like to add THE CHEEKY GIRLS as well! *laughs*

Another card then, Gleemen Pentaphonic… even I don’t know what that is!

Alastair: My head is a blank!

Andrew: That sounds like something you would make up, if you were making up synthesizers!! *laughs*

OK, moving on… the next card is an ARP Axxe! *everyone cheers*

Alastair: We know a lot about ARP!

Andrew: This one is like the cut-down Odyssey… we have a full-sized Odyssey.

Joanna: Ours is the 1972 model…

Andrew: It’s the Mk1 before proportional pitch control came in and with the two pole filter. So seemingly it’s less desirable but I really like it.

KRAFTWERK used a Mk1 Odyssey, how did you acquire it?

Andrew: I’d been after one for a long time and a friend said there was one in Bedford, so I got the train up. There were keen on a quick sale and I mentioned that as it was a Mk1, could they sell it for a lower price and they gave me this figure… it was like the worst negotiation in the history of haggling! I took it home in a blanket that smelt of air freshener! *laughs*

Alastair: I don’t get to use it in the band but it can make some fantastic sounds, but it can sound horrendous too! And that’s the great thing about it, it can be beautiful and it can be horrific, you have to learn how to control it and I cannot!

Andrea: It’s like if someone took the autopilot out of a jumbo jet…

Andrew: I have a mathematical background so I got the hang of it after a while but there’s a lot of different things to it and quite complicated.

Joanna: It is key, especially with the Odyssey, that we have a good sound engineer because if the balance is wrong, it can sound really bad.

Alastair: We actually use a compressor live with the Odyssey to try and mitigate that problem so we try and make life easier for engineers.

Andrew: What I’ve found in the past is some engineers think the synths are used for decoration rather than a main part of the sound and that can be a problem. But music has changed a lot in the last 5-10 years, people are more used to the idea of synths as part of the backbone.

How did each of you first hear electronic sounds in music?

Andrew: When I was 6, a teacher of mine Miss Wickes played us ‘Autobahn’, this noise that I’d never heard before and I thought it was really cool. Then she played us ‘Numbers’!

Alastair: I don’t I’ve got anything as cool or fringe, but the first time I noticed electronics in music was ‘Bad’ by MICHAEL JACKSON, I was given a Walkman and a tape of the album.

Andrea: ‘Blade Runner’ and VANGELIS with the CS80, that was it for me. I’d always liked synths but Mellotrons were really cool for me and after my teens, I got heavily into APHEX TWIN and then later SQUAREPUSHER.

Joanna: It would be ‘Doctor Who’ and DELIA DERBYSHIRE, we went to see the talk and concert of THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP at the Science Museum but also, my dad’s collection of the ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, on the back of one of these albums was the letters M-O-O-G and I became fascinated with Moogs and thinking “what is that?”

Andrew: VANGELIS and ELO used the CS80, so we just ordered a Deckard’s Dream which is a CS80 replicant, but we’ve since discovered we got to buy £1100 of components to build the thing!

Next card, it’s Roland Juno 106…

Andrea: We have a Juno 60 and I’m about to buy a 106… the Juno 6 didn’t have a memory patch pack, so the 60 had presets and when the 106 came out, they changed the output stage.

Why do you think the Juno, out of all the vintage synths, is still so robust?

Andrew: Because of the way it’s laid out, if you have a basic knowledge of analogue synths, it’s straightforward to use compared to the Odyssey. A lot of people say the Juno is not an analogue machine because of its digital control, but the way that the voices work, the actual oscillators are very similar to those in a Moog. The 106 was one of the first synths to have MIDI, so you have can have those wonderful warm sounds but controllable and easy to use.

Joanna: For me, it is straightforward to use and versatile, the practicality of playing on stage, you want to make it easier, not more difficult. On a Juno, the same voice will work in different contexts really well, there’s a ‘Chariots Of Fire’ sound I use…

Alastair: Oh, Patch 42? Every time you play something on Patch 42, it makes you kind of weepy! It’s got that quality of the Meaning Of Life!

Andrea: It goes very well with the Scottish Highlands!

When’s the FAKE TEAK album out?

Andrew: It’s recorded and Andrea did a wonderful job…

Joanna: It’s gone to Abbey Road for mastering…

Alastair: The band has been going a good while and the line-up has changed over the years, sometimes it takes a while to bring things together. With the four of us, we have the focus and found a sound and recording style that works for us. We’re releasing a few singles first and then the album should be out in 2018.

Your first single is ‘Post Office Tower’, why is this structure still so iconic?

Andrew: The Post Office Tower is an iconic part of the North London skyline and was bombed by the IRA in 1972, they were trying to destroy a publically visible monument… so my inspiration was the thought of “what if they had succeeded?”, would that have changed society in the way 9/11 did? The Post Office Tower is a brutalist piece of architecture and very idealistic, coming at the time of new towns and new motorways… of course, that was a very flawed ideal. What I wanted to do with the song was express admiration for the ideal of society as something you can improve, whilst saying it’s possible to make a mistake about the specific direction you’re at, and come back from that to move into a better direction, which is something I think we’ve lost sight of.

Alastair: Yeah, I went to an exhibition about the utopian ambitions of the 60s and how great the world might be able to be, that’s fallen away slightly and now people are just trying to figure out good solutions to problems, rather than great ideas and big pictures.

Joanna: It also had a revolving restaurant which was just amazing, why has it not reopened? People would flock to it! *everyone laughs*

How did ‘Post Office Tower’ come together musically?

Andrew: I wrote it in Durham and started with a fairly specific skeleton but it’s evolved.

Joanna: Right at the beginning, I do some ‘sample and hold’ which creates the atmosphere and all the connections with the Post Office Tower.

How did you go about producing your drum sounds?

Andrea: When it came to the album, we wanted to record the drums live. I wanted to use a particular interface because it had better converters etc but just 8 inputs, so we were restricted to 4 tracks with 2 overhead mics for stereo drums which got the toms, plus a snare and a kick mic. I don’t think we’d have got away with it using more modern pre-amps, they don’t sound big. Everything sounds bigger on the old ones plus we had the luxury of recording onto tape.

Alastair: There are great drum samples these days but the important thing was to get the whole sound of the band breathing, not to be locked down to a metronome. To have that little bit of breathing just makes the whole track feel natural and exciting.

Andrea: In the original incarnation of the band, there was this view that everything should be to ‘click’, and I strongly disagreed with that! It was only when we started playing together and I recorded the rehearsals, I was like “can we concentrate a bit more?”

OK, another card, it’s a Roland SH3a…

Andrew: We were in a studio with one once…

Tell us about the track ‘No Shame’ which got a good response online in its demo form…

Joanna: It started as an affectionate parody of HOT CHIP; I came up with a few lines and Andrew said it was quite catchy and that I should try and do something with it. The start was quite sarcastic, but I built it from there with influences from ‘Ready For The Floor’ and LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’s ‘Us V Them’ and that disco feel. The lyrics evolved from that slightly odd beginning to about when people pretend to socialise together so that they don’t look like they’re on their own. But then, there’s that strange unity where you come together on the dancefloor.

Alastair: Yes, you’re having a good time whether you’re going to speak to them again, it’s that moment.

Joanna: People do seem to quite like ‘No Shame’ because it’s catchy, we did a wedding and they did a conga to it, which was a sort of peak for me.

That’s why I said on Twitter that it was “delightfully odd”, it was weird but it was nice and fun to listen to…

Joanna:“weird but nice and fun”, I’m going to put that on a T-shirt! *laughs*

The next card is an Elka Synthex, much loved by JEAN-MICHEL JARRE…

Joanna: We listened to ‘Oxygene’ a lot at home, and along with our younger brother, we used to pretend we were space people!

Andrew: Didn’t we do a radio play? We had a reel-to-reel tape recorder that we speeded up and slowed down to use for sound effects! *laughs*

Joanna: I don’t know Elka stuff, I have to admit

Andrew: Elka did great strings machines and we have a Roland RS-202, that’s like the Rhapsody…

Alastair: …yes, it’s a string machine that inexplicably has a brass mode! That inspired ‘101’ on our album! *laughs*

Joanna: So was that inspired by the 202 divided by 2, because that would be amazing!

Alastair: I wish it was… you know in America, you do a class for the basics of something, like ‘English Language 101’? So the song ‘101’ is like learning the basics… of relationships!

Joanna: So deep! Why did I ever ask? *laughs*

One last card… yes, it’s a Roland Jupiter 8!

Andrew: Yes please, but I don’t have £8000 spare! *laughs*

Alastair: Originally, they were only £4000!

One of the members of the DEPECHE MODE tribute band SPEAK & SPELL has Alan Wilder’s old Jupiter 8…

Joanna: …I sometimes wonder about our Odyssey that because they’re so rare now, when I see things like a photo of Brian Wilson with one… could it be the same one? I get really excited at the idea! *laughs*

You’re a bit of a Brian Wilson fan aren’t you?

Joanna: Yes, I love Brian Wilson, I think he’s a genius… I under rated him at first like a lot of people, because the harmonies are apparently so simplistic and cheery and nice. But you go a bit deeper and realise that he’s touching on more emotion… in fact, there’s times when I have to take a break from listening to it because it’s so powerful. Also structurally, what he’s doing, his layers are so sophisticated yet it appears so effortless and not contrived in any way. There’s something so spontaneous and sincere in his character and that comes across in his music.

So what would you like to achieve as a band?

Joanna: Realistically, we understand it’s a very competitive field but we’d like to go as far as we can… we love to make it and tour, but it’s taking one step at a time and building on that. All joking aside, we really believe in the songs and the sound we create. I think the album sounds amazing so I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Andrew: It’s something we take very seriously, we think it’s really worth listening to… it’s been a complex road to get to that so we’re taking it one step at a time, we really do believe in it.


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to FAKE TEAK

‘Post Office Tower’ is available as a download single from https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/faketeak

FAKE TEAK play at The Finsbury, 336 Green Lanes, Harringay, London N4 1BY on Saturday 17th February 2018 – nearest tube is Manor House on the Piccadilly Line. Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/160004421296076/

https://www.facebook.com/faketeak/

https://twitter.com/faketeak

https://www.instagram.com/faketeak/

https://soundcloud.com/faketeak

Vintage Synth Trumps is a card game by GForce that features 52 classic synthesizers


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
15th January 2018