INTERVIEW: Lloyd James Fay

Hi Lloyd, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi, thanks for having me. I’m okay, but I think like many people I’m starting to get fed up with being stuck in doors so much. I’m not the most social person but when you have your daily interactions taken away you start to feel it. Like it or not we are social animals. As if the past few of years haven’t felt historic enough. Now we have this pandemic to contend with.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Idiocracy”?

Sure. I pretty much wrote it on the spot. My friend had just bought a new acoustic guitar and when he handed it to me it was the first thing I played. The music for the verse and chorus and the chorus melody just came straight out of me. Once I had the chorus and the concept of the song it was then quite a laborious matter of trying to write the best lyrics I could to convey the message of the song. It went through many drafts. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I don’t think it was one event in particular. More a combination or accumulation of events and feeling like I’d been on the losing side, for example on a string of important votes. I’ll let you guess what they were. So maybe that feeling of not being listened to or maybe even a small tantrum of not getting my way. The whole turkeys voting for Christmas type thing. But also just the general growing division online, everyone calling each other idiots. I thought I might as well join in. The chorus wouldn’t exist without Mike Judge’s film “Idiocracy” as it wouldn’t have been in my vocabulary without that.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes, I’ve just released the video for it. Here’s the link:

The single comes off your new album Fake Depth – what’s the story behind the title?

I wanted to use a term that touched on modern technology and the internet that suggested a negative connotation. The working title was Deep Fake, but some friends suggested that was too literal and maybe had too many real-life negative connotations so it mutated to Fake Depth which I think is more esoteric but has a ring to it. You could say it touches on the superficiality and shallowness of a lot of internet culture. 

How was the recording and writing process?

The songs weren’t all written in one batch, they were written over the past four or five years and at some point I realized I had been writing some songs around a similar theme. Internet culture and identity amongst other linked topics. I knew I had a general concept to work with, it was then a matter of deciding which songs, trying to choose the best ones or the right balance, at least. The EP was recorded at Gargleblast Studios in Hamilton with Andy Miller who has worked with many of my heroes, like Arab Strap and De Rosa, in December of last year and January of this year. In many ways it feels like something that happened to me rather than something I did, which might sound strange but there you go.

What role does Glasgow play in your music?

Definitely a positive one, but it is hard to quantify as I probably take it for granted. I’d probably notice it if I moved away. First of all, there have been so many great bands from or based in Glasgow and the surrounding areas that have been a massive influence on me like Aereogramme and Mogwai amongst so many others. Then there’s the scene itself. There are just so many venues and places to play and most folk are so nice and accommodating. So you could say it has played a nurturing role.

How has Father John Misty influenced your writing?

I wouldn’t say in any primary sense, he’s not a formative influence but I’m a fan and I think we share some key influences. When I heard “Total Entertainment Forever” for the first time I loved the fact that someone was combining a 70s singer-songwriter style with a take on modern culture, so it was like an affirmation that it can work and to stick to my plans to try to do something similar. I’ve been listening to him a lot recently.

What aspect of the internet and social media did you get to explore on this record?

I think I explored my own personal journey from internet utopian to somewhat dystopian. I think there’s an element of my disappointment that this tool containing all of the knowledge accumulated throughout history is causing, in many cases, for us to be so lazily dumb and ignorant, share bullshit and technology that should be making us feel closer and more connected than ever before is in many ways dividing us like never before.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

They were also inspired by a run of books I read about the internet, weird stories and to some extent conspiracy theories. You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and Them by Jon Ronson, You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney, Heretics by Will Storr and The Internet Is Not The Answer by Andrew Keen.

Any plans to hit the road?

I had before the coronavirus hit. I’ve had to cancel the EP launch gig and tour in May and I’ve had some spring and summer festivals cancel or be postponed. All being well I’ll be playing some festivals in November. Everything else is up in the air. We’ll see what happens but I don’t want to rush booking anything that has to be cancelled again, we just don’t when it will be safe again. But I think we’re all missing live music. I’m losing count of the gigs I was supposed to be going to that have been postponed or cancelled. There is going to be such a big wave of joy at the first gigs after the restrictions are lifted. I’m trying to think of how I can make mine more celebratory rather than just my depressing music.

What else is happening next in Lloyd James Fay’s world?

I’ll be releasing the next single from the EP on the 17th of April. Then the EP is out on the 8th of May. I’ll be releasing another video once we can get back to being around other people and relative normality again because it hasn’t actually been filmed yet. And folks can keep an eye on my social media or website for updates on gigs and festivals.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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