Interview with Fixers
This past Tuesday, the first EP from Fixers was released in America. Called Pop Meat/Your Corruptor, the EP features 5 songs, and had the band pop over to New York (where they spotted Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, no less). Over in the UK, the band are gearing up for the Camden Crawl on May 5, followed by a bunch of dates across the UK and Europe. The band has EPs in the form of (my personal motto) Here Comes 2001 So Let’s All Head for the Sun, Imperial Goddess of Mercy, and upcoming album debut, We’ll Be the Moon, out on May 14.
Between shows in America and the upcoming Camden Crawl, PeteHatesMusic caught up over email with Jack Goldstein from Fixers to discuss things such as the media’s band comparisons, the translation of studio songs to their live show, and what bands you (yes, you!) should be listening to (in addition to Fixers, of course).
PeteHatesMusic (PHM): We’ll start off easy and then build to a nerve racking end: How did the Fixers form?
Jack Goldstein (JG): I recorded a bunch of demos in my bedroom, they were suppose to sound like Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. We all knew each other from previous bands when we were kids. Roo had always wanted to be in a Beach Boys tribute band and when he got my demos passed onto him by a friend, he agreed to join the band. It was really exciting but pretty hard at first, the songs were really dense and we already had a show booked. We worked to a crazy deadline and rehearsed all day and all night, I remember not sleeping much during the first three or four months!
PHM: The question bands hate answering: how would you describe your music to people who don’t know you? Should fans expect a certain sound from Fixers, or learn to not expect any one sound and like a variety of sounds and styles?
JG: Its tempting for a musician to go off on one when asked to describe their music. I think its important to make sure you don’t instil any preconceptions and I wouldn’t expect anyone to get to used to our sounds all that easily. We change stuff around quite a lot, I guess the one thing that holds it all together is that it is unashamed Pop Music.
Fixers – Iron Deer Dream
PHM: Your EP titles contain the words sun and goddess, while the album has moon in the title. What’s the fascination with the celestial bodies?
JG: Thats easy, two things. Sometimes either performance or production can feel transcendental, that way you become one with the meaning. When that’s not the case, it becomes exploratory – a fascination with an unknown that can be perceived in both a beautiful and foreboding way.
PHM: When there are new bands, journalists love to jump on comparisons. For Fixers, I’ve come across ones such as the Klaxons, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, and the man mentioned in every article, Brian Wilson (whoever he is). Can the comparisons be a helpful jumping off point for new fans, or can it set people up for disappointment?
JG: Brian Wilson is beyond comparison but its very flattering that people make it so often, The Beach Boys are my favourite band of all time and harmonies are a big part of Fixers. That said, it doesn’t necessarily set people up for disappointment but it is just another notion people get fed before they come to hear the music, its always best to let the music do the talking. As for the newer comparisons, its a little harder – i’m not so familiar with those bands, I don’t think i’ve ever heard The Klaxons.
PHM: How do you start composing a song? Is it lyric or vocally based, or do you get loops and rhythms and build from there?
JG: I put together instrumentals and then the lyrics come later, sometimes I have to wait for something to really inspire me before I start writing lyrics. I have about a hundred instrumentals at the moment. Any ideas what I could write about?
(yes – sexy music bloggers and their rise to fame and fortune)
PHM: Is it hard to translate your studio songs into live songs? Is the live performance of a song an afterthought when you’re composing, or are you considering it all the time?
JG: It is very hard, half of the songs on We’ll Be The Moon were played for the first time as we recorded them. Its important to have it in the back of your mind but it shouldn’t constrict you in anyway, we went so nuts on We’ll Be The Moon that it took us months to learn how the hell we would pull off the songs live – we are still learning some of them! Its great having lots of different things to do on stage though, we all have percussion and samplers as well as our other instruments, it feels a bit like a workshop on stage.
PHM: At what point did you realize – “Holy shit, we might be able to make it as a band?!” How much has the BBC support been helpful / meant to you?
JG: Our local BBC Introducing station came on board shortly before our first show because we uploaded a few demos onto their player, they are all really nice guys there and we have done a few sessions for them now. I don’t know that we have ever really thought about ‘making it’ – I haven’t really settled on that notion yet, it doesn’t sit right with me.
PHM: Finish this sentence: Signing with a large record label has been…
JG: …A compromise and a struggle.
PHM: Fixers released the song Amsterdam on cassette tape. PeteHatesMusic has business cards which have cassette tape designs, and the same is true for other marketing material. There’s even a documentary about a cassette revival in the works. Do you think a cassette revival can happen? What do you like about the sound of cassettes?
JG: The whole backlash against the viability of cassette tapes were that they deteriorate easily over time but I think thats the main appeal, you can release a cassette tape and three years later it will sound completely different. I became obsessed when I found a Vangelis tape in my parents attic, I already knew the music well but it sounded so different after all the years of being neglected, cassettes take their lives into the music that exists on them.
Fixers – Crystals
PHM: I saw on the Fixers’ Facebook page that you saw Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in NYC and even snapped a picture. Did you ask Kanye to produce a song for you, or perhaps did he ask the Fixers to remix a song for him?
JG: He did and we did. Its coming out next fall and its called Watch The Gnome.
(note: If only this were true!)
PHM: Since a lot of Canadians will read this (note: 2 is considered a lot of Canadians), I should probably ask – what Canadian bands are on your iPod?
JG: Ann Southam, The Band, Braids, Crystals Castles, Fucked Up, The King Khan & BBQ Show, Memoryhouse, Neil Young.
Jeez, there must be some more too. I never realised how much I love Canada.
(note: no need to suck up, Jack!)
PHM: You guys are playing the Camden Crawl in May. Have any of the guys been, and if so, any tips for us rookies? Any bands we should make sure we see this year?
JG: You should check out Niki & The Dove, Keep Shelly In Athens, The Raincoats, Weird Dreams, Boy Friend (ex- Sleep Over)
There are most likely loads more but these are the ones that jump out right now.
PHM: Congratulations! You are a guest-editor on PeteHatesMusic.com – what new band (or artist) would you tell all of our readers about (besides Fixers, of course)?
Beta Blocker & The Body Clock, Youth Lagoon, BLK HRTS and Boy Friend – GO AND LISTEN TO THEM NOW! XXXX
It’s my interview – you can’t tell me what to do! Although discovering new bands is what we’re all about, so thanks Jack! For all of the tour dates for Fixers, pop on over to their website, and check out all the other cool stuff while you are there. Perhaps even pre-order We’ll Be The Moon.
And since you’re taking all of my suggestions to heart, how about you “follow PeteHatesMusic on Twitter” and “Like PeteHatesMusic on Facebook” to ensure you maximize your coolness. Note: coolness not guaranteed (in fact, the opposite is guaranteed).
Fixers – Majesties Ranch