Interview: Fan Girl show their sunny side with new single “backwards (everything is)”

Returning with their first release of 2020, Melbourne rock outfit Fan Girl have unveiled their latest single and music video for “backwards (everything is)”.

The relatively sunny single from the group is the result of the band consciously working towards creating a song that was uncharacteristically “happy” within their discography. The track still retains the quirky sonic characteristics that the band are known for. The single’s music video is equally as strange, and features some hilarious cameos from other faces within the Melbourne music scene (which the band will explain below).

We were thrilled to have a chat with Fan Girl to find out more about their new single, how they’re coping in COVID lockdown, and what their future plans are.

Check out their new music video and read on as they unpack the track further:

Firstly, congrats on the new single – it’s great to hear a fresh track from you this year! How have you been coping with the COVID lockdown restrictions in Melbourne? What’s been keeping you entertained?

Thanks! Really excited to be putting out new music. Also just excited to be doing anything at this point, really. Lockdown has had its ups and downs. It’s been good being able to write and work on music, and also very nice to finally be getting a bit of sun. But, we are missing our friends, and playing & seeing gigs.

The hobbies are rife at the moment; Luke has been talking about brewing gluten-free beer, Noah has been building a backyard hot-tub, and Vince has been dealing with angry (see: enojado) notifications from Duolingo.

The new single “backwards (everything is)” was recorded at Taste Police HQ – your studio in Brunswick. Was this one self-produced?

Yeah! We recorded and produced the whole shamozzle at our studio in Brunswick (Luke calls it “Funswick”), and eagerly handed it over to Aaron Cupples in London (“the big smoke”, “the old smoke”, or to some, simply “the smoke”) to make us sound much cooler than we are. We then sent that over to Bob Weston in Chicago (“the windy city”) to lay that sweet sweet Mastering™ icing on the cake that is “backwards (everything is)”.

Were there any cool recording techniques you experimented with on the track?

We did a tonne of room mic-ing on a lot of the guitars which was fun, and really gave the verses their own space. We also ran a lot of Annie’s backing vocals, and some synth and guitar work, through some tape really HOT, which gave it all a really warped, surreal vibe. We also locked Noah in the vocal booth for hours with no food, water, natural light, or toilet access. He really nailed the vocal though. Is that a relevant technique?

Sydney based singer-songwriter Annie Hamilton added brilliant vocals to the track. How did this collaboration fall into place?

We knew that the song needed another voice, and Annie was one of the first people we thought of. It all happened in quarantine, so we had to exchange ideas remotely. Annie would record her vocals in her own studio, and then send it down to us. Not our preferred method of collaboration, but she did an amazing job. Super glad that she jumped on the track and really made it special.

You’ve stated that with this new track you wanted to write an intentionally “happy sounding” track. Did you find it easy to write a happy song?

It actually ended up being far from a happy track. It was more of a songwriting challenge that we set ourselves. And frankly, we failed. Sorry guys. It’s sad. (But maybe it sounds happy?). Let us know mwah xxx

Was this focus on writing a more positive song just a one-time thing or is it part of a larger shift in tone for your songwriting?

The main focus for this tune (and most of the other stuff we have been working on), has been about concise & direct songwriting. So we have been letting that take us wherever it takes us. It has taken us to some truly weird places, and hopefully you’ll be able to hear it all one day.

The music video for the song is a lot of fun. Where was it filmed and what was the inspiration behind the clip?

The video was born out of the genius mind of Rick Clifford (@rcstills), filmed inside his Brunswick home in the middle of Stage 4 Restrictions. It features two of his wonderful housemates, and dear friends of ours, James (@feeldsmusic) and Nick (@nick_mckk). We saw the word “cake” in the video brief, and we simply exclaimed, “YUM!”, and it was decided. This song is for cake-fans only.

You performed as part of Isol-Aid Music Festival earlier in the year. What are your thoughts on virtual festivals and do you think they will remain even once the pandemic settles?

It’s been truly great to see how people have worked around the shitstorm that is 2020. Isol-Aid was an honour to be involved in, and it has been really lovely to see bands, and friends, still making music. Isol-Aid, and the various other platforms that have emerged, have been a wonderful addition to the way we both play, and consume, live music.

You played a few shows earlier this year (in the pre-COVID age) – once live music returns, will you be planning a tour to promote the new single?

Being in Victoria, it’s looking pretty unlikely that we will be playing shows anytime soon. We are, however, wettin’ our beds with excitement to get back to it all, so we will be touring as much as possible, as soon as we can. We had a blast on tour at the start of the year, and can’t wait to do it all again.

Do you have big plans for the rest of the year or looking even further forward to 2021?

We have been writing heaps of new music, and we are super excited about it all. Hopefully the stars align, and we can play 100,000,000 shows next year, and put out a bunch of new music. Our people will get in touch with your people, from a safe distance, with some good news soon.

“backwards (everything is)” is out now. Follow Fan Girl on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Ed Hirst

I'm either listening to music, writing about music, or writing my own music! Keep up to date with my latest projects @edhirsty

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