Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned Liverpool singer Fagan to find out more…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I’m from a part of Liverpool called Garston. I didn’t really care about music that much until I was a teenager to be honest, but my parents were both massively into it, and my earliest memories are of being in the back of a car with the likes of The White Stripes or Nirvana on the speakers. There was always a guitar around the house so I picked it up from a young age in a sort of natural way. Like, if you give a kid a ball he’ll start kicking it, so I’d learn basic tunes from my dad. Then when I was 13 I became obsessed with music, grew my hair and started doing crap in school. I was born in 1994 so the internet was still morphing, and I’d just download tonnes of random songs off Limewire.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
John Lennon and Joe Strummer are two outspoken songwriters that I spent my teenage years in love with. It sort of goes without saying that the Beatles and the Clash are massive. In terms of my influences, it’s a cliché, but I will literally listen to anything. My current playlist on Spotify has grime one second and traditional Irish stuff the next. But Let It Happen by Tame Impala is probably my favourite song ever, and although my music doesn’t really sound like Kevin Parker's, I think his one man techno orchestra is something to aspire to.
How would you describe your sound?
The producer I’ve worked with for a while, Jon Withnall, coined the term “Punk Funk” in passing the other day. So kind of like indie disco with an attitude.
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest release is called Hip Kids, and writing it was a weird experience. Some artists talk about a “state of flow”, and it’s probably the feeling we’re all constantly aspiring to get when we write. I kind of went into a state of flow at about 2AM inspired by something I’d watched on YouTube. I was 23 at the time, and I was feeling pretty low and lost. Barely working, skint, living at home with my parents. Hadn’t really done anything publicly in music for a few years because of mental health issues I’d been recovering from. And I watched this interview with James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem where he talked about writing “Losing My Edge”. He said how he was about 26 and had started to feel like a bit of a has been, an outsider. He suddenly became quite “cool” as a DJ with the in crowd, and started to feel threatened by other young DJ’s who were playing similar stuff to him, and then he realised how ridiculous that sort of thing is. Hip Kids is about a similar feeling. I felt this attraction to the so called “hip” music scene, but also a weird kind of disgust. It’s about our generation, hypocrisy, feeling like a washed up nobody, feeling like no one else “gets it”, wanting to be cool, and harbouring resentments that are probably best directed at a mirror. But it’s also quite an upbeat tune, and my main hope is that it makes people want to dance if it comes on in a club. When I was writing it I looked at old disco classics and tried to replicate that kind of four on the floor dance beat.
What’s your local music scene like?
I started playing in Liverpool when I was 16 and didn’t really feel like there was a scene at the time, and I made the mistake of feeling resentful towards other bands for a little while. Over the last few years, it feels like a scene has emerged in Liverpool and it’s fantastic. I’m not really a part of it, I just enjoy going to gigs and observing it all. It seems like something really organic is happening, with things like Eggy Records, and what goes on at Sound on Duke Street. As well as that you have trailblazing bands like Queen Zee and Zuzu just flying. The hotspot for music seems to be over the water now though, not necessarily within Liverpool itself. There was a festival called Future Yard recently in Birkenhead and the line up was incredible.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Over the next 12 months I want to build my audience and hopefully land slots at festivals next summer. Building towards my first single has been a long process for me as I wanted to do it just right, but the next single should be out in early 2020. And after that I want to be putting out at least one single every 2 months until I have an E.P ready.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I’d like to collaborate with the Rubberbandits. All I do is listen to the Blindboy Podcast. I’d love to do a mad tune like Dad’s Best Friend that would just make the crowd feel up for it.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I’ve had quite a lot of live hijinks, but nothing that rock and roll. One time my old band were getting our gig filmed and I played half the set with blood all over my teeth because I head butted the mic by accident.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Don’t take me too seriously because then I’ll start taking myself seriously, and none of us want that.