INTERVIEW: The New Faith

Gloomy, thoughtful lyricism, backed by soulful saxophones & gospel choirs, fronted by their brooding baritone lead singer, and sometimes harmonised against crisp female vocals – The New Faith is a mesmerising new force within British alternative music. Refreshingly for everyone, they are not another band contributing into the growing pile of ‘indie landfill’; their music combines a multitude of instruments, creating a gloriously rich assortment of sounds. Whilst your average Joe stretches their musical diversity as far as guitars and drums in their music, The New Faith intertwine staple alternative instruments with sophisticated orchestral components, including strings and woodwind instruments like the sax. The group has released a handful of much-accomplishing singles to date – ‘Too Sad To Be Young’, and ‘Fritter Away’ – in the buildup to the release of their first album next month. Continuing this buildup, I chatted to frontman Will, getting the lowdown on their recent appearance at the SoccerSix tournament, and posing the difficult, almost impossible question of if they could have only released one track from the record, what would it have been…

zthenewfaithThe New Faith (taken by Nobu Tanaka).

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Q: How did you come up with your band name – are there any religious connotations behind it?

We used to be called ‘Bad Youth’ but that was appalling so the band all got together to come up with some names. I came in with ‘The New Faith’ and (I think with relative ease) we began to use it. There aren’t any religious connotations (although it can be lucrative). It’s more a sarcastic take on fads and that we’re all part of this cycle. Who knows, people might fall for it…

Q: Your music is quite different from most of the bands who have played for gigs under This Feeling, and who have featured on my blog, actually – why do you include ‘gospel choirs and orchestral strings’ in your songs?

It’s important to be ambitious; each album you only do once so we don’t want to shy away from something big. Having so many players on the record meant more work, which I believe plays a big part in the record. Everything was painstakingly put together and there was a lot of thought also; they expand the album and I love that every time somebody will listen to it, they’ll hear something they didn’t notice the first time around.

That was a banging show in Birmingham with those guys *Will is talking about their recent This Feeling concert*; really nice lot.

Q: You recently brought out your second ever single ‘Fritter Away’; the video features a young boy in various scenes, including playing with toys in the garden and entering a church, before ending with you piecing together a ripped photo – what is your personal interpretation of the visual?

The boy in the video is my nephew Fin; he’s very much the subject of the song so it was important to me to have him as the subject of the video. He’s a bit mad and it was interesting to get him to conform in front of the camera. The song is all about repetition – the picture of me, is a picture of him, is a picture of me kind of thing…he is storing a memory. You always keep your youth, you keep your past and your memories, it’ll get pulled apart and it’ll fragment, but in the end, you will always be able to piece it together. The ripped photo to me, also means that because you can piece it back together, the cycle never ends. We all sort of live in this endless, repetitive, behaviour. The nihilism in me….don’t bother, nothing changes haha!

Q: Why did you choose to record your debut album at Echo Zoo Studios?

We are honestly, very, very lucky to have made it there!! We sent out demos to producers and anyone with any sort of connection with recording. Dave Izumi at Echo Zoo came back and said it really did something for him (poor taste)! He would then start to squeeze out downtime for us so that we could make this project happen. He was a huge part in getting this off the ground and his support was immense. Our original idea was to record on location but his studio ended up being perfect for us. It also used to be a recording studio and record label for Christian music, ironically!

Q: Four years spent recording one album shows perfectionism, persistence, and perseverance; why has the process taken a substantial amount of time?

I was writing for a long time; I met Sam and we began to work together so there was both of us finding our footing. I always thought that it would be a miracle to get one song down, let alone the 14 that have made up the album! I work quite slowly and coupled with the studio time limitation and getting so many people (30 odd I think) to record for us, it ended up turning into a difficult and lengthy process. (it’s hard enough getting the five of us in a room together!)

Q: If you had to scrap all your album and could only release your favourite song from it as a single, which track would it be and why?

Me personally, I would go for ‘Look the Other Way’. I think musically it reaches everywhere it could go, the lyrics included are some of my favourites, and it’s everything I wanted to convey on the album. I consider it The New Faith’s masterpiece.

Q: What’s been the best piece of music career advice you’ve been handed?

Don’t fuck around with time signatures. (Dave M Allen)

Don’t give up your day job (various)

Q: How did you end up involved in last week’s SoccerSix event in London? More importantly, were you on the winning side?

Sam got us into that one! We started with a comprehensive 9-0 win, but soon the bigger boys turned up and we got trounced 9-1 and 6-1 (if memory serves). Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to kick The Darkness or Starsailor round the park (our game plan), but we did get to meet Justin Hawkins’ brother, and the Eastenders team WITHOUT Danny Dyer.

Q: The New Faith hails from Brighton – if you could recommend a person from nowhere near the area (like myself!) to check out three smaller / unsigned acts from the city, who would you say and why?

I’m going to go for all the bands that are playing the Album Launch in October.

Supermarket – think Talking Heads/Half Man Half Biscuit; not greatly active but should become a staple of any record collection. Supercool!

Whiskey for the Wounded – David T. M Vine is captivating, and an emotive songwriter. With references to Star Trek!

Other States – fairly new band, fantastic live. Psychedelic cowboy music. Hints of Twin Peaks and slightly sinister…

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The New Faith has just made their album available to pre-order, so its release is imminent. You’ll be finally able to listen to it digitally on the 6th October; in the meantime, you can check out their previously released singles on their artist page here.

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