Music Features

FYF 2013: Fear of Men(Interview)

Regardless of all the technology we have nowadays, sometimes it'll work your way against you. It was a trying experience getting ahold of Fear of Men frontwoman/vocalist Jess Weiss during the festival due to the shoddy Wi-Fi reception at the festival grounds of FYF in Downtown LA. Luckily, I had the opportunity to communicate with Weiss via e-mail after the show, in which she discusses living up to the expectations of early hype, an anecdotal account of their brief stay in Los Angeles, and the unexpected happenstance she met by covering a classic song from the Dunedin scene.

When was the band first approached to play FYF?

Jess Weiss: It was quite soon after we were in the States for SXSW. This has been a really exciting year for us and we were so happy to play with so many bands we love at FYF.

Do any concerns arise from having to play such intimate songs in a festival setting? And how can festivals differ to normal shows?

Weiss: We are probably a bit louder live than we would appear on record, and we tend to structure our festival sets around fast songs rather than the slower, more introspective, songs that we might slip into a headline show. Festivals are always fun to play.

"Early Fragments" has been receiving a very positive reception from both the media and the general public. Has the pressure escalated in terms of meeting expectations on your forthcoming full-length, or are the songs that are meant to appear on it already finalized and waiting for an official announcement?

Weiss: Thanks. We don't really think about pressure from other people, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the kind of record we wanted to, which is why it has taken a while. It is basically finished, we've just got a few more studio days to finishing things off, and it'll be out early next year.

As a fervent follower of the Dunedin scene, it was a pleasure to hear you guys play "Pink Frost" by the Chills. What was the original motivation behind covering the song, especially since it continues to be a regular at most of your shows?

Weiss: It's a song Daniel and I love, and we'd been messing around trying a bunch of different songs to cover but that just seemed to be one which stuck. It's great to play live as well, we can channel a lot of energy into it. The last show we played in New York, someone from Flying Nun was there and said he really liked the cover, which was a huge compliment!

How have you guys been liking Los Angeles, and what's next after your brief stay in North America?

Weiss: It was a flying visit but we loved LA! Everyone was really cool and we made some new friends, went to some cool bars and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Next time I want to go to the Getty Museum, but we didn't have time on this trip. My LA highlight has to be watching Deerhunter at FYF from the side of the stage. Unforgettable. Next up, we've got a UK and Europe tour in November with No Joy, we're putting out a cassette on Cassette Store Day, and then we'll be getting ready for the album release.