Sydney underground Soul Punk three piece, Fait Accompli have had an adventurous 2014, from opening for legends like Dead Kennedys, Sebadoh and only recently coming off an Australian tour with Sage Francis, Fait have also played alongside other Australian artists on the rise – The Smith Street Band, The Bennies, Corpus, Born Lion and bunch others. I caught up with Ray from Fait Accompli last week to chat about what’s been going on.
Film Director: Spencer Hyde
Tell me about Fait Accompli – how did the band come about?
Shit do you have all day? Fait Accompli has a pretty bizarre and unique punk rock story. The thing is this band started with three friends keen on jamming, jamming led to a residency at The Lansdowne Hotel which lasted 9 weeks till the venue kicked us out. From then on we took alot of crazy turns which has led to four full complete lineup changes. In that time I went from playing drums and singing to now singing and playing guitar. We’ve independently put out 10 releases. 5 singles, 3 ep’s, a remix, a full length album and a new one on its way.
In 2014 we opened for punk legends Dead Kennedys, grunge legends Sebadoh and we toured with hip hop legend Sage Francis. We’ve opened for The Smith Street Band, Violent Soho and we also toured with our buddies The Bennies. We don’t have a record label, management, booking agent or music on the radio, it’s been DIY from the start. We also helped raise around $20,000 for Heart Research and also Leukaemia in 2014, which we’re mostly proud of.
Photography: Oscar Colman
Who’s in the group and where’s everyone come from?
Skarlett Saramore is on drums, she is definitely the hardest hitting girl drummer I know. Originally from Newcastle Skar brings her own brand of hecticness to this band. Brad Fitter is probably one of the most talented bass players I’ve ever played with. He was originally from around the Campbelltown area, so we all have the Outer Western Suburbia thing in common. If there’s a wall, he’ll jump off of it. I was brought up around a lot of music, being Samoan and the son of a Preacher Man gave me a pretty unique life perspective. So I bring abit of soul, my personal story and some demons to the picture. We’re all coming from different ends of the musical spectrum, but together we make one loud wall of noise which is our own musical genre, Soul Punk.
Tell me about False Flags, what went into writing this track? A solid statement at deceptive government conflict?
False Flags actually came to us in one hit more than a year ago. The riff came first, some words were thrown around and then ‘Reality Burns’ seemed to be the hook that led to more random lines being spat out and then Presto! False Flags was born.
In rehearsal we tend to feed off what is going on around us, our current elected government has already put Australia into its own bizarre dynamic shift and in recent times the world just seems to be spinning off its axis. There is actually so much going on that your sanity could be put into question with the amount of What The Fuck! moments we have all experienced lately. I just believe that as citizens we all have the right to question absolutely everything!
I mean do you believe everything you’re being told by your Government? or by the news? You don’t have to be a genius to see that False Flag events are happening all around us everyday, especially when things don’t seem to add up. A third building fell when the twin towers went down on 911, we then went to war over weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist. Really? Recently a teenager was killed in a car park of a Police station in Melbourne. This single event seemed to help steamroll a massive taxpayer funded effort to fight homegrown terrorism and take away more of our civil liberties, yet statistically 1 woman is killed every week due to domestic violence in Australia, but funding to programs that support women are being cut by our Government, all this while tax evading big businesses are rewarded with more tax breaks. The treatment of refugees, the elderly, the poor and especially our indigenous people’s is currently at an all time low. There’s also a massive mental illness epidemic in this Country which is being ignored and the list goes on. It just feels like the priorities of the current Government and some media outlets are based on keeping a certain narrative alive; fear, divisiveness and negative propaganda which is inspiring an ‘us versus them mentality’. I mean seriously, where is the love?
We have come a long way since them old sepia colour times, a bygone era where the catch phrase was G’day Mate! Australia is now a big player on the International arena in many fields; creative, sport, science, technology, anything and everything. Wherever you look there is an Aussie.
The future is a strange one for all of us right now, things could go two ways really. This phase we are now experiencing could be short-lived and we could be laughing it all off in a year or so sayin ‘Phew! Thank god we survived that little episode’ and move on to greener pastures. Or things could go the opposite way and we could be staring down one of the most insanely scary era’s of our collective existence. But of course if you want, it’s also easy to switch off and go dancing.
It’s pretty clear that we are living in a potential nightmare on all fronts, from corrupt governments to bad news propaganda, race riots, religions at war, big business messing with our food and water, the destruction of the environment, homogenised media, cuts to the abc, job losses on mass, high rentals, pollution, corruption, corrupt police, corrupt corporations, more war, people living life way below the poverty line, the destruction of medicare, an unaffordable tertiary education system which will leave people from lower socio-economic backgrounds with little chance of a brighter future. People are down and out and the feeling of desperation is everywhere. How are we going to sustain ourselves in harmony as a human race if we can’t get the simple basics of humanity right? And worst of all this nightmare has only just begun.
It really is up to all of us to make positive change and force our governments to listen to our voices. After all we are the people that put them in power, they also need to know that we can also take that power away. Unfortunately things may have to get worse before they get better, but through these hard times change can happen, you just have to look around to see that people are the ones that make real change and we have to all stand our ground in 2015. Voting is one of the most powerful basic rights we have as a civilisation and a right that young people should never take for granted.
I actually have a crazy little idea, but I know that the world’s problems are way too complex. We all need to just stop and take more time to hold hands, like literally. I’d actually like to put it into some kind of practice, make it an actual event. But lets just say for instance we all just came out of the buildings we live in for one moment and we all just shut the hell up, held hands and made a deeper connection with our neighbours and our communities. This could be run from town to town with some kind of letterbox drop or mass email out, I don’t know? it seems abit out there, but just imagine? everyone in the world connected for that one moment? holding hands? It could happen at gigs, street rallies, anywhere really. Who knows where this could go? #HOLDHANDSFORPEACE
I feel extremely lucky to make music, especially in these times. There’s just no better way to express how you are feeling about the world than in song. We pay homage to friends we have lost along the way and stand up for the rights of people just like us, our friends, our families and the ones we love. There just isn’t another art form that resonates quite like music. And because our music to us is the perfect dose of heaviness, punk, melody, politics, positivity, aggression, soul and lightness, we feel that we have worked hard enough that eventually the right people will come out of the woodwork and get behind our people power message!
As creatives we need to do our part and speak for and inspire those who have no voice. It’s our responsibility as musicians and artists to express ourselves through the punk rock narrative representing the underground! You’re still changing the world in your own way. A revolution of 10 or 100,000 is still a revolution!
(Get your hands on a free download of False Flags. For all 10 tracks, click here)
Yeah we are spending all of January in the studio putting the finishing touches to the 20+ new songs that we wrote in 2014. After that we’re demoing them and sending them off to some of our favourite music producers from all around the world. We’ve made some good friends over the last couple of years, so we’ll be putting those friendships to test in a months time. Haha! If anyone has Rick Rubin’s contacts we’d be keen to get in touch with him too. I saw in a video interview about how ‘he’s always been into bands who are outsiders’ and that kinda stuck with me. Man we couldn’t be more of an outsider band! Plus he’s worked with some of my most favourite artists including; Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Kanye West and so on. But hey! we are more than happy to work with a local producer, but only if they are 100% passionate about what we are trying to achieve. But we’re just gonna see who responds to our demos and go from there. Anyone who might be interested, feel free to get in touch.
Touring again soon?
Yep, after our album is released we’ll be heading out on our most extensive Australian tour yet. This time around we want to do some regional shows and workshops with kids and stuff like that. We also have our eyes set on the USA, UK, Europe and even Asia. The radio has been overloaded with all the other styles of music that just keep getting regurgitated over and over. Maybe the World is just about ready for Soul Punk music.
You look after My Sydney Riot. Can you tell me about that?
My Sydney Riot was an accident that turned into a movement. My friends bands weren’t getting booked for shows and so I thought fuck it! lets just book our own shows. So since 2006 My Sydney Riot has been there to support the independent music scene of Sydney and beyond. We’ve put on close to 1,000 shows since 2006, we’ve raised awareness for causes and brought focus to alot of up and coming bands and that’s been rad. Many bands have had their start with The Riot and have gone on to do bigger and better things, but I don’t want to take credit for that, I think every scene needs a stepping ladder, a beginning, a start and destinations like My Sydney Riot should just be there as a standard for all music communities. I have friends who have succeeded in doing this in places like Wollongong, Byron Bay and even a little town called Batemans Bay on the South Coast of NSW.
Are you working on any other projects?
MSR is working on a little recording project to help some up and coming bands get their music out there. We’re also working on a Music Prize to support grass roots independent artists who release strong recordings this year, so stay tuned for that. We have a couple of secret projects in the works too. I’m also working on a new art show which I’m very excited about.
Shuffle your iPod 7 times, what songs come up?
- Portishead /// Roads
- M.I.A /// Born Free
- The War On Drugs /// Under The Pressure
- Marvin Gaye /// What’s Goin On
- Warpaint /// Son
- Kanye West /// New Slaves
- Die! Die! Die! /// Blue Skies
What goes into cultivating a good beard?
Years before beards were on trend I grew mine as a personal protest against a world which seemed to be obsessed with the way one looks and nothing else. I came to the belief that how I looked on the outside meant little to me if I didn’t have a good heart, so I stopped shaving. But I never let it grow out of control, I do trim the odd hair just so people can see my lips. Eating hair while eating food ain’t fun.
Tell me the Kanye story one more time.
One night we were hanging around outside The Flinders on a Wednesday night. This silver Mercedes Benz circled around the venue and kept disappearing. The Benz returned and guess who hops out? Kanye West! Man every girl in the venue made a B line to him, it was hilarious! Funny thing was he came up and shook my hand and said “Hey”. I bought Kanye a Vodka and Cranberry. Haha! He had his drink, got uncomfortable, then he left. The whole thing was so Simpsons you really had to be there. Life is surreal.