Looking for something a little less heavy to start off your work week? False Fed have just the thing, their debut album, Let Them Eat Fake. It’s the first outing from the dark punk band but you probably know its members: vocalist Jeff Janiak (Discharge, Broken Bones), guitarist Stig C. Miller (Amebix, Zygote), bassist JP Parsons, and drummer Roy Mayorga (Nausea, Ministry, Soulfly, Amebix). On Let Them Eat Fake, False Fed explore new musical territory for the group’s members, using the new sounds to voice familiar angst and anger.
Opening track “Superficial” takes a heavy approach to post-punk, almost adding a post-metal spin on the sound. It sets the tone for Let Them Eat Fake, a record that is dark and brooding without losing its momentum. Fourth track “The Big Sleep” utilizes a tense riff that threatens to explode at any second, followed by the super-danceable and very catchy “Dreadful Necessities.” It’s the album’s best song, combining the doom-and-gloom with energetic drum beats that essentially require movement.
Let Them Eat Fake is essentially six songs and an outro, which features ominous spoken word over crystal-clear guitar; it’s an interesting choice to end the record but the somber tone matches the topical subject matter of the record. Neurot Recordings will release Let Them Eat Fake on October 13 but you can stream it below, alongside an interview with the band.
You guys have been in a who’s who of crust and punk bands. What led to you getting together for False Fed?
JJ: The idea was originally born not long before the pandemic started. Nergal [Behemoth] spoke to me about starting a project but it just never came to fruition, but the idea of starting a new band was something I never let go of. I really liked the idea of doing something out of my comfort zone and experimenting vocally. I spoke to my good friend JP about the idea, who has more of a metal and rock background. He’s an amazing all-around musician that can basically play any style and any instrument and he was totally onboard. We discussed a few ideas and he laid down some basic tracks which was totally different from anything I’ve done previously, so things were headed in the right place, but we obviously needed more people involved to make it a band. I was driving myself nuts trying to think of guitarists that would fit the bill. I didn’t want a standard punk guitarist, as I wanted to experiment and not do the same shit, so I needed someone with an open mind musically. Someone that had their own sort of vibe and can play something that I could actually feel. Stig Miller came to mind. I met Stig a few times and always admired his sound. I got in touch with him and he was totally into the idea as much as we were. We started working straight away. He just fit right into the mix and everything was falling into place. We still needed a drummer as we were using programs initially, so Stig suggested getting Roy onboard and here we all are. False Fed.
SM: Well for me personally it all started when JJ messaged me saying “Could we have a chat about something?” or words to that effect. I was introduced to JP and they told me their cunning plan via Skype chats. Apparently they had been working on ideas together before, but as far as I know we all started from scratch when I got involved.
JP: That’s pretty much how it went. Me and JJ actually started playing around with ideas before Covid hit. We sent a rough idea to Stig that would eventually become ‘Superficial’ which is the first track we did together and quite fittingly is track number one on the album.
Musically, this one is a little different from what everyone is known for. Did you intentionally set out to go in a darker, heavier direction or is that just how it ended up?
SM: Our only intention was to make some music together. We had no agenda or musical direction other than making music. It came out how it came out due to the different personalities involved, a nice balance I think.
JJ: We had no certain plan or direction musically as far as WHAT we wanted to sound like. I had no idea what we were gonna sound like. I only knew what I didn’t want to sound like. We weren’t planning on trying to reinvent the wheel or nothing, but personally I just wanted to do something fresh and something that is its own entity, without sounding like our past bands. So this definitely ISN’T an extension or continuation of Discharge, Amebix or Zygote etc, and if you come into the album expecting crust punk or D-beat, you will definitely be disappointed because there’s none of that here. It’s a new band that’s free from the shackles of genre so we can play whatever we want to play.
The world definitely feels pretty terrible right now but you have all been writing and recording political punk/grind/crust music for decades at this point. Do you think the world has gotten any better or are things just worse?
SM: They are just worse, but Photoshopped to look better.
JJ: It definitely gets worse. They strip us of our rights little by little every day right under our noses and most people don’t even know it’s happening.
JP: I’m not a political guy but you don’t need a degree in politics to see that the world is somewhat tearing apart at the seams. The news is full of negativity and that’s just the stuff the mass media isn’t covering up. I do believe there is still good out there though. You just have to look for it alot harder now.
Let Them Eat Fake is the first time the members of the band really did the work to write an album remotely. Did doing things this way inspire any different approaches to songwriting?
SM: I think so. We got to try out different things and see if they worked as demos before committing to properly recording them. Kind of methodical, but if something isn’t good enough you can tell early on and try it another way or a different arrangement until it works.
JP: Writing and recording remotely gave us an opportunity to be explorative. We all had really strong ideas that would lead us down different paths. It was like one giant jam where everything was recorded. It was all very organic despite not being in the same room.
JJ: It was good because it was during the pandemic and there was nothing for us to do, so we had a lot of time to work on the album. It was also a huge learning experience for us. Would I want to record like that again? HELL NO.
Like so many albums over the last 3 years and change, Let Them Eat Fake and False Fed in general are results of the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this a project that you’ll continue or was it a one-off conceived during some particularly dark years?
JJ: It’s definitely something we’re going to continue. It’s like giving birth to a child and raising it and watching it grow up. I can definitely say that False Fed is here to stay and not just a “side” project.
SM: I think we might have some more records in us yet.
JP: I feel like there is still more to come. It’s not like the world is dry of inspiration right now.