Challenging Racism and Inequality – An interview with FA!R

Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels findest du hier.

Over the course of history, there have been several expressions whose simplicity had the power to change the world. This year, those words were, without a doubt, the words „I can’t breathe“ by the US-citizen George Floyd who met his untimely death during a standard stop-and-search operation. The resulting wave of outrage gave new life to the Black Lives Matter movement and inspired countless artists to speak out against violence and racism. 

Triggered by the events in the US, a young German punk band decided to support this movement. FA!R, as they’re adequately called, caused the EMPERIAL SOUND studio to heat up. You can now read what they had to say during the interview.

The resulting EP can be bought for a small donation soon.

Thanks a lot (again!!) to lightinmirror.de for the amazing photos.

Shieldmaiden’s Voice: If you had to describe your musical style in three words, which ones would you choose?

FA!R: Two words would be Punk Rock. Three words… Fair Punk Rock!

SV: How did you arrive at the band name „FA!R“? How was the name conceived?

FA!R: Oh! That was… We had terrible names in the beginning. We were brainstorming the worst band name ideas ever and then we were at Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia and we always said „Fair!“ to each other, like… that was our response to everything. 

Somebody told us something and we were like „Ok, yeah, fair!“ and we realized, that this was a great name. It’s short, easy to remember once you heard it and we just added the exclamation mark instead of the „i“ and that was it.

SV: Is there a band, an album or a song that is very influential to you and your musical style?

FA!R: Our plan was to go to like 80s punk rock albums or early 90s, like BAD RELIGION and stuff like that. We wanted to have that in the year 2020 with a new sound element that we created here in the EMPERIAL SOUND studios.

SV: Your band is actually quite new, can you give us a short run-through through your band’s history so far?

FA!R: Yes! We started in 2018..? Let’s make it really quick: We started the band, we made the first album, we played two shows, Corona happened and now we are recording our first EP which is the second release.

SV: When did you actually found the band, I mean, your Facebook-Page was founded in March 2019…

FA!R: In the fall of 2018. Nearly two years already!

SV: Which message do you want to convey with your music?

FA!R: On the first album we had a lot of fun lyrics, we also had a song called „Meat is Murder“ where the message is quite obvious, I guess. We also had songs about coffee and about being a loser, just normal fun punk stuff. This new EP is actually just about the current global movement against racism and systematic racism. This EP is quite political, the first album was not.

SV: Why are you changing it now? You could have continued doing fun lyrics?

FA!R: After the first album, we didn’t know if we were ever going to release something new or if the first album was enough, to be honest. Then all this shit happened in the last weeks and we couldn’t resist writing songs. This was the anger and hatred we felt against racism and it was inspiring somehow. 

We’re anonymous, but we’re obviously white and at first we thought that it’s stupid to say something about this when you’re white, but then we realized that white silence is violence. Why not say that you hate what happened in the US, why not say that you hate what the president is doing, no matter what skin color you are? We’re still not sure… If it offends someone, we’re sorry for, like, speaking out even though we are a white band, but we felt it’s more important to speak out than to say nothing at all.

SV: So you could say that current and global events play an important role in your music?

FA!R: For this EP, yes. The only reason this EP exists is the death of George Floyd.

SV: What other inspirations do you have in your songwriting then?

FA!R: Music or lyrics?

SV: Both!

FA!R: Fat Mike [Singer, Bassist of NOFX] once said that punk rock is the greatest genre of music that exists and we think that is true, so fast punk rock inspires us. And in terms of lyrics…As we said, this EP is about this one topic only, it’s like a concept EP so the inspiration is obvious. Before that the lyrics were pretty simple, the first album was really simple, just thoughts running through our heads.

SV: If you say that you want to speak out against certain wrongs you see in the world, why are you hiding your faces? You could become sort of the poster boys for certain issues if you showed your faces.

FA!R: If you could see our faces, you’d knew that we aren’t the right ones to be poster boys. We love being anonymous somehow. We love that our characters in the band are separated from who we are because with them we can do and say things we wouldn’t have the courage to do if we were showing our faces. 

If you are on stage and in a band you are always playing a role anyways but we weren’t acting it out like we now do. We really like the freedom that gives us. And other bands who wear masks and have been asked about that before have said similar things.

SV: What kind of repercussions are you fearing in your normal life that make you feel like it’s necessary to wear a mask?

FA!R: It’s not fear, that would be the wrong word. When you do something as you yourself, you overthink everything which leads to not doing anything at all sometimes in the worst case. And when we were wearing the masks, we can just do stuff and we’re only this band. We are not our jobs, we are not connected to our families, we are just this band. 

It is so much fun to just concentrate on this one thing. We can make everything up, it’s like a superhero cape, you change into something else and that is so much fun if you can do that. This is why we do it. Plus, we also like it really hot on stage! When we’re close to death, that is where the fun starts.

SV: Where are the other band members today?

FA!R: That is a mystery, like a lot of things with this band. Let’s leave it a mystery.

SV: What would you be doing right now if there wasn’t a global pandemic?

FA!R: We’d be at a lot of festivals. That’s the stuff we miss the most: concerts. That’s the thing, when you love music. A lot of people, young and old, just miss it. The country’s opening up, so we are getting closer to normality again, but what’s not happening yet are the big concerts and festivals and that’s the thing that hurts the most. Everyone who has music in their lives misses this. But of course it makes sense that these things don’t happen, because health and safety come first.

SV: What goals do you want to achieve with your music in the future?

FA!R: First of all, we love playing live and we love live shows, we love watching them, but we especially love playing them, because you can go crazy and you can’t always do that in life. We would also love to leave a certain message for young people who don’t have a political direction yet and maybe our music can influence them to go in the right direction and the right direction is left. Or at least not right… To leave ideas of equality and to stand up against stuff that is going on in the world that is wrong. That would be cool.

SV: Are there any artists that you see yourself sharing the stage with in the future?

FA!R: We would love to play with BAD RELIGION, NOFX, MILLENCOLIN and basically the whole line-up from Punk Rock Holiday and stuff like that. We had the idea to found the band at Punk Rock Holiday so that is the line-up that would work for us.

SV: If there was one message that you would want the people to take away from this interview, which would it be?

FA!R: Fuck Racism!

FA!R; 06/2020 (Pic by lightinmirror.de)

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