While there are so many musicians and artists out there I feel like very few are a true embodiment of their art. You know what I’m talking about, those people that step into a room and just exude creativity from their hair down to their boots. Even when they speak their tone sounds like they’re always taking in every sentence and saving it for later in case a matching melody comes along. The second Liz and Shazam picked up the phone and we began to talk I knew that I was in for an insightful conversation. You might know these two a little better as The Fame Riot, their single “Heart Stray” finding its way inro Urban Outfitters and Gyms across the country. I dug a little deeper to learn more about the psychedelic duo; from their “new” single to their love of anime, read it all below!
Let’s start out talking about your single Heart Stray, tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the track and filming the music video as well.
Yeah! It was initially the first single we picked out of a batch of songs that we made back in 2014. That was the first time the track went out, we were independent. Then a year later we shot It and it was all pretty DIY, we knew we wanted to make a video for it because it really resonated with people, it was a fan favorite. We wanted to include our fans and our friends and highlight all of those people that supported us, that was a year later. Then almost a year after we made the video we signed a record deal with Another Century who recently teamed up with the Sony Entertainment Group. Originally it was just that song, it was a single deal for the song Heart Stray. About 3 months after the signing we did kind of an edit and a reshoot of the Heart Stray music video and it got featured on VEVO and several people in press that have been supporting us and our music which has been amazing. The song and the video was rereleased back in September/October and with that the rest of our music came down. Heart Stray was the first one we sent back out into the world!
So it’s kind of a rebirth for the band are you guys planning on rereleasing the old material or is this a complete clean slate with new ideas?
It’s a little bit of both, we’re already getting some mixes solidified. We’re planning to release a handful of new songs for the people who haven’t yet heard any of our music but a few of those tracks will be from our first release back when we were independent. We only got one EP out so it wasn’t like we have to rerelease a whole bunch of stuff. If there were more previously out there I would have probably said let’s just start clean, keep releasing whatever works. This however has given us the chance to take another pass through of several of the mixes from our old stuff, that had been out online. The label wants to release them and it’s exciting because we get to release these new takes on songs that a lot of people haven’t heard, and they’re all the same wavelength as Heart Stray. We’re really looking forward to what the fans and what our peers think of it all.
You two are brothers, being together your whole lives do you remember the point in which you knew that you wanted to pursue music together as a career?
It certainly didn’t start that way, in the sense of this is why we’re doing it. We knew we had to play shows together and we knew that we had to manifest something together that was different than anything we’d ever done before. We used to play Rock and Roll music in attics and garages and basements, we used to be more of a Rock n’ Roll band but we couldn’t get any solid numbers, musicians that would commit. One day we just started making beats and party music, crazy outfits started forming in our closets, and we just got to playing shows. We did a lot of parties with like a dress-up party vibe. It started almost as a joke in the sense that we were doing it just for fun, it was sort of novelty, then the response of the music we were writing was great. The people seemed to like what they heard! We got ourselves a producer and it kind of just snowballed from there! Definitely didn’t start with the mind mentality that this is a career but as we went along it sort of just presented itself. We have a chance to make great things.
Just to kind of jump back to something else you had mentioned, you guys have a very exciting aesthetic about you lots of color and prints. What would you say are your major influences when it comes to your style?
Grandma’s attic mainly. I have several sister-in laws and I get to go through their giveaway bags before they go out to GoodWill. Vintage clothing, the good old era of Glam Rock, Punk. Those thrift store finds especially. 60s love color acid revolution is really the kind of color, vibe and positivity that we like. Anything! I love Japanese art, style and culture, big fan of J-Pop. We like psychedelic stuff, we like vintage stuff, fur and leather. Anything we like to look at. I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to what we wear other than it has to be intriguing. It has to stimulate creativity. Not the Calvin Klein or Gap jeans. I mean I know a lot of people still rock the Gap jeans and the low cut Vans, and that’s cool it just doesn’t fit our criteria. (laughs)
Just to piggy back on that question a little bit, you mentioned something on Japanese culture I was wondering if you were an anime fan?
Yes! We love anime! We’re going through Berzerk, I love that. We’ve been watching Dragon Ball Z and Avatar. Then there’s obviously Miyazaki, we actually came across him probably 3 years ago, so fairly recently, and we love his color scheme. It’s been very inspiring in many different ways. There’s also Bowie, we’ve been very influenced by him and he was very influenced by Japanese culture as well. It’s one of my top 3 places to visit, I’m so excited to get there one day. There’s another one too Neon Genesis Evangelion that one is pretty amazing! Anime has been pretty recent in my influences but we really love it. There’s a video game too, Bloodborn I’d say has been pretty influential in the colors they use and the clothing. They have some really cool pieces you can wear in that game. Oh! Cowboy Beebop! I love that too! I didn’t watch the last episode, I don’t like watching the last episodes of things because then it means it’s over.
Now you affectionately call your fans the “Freekz” was this something that you guys created for your fanbase or was it something that they thought of that you guys adopted?
I think it was sort of the two hands coming together. I remember we used to make these announcements with the term freekz, like “Hey freekz” or “Calling all Freekz” we just kind of started using it. Of all the things it was one of the constant kind of words we use or terms so to speak. We also tend to spell things a little differently, we like to throw in a lot of Zs and Ks and abbreviations. It’s kind of weird but it was one of those things that kind of happened. Then some of our fans were kind of self-ordaining themselves as freekz, saying that they were freek-dom, it just became so fitting! A lot of people wouldn’t name their fans like that but we never had any ill intentions and our fans really embraced it. I feel like bands really don’t choose how their fans identify themselves a lot. I mean look at Justin Beiber and his Beliebers. I wonder if that came out in some weird funny way. You know back in the day Freaks were drug users, it’s almost kind of befitting when you look at our colorful lovely insanity of a party. They really made the Freekz their own. We could have gone with the Babes, the Honey Beans, the Children, but something had to stick, they had to claim it as their own. And we get to wave our Freek flags together, get to Freek out together. I think everything with that phrase is more of a self description. We are freekz, we are the freaky freekz, we would never call anybody anything we wouldn’t identify with ourselves. I think it’s more a, “we are the freekz, come join us.”
One last question for ya! You definit have a lot in the works
New music! New musica! Possibly an EP in the works? We’re always working on music, nonstop. It doesn’t matter what’s going on you can expect new music in the works from us, indefinitely (laughs.) We started doing these live FB broadcast and Instagram streams, we love interacting with our fans and connecting with people. Really staying involved in all of our social media will keep you really in the know, any big announcements will be posted all over our social media. But yeah, these live video functions are really the future and we really love using them to connect with our fans. You can be looking out for more music videos I think, more photo shoots. On top of that we just got off our first national tour and we’re hoping to get back out there soon. I’d love to hit Japan this year but we’ll see what’s in the cards. We’re not sure how soon we’re getting out there, we only get to know so much (laughs) In short, new tunes, getting out there to see everyones lovely faces, chatting online, hanging out on Facebook live. We really like doing those, they watched Shazam cut my hair so we’ll keep doing crazy stuff like that.
Thanks so much to Liz for hanging out with me and if you’ve never checked these guys out before you really are missing out on a fun time! Go check out their single Heart Stray and be sure to stay tunes on what’s to come through their social medias. I’d also highly recommend their Facebook Live events, just a few weeks ago I tuned in for their dance workout and man was I sweating by the end of it! Follow up on all things The Fame Riot down below!