Scottish alt rock band Fatherson have toured with bands such as Biffy Clyro, Panic! At the Disco and Interpol. Only three weeks after the release of their third album ‘Sum of All Your Parts”, I caught up with them for a quick chat about becoming celebrity chefs, being prophesied sons, and everything in between.
I walked into the dressing room to be greeted by the band watching ‘$2 Vs. $200 sushi’ videos, which really set the scene for the interview, and Fatherson in general as a band.
So, how are we all today?
Marc (bass): Had a lovely day off, first day off from the tour yesterday, so refreshed and relaxed. We just stayed in the hotel for 24 hours and played some Jenga!
How’s the tour going so far then?
Marc: It’s been really good, we’ve been itching to get back out because we’ve spent so long away writing the album. We did a bunch of shows last year but we haven’t been away on tour since Feb/April last year. It’s been good, it’s been a really nice run so far.
Greg (drums): It’s been nice rooms and nice people, and they seem to be really enjoying the new stuff as much as they’ve been enjoying the old stuff.
Talking of the new stuff, what’s the response been like to the new album that dropped last month?
Marc: It’s been amazing actually, it’s always great. It was a weird one going down with this because we kind of locked ourselves away to make it. We got to that place where we were so happy with it, there wasn’t as much nerves about putting it out. Obviously, we’d love everyone to love it – but we were super happy with it. But the response has been better than we could have even hoped for, for sure.
What’s the new material like to tour with? Any particular favourites to perform live?
Greg: There’s a song called ‘Ghost’ – that goes down really well live.
Marc – It’s so much fun! I gets the biggest cheer I reckon. I think they can just see the joy emanating off our faces. To be honest, the whole set. It’s nice being at a place where we can get the choice of three albums to pick from. We’ve managed to get a set list that touches on all three records.
Ross (guitar/vocals): It’s kinda like a greatest hits album!
Greg: Yeah, we like the older songs. It’s kinda funny how different songs resonate with people.
Marc: Some are quite good to test the crowd and see; I like to see how long people have heard the band for. You see how some people get super excited about the first album stuff.
So the band started way back in school, how did that all come about?
Marc: One day it just kinda happened – we thought “Hey wouldn’t it be pretty cool to be in a band”
Greg: None of us were good at football, so being in a band was the next logical choice!
Did you ever imagine it would get you to this point?
Marc: There was a moment I always remember walking home one day and I was like –
Greg: – Rock City 2018 in the basement!
(At this point Marc erupts into laughter and completely loses his train of thought)
Marc: And like the prophecy coming true …
Greg: … The prophetical sons return!
Marc: No really, I think our biggest aspiration when we started was to play a gig. Play one gig …
(Marc looks over at Greg, still cracking up at his own joke)
Marc: Nah, your answer was way better than mine.
Back in the early days of the band, what kind of music did you guys listen to? What were some of your early inspirations?
Marc: Just the same music that I still listen to pretty much now!
Ross: I used to listen to System of a Down a lot. I loved them! Greg hates them with a passion!
Greg: No, that really wasn’t my jam. A lot of other local bands to be honest; it was a really good wee scene where we grew up. There were a lot of different schools and we made our own community of wee bands. We had punk music, emo music, metal bands – the whole spectrum. Every weekend there were gigs at someone’s youth club or something, you’d just go and see everything all the time.
Have you always been called Fatherson, or were there other names in the mix?
Marc: No, there were two other names before. The first one isn’t even bare mentioning. Then we were called Engery!, with an exclamation mark. Probably because I really liked Panic! That was when we were probably like 13 or 14. Yeah, that name lasted for a little bit too long I think, until the guy who is now our manager was like “Maybe you guys should think about changing that name – you can go on tour and play loads of nice big rooms but guys … that name is shite!” So then very last minute, we changed the name to Fatherson.
Was it literally a spur of the moment decision then?
Marc: Yeah, we had to decide.
Ross: We were down to the wire and it was the least bad name!
Marc: And then it becomes a band name and begins to lose any meaning to it anyway.
Greg: At least our dads were very touched that we named the band that.
Okay, so I have to ask. Whose idea was it to make the ‘Cooking with Fatherson’ videos on YouTube?
Marc: (Heavy sarcasm) We’ve been waiting for the point to start our celebrity chef cooking career, and we thought that the third album would be a great point to jump off from. The original plan was to be chefs, and we were just using the music to get there, so we just wrote a couple of songs. And now we’ve finally got to the point where we can start our actual career and what we actually want to do.
Ross: It was the only logical progression really.
Was it all an elaborate plan to use the ‘Sum of All Your Parts’ joke in the end of the first episode?
Marc: Oh no! The joke was spur of the moment!
Greg: That’s how good we are!
Marc: But genuinely, if you’ve got an album to promote you’ve got to do something to make the internet look at you. And we all love food! As evidenced by when you walked in, we were watching cooking videos.
Ross: When we’re at recording places, we always stay at residential places so that we can cook for ourselves. It’s always been the two passions that have been at the heart of this band, eating great food and playing awesome music.
You’re just about to play Rock City, are we generally a good crowd in Notts?
Ross: Fucking great night out as well! Me and Greg went out to a club down the road, and on a Monday night they set off confetti cannons three times!
Greg: There was all kinds of stuff going on, it was bananas!
Ross: Double vodkas were £1! Nottingham’s great. It’s a fucking awesome place!
And I think that’s a perfect way to finish up! Good luck with the show!
Vigilantes were the first support act to take the stage, a young indie rock band full of energy, who really seemed to be having the best time playing their music. A personal stand out was definitely their new single ‘Don’t Speak’, despite it being the first time hearing the song, I found myself humming along to the chorus. Making sure to add the song to my Spotify playlist as soon as I got home!
Up next were Blue Americans, a definite shift from Vigilantes, with a more chilled out, left-field pop vibe. Despite the shift in tone, they certainly kept up the energy – with the lead singer jumping off stage and performing around the entire room at one point! This took a few people off guard at first, but he definitely won them over by the end of the song, with people dancing, laughing and just having a great time.
By the time Blue Americans left the stage, the basement at Rock City was filling up, with fans both young and old alike. Fatherson opened with ‘Lost Little Boys’ from their second album, ‘Open Book’. Ross was exactly right in describing the setlist as a greatest hits album; it was almost a completely equal mix from all three albums. It was really great to hear the new material but also sing along to some older favourites. In saying that, despite the album dropping only last month it was amazing how many people already knew every song from ‘Sum of all Your Parts’ word for word! The newly released single ‘Making Waves’ went down particularly well, with not a still body in the entire crowd.
“Well this is the best Monday night of my life!” Ross tells the audience after their first song. He then recalled playing in Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, three years ago to an audience of only two people. Confessing that it was so awkward, they ended up just asking them what songs they wanted to hear! Three years on and it’s definitely a very different story for Fatherson.
One particular highlight was ‘Reflection’, one of the slower songs on the new album. Before playing the song, Ross briefly explained the inspiration behind it, being at a point in your early twenties when you’ve lost touch with family and forgotten what’s really important. He talked of a particular moment, after being at a party and not being able to get a taxi back, so having to walk home alongside the river in Glasgow. This seemed to really strike a chord with the audience, and not just with the younger crowd either.
Of course, they came back for an encore, after making a point of apologising for the whole “being over here, then being over there, then being back over here shit” though. Closing the show with ‘Charm School’ I was in shock at how quickly the evening flew by. Fatherson put on a simply awesome show, and I cannot recommend them and their music enough.
Be sure to check out Fatherson and their new single ‘Charm School’ on their new album ‘Sum of all Your Parts’.
Photo credit: Michael Lambert