Hey Chris. Please introduce yourself and FAVEZ to our readers real quick!
Hi, i'm Chris, i sing and play guitar. The band is also comprised of Maude (organ), Jeff (piano and Rhodes), guy (guitar), Fabrice (drums) and Yvan Lechef (bass). Except for Maude, these people all sing, more or less in tune depending on the level of enthusiasm.
What did you expect from „En Garde“ to sound like after its producing and writing process?
We were really hoping to keep it energetic. It's always been one of our main problems, we tend to focus a bit too much on niceness and correctness in the studio. For that one we felt like we had to give it a bit more heart and less brain.
Tell me a little about working with Andrew Scheps! What was different from working with earlier producers / no producer at all?
So no producer at all was the worst idea we ever had, that was a mistake and we'll never do it again. You actually can't work with no producer at all, you end up working with as many producers as there are band members. Hell. HELL! But we've always gotten along very well with our producers, we let them be part of the band. Every producer ends up being a bit different, Greg Wales, on our last album, was like a member of the band, we had no age difference and more or less the same experience and were on the same wavelength, Santi Garcia on Old And Strong was like a kid brother, always pushing us to be a bit more immature. John Agnello, for Gentlemen and From Lausanne, was like a father, scolding us when we were doing the bad thing but always loving and caring, and Andrew was like a big brother. Slightly more mature, protective and interested in pushing us to our limits, just to see how well we could do. All in all, I love them all and they all brought something great but Andrew was at the same time comforting and exciting, sort of like a perfect girlfriend. We'd all love to work with him again...
FAVEZ are around for quite a couple years now. Is there still a significant progress within the band – for example when writing songs, rehearsing for live shows etc. – or did some parts clearly become routine?
We've been fighting routine for the past 20 years and every time we have the feeling this whole thing is becoming stale, we try to get out of our comfort zone. There is frankly no rock music without a major excitement factor and, the older you get, the harder it is to be excited by doing the same thing over and over again. So yeah, we brought in keyboards, we aimed for classier songs, we try to not write the same song over and over again. It's a fight against boredom and the day we lose the fight, we'll stop the band. But hopefully it will go on for a while, the trick is to not be scared of changing stuff. And the weird part of it is that you don't necessarily change stuff because it doesn't work, but mostly because you can feel it becoming boring... A lot of people who have come to see us over the years don't necessarily understand that . I hear some of them going "you guys used to be so great in 2001, why did you get these keyboards/the new floor tom/change guitars/stop playing Headed for the Ocean/don't have a Get Up Kids tshirt, etc etc etc...". Well basically, the point is that we like to feel good about what we're doing, and if you're 39 and pretending to be 26, it feels bad. So that's the reason we go on. We're not here to cater to nostalgia fests, the band is what it is now and if you preferred it when you were 18, well tough luck, life is sometimes hard and you can always go back to litening to your old Samiam records.
I love that special FAVEZ sound for its melancholy but also breaking and clean hooklines on the one hand and quite and thoughtful tunes on the other. What every-day aspects inspire the songs and lyrics of FAVEZ?
Hopefully every every-day aspect of life is inspiring. You feel good so you write a song, you feel bad so you write a song, you just had a cool coffee with a friend so you start humming a tune in your head and that becomes a song. I don't really think that any part of life is more inspiring than another. It's just life in general. How amazing, this whole "life" thing we have going on.
If you´d find the time to do another „semi-fulltime“ musical project / band which is different from FAVEZ – what would it be?
I actually do have another project called The Sad Riders. We only play my songs (me me me me me) and it sounds a bit like a country version of classic rock. It's kind of like a guilty pleasure. I love it but I can understand why some people would be turned off by it. But it's fun to work with different people, be in control of everything. Fun but kind of limited, so after a few month of having an egoistical affair, I always come back to the Favez family, where everything is right where it's supposed to be.
How is FAVEZ killing time on the road or around the shows when on tour? Are you trying to pay attention to the areas you play in or are you guys more interested in hanging out and taking time off for yourselfs?
Yep, we always walk around town. Ten years ago we started touring with a nightliner and we never went back to the van. It costs a shitload of money but instead of spending the day on your Autobahns stuck in a Stau, we're visiting cool places, like the Bochum town center or the Kassel Hauptbahnhof. Definitely worth the investment...
What records are you personally most excited for to be released in the near future?
I have trouble being excited by something I do not know yet, as I don't necessarily trust the people I love to be consistant (which is probably one of the reasons I love them), but in a very close past, I'm excited about the new Felice Brothers, that after a very quick listen sounds totally insane, and the beauty of the James Vincent McMorrow album. And Madrugada are putting out unreleased material on reissues, Sivert Hoyem being my all time top one favorite singer in the world, that's definitely exciting for me.
What further goals were set for FAVEZ in 2011? Tours, festivals, etc?
Touring in Europe in the fall, playing some open airs before that and after, we think it might be time for another band reinvention. We don't know yet. Probably more guitars. We like guitars.
Finally - tell our readers something they didn´t know about FAVEZ yet!
We love you even when you yell "play Headed for the Ocean" during our set.
Thanks for your time, Chris! See you soon.
Thanks, allschools - thank you, Moppi!