INTERVIEW 69. jessica weiss (fear of men)

photo by Jacob Lillis
Fear Of Men is a 4 piece from Brighton (UK).
Combining a unique aesthetic where art meets philosophy, their straightforward guitar pop dwells mostly with a somber look on love, the contradictions of being and living without falling into a Joy-Division-or-Morrissey-esque cliché. Their explorations sound fresh and  spontaneous.
It's "Existentialist pop". Somber, sinister and "human, all too human" with an unrequited sense for catchy, blissful melodies and odd, decaying and foggy imagery.
Their debut album/compilation Early Fragments is available via Kanine Records.

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01. Who's answering this questions? What time is it? How's your day so far and where are you now?
Hi this is Jess. It's 4 o clock and I'm at home in Brighton. Today is going well, I've been swimming.

02. Why the name Fear Of Men?
It's just an interesting, striking name. I was writing songs about weird medical conditions when I came across androphobia. I like that it is complicated by having 2 boys and 2 girls in the band- people expect it to be a girl group, and also that it links back to mortality anxiety- what men fear- death, which is a continuing lyrical theme.

03. Another thing that strikes me in your music is the imagery you build… there's a catchy and pop side to it but also something dark and somber… almost macabre.  If I had to go wild and categorize your music I'd say it's Nietzsche pop… or Existentialist pop. With a background in Art and Philosophy, what are your references and inspirations? And how's your creative process?
I like 'existentialist pop'! My creative process is to let myself read and absorb anything I'm interested in, (I tend to go through almost obsessional phases of reading about different people or subjects) and then writing comes naturally from that, and from whatever is happening in my life. Two texts which struck a particular chord with me are Walter Benjamin's Origin of German Tragic Drama, where he writes about the past/history as a dead landscape detached from reality, and Freud's The Uncanny. Mortality anxiety and feeling lost are my biggest creative stimulants.

04. 'Early Fragments', out via Kanine Records, and the first chance to reach a wider audience. And it's a compilation of previous released songs and B-sides… from the newest to the oldest. How the contact with Kanine happened and how the concept of a "debut compilation" came up?  
Lio got in touch with us really early on, and was very supportive and encouraging for about a year of just talking via email. We wanted to do something together, but we weren't ready for our album yet, and we hadn't released anything in the US yet, so it made sense to put together our 7" and a new song as an introduction. We took a long time on the design of the sleeve and stickers too so we are proud of it as an object as well.

05. It's been a little over a month that your compilation came out. The blogosphere and music outlets around the world are labeling you as 'one of the most promising new acts from 2013'. How do you see and deal with this kind of label and/or expectations?
It's great that people are into it, at the moment we're just focusing on finishing our album so we don't really have the mental space to consider anything else. We just want to make something we're really proud of.

06. Perfect time and place to listen to Fear Of Men...
Dark room. White cube.

07. You recently made your first trip to the US and went to SXSW in Austin. How was it? Could you share some highlight moments?
Amazing. We also got to play at a great festival in Mexico, Nrmal, which was a great start to the trip. SXSW we were playing several shows a day and getting to meet people people like Chris from Gorilla vs Bear and Duncan from the Fader who have supported us for a long time so it was great to meet them in person, and it was really exciting to be playing each show to people who seemed really engaged in the music- I'd been warned previously that the crowds are very 'industry' and don't really get into it, but we didn't find that. Then we went up to New York, it was our first time there and we headlined Glasslands which was very exciting for us. I also fell in love with the Natural History Museum. I'm definitely going back there when we return to NY in June.

08. What's next? What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Finishing the album, then New York for Seaport Festival, some UK and European shows and then LA for FYF Festival.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello and Greetings from Kiel in the North of Germany -

I own the CD "loom" since it was out. Mrs. Jessica Weiss transfers
serious words with her wonderful voice and also good music...
after a little time hearing her lyrics I tried to
concentrate the theme behind them for my own way.

"Fear of Men" or "what men fears" ...
yes! You can say so!

But I found annother "sound" of human being, and I think
it will hit Mrs. Jessica Weiss words more directly:

It's called "anatta"

"Anatta" is a part of buddhismus-analysis.

Please don't think I'm a buddhist! No! I'm not!
I lost all my religion (once I started as a catholic-Christ).

But "anatta is a part of "human being analysis" and because I
studied it for myself, I understand that there is no thing,
included human soul, which is existing for itself.
There is only existing a "longing for..." inside people
till their last life-second.

A philosopher called Epikur once said, that there is no difference
between coming inside world and outcoming and between this time
we only built an impression of a static soul inside of us.

The Band "Fear of Men" comes from Brighton. There is much water...
and water is a good help to realize flowing at all - also
inside of us.
If you are searching for a stable platform inside yourself,
you must fail ... or you have to lie yourself.

So - the words from Mrs. Jessica Weiss are very courageous
and I think they're right.

There is no static inside me, I recognized before a long time,
but what I have found?
I'm everywhere at home - because I'm nowhere at home -
except by me at home.

Many greetings and so many thanks for music and voice
to "Fear of Men". Have a good time and life!