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Fake Problems photographed by Ryan Russell

Fake Problems



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Hometown: Naples, FL (USA)

About:

Growing up is never easy, but when you're in a band it often seems impossible. Make the same record twice and you're chastised for being repetitive, but if you make too large of a sonic shift your fan base will desert you. Luckily Naples, Florida's Fake Problems have never had to deal with this dilemma because with each release they've not only organically reinvented their sound, they've also successfully redefined who they are as musicians and human beings in the process. The culmination of this is the band's SideOneDummy debut It's Great To Be Alive, which shows Fake Problems' unique brand of indie rock finally shaking off the insecurity and soul-searching of adolescence and sees the band embracing a sense of perspective that can only be gained by spending countless months on the road touring, laughing and writing music they believe in. "There was no desire to make another How Far Our Bodies Go," explains the band's frontman Chris Farren explains, referencing the band's 2007 breakthrough release. "We don't just want ourselves as a band to grow musically, but for the listener to grow and search out new music, too." That's exactly what the group-which also includes bassist Derek Perry, guitarist Casey Lee and drummer Sean Stevenson-aimed to accomplish with It's Great To Be Alive... and it seems to be working. "It's amazing to see the encouragement and response we get; we're playing songs from our hearts and when someone you've never met can relate to those feelings, it's an incredible experience," Farren continues. "I know when I write lyrics, I'm trying to explain a feeling I want someone else to understand."

In order to capture their creative vision for It's Great To Be Alive the band packed up their van and headed to the cornfields of Omaha, Nebraska, where they spent two weeks tracking the album at ARC Studios with producer A.J. Mogis (Cursive, Rilo Kiley, The Faint). Although this might seem like an unconventional choice for a band who have toured with decidedly more aggressive peers such as Against Me! and the Riverboat Gamblers, Fake Problems were so prepared going into the studio they didn't have to worry about getting bogged down with technicalities. "We knew exactly what order we wanted the record to be in and what auxiliary instruments we wanted to use on the songs," Farren explains adding that Perry arranged the strings, Look Mexico's Matt Agrella arranged the horns-and at one point the band even enlisted the help of a seven-piece horn section comprised of University of Nebraska students and teachers.

The result is an album that combines the band's punk rock roots with elements of folk and indie rock to create a unique amalgam of music that's as distinctive as Farren's soulful tenor. "I'm definitely influenced by my musical surroundings, so there was never any decision to make 'this' or 'that' kind of song," the band's frontman explains, listing everyone from alt-country crooners like Ryan Adams to troubadours like Bob Dylan and rock revivalists such as the Hold Steady as influences this time around. "We write songs that we would want to hear from other artists," he elaborates. "We make music that we want to listen to, so it just wouldn't make sense to keep doing the same thing over and over again.

From the sinister shuffle of "You're A Serpent, You're a She-Snake" to orchestral ballads like "Tabernacle Song" and intricately layered anthems like "There Are Times," It's Great To Be Alive is less of a traditional album and more of a sonic journey that refuses to be limited by genre constraints. "We're making plans to start playing shows with a horn section and a touring cellist," Farren explains when asked how the band plans on recreating these songs live. "I love the dynamic and differences between a simple rock and roll set as well as a full orchestral production." Lyrically, It's Great To Be Alive's parallels the musical progression the band have achieved with this collection of songs as well. "The last record was about being afraid to die, so this one deals with appreciating life and examining who you are and who you want to become," Farren explains.

However despite the positive nature of the album, songs like "Level With The Devil" and "The Heaven & Hell Cotillion" have a sinister edge to them. "You can't make a decision without exploring all of the goods and all of the evils; I'd say a lot of the lyrics deal with exploring the evils in my life and facing them," Farren continues. "I don't believe you can really appreciate life until you are the person you want to be, doing what you want to do with confidence." Ultimately, with It's Great To Be Alive Fake Problems themselves don't know quite where they fit in, but they're confident enough in themselves to know that's a blessing rather than a curse. "It's art, it shouldn't be about what cool club you fit in with," Farren summarizes. "If our music is going to be appreciated, I'd like it to be because of our songs."


Reviews

The Menzingers / Fake Problems live in Orlando

The Menzingers / Fake Problems

live in Orlando (2013)

live show

Fake Problems / You Blew It! Florida Doesn't Suck [split]

Fake Problems / You Blew It!

Florida Doesn't Suck [split] (2013)

Topshelf Records

Fake Problems live in Denver

Fake Problems

live in Denver (2011)

live show

Murder by Death / Fake Problems live in Charleston

Murder by Death / Fake Problems

live in Charleston (2011)

live show

Fake Problems / Ninja Gun / Jeff Rowe live in Boston

Fake Problems / Ninja Gun / Jeff Rowe

live in Boston (2010)

live show

Fake Problems Real Ghosts Caught on Tape

Fake Problems

Real Ghosts Caught on Tape (2010)

Side One Dummy

Fake Problems / Ninja Gun Split [7 inch]

Fake Problems / Ninja Gun

Split [7 inch] (2009)

Sabot

Riverboat Gamblers / Fake Problems live in Chicago

Riverboat Gamblers / Fake Problems

live in Chicago (2009)

live show

Fake Problems It's Great to Be Alive

Fake Problems

It's Great to Be Alive (2009)

Side One Dummy

Smoke or Fire / Fake Problems / Smartbomb live in New York

Smoke or Fire / Fake Problems / Smartbomb

live in New York (2008)

live show

Fake Problems Viking Wizard Eyes Wizard Full of Lies [7 inch]

Fake Problems

Viking Wizard Eyes Wizard Full of Lies [7 inch] (2008)

Good Friends

Against Me! / Dan Sartain / Fake Problems live in Columbia

Against Me! / Dan Sartain / Fake Problems

live in Columbia (2007)

live show

Fake Problems / Gaslight Anthem live in New York

Fake Problems / Gaslight Anthem

live in New York (2007)

live show

Fake Problems How Far Our Bodies Go

Fake Problems

How Far Our Bodies Go (2007)

Sabot

Fake Problems Spurs and Spokes / Bull > Matador

Fake Problems

Spurs and Spokes / Bull > Matador (2006)

Sabot

Fake Problems / Sedona Split

Fake Problems / Sedona

Split (2005)

For Documentation Only

show more

Interviews

Picture of Fake Problems

Band on Band: Fake Problems / Ninja Gun

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:00 PM (EDT)

Picture of Fake Problems

Chris Farren (Fake Problems)

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8:00 PM (EDT)

Picture of Fake Problems

We'll do it Live: With Chris Farren (Fake Problems)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM (EDT)

Picture of Fake Problems

Fake Problems x Look Mexico

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 8:00 PM (EDT)

Media: Chris Farren covers Fake Problems
Update: APRIL FOOLS! The jig is up. This article is false. We will now resume regular content. Thanks for reading! Chris Farren has posted a cover he recorded of "Songs for Teenagers," originally by Fake Problems. The…
April 01, 2014
Media: Antarctigo Vespucci (Fake Problems, Bomb The Music Industry, Gaslight Anthem): "Giving Up On U2"
Noisey has premiered the first single "I'm Giving Up on U2" from Antarctigo Vespucci. The new band features Chris Farren (Fake Problems) and Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb The Music…
March 27, 2014
Punknews Podcast: The week of February 4, 2014 with Chris Farren
On this episode of the Punknews Podcast, Adam White and Armando Olivas are joined by punk celebrity Chris Farren of Fake Problems. Hijinks most certainly ensue. Chris reveals the secret of his online success, from his viral Smiths shirts, to his covers project at The Ruckus, to the annual cultural…
February 13, 2014
Media: Chris Farren (Fake Problems): "Don't Be Shy" (Cat Stevens)
Fake Problems' Chris Farren has posted a cover he recorded of "Don't Be Shy," originally by Cat Stevens. The recording is part of Farren's new cover project, where he will post a new cover every Monday…
January 06, 2014
Best of The Year: Chris Farren (Fake Problems) and Toby Jeg (Red Scare Industries)
In our third edition of guest Best of 2013, Frankie the Santa Cat, is happy to bring you Chris Farren of Fake Problems and Toby Jeg of Red Scare. Click Read More to see their…
December 17, 2013
Media: Chris Farren (Fake Problems): "24 Hours" (Sky Ferreira)
Fake Problems' Chris Farren has released a cover of Sky Ferreira's "24 Hours" from her debut album Night Time, My Time. You can click Read More to listen to the cover. Fake Problems…
December 09, 2013
Media: Photographer Ryan Russell to release new photo book
No Sleep Records has teamed up with photographer Ryan Russell to release a new book of his work. It's called Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham and is due out this year. Russell's photographs are likely familiar to you even if his name isn't as he's responsible for a significant chunk of…
July 22, 2013
Media: ALL, Circle Takes The Square, United Nations, more added to the Fest 12
The Fest 12 has added a slew of new bands to its lineup, including ALL (with Chad Price on vocals), United Nations, Fake Problems, Circle Takes The Square,…
July 11, 2013
Media: Restorations: "New Old" and "Civil Inattention" (Switchboard Sessions)
Switchboard Sessions have posted another session with Philly's Restorations. The site features stripped down performances recorded through an analog phone line. The band performed "New Old" and…
April 08, 2013
Punknews Podcast: The week of April 2, 2013
On the latest episode of the Punknews Podcast, it's the debut of Punk Connection! John Gentile hosted as contestant Sheena listened to answers from Chris Moran, Armando Olivas and Tori Pederson to decide who of these three were her true punk soulmate. Among the topics discussed: The…
April 08, 2013

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