Going to see The Fatales live is like a lesson in modern urban sociology. The audience is full of bookish hipsters who keep a respectful distance from the stage. When singer Wayne Switzer asks the crowd if everything sounds ok, he does not get the requisite drunken yodel in response. Instead of the giddy, “woo-hoo!” the front row responds with an enamored, satisfied, “yes.”
It appears that as music, and demographics, and society rapidly become more fractured, just as quickly a sound or a movement rises up to meet our new needs. Perhaps you find modern rock to be too superficial these days. Or maybe you’re bothered by college kids citing 30-year-old pop music as an influence. Maybe you are a college kid and you just like a little more brains with your sass. Well, apparently there are others like you out there, and they’ve chosen The Fatales as their band.
BREAKTHRU RADIO: As I recall, you guys were all radio DJs together in college, correct?
THE FATALES: Two of us were, at Virginia Tech.
BTR: Was “Pretty In Pixels” your first album?
TF: It was our first proper album. We had several home recordings before that.
BTR: I’ve read in several places that you guys are a good example of how to get great results in the studio on a shoestring budget. Do you guys have an affinity for the DIY approach to recording, or just a lot of technical knowledge?
TF: We’ve heard that too, which is funny because we’re broke. For us, that album was expensive.
BTR: Well, as opposed to a mega-studio production…
TF: Actually, the new stuff sounds even better, but we definitely paid for it.
BTR: Speaking of the new stuff, it seems like your music has incorporated more electronic elements and has also become more atmospheric. Have you consciously made the change from a song-oriented album to something more thematic or textured?
TF: More than a change, it was about focus. That was one of the big criticisms that we had of “Pretty In Pixels” – that it was all over the place in terms of style. We spent more time on the new stuff – developing the electronics, the sounds, and the textures – so that we would have more consistency.
BTR: What is your song writing process?
(Wayne): Basically we start with a mood. I bring in an idea or a skeleton of a song, and then these guys mess it up.
(Craig): We make it better.
(James): We run it through the Fatales filters.
BTR: Some of the songs on “Pretty in Pixels” – “Nipping At Your Heels,” for example – are pretty much straight ahead pop songs. Are you trying to rid yourselves of that sound?
TF: No, we love pop music. But “dark pop” is probably a better term for our sound.
BTR: I don’t know if dark pop is a movement by itself, but certainly some people might want to group you guys in with the current movement of fashion bands. I think you’re a little above that, but what do you think?
(Wayne): You mean you don’t think we’re fashionable?
BTR: No, not at all. I mean, I certainly noticed your scarf…
TF: You’re probably talking about the whole skinny tie phenomenon.
BTR: Sure, or the “the” bands thing. If somebody told me they like The Killers or The Bravery, I would certainly recommend that they listen to The Fatales. Do you think that’s the right idea?
TF: Well, we probably do use a similar pop-vocal structure. But I think we break it down musically – using more symphonic elements, more electronics, different dynamics – and that separates us from that movement.
BTR: I would also say that a lot of those bands are intentionally similar to each other, as though they’re trying to be part of a movement. You guys don’t seem to be focused on the trend.
TF: That’s right. We want to be timeless.
BTR: Actually, I think that’s an admirable goal. To make music that transcends current fads and stands the test of time is an accomplishment.
TF: Yeah well, we also thought about dropping the “The” from our name just to avoid the association, but we figured that would be too easy.
The Fatales are now in rotation on BreakThru Radio.
For more info check out www.thefatales.com