Meric Long Goes Off the Grid With FAN

After over a decade in The Dodos, Meric Long’s started a solo project.

FAN is a break from the Dodos indie rock sound. While his band records live as much as possible, Long explores synth and sound samples with his solo work.

“Everything feels different with this project,” Long tells BTRtoday. “It’s all really new to me, I just completed my first tour where I basically just played an MPC on stage. It felt ridiculous at first and quite terrifying to say the least.”

FAN released a 7-inch just last month via Polyvinyl where Long lays out emotional lyrics over steady beats and catchy hooks on the songs “Fire” and “Disappear.”

Long says FAN was inspired by the sound made by an old fan in a taqueria. “It was spitting out this rhythm, which was impossible to discern or reproduce,” he says. “It was consistent enough that you could follow it, but random enough that a human could never play it.”

Long plans on having the debut FAN album ready to go for next year—read the entire interview with Long below.

BTRtoday(BTR): Hey Meric! What inspired you to create FAN?

Meric Long (ML): I started doing some recording at home, messing with analog synths and just trying to create sounds that I hadn’t used before. I was inspired by the idea of trying to make music that wasn’t on a grid and that wasn’t made with any sort of intention. I wasn’t doing it with the thought of writing songs, but more just creating a library of ideas that sounded new to me. The idea of making it an actual project didn’t really exist until I took some of those ideas to my friend John Askew in Portland and he was like “these are total songs.”

BTR: Why the name FAN?

ML: One of the first things I recorded was a broken fan I encountered in the bathroom of a taqueria. It was spitting out this rhythm, which was impossible to discern or reproduce. It was consistent enough that you could follow it, but random enough that a human could never play it. I just thought that was so cool, I took the recording home and used it make a few patterns that I used as a basis for some of the early songs.

BTR: What are you doing differently with this project?

ML:Everything feels different with this project. While there is guitar on all the songs, I’d say the main difference for me is that the songs are mostly synth or sample based. It’s all really new to me, I just completed my first tour where I basically just played an MPC on stage. It felt ridiculous at first and quite terrifying to say the least.

BTR: How has your lengthy musical career influenced your music making?

ML: In the beginning, I was really doing music to prove things to people around me, and probably paying too much attention to the periphery. Now that I’ve been doing it awhile those reasons have changed and I find myself just either being into something or not. I consider myself jaded, but at the same time my appreciation for music is greater than ever and I find it to be this really insanely amazing thing.

BTR: How has your sound evolved since the dawn of your music writing?

ML: Ten years ago I was a bit of a purist and never thought I’d be making songs by cutting and pasting on my laptop. I thought everything had to be hammered out and performed in real time. I think that shaped the way things have sounded in the past for me, but nowadays I think if it sounds cool then it really doesn’t matter how it got made.

BTR: What kind of stuff did you listen to when you were young and first getting into making your own music?

ML: I grew up with a lot of ‘80s synth pop spoon fed by my older siblings: OMD, Devo, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears. I also played a lot of video games when I was a kid, and I can say with certainty that the soundtracks to a lot of those games had a big influence. Not so much the sounds, but the arrangements and interplay of parts. I didn’t start making music until I got a guitar and by that time it was all about Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins. I learned how to play every song on Siamese Dream, so you get the idea.

BTR: What kind of stuff are you into now?

ML: Recently I went through my first huge Beatles phase. When my daughter was born a year ago we spent a lot of time just sitting around listening to music and I felt this responsibility to provide a tasteful foundation for her. In doing that I discovered a lot of stuff that I had previously heard but not really listened to, namely the entire Beatles catalog. I can’t believe how awesome they were.

BTR: What do you want your fans to understand about you through your music?

ML: There’s not really something I want them to understand about me, I just want them to be stoked and nerd out.

BTR: What should we be keeping an eye out for in the future of FAN?

ML: I’m making a music video, putting out a record sometime next year and putting a live band together to try and pull some of this stuff off live—could be a disaster, so keep an eye out for that.

recommendations