There’s a fearlessness to Nathan Hudson’s songwriting, even when it talks about fear. Whether sleepwalking, becoming a werewolf, or meeting graffiti monsters, Faker’s always had a surreal lyrical edge which attracts and retains intelligent listeners, and sets them apart from the alt-rock pack. Guitarist Nic Munnings says it’s all about the major sevenths. It’s a cheeky claim for a band that so consistently defies categorization.
Faker took their name from Bowie’s ‘Changes,’ and took to heart the lesson that being in it for the long haul means being prepared to shapeshift, stretch their sound, and experiment with how they reach audiences. From 80s and Britpop influences to sharper rock sounds and even dance remixes, Faker have kept moving, carving their own path. Like giving the last record, Get Loved, away for free, accompanied by a disarmingly honest open letter to fans about the band’s need to set its own direction. They’ve built a career on staying awake to complexity and challenge. So when Hudson raised the idea of moving to LA, it’s no surprise that the entire band was enthusiastic.
‘Australia has an incredible music scene and we love it to death but I don’t think we should limit ourselves to it,’ says bassist Liam O’Brien.
Travelling with the music was always part of the plan. Touring constantly over the years, Faker always runs at life head-on. Playing the Big Day Out one minute and free guerilla gigs the next can really test the sound and the dynamics. But this is a band that embraces challenge like no other. Hudson was one of the first out gay rock musicians in Australia and his courageous approach to songs about sex and sexuality are a signature. That courage has brought career highs that many bands would kill for. Working with Paul Fox on hit album Be The Twilight, having a platinum single in This Heart Attack, playing stadium shows with Pink and having 2011 track Dangerous remixed by CSS to huge airplay, to name just a few.
For 2012’s Get Loved, Faker stripped down to a core writing team of Hudson and long-time guitarist Nic Munnings. On reflection they see this phase as the strategic retreat before a fresh transformation. Now with two new members, O’Brien on bass and Chris Stabback on drums, there’s a renewed energy and a renewed enthusiasm for the magic of four-way collaboration.
‘We have developed something quite unique with the new line-up and it is constantly evolving into something bigger and better than anything the band has done in the past,’ says O’Brien.
Working in LA on Be The Twilight in 2007, Hudson found the new context brought a fresh focus. While many bands move to the US to “make it,” Faker is an accomplished band with its own idea of success. It’s about finding new ways to sustain the adventure of making music. Moving is an idea the band has been considering for some time.
‘We were actually talking about it quite a lot when we were making Be The Twilight,’ says Munnings.
For Nathan, there’s a more foundational meeting of landscapes at work. As a kid ‘we’d take these long family car trips around the outback of Australia listening to songs about the road and natural landscape of America… It’s always felt kind of inevitable.’
If bands are willing to become brands it is easy enough to sustain a career by working to a formula. But a band so allergic to limitations needs to embrace change.
‘Challenge your habits and place yourself outside your comfort zone,’ as drummer Stabback says.
With that attitude, the band is sounding better than ever. The time is right to turn and face the next chapter. Says Hudson: ‘When we’re learning, adventuring, celebrating and evolving, we’re Faker… anything else is fool’s gold.’