The Faps are a band that take all musical conventions and slurp them up, gurgle them, and then spit them back at the listener like a piss warm pilsner. Oh, you want some blast beats? How about we throw a fiddle in there too? Oh, you like synthy prog punk? Cool, we’re going to drop some sax-driven skronk right in the middle of this next track. After all, this is a band that won a contest to open for Insane Clown Posse in their hometown of Saskatoon, which, when cancelled, decided to throw a ridiculous Juggalo extravaganza anyway. They’ve described their own music as “like a bomb went off on a pirate ship while a ballerina is screaming at you about cannibalism.”
Backed by a raucous and unpredictable live show (remember those?) that sees audience participation, guest appearances, and cross dressing; the anti-rock duo are nothing if not a creative powerhouse. The band once released their own mockumentary titled The Blair Itch Project about a band that goes missing on Salt Spring Island. Drummer Blair Colwell is a prolific graphic artist and even wrote a hilarious post-COVID guide for musicians called So You’re Not a Band Anymore with tips such as aggressive cleaning, paint night, and ‘just do a podcast.’ With that in mind, we asked them how they’re coping as they prepare to release their new EP, New Daft Punk, on June 4 through Transistor 66.
Punk shows are a whole beast unto their own and will probably come with a whole mess of problems in a post-pando world. How do you see yourselves reintegrating without having to compromise too much of your unpredictable aesthetic?
We hope that from our music, stage presence, and name that people have picked up on the fact that we’re trying to make fun of how aggressive and stupidly macho punk scenes can be. We always try to do the kinds of stage antics that invite people to join the mayhem or just laugh at us destroying ourselves, rather than encourage mosh pits or get in their faces. That’s included some pretty gross stuff in the past, but we feel like if we can play fun shows that capture that punk intensity without relying on aggression, then we can do it without relying on making a mess. It’s been a huge learning curve, but we’ve come up with some ideas. People can expect things to get a little more surreal as we ease back into feeling secure.
What is an average day like for The Faps? Are you both living together in Saskatoon now?
Average day? Well Blair is drawing a bird right now. I just cracked a beer at 2pm on a Friday in preparation for writing like 50 emails. We don’t live in the same house so we have to wrap ourselves in bubble wrap anytime we jam. Our average day is pretty boring. Is that what people want to hear?
What have you learned about yourselves as a band over the course of the last year? Was it difficult to stay creative throughout the pandemic or were you thriving?
We know too much about ourselves already. If anything, we’ve hopefully forgotten some shit. Creating has been weird though. We’re a shit-show that thrives on live performance so without that as a catalyst it’s been strange writing new material. It’s not necessarily difficult but there’s the looming question of “what the fuck is even the point?” surrounding us. Although, that question is sort of always there in a funny, rhetorical way.
What is the state of local venues in Saskatoon looking like right now?
The venues in Saskatoon seem to be hanging on, which is great. After such a long time without live music we’re hoping there’s a resurgence in support and appreciation for it, especially in the DIY/all ages community. The arts truly thrive when youth are actively engaged and there are safe, alternative spaces to express creativity in.
What is your typical song writing process?
We screw around with each other until we have a mess of fun and loud music that makes us laugh. Sometimes we try to play cartoon-ish math rock, other times we just rip off Motley Crue. When that fails we buy tracks from Trent Reznor.
What are some things about living in Saskatoon that inspire you guys as musicians?
Saskatoon is small enough that the whole scene is very connected and supportive but big enough that it’s still somewhat possible to thrive. Between the two of us we’ve collaborated (and lived with) lots of amazing artists who constantly inspire us to try new things and are willing to help bring our creative ideas to life.
What’s one weird fact that Nardwuar would dig up about you?
Skyler once performed as an acoustic-emo duo called Astro Boy with Drew who was the singer in a band with Andy Shauf called Captain.