Almost two years ago, there was a flutter of punk rock building up inside of Gabriella Kartz. That flutter would soon morph into flight with the help of husband and guitarist, Jason Kartz, drummer, Paul Tyree, and bassist, Peter Hair; and on June 1st, 2014, Faux Fiction was born.
The members of Faux Fiction have taken a very humble approach to their music career, and radiate gratitude to the opportunities they are bestowed upon (which is a rare thing to see in music). The Alternative/Post-punk band pushes and grabs for your attention with their raw first work, "Faux Fiction EP" which you can listen to below. The second track on the EP, "Between Heartbeats" projects a heartsick protagonist, warning of the woes of love and begging for understanding.
Faux Fiction has just finished recording their first full-length album, and we are eagerly awaiting to hear the glossy, unwrapped product - it is sure to be a great addition to the blossoming MKE music scene. Read more about the band's past, present, and future below, as we chat with lead singer and co-founder, Gabriella Kartz.
MM: How are you doing?
FF: Life recently got a bit more interesting for me. I found out a few weeks ago that my current employer will not be renewing my contract once it’s up at the end of June, which means I’m back on the job market. I was bummed out about it for a little while, but it’s honestly a relief. My current work environment isn’t really the best fit for me, so it was about time to move on anyway. It’s exciting to think that I’m no longer tied down to one career path; the world is my oyster.
MM: What was the turning point that led to you and your husband actually putting a foot forward to culminate the beginnings of Faux Fiction?
FF: Jason and I went to see Queens of the Stone Age at the Riverside Theater when they were here in early 2014. They have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, but it was my first time seeing them live. It was amazing. I had only been writing acoustic stuff up until that point, but after that show, I knew I needed to be writing heavier stuff. Jason had also just finished writing a batch of songs with Lex Allen, and I knew he was itching to work on a project of his own. I sold my acoustic guitar, bought a new Fender and an amp, and Faux Fiction was born.
MM: Who does the songwriting for Faux Fiction? Is it a collaborative effort between you and your husband or the other members in any way?
FF: I think it’s fair to say that I’m the main songwriter of the group, but our music is absolutely a collaborative effort. Jason writes some really amazing riffs (Lukewarm Snakes, Flows to Nowhere). I think Jason and I tend to write together the most, but that's kind of a given since we're married and live in the same house. It's a pretty organic process, and Jason gives great feedback when I have an idea for a song. Peter is also an invaluable songwriter, and he’s a big help when it comes to fully executing some of the ideas I start but can’t figure out how to finish. I definitely can't leave out Paul's contributions to our sound; he's a phenomenal drummer, and his creativity and intensity really gives each song the finished sound I hear in my head. It's an honor to work with such fantastic musicians, and I'm lucky I also get to call them my friends.
We do try to have live writing sessions, but there are plenty of times when I'll make a quick recording of an idea on my phone and send it out to everyone for feedback. It's really useful for those spur of the moment ideas I have at home (and don't want to forget about). We also record a ton of demos with simple home studio equipment and share them via email. Ah, the joys of technology.
MM: Any events or happenings in your life that have sparked inspiration for some of your songs? Any good backstories about your songs you're willing to share?
FF: Jason had a cool riff he was working on, but I was having trouble writing the accompanying lyrics. We were in the midst of a massive X-Files binge via Netflix, and we got to an episode called "Signs and Wonders". The plot centers around Mulder and Scully's investigation of a southern church steeped in biblical literalism and snake handling. At one point, the preacher is giving this animated sermon, and I decided to rework it into the lyrics for the song (ironically, of course). "Lukewarm Snakes" is definitely one of my favorite songs.
Our newest song, “Good Things”, is one that is deeply personal for me. Once you're married, most people tend to think the logical next step for you is to buy a house, settle down, and start a family..and they have no problem asking you about it. I know they mean well, but it's not exactly a polite question to ask someone. I feel it's a bit intrusive, actually. Children are a beautiful thing, but they're not for everyone (and some women can't have them even if they wanted to). Jason and I are definitely considering having a family someday, but for right now, we're just enjoying being together and experiencing all the great things life has to offer. I don't feel like I'm missing out or that I'm living life unfulfilled, and the song is based on those feelings. I wasn’t sure if the guys would like the song after I finished writing it, but they agreed we should move forward with it. It's going on our next album, which we're finishing up within the next week.
MM: Faux Fiction is inching closer to a 2 year anniversary; can you reflect on what experiences have kept all of you pushing forward, and what do you hope to look forward to in the future?
FF: Has it been two years already? Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. We've met so many amazing musicians over the past year and a half, and people genuinely seem to like what we're doing. It's a great feeling to have someone come up to you after your show and tell you how much they like your music, especially when it comes from a fellow musician that you really respect. I think getting picked up for some festivals this year is really encouraging us to move forward as well; playing in front of bigger crowds is really exhilarating. We are also in the process of recording our first full-length album with Shane at Howl Street Recordings. Not to sound presumptuous, but it's sounding pretty fantastic.
MM: Something you want the world to know?
FF: If you have a song in your heart, write it down. Don't worry about how it sounds, or whether other people will like it. Do you. Music is the truest form of personal expression, and it can heal many ailments of the soul. Songwriting has gotten me through many personal struggles, but it also keeps me happy (and humble).
Also, if you're out in Milwaukee and happen to catch a live performance of a local band, say hi after the show. If you dig their music, tell them. If they have merch, buy it, or ask about where you can listen to it online. Find and follow them on social media and leave a nice comment or message. Those little things mean the world.
MM: What is everyone in the band's favorite spot/place in MKE?
FF: That is a tough question! I'm not originally from Milwaukee (I moved here in 2007), but I've really grown to love this city. I really enjoy the Riverwest and Bay View neighborhoods, but I'd have to say my favorite spot might be the Anodyne in Walker's Point. It's such a beautiful place, and I don't get there nearly as much as I'd like. Rochambo on Brady Street is Paul's choice. Peter chose Bremen Cafe in Riverwest, which is probably one of my top choices as well. I love playing there. Jason's favorite spot is the Estabrook Beer Garden, which I have to agree is pretty fantastic. Beer is always a good choice.