Simon Fairchild Interview

Thirteen

A number of people—myself included—question the sanity of artists such as Lady Gaga, especially when she decides to trounce around in food-based clothing. However, what happens when a band decides to take it one step further, creating a musical style that can only be described as “Meat Rock?” 

Sheer awesomeness. 

Simon Fairchild, master rocker from the UK, founder of Milky Bomb Records, and current bassist for Thirteen, has been making musical innovations since the mid-1990s, but unlike some groups, he continues to practice, persevere, and prove he’s only getting better and better. Together with his bandmates—Chemise, Oli, Rainbow Joe, Mel, and John—the world was given the “Meat Rock” genre, “a seething meld of progressive jazz inflected groove metal and poly-rhythmic funk,” though even this is not enough to describe their sound. Even if I listened to them a thousand times, I’m not sure I could completely describe their music. It continues to change and astound listeners; the mysteries behind their talents remain uncaptured. 

What’s even more spectacular about them is how they use their label, Milky Bomb Records, to lead other groups and artists who you may never have heard of into greatness, giving them a chance to showcase their sounds to an ever-growing fan base.  It’s truly something incredible, which made it an honor and my sincere pleasure to talk with Simon Fairchild about all his and Thirteen’s endeavors. 

Creative Control: So what made you want to become a musician? Who were your influences? 

Simon Fairchild: I’ve always been heavily into music. When I heard music for the first time, it just made sense. Learning to play felt like a natural thing to do, to learn and create. I’ve been fortunate to have always played with mates.

Influences… So many! From styles like rock, alternative rock/metal/whatever you want to call it—a lot of the rock genres, let’s say. To hip-hop, funk, elements of jazz, dance genres, etc. I like my fusion! That sums it up.

As far as bands are concerned (for myself): Deftones, Nirvana, 311, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus (the early days), Braintax, Mark B & Blade, DJ Shadow, Primus, and generally weird sh**t. I always try and find new stuff—but this sums up a range of the heavy influences over the years.

CC: When did Thirteen come together? How did you all meet?

SF: Thirteen came together in late 2005. We met at University ([Anglia Ruscin University] in Cambridge). It started out with different members to as it is now. Primarily, it was a band for university purposes—we were in bands outside of uni at the time. We decided to continue after we graduated in 2008. Our first release was in 2010.

CC: How would you personally describe Thirteen’s “Meat Rock?”

SF: Hahah… “Meat Rock” was just a term made up by our guitarist, Chemise, jokingly or maybe not! But we decided to add this to the “tongue and cheek” bio we have written. It sums up our humour in the band. Plus, the way the bio is written means we never have to update it. 😉

CC: Tell us about your bandmates. What is it like working with them?

SF: Long… haha. No, it is good! But [it] can take us while to work things out, as we’re wired differently. Sometimes we don’t get each other at all, but somehow it works and we write a corker! I’ll explain that term – a “good” song (to us anyway). Then we still won’t get it, hah. Yeah, bandmates are cool, we are a funny bunch but we’ve learnt to tolerate each other. Until now, when they read this. 😉

CC: Where was the most interesting gig you ever played at? What was it like?

SF: Most interesting gig, probably… in front of people! Having a crowd. Haha. Not often, certainly in the beginning it was really hard to get people to come along or find somewhere that we didn’t weird people out. Other than that, I guess when we played in Hastings, here in the UK, it was interesting. The Hell’s Angels turned up! Don’t think they liked it. They left halfway through…

Oh, we played in front of 1000 people that we actually didn’t. They were all in the room next door to the live room. For that gig, our payment was a parking fine. Well done to the promoter for that one. Never got to thank her…

CC: What project(s) with Thirteen are you most proud of and why?

SF: Managing to release our first two E.P.s – “Degraded Jazz Tones” & “The Bedroom Sessions.” As most of it has been D.I.Y., people have contributed/done our artwork, design, layout etc., but as far as tracking, mixing, mastering and obviously writing the material, it has been done by us. Except, tracking for Degraded was done at Purple Studios in Norwich, UK… Yeah, and just being able to keep it going. Now we’re working on our first full-length album which we are very excited about…

CC: Do you have any upcoming releases fans should be on the lookout for?

SF: Yeah, as mentioned, we are currently working on our album. No title or release date as yet. We’re hoping to have it out some time next year in 2016. There is the compilation  “An Amalgamation of Sorts… Pt. Zero” that [feature] two tracks from us – more recent  “Non-Script” (“Bedroom Sessions” E.P.) and an old track  “Old Aggie” that was never released.

CC: The band’s description on Milky Bomb Records’ website says Thirteen once came runner-up in a beauty contest. Is this true?

SF: Haha… Not true. Again, in jest. Although, I can’t speak for the others. Who knows!?! Maybe in another life.

CC: What made you want to create Milky Bomb Records?

SF: It was something I had been thinking about for a while. And, while I was between jobs, I had some time to set-up the label. Seemed like a good time as any. Just, what Thirteen was doing, it wasn’t a mainstream sound or anything we thought a label would take on. And as most of us have been doing this for a long time (playing in bands, etc.) we/myself was used to doing things ourselves. So, I thought why not! Never say never. But it’s something we have control of and can do things in our own way. As anyone does when setting up their own label… or whatever it may be.

CC: What kind of bands are you looking to sign to Milky Bomb?

SF: Something a little different. But I think most independent labels would say the same thing. And a lot do find new and interesting stuff. For Milky Bomb, the label has had: alternative rock, melodic, prog/math rock, funk and jazz fusion, electronic/ hard dance and Cuban blues/Latin folk. Now, more recently, sunny/violent/punk/alternative/chaoscore to come from Let’s Talk Daggers and pop, electronic, acoustic, alternative from MYA Project. It’s a diversity, but coming from a similar background and influences. Just portraying this in different ways – a fusion of individual styles. So, I guess bands/musicians like this… But maybe it doesn’t have to be?

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One Response to “Simon Fairchild Interview”

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