Julia Abramson from Northern Transmissions caught up with Jessica Weiss from Fear of Men. The band’s debut album Loom is comes out April 21st on Kanine records
NT: The name of your band is quite the attention-getter. What inspired it?
JW: Reading about anxiety disorders, but it also seemed quite an enigmatic string title. It’s also a phrase that Anais Nin mentions in some of her diaries, and I like the ambiguity of having boys in the band and that it could mean ‘what men fear’ rather than the opposite.
NT: On your newest album, Loom, the first track is “Alta” and the last track is “Atla”. What is the significance in framing your album with these tracks?
JW: They almost feel like two sides of the same coin. They’re both very intimate, stripped songs that came to me fully-formed as I was falling asleep. I find that’s a really I good time to be creative. They are both about closeness to another person and the vulnerability that comes with that. Alta is named after a district in Stockholm where something happened that shook me deeply and prompted me to write the songs, and Atla is named after a Nordic goddess.
NT: Looking at your Tumblr and website, you seem to be a huge proponent of visual art. How does this fuse into your music?
JW: I studied Fine Art for 4 years, so it’s a big part of my life and my understanding of many other things. Going to galleries can spark ideas for songs, sometimes months or years down the line from when I first saw something. I like the feeling of gestation too…of turning something over in your mind until it’s something you can work with. We also spend a great amount of care and attention on our artwork, packaging design, videos and other visual elements. We want them to all work together to represent the music.
NT: You have decided to release Luna in the “flexine” format-a thin flexible vinyl released with a 20-page zine. How did you decide this was the best format to issue this in?
JW: Making the zine was a new challenge for us — we hadn’t done that before, and flexidiscs, while somewhat impractical, are just a cool, nice thing to own. It comes with a digital download too. The zine is about making the album, how we made the sculpture for the cover art as well as tabs and lyrics and some other interesting bits and pieces.
NT: “Seer” and “Green Sea” also appear on your previous album “Early Fragments.” What was the reasoning for this, and how does “Early Fragments” segway into Loom?
JW: “Early Fragments” was a compilation of the limited edition 7″ singles we’d released in the UK, and was intended as an introduction to America. It was reverse chronologically ordered, and felt quite fragmented as each single was recorded in a different studio at a different time, so the title reflects this. Green Sea and Seer were two of our favourite songs and we always intended to re- record them for our debut album. Loom was intentionally written and recorded to be a full statement in itself.
NT: Your social media accounts seem to be an eccentric mix of visual and written art. Who updates these? Is it an individual or collaborate event? How do you decide what art goes on the account?
JW: It’s mostly me, and sometimes Dan. We post whatever we’re interested in or is influencing what we’re making at the time. It feels a bit like a version of a sketchbook or notepad to keep interesting images and articles in one place.
NT: Being signed to an indie-pop label, you’ve been compared to some pretty diverse bands-from the Cranberries to Joy Division. What elements do you try to capture to make your sound more than just one genre?
JW: We don’t think in terms of genres when we’re writing or recording, but we have a clear idea of Fear of Men, and we’re trying to burrow deeper into that and consider things in our own terms to decide if they are meaningful to our music or not.
NT: Which five albums are inspiring you these days?
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Broadcast – Tender Buttons
Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
Nelly Furtado – Loose
Modern Life is War – Witness