Inbox: Late of the Pier

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Sure, we're always curious to know about an artist's upcoming release, most recent tour, or arsenal of analog gear, but XLR8R's also got a curiosity for quirk. Thus, each week, we email a different artist and find out what makes them tick, in the studio and in life. Next up we talk to Andrew Faley, otherwise known as Francis Dudley Dance (seriously) of synth-pop foursome Late of the Pier. The band's debut full-length, Fantasy Black Channel, finally saw a U.S. release last week, so now seems an ideal time to find out the meaning behind the new album's title, read a strange anecdote or two, and discover why the hell these lads are always running around topless.

What are you listening to right now?

In general, over the past week or two, I've sat through Of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? quite a bit. Right now I've got David Axelrod, Songs of Innocence on. The sun’s last rays are just going down over the trees on a frosty evening. It's beautiful. Apart from that, just loads of The Beatles and Daft Punk. Don't think there's ever need to stop listening to them. Ever.

What's the weirdest story you ever heard about yourself?

Ross [Dawson] got told that, after canceling a gig, a fan got on stage, lashed out in anger at him, and split his head open, causing him to have stitches. Which was news to him.

What band did you want to be in when you were 15?

Daft Punk and the Beatles. Again. To be honest, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do or be. I just really loved those artists. Music always crossed my mind as an interest, but never the idea of being in a band. I still don't consider that idea these days. I still don't have any idea what I want to do in life!

Worst live show experience?

One of the CMJ showcases was horrible for me. We were playing with Soulwax in Manhattan and my Juno-60 just didn't like American power. It spent the whole gig turning itself on and off every second, making it impossible to play. I got by just using the bass guitar, but it just didn't have the same feel or that lovely oooommppppff factor you get out of a synthesizer.

We've had to pull out of a couple of shows before last minute, due to faulty equipment, and that's a terrible feeling too, but I suppose there's not actually a show then so that doesn't count...does it?

Favorite city to play in?

I really don't know. So far, Tokyo. Amazing city with amazing culture and people, and the festivals out there are something else.

Where did the name Fantasy Black Channel come from?

I think it just turned up in the studio while we were finishing the album. Sam [Eastgate] wrote something similar to it on the back of a Polaroid picture and we all read into it in different ways. So we had it. The idea with the title for me is simply watching a blank television and letting your mind do the imagining.

Why do you guys appear shirtless in so many of your videos?

Know what? I really don't have a clue. We used to play shirtless live sometimes in tiny venues, just because it was so damn hot. It just carried on a little too long. No one's ever seeing my nipples again.

What is your favorite thing you own?

My freedom.

Name one item of clothing you can't live without.

Shoes. There [are] lots of stones around here and it'd hurt without them. I don't care too much for fashion, or any materiel possessions I have. Of the four of us, I'm probably the most practical. So if it'll keep me warm, I'll wear it!

Having said all that, I've got a lovely, wooly pair of socks that are really comfortable. I bought them in Berlin and they've been good to me this winter. So I suppose I'd be pretty sad if I lost them.

What did you always get in trouble for when you were little?

Nothing at all really, but that's only because we didn't get caught.

Actually, we were caught breaking into old abandoned factories and wandering around, exploring them a few times, but we just [were] told not to.

I used to get it in the neck about not doing homework at school all the time too. I used to study, I just never did any homework or work I was asked to do. I had a bad habit of ignoring school and teaching myself anything I wanted to know.

What other artist would you most like to work with?

There [are] so many, and some ideas in the pipeline. So I'm not telling!

What's the last thing you read?

I'm in the middle of reading a few books. I always really get into one, then put it down and lose it, start another, then find the other one, then lose both. At the moment, I'm getting through Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, and Aldous Huxley's The Doors Of Perception/Heaven & Hell. I just finished re-reading Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Complete this sentence: In the future...

I never think of the future—it comes soon enough.

Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?

Got completely mindless in Russia. Very, very nearly got arrested, then left my phone in the hotel. I won't go into the details, but it was a really good bad night.

What's next?

A continuation of what we've begun. We're thinking about music as a whole more and more; building a studio of our own, making more music, branching out into the areas of music we've never seen or touched, and, of course, returning to those areas that we love so much. [We'll] eventually play live again, but this time stepping up from everything we've already done. I'm working [with] a couple of small, vinyl-only labels too, which I hope to dedicate a lot more time to in the new year. We're also looking into film as another media to experiment with. -Faley x

Video: "Heartbeat"

Pictured, from left to right: Ross Dawson (a.k.a. Red Dog Consuela), Sam Potter (a.k.a. Jack Paradise), Samuel Eastgate (a.k.a. Samuel Dust), and Andrew Faley (a.k.a. Francis Dudley Dance).

Heartbeat (Cenzo Townshend Version) (Explicit) - Late of the Pier