I had the opportunity to interview Jeff Bowne (guitars/vocals) of Faking. In this interview you will learn about the band’s new record and much more.
Rob: Who is Faking?
Jeff Bowne: Faking is from Philadelphia and consists of myself handling guitar and vocals, Phil Schorn on drums, and Mark Diehl playing bass guitar. In my past bands I’ve always been the bass player so this is a first for me and it’s also my first time being the primary creative force of a band. On top of that it’s Mark’s first time playing bass, having been the guitarist in his previous band. Mark and I both live in West Philly and Phil owns a house just outside the city which is where we practice. We’ve been playing together for a little over 3 years but Phil and I were in a band together starting in the early 2000’s called Gunna Vahm. We like long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners.
Rob: Where did the title for your new record “GODDAMN COWARDS” come from?
Jeff Bowne: Well, when we started the band we were going to call ourselves Goddamn Cowards. I had the idea of a two word name that starts with “Goddamn” because I thought it sounded dismissive but also cautionary; I pictured a cantankerous old drunk in a western movie referring to some no-good drifter; and also I wanted something self-deprecating so “Cowards” it was. Then just as we were booking our first show, which was opening for Coliseum at Kung Fu Necktie, we decided we wanted to change the name. I proposed “Faking” which was a band name idea I had years ago and kinda forgot about because I had no use for it at the time. I knew that I still wanted to use “Goddamn Cowards” for the title of a record and it fit with the tone of the lyrics.
Rob: What are the themes of this record?
Jeff Bowne: The prevailing lyrical theme of this record, and our previous two-song 7” record “VICES”, can be summed up as “shitty people doing shitty things”. I try to create characters with bad motivations or mindsets and then a small chunk of plot. I may take inspiration from experiences I’ve had or people I’ve known, and I may relate strongly to something in the song, but these songs aren’t about me. They are works of fiction. The big exception would be “Paul Kern” which is about a real person, a Hungarian soldier who was shot in the head during WWI and then lived the rest of his life, 40 years or so, without ever needing to sleep.
Rob: Who are your musical influences?
Jeff Bowne: I’m influenced by a lot of different things. I suppose the bigger influences range from more apparent ones like Hoover, The Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Shellac, Young Widows, Born Against, Shotmaker, The VSS, Unwound, Harkonen, Botch, Coalesce, Mclusky and Future of the Left, to ones that may be more unexpected like Nine Inch Nails, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Failure, Slint, Faraquet, The White Stripes, The Pixies, and early White Zombie.
Rob: What is your songwriting process?
Jeff Bowne: It’s probably more common that I’ll write a drum or bass part first, but sometimes it starts with just a riff or a lead guitar melody. Usually I’ll get a song pretty close to a finished state at home and when it’s ready I’ll send Mark and Phil recordings of their parts so they can get a handle on them. That way when we get to practice we can dive right in to playing the song and if something doesn’t work the way I thought it would we’ll work on it together. That’s the way we are able to get a lot done despite the fact that we only have practice for about two and a half hours every other week.
There are times when I’ll bring a stand-alone part to practice and we’ll play through it a few times to see if it sounds as it did in my head and if we like it I’ll start working on a song at home. Also, Mark has brought bass lines to the table and I’ve written songs or sections of songs based around them and Phil picks up on new parts really quickly and improves upon every drum part I write for him, sometimes to the point where I think the original was stupid.
Rob: What are your plans in 2016?
Jeff Bowne: We’re going on a short last minute tour this month hitting Montclair NJ, Brooklyn NY, Boston MA, and Syracuse NY among (possibly) others. We’re looking forward to the vinyl release of Goddamn Cowards, which will be out late summer and will have some pretty special packaging including a die-cut jacket. Past that we’re just looking forward to playing shows and writing new material and making bigger/better tour plans for 2017.
You can pick up “GODDAMN COWARDS” at Reptilian Records.