I’m not a fan of large crowds… or sleeping on couches…or un-changed clothes… or unshavenness… which is why I am not with the High Voltage crew at SXSW right now… However, if I were, there are quite a few bands I’m a large fan of and who I would be more than psyched to check out… possibly none more than Brighton quartet Fear of Men. “I like that people might expect us to be a girl band, so it’s a bit unexpected to be two boys and two girls. It also makes me think of what men fear, which links back to mortality anxiety, which is a strong theme for my lyrics,” explains founding member, Jessica Weiss, about the background of the band’s moniker and muses.
Fear of Men began as an art school film project of Weiss (words and guitar) and Daniel Falvey (guitar) and later Michael Mile (drums)s and Robyn Edwards (bass) joined the fold. The band have already played their first SXSW show, but they have seven more to come (there’s also a “proper tour” in the works for the US this summer), which I would highly recommend checking out, if you happen to currently be in Austin (listed below).
Wed. 3/13 – 1pm, Gorilla vs. Bear @ Hype Hotel
Thurs. 3/14 – 3pm, Music For Listeners @ Flattop Burger Shop
Thurs. 3/14 – Time TBA, SexBeat @ Cheer Up Charlies
Thurs. 3/14 – 9pm, Kanine Records @ Valhalla
Fri. 3/15 – 3pm, SXSW In-store Event @ End of An Ear
Sat. 3/16 – 3:15pm, Flower Booking @ House of Vans
Sat 3/16 – 1pm, British Embassy at SXSW Presents @ Latitude 30
During the course of out chat, Weiss made clear that she is very excited for their (next) 3/13 appearance at SXSW, as part of the Gorilla Vs. Bear showcase: “Gorilla Vs. Bear has been so kind and really seems to get our music. We’re playing his show at SXSW, so it’s gonna be cool to meet him after E-mailing for over a year.”
Fear of Men is an equal juxtaposition of fine arts craft and humanities theory, as well as popular sounds and darkly existential lyricism. “Freud’s Uncanny and Walter Benjamin’s writings about ruins and allegory were on my mind a lot when making the films that started the band. I also like reading Jung, Anais Nin, and Simone de Beauvoir. Our songs tend to end up sounding pretty poppy and upbeat, but are generally about introspection, loneliness,” Weiss tells me.
This February Kanine Records released Early Fragments, a collection of the band’s early short-form releases. “I think that Early Fragments is a great record for showing our progression. All the songs were recorded in different studios, over the course of about two years, so it’s quite an eclectic mix, but I think all of the songs are our version of interesting pop music,” Weiss says of the compilation. While the songs do vary, there would seem to be a recurring aesthetic of whimsical morbidity. Weiss would seem to confirm existence of just suchsentimentality within the band: “We feel quite detached, to be honest. We hang out in the middle of nowhere, on the farm that Mike, our drummer, lives on.”