Frauds has released their new single titled ‘Put Em Up’. With a hint of retro-rage punk and a dash of vintage anarchy, Frauds give a stomp anthem to the disenfranchised and disillusioned with the class of true musicians and the anger of new artists.
Croydon post-punk duo FRAUDS know a thing or two about the value of time. The band’s 2019 debut album With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice was recorded at a small studio in their hometown of Croydon over the space of a few weeks. Between sessions they would go about their normal lives and work routines, struggling to focus on their music.
“It was difficult to get into it,” remembers Mikey. “In our old band we recorded our first EP at Sawmill Studios in Cornwall. Sawmill is a residential studio and it’s the only time we’ve been completely immersed in the recording process (and had lots of fun doing it). When recording Long Spoons we were really keen to go somewhere like that again.”
Once they began looking into the details, however, the band quickly realised everywhere in the UK was way out of their budget. Time was indeed money. The band resigned themselves to defeat, until a gig with Belgian gods of rock and Alcopop! Records label-mates Raketkanon changed their minds. “Over a few pre-gig beers they told us about GAM Studios,” explains Mikey. “It’s an incredible oasis. A strange and beautiful place perfect to create in.”
The stars aligned, and Long Spoons was recorded over a five day period in February 2020 at GAM Studios, a residential studio in Waimes, Belgium. The studio has no in-house engineer so the band took their friend Max Goulding along to assist. “Max is a super talented individual who drums in the excellent band Bo Gritz and frequently tours doing live sound for black midi and Shame,” say the band of the collaboration.
The recording process was intense. A week before they were due to record, Mikey had a car accident after a band rehearsal, writing off his partner’s car and almost killing drummer Chris.
“He was fine but a split second earlier he wouldn’t have been!” recalls Mikey. “Then, the day before leaving for Belgium our vehicle broke down resulting in me frantically running around London on a Sunday afternoon trying to sort out a rental car. Everyone told me that it was impossible until an employee at Europcar bent a few rules to sort us out. We dedicated the album interlude ‘Sweet Martha’ to her. It was hard to relax and get into a good headspace after all this drama, but we just about managed it and had a great time recording.”
Forthcoming second album Long Spoons marks a real step up for FRAUDS both in terms of their musicianship and also their songwriting. “The music has evolved into something more harmonically rich with more moving parts,” explains Mikey. “Most of the tunes on our first record were riff based: ‘here’s a riff without an octave pedal for the verse, and here’s the same riff with an octave pedal for the chorus’. Our songs take a journey now.”
Much of the musical growth on Long Spoons can be attributed to the band’s evolving personal tastes. Mikey recently found a love for world music artists like Altin Gün and Tinariwen, who heavily influenced the guitar melodies, chords, and song structures, whilst Chris has been listening to more hip hop and grime than before, name-checking CASisDEAD, Ghetts and Dave in particular. “That really impacted his vocal delivery, flow and the beats on the album,” says Mikey. “Our tastes and aims haven’t changed, just developed. We have a clearer idea now of who we are, what we like, what we want to say, and how to say it.”
Aside from the musical changes, lyrically the band have shifted into a place where they can speak openly about more serious topics without losing their trademark sense of joy and fun. As if to illustrate the point, the album’s name reflects its core theme—at first glance Long Spoons might seem like a dose of classic FRAUDS surrealist/comedic imagery, but in reality it serves as a metaphor for the necessity of caring for one another. “In a world where there are only long spoons, those who feed each other will be fine, while those who are only interested in feeding themselves will starve,” explains Mikey pointedly. “The only way we’re going to be able to grow and survive as individuals, societies, and a species is by caring for each other.”
FRAUDS’ hidden depths are something that long time fans will know well. Behind the witticisms, surreal videos and political satire lie a band who are deadly serious about what they do, with total conviction in their beliefs and ideals.
“Humor is key to who we are and what FRAUDS is,” says Mikey. “We’ve always believed that comedy is more successful at being subversive than tragedy. We want to present a rounded sense of who we are and how we see the world and to only show the dark would feel disingenuous. Perception is also a big factor. Communicating something that’s happened through the lens of tragedy acknowledges it only. Viewing the same event through a comedic lens changes the event and allows you to have mastery over it.”
Ready and raring to hit the road as COVID restrictions lift, in September 2021 the band will embark on a full UK tour to promote the album. “Until now, we’ve been all about playing live,” says Mikey. “It’s what we’ve always enjoyed the most. There’s magic in the spaces where loud noises meet and to experience that with a room full of people is the best.”
In the future, Mikey says the band are planning an EU tour, a packed 2022 festival season, and are already looking at recording their third album in November 2021, returning once more to GAM Studios. “When it comes to recording we’re starting to get more and more excited about it,” he enthuses. “In the past, it was just stressful and hard, with limited time and us being under-rehearsed. As hard as the pandemic has been, it has given us a chance to pause, practice, and talk deeply about every aspect of who we are, what we do, and how we want to be seen.”
“If you’re dedicated to finding new ways to work, creating art isn’t hard…only time consuming,” finishes Mikey, returning once more to the value of time. “We hope that above all people find our music joyful, fun, and uplifting—a needed tonic for how hard life has been and how harsh the world is. We hope that people hear a unique voice in our music. We’re people who want to make something that is completely us, and no-one else. And we hope that’s an inspiration to others.”