The much-hyped British import Fanfarlo plays Webster Hall tonight. Whether fans are coming solely to hear their powerful trumpet-led single, “The Walls Are Coming Down” or the entirety of the Beirut and Arcade Fire influenced debut album Reservoir, they’ll be in for a show. The band’s leader/organizer, Simon Balthazar, opens up after the jump.
● Before signing with Atlantic Records, the band sold copies of their album for $1 on their website. “We were free and easy and no one was telling us what to do. Kind of for the hell of it,” says Balthazar. “We essentially self-released the album on our website and we wanted to see how many people we could reach.”
● They’re okay with working for the man at Atlantic. “It was a big decision for us because it wasn’t really something we planned to do, or wanted to do initially, but there is a big stigma about working a big label. At the end of the day, we have about three people we work with and they have all the resources of a big label so we have the opportunity to be as ambitious as we want to be with our shows and whatnot.”
● They call themselves a band of “romantics at heart”. (The band name emanates from the 19th century Baudelaire novella La Fanfarlo). Luckily, they consider touring a romantic lifestyle. “There’s definitely something romantic about it. It’s not glamorous in any way. Especially in America with the crazy driving. But, it’s an incredibly romantic experience on road, meeting new people on the way.”
● Their fans are more thoughtful than your fans. “We’ve been using Twitter a lot, and one time we tweeted that we didn’t have any books left to read after being on the road for so long, and for the next few shows people were literally dropping off piles of books and magazines for us. At one point we were trying to get a hold of fold-able bikes, and someone brought a bike for Justin (Finch, vocalist). So we have a couple of bikes now.”
● Yes, Simon is aware of the Arcade Fire/Beirut comparisons. He claims they’re indifferent (we’re not so convinced). “I leave that side of things to other people. We’re not so big on describing our music or comparing ourselves to other bands. We try to do something interesting, tell a story, and then people will take it our leave it, compare it to other things, but hopefully you’ll like it.”
Photo: Eva Vermandel