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The Faces Of Sarah - Interview + Exclusive Premiere Of New Song "Embers"

Interview with: Nick Schultz, Lukasz P
Conducted by: T.V.

How many of you remember the name The Faces Of Sarah, who left us in 2006 with their last album Lament? A band who ruled the alternative gothic rock scene in the first half of 2000's is now back, even if there's only one member from the original line-up still there, they are sounding more strong and determined than ever. The Faces Of Sarah started back in 1999 in London by Nick Schultz, Alan Tampion and John Currie. In the period until 2006 the band released their debut EP Belief, first album named 24 in 2000, which proved to be highly successful among the alternative/gothic/indie rock circles. However it was the immensely popular collaboration, between The Faces Of Sarah and Candia McKormack from Inkubbus Sukkubus on the Misery Turns EP, produced by Andy Riley (producer for Iron Maiden and Paradise Lost) which finally brought them mainstream attention, and resulted in them playing main stages at festivals in Hungary, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, and The Republic of Ireland. At home the shows were proving popular, and the band played at large venues such as London's Astoria. Then an EP entitled Impurity followed in 2004 and the band supported on a tour due to an invitation the legendary The Mission. Following a line-up change the band returned to the studio to record the album Lament with Paul Miles of Fields Of The Nephilim/NFD at the production helm. Subsequent to relentless touring and the accompanying excesses, The Faces Of Sarah announced an indefinite hiatus at a sold out show at London's Camden Underworld in 2010. In 2012 an offer came in to play a show in Poland and the band temporary arranged a new line-up, and following the huge success of another sold out show, it was decided to reform.
On 29th September The Faces Of Sarah returns with a new studio release, EP entitled Past Life, that will break almost eight years long studio abstinence. The stuff of Terra Relicta webmagazine is very proud to give you an exclusive premiere of one of the tracks taken from Past Life. Please enjoy in "Embers" below and read the interesting in-depth interview with vocalist Nick Schultz and guitarist Lukasz P who gave us some pretty nice answers to our curiosity.


T.V.: Hi guys! It's nice to see The Faces Of Sarah back on the track! If I recall it well your last album was released in 2006. What was going on for all this time?
Nick: Due to some problems with the record company and some line-up issues, we decided to have a break for a while. It was only in about a year and a half until we realised the time was right.
T.V.: The right time to start making new music?
Nick: At first we were asked to play a one off show in Poland (Piekary Slaskie: Andaluzja) in November 2011. The response was really good, so once we got the right line-up together we decided to write and record some new material. We would never have got together just to play our old material, our main interest was to make something new and fresh which I believe we have achieved with the new EP.
T.V.: So, tell me more about your new EP, how the recordings went, how will you release it,....
Nick: We recorded it with Stephen Carrey (The Eden House, Adoration, This Burning Effigy), the whole process went quite smoothly. We were trying out some different feels and structures, compared to previous releases. We aimed to show some diversity with this EP, with the aim of releasing a full album sometime next year. The EP will be released for download only to start with on 29th September 2014.
T.V.: Production on this EP is really good, very powerfull and at the same time clean. I'm interested how it was working with Stephen Carrey and how are you satisfied with the final result?
Lukasz: While we were composing and rehearsing the songs, we were really happy with the line up and tone we had before entering the studio. We needed someone like Stephen to help us create a good atmosphere in the songs as well, without diluting our sound.
Nick: I previously worked on a few solo tracks with Stephen a few years ago which turned out really well, so although we had a choice of different producers, he was the one that myself and Lukasz thought he was the right guy for the job. And we were proved right.
T.V.: Still, how would you describe the main differencies between your last album and the new sound?
Nick: The last album (Lament) was very much a production affair with the producer playing 90% of the guitars. Whilst the results were really good, the new EP is very much a band effort. We experimented with some different tones, tempos and atmospherics which we've never used before.
Lukasz: We wanted to create something powerful, yet captivating.
T.V.: Please tell me something about the current line-up? How's the chemistry between the members?
Nick: This line up is awesome! We have two incredibly talented guitar players with very different influences, which certainly helps to create an amazing and varied sound. Rhythm section is hard and heavy and subtle when it needs to be. When we all put our heads together and bring our various tastes and influences it works really well. Both in the studio and live.
T.V.: If I'm not mistaken you Nick are the only member since the bands beginning. From where and what kind of musical background do the other guys have?
Nick: Yeah I got really lucky with these guys! Guitarist, Lukasz P. is the longest serving member right now, and he's been a breath of fresh air to this band. He brings a modern feel to the band which we may have been lacking in the past. He's classically and contemporarily trained in both violin and guitar (which we're definitely gonna use in the near future). Guitarist, Alien Dave Turner was previously in Killing Miranda and our paths crossed a few times over the years. Very easy going and very easy to work with, Dave brings his own unique heaviness and expertise with him. Steve has drummed for the band for the last 10 years (on and off) and has a style of his own which is very important to the FoS sound. I've known Danny since he was playing bass for Voices Of Masada a few years ago and he stood in on bass when we supported The Mission a few years ago and it's great to have him permanently on board.
T.V.: You certainly have a great line-up! Tell me, why have you decided to release the EP as a self-release?
Nick: We've had some quite disastrous relationships with record companies in the past, so with this release we thought we'll take the matters in our own hands (which seems to be a common practice these days to be honest). If the EP creates enough interest and the right label comes along, we'll be more than happy to release an album with them, but we can't wait around for that to happen. No matter what, with label or without, we will continue creating and releasing our material.
T.V.: Don't you agree that this days it's easier for bands to release albums on their own like it was 10 or more years ago?
Nick: Yes, absolutely. The flip-side to that is that your material can be downloaded for free, but in the long run the digital age gives more power to the artists themselves rather than the companies, which can only be a good thing.
T.V.: You had a couple of live shows recently. How was the response of fans to the new songs?
Nick: The last show we played, we played a couple of the new tracks and the response was amazing. We will be playing the majority of the EP at our forthcoming appearance at the Sacrosanct Festival in September (26th September in The Face Bar, Reading, UK).
T.V.: And on your new EP, there are beside the track "Embers", mostly softer tracks, one almost a hard rock ballad. Is this the reflection of your matured songwriting or a state of mind you are in?
Nick: I would say there is only one track ("I'll Wait for You") written with a balladic feel. I would definitely say these songs show a certain maturity. The five songs are loosely based on the life of an old veteran, covering the themes of fear, heartbreak, loss, angst and retrospection. We do have faster and rockier songs already written, but they didn't feel right to be used on Past Life, they will be aired at a future date.
T.V.: So there's a concept behind the songs on this EP?
Nick: Well without giving too much away, we are working on a character based album with a very interesting theme and EP is a prologue to it.
T.V.: And from where did this idea came? What was the inspiration?
Nick: The idea for the EP concept came from a chance meeting with an old guy in a local convenience store. We already had four songs ready for Past Life and were working on the final track, which was the final track. Whilst looking for some liquid inspiration, I bumped into an old guy who judging by the medals on his jacket was a War Veteran and for no apparent reason he just said to me "Whatever you do, don't grow old... And if you do, don't grow old alone". The sign that struck me the most was his eyes - youthful, passionate - but he was obviously approaching the life's journey so we wrote the track "Past Life" about him, his life, experience,...
Lukasz: We then found that we had to change a couple of songs to fit in with the whole concept.
T.V.: Really interesting! Before you talked about the problems you had in the past with record labels. Can you give us a little more of details about this?
Nick: Well I can't go into too much detail, but let's just say they didn't quite deliver what was promised. We're not the first band that this has happened to and we will most definitely not be the last one, but we live and learn don't we?
T.V.: Yeah, whenever there's money in between those things will happen. Do you have any plans for a tour? When it'll be possible to see The Faces Of Sarah outside the UK?
Nick: Yeah, very true. We are now working with Deadfall Management and EAM Agency, and so we are hoping you can see us on tour sometime next year. We can't wait to play some shows outside UK.

T.V.: Do you prefer to play on huge festivals or in smaller clubs?
Nick: Both. Definitely medium sized venues and festivals. There's only so much you can do in the smaller clubs, although at times these shows can be magical as well. Playing festivals is always awesome because you get to play in front of a varied audience. In smaller clubs the atmosphere is more intimate but you can put more of a show on a bigger stage.
T.V.: And of what kind of people do your fans consist of. Your music is everything from gothic rock to pop, hard rock and even more, so, I'm wondering about that?
Nick: Our fans are the weird and the wonderful! We have a real mixture to be honest, wouldn't want it any other way!
T.V.: Lets clear this once and for all. How do we write your bands name right: The Faces Of Sarah or Faces Of Sarah?
Nick: To confuse matters even more(!) we now like to go under the abbreviation: "FoS" (just like you see on our new logo). This is because musically we have changed quite radically since the early days and we felt this slight name change gives us more leverage to experiment more musically. We are still very proud of the band's past.
Lukasz: which elements we will still incorporate in our new material and we always will play older tracks, but we are a group looking forward rather than back. In answer to your initial question the band was always THE Faces Of Sarah!
T.V.: Ok, thanks for clearing that up! And if I dig a bit deeper, who's this Sarah mentioned in the bands name?
Nick: Well, I came up with the name many years ago whilst reading a book on demonic possession. There was a chapter entitled 'The 48 faces of Sarah' which was all about a woman who had MPD (multiple personality disorder). Really interesting stuff. During a court case Sarah was involved with her voice\personality changed on various occasions and generally freaked everyone involved out. The original line up was a real mix of people so I thought the band name and origin was pretty cool. I originally wanted us to be called The 24 Faces Of Sarah but was advised against this luckily.
T.V.: Can you already say some more words about your upcoming full-lenght album?
Nick: Yeah, maybe just a bit. Imagine a gathering of about a dozen disenchanted, lonely, forgotten, angry and eccentric people exchanging stories over a pint or five. About one character per song of which one is included in "Past Life". A lot of onstage theatrics and good music. That's a slight hint of what's coming next.
T.V: And some words or explain to us something about the cover artwork of upcoming EP Past Life?
Lukasz: Well considering the fact that Nick met the Veteran in the store and the whole story behind the EP, we thought what would represent the present and the past at the same time. There were a couple of images crossing our minds, but an image of an elderly person spoke to us the most. Having that, what would you put as well to show the youth of his soul other than a young and vibrant eye? We did not want to go over the top with it, keeping it simple, but still quite striking. A face can tell a thousand stories merged with the eye being the soul's mirror kind of a deal
T.V.: In a way it reminds me to Paradise Lost's cover of album One Second. They also used a face of an old person, only in their case was woman. And I see that Paradise Lost are mentioned as one of your major influences....
Lukasz: That was purely accidental. To be fair, their cover seems darker and I'd assume this woman is dead already rather than telling the story of her life. But it's true that Paradise Lost is one of the bands that influenced our tone and vibe.
T.V.: They are one of my fave bands as well. Have to ask you if do you prefer their older or newer albums?
Nick: I guess we both agree that Draconian Times is one of their best albums. I've lost the track to what they're doing these days. Damn good band though.
T.V.: Yes. Ok, if I understand it right the new EP won't be released as a physical edition. Why did you decided this way?
Nick: We did say that it will be released as digital distribution only in the first phase. We definitely aim to release physical editions with added bonuses (CD, DVD, Vinyl?).
T.V.: Ah, I understand. But, do you personally buy CD's , vinyls,...?
Nick: Absolutely. Apart from buying digital downloads it's nice to have a physical copy in your CD stand or a vinyl in your stereo. Personally I will always prefer CDs and vinyls, but in the age of downloading it isn't always cost effective.
T.V.: Beside music what are your interests in life?
Nick: For me it's pretty much music. A pretty boring answer but that's pretty much my life. Having said that watching good movies and collecting is a good way to unwind and I do support Tottenham Hotspur, but that isn't always particularly enjoyable.
T.V.: Haha. Do you often go to see Tottenham Hotspur's matches?
Nick: Not anymore. I used to a few years ago but I couldn't stand the weekly humiliation.
T.V.: I think we have covered it all and more. I wish you a lot of luck in the future. Is there anything that you would like to say at the end?
Nick: We hope that your readers will enjoy our new EP and we hope to see all of you live in the very near future.

The Faces Of Sarah links: Official website, Facebook