With a bandname like this one, your first impression might be that they don't want to make any effort at all. On the contrary, we never met a trio more energetic than this band. There is a gorgeous pub, art-deco style, in their hometown and this was the setting for the CHUMstory.
Fake The Effort is an independent upcoming band. Step by step they're preparing themselves for the next step: reaching the level of 'established'. A famous producer once said that a band must have a sound that rises up above the generic noise. Despite the rocksound of FTE, they can easily been recognized thanks to the energy that drips off the chords they use. Especially on stage, their charisma will pull you in like a magnet. Your eyes and ears transfixed on following the swirling motion on stage. All your senses thrilled, and bouncing for several hours.
With only three musicians in a rockband, this comes up to a clean, direct sound, that's for sure. The specific balance in composition between the band members diversifies Fake the Effort from standard garagebands or Britrock. Let's kick off with Filip, the bassist. He uplifts his instrument to a higher level, combining the bass playing style with that of a rhythm guitar. His sound is a symphony on its own. Joren, the drummer, is not a follower of Filip's style. He likes to react with beautiful arrangements coming out of his wrists. The sauce is served by Bart who combines every kind of guitar playing style and fuses them into new music lines. That old school microphone of his, a Shure 55SH, characterises him even more as a rockstar. Something to do with his noble blood in his veins, inherited from his ancestors perhaps?
One of the bands Bart played in was ‘Fist2Fist’, which had a lot of metal influences. That's how it works: a lot of people start bands, they fine-tune the sound, band members come and go. Until there is a spark, a commitment and a real connection. Joren and Bart stayed together for the long term process and in 2009 'Fake The Effort' was born.
In the new band, they were searching for the optimal formation and in 2014 Bart, Joren and Filip decided that it worked bettter with only three band members. This feeling of being intertwined as band, remains the base of FTE to this day.
In fact, it's because they are best friends that the band works well as a whole. But, isn't that what every band member says? What does it mean to be best friends? Well, for instance, Bart is the godfather of Filip's children. They meet each other in the park with their wives and children. The lives of the three families are interlaced like a Peruvian patchwork. Filip is the marketing man, Joren's responsibility is the technical part and Bart is the songwriter.
Bart writes autobiographically, but none will understand what's beneath it. The lyrics remains cryptic on the surface. A good listener can create his own meaning of it. This subtleness is needed for depthful rock lyrics. But the most important aspect is that they sound good.
'Alcohol & Bad Decisions' was based on a photo of Joren lying on a sofa in a hotel lobby somewhere in Eindhoven. Bart couldn't be there at the time and thought his two comrades had a real rough night.
‘Clowns Aren’t Funny’, in contrast to 'Alcohol and Bad Decisions', tells us that clowns are perceived by children as scary. You see, the lyrics of Fake The Effort are much broader then just sex, drugs and alcohol. There's much more to this song, it even uses a line from Stephen King himself: “That book didn’t help me at all”. Bart is a dedicated book reader and when lines in books accord with his mindset, a new lyric is born.
Filip gets his music inspiration from the daily news, which can disturb him mentally and/or emotionally. For him, lyrics are the most important part of music. If they are not excellent or not understandable, he loses attention. That's why he loves bands like The Black Keys, Triggerfinger and The White Stripes.
And Joren, for him it's all about the quality of the sound.
The creative process of Fake The Effort can be expressed like this: one of the three members presents a baseline to the others, whether it be a guitar riff, bass line or drum rhythm.
"We stand in a circle rehearsing new songs. Everyone has the freedom to add new things to that baseline. And when we're all satisfied with the new creation, we put that song on the shelf."
That's the power of a trio or a duo, like 'Royal Blood'.
CHUM was curious how this principle works and we agreed to try it in the pub with a new song title: ‘There is an obstacle’. (based on the name of the pub)
Asking for the defining word that discribes the band, the three answer in chorus: "authenticity".
Filip: "It's a word with two sides, it can be interpreted as arrogant."
Joren: "We are authentic in our music style, it's pure rock."
But what they really wanted to express: if one of the three band members should be replaced, the authencity would vanish. Because the creation process comes from within and needs the three combined. They'll never use predefined patterns.
Being authentic also means that the recorded sound must be exactly like they're live on stage. We don't like an overproduced sound in which the real experience is missing. Even bands like Mastodon are going beyond the standards on this point. That's why we've chosen for Dirk Miers as our sound engineer, he understands.
Which were the best moments of Fake The Effort?
Bart: "For me, being on the road with my two friends means everything to me. Sitting beside each other in the van. It doesn't have to be on stage. That's one. Second: when a song is finished and sounds good, I thoroughly enjoy that moment. Third: on stage, when everything is going smoothly and we are looking at each other with a smile on our faces."
Our second question was to describe the characters of the two others.
They've all got a deep connection with their instrument, that much is sure. Bart even sticks messages on his guitar.
Filip: “During a performance of the Belgian band Triggerfinger, I literally looked into the eyes of Pol, their bassist. I was blown away by that special sound he created. He played the bass like a rhythm guitar. That was the moment I knew: this will be my style too. One can add so much more playing the bass, it's like seasoning a dish with special herbs."
Joren: "I'm in love with the snare. It gives me possibilities to emphasise my rhythms in accordance to the bass line."
Art-deco is an art style developed in Belgium in the 1920's. This pub in Opwijk preserved most the old elements. The manager Guy: "We know these guys very well. After a gig, their last resort is our pub. We talk about music of course, booze and women. That's what it's all about in rock music, isn't it? I would like it if they had more audience in this town. But as always, no one is appreciated in his hometown."
Bart Van Weyenberg
Joren Van Damme