Life Under Lockdown #10 – Lloyd James Fay

Lloyd James Fay is the former front man of Thula Borah now striking out under his own name after the band’s demise last year.

The first fruits of Lloyd’s post-Borah work are a new E.P. ‘Fake Depth’ recorded last year with producer Andy Miller. Whilst Lloyd’s previous solo album ‘The Black River Chronicles’ was a largely acoustic record (presumably to distinguish it from Thula Borah), ‘Fake Depth’ sees Lloyd bring some electric noise most notably on the lead single ‘Idiocracy’.

Whilst Thula Borah never neglected melody, part of their work definitely involved stretching out the dynamics of a four piece rock band. In contrast ‘Idiocracy’ is almost a pop song albeit with a satisfying crunch. Follow-up ‘Every Time I’m Wrong (I’m Wrong for the Right Reasons)’ is a more atmospheric piece with a big chorus and a guitar solo! 

I’ll miss Thula Borah, but having Lloyd around making these sort of records is more than just a consolation. (MPT)

First things first, how are you and how are you doing?

Hello and thanks for asking. Thoroughly fed up. Like everyone else, I imagine. I’ve been thinking about something Limmy posted about recently and how we might be so conditioned to isolation now that we might not be able to “make it on the outside” like the old timer leaving prison trope. I’m wondering how long it will take to readjust to normal life once a semblance of it returns.

How has the lockdown affected you personally?

Yes but thankfully not in the most negative way that it will have affected many others. I’ve been working from home. My work moved on that quite early. At least a fortnight before it was more or less imposed so I’ve been working from home for ages. The cabin fever might have set in a bit earlier than for others. And like most people who are at least trying to follow the guidelines I haven’t seen any family or friends since March, if not February.

 As a musician, has it directly affected you and in what ways?

It is now starting to affect me. The launch gig and tour for my new EP have been cancelled and two festivals I was playing in the summer have gone the same away. I can’t say I’m too confident about rescheduling anything until we get a real sense of when we are out of the woods from a second wave and people feel confident about going to gigs, even small ones. I’ve still been busy doing some promo stuff but it should have been a much busier time rehearsing, then playing gigs, festivals and radio sessions.

There have been a lot of artists and performers finding ways to connect with their audience. How have you, if you have, engaged with people and how did you find the experience?

I’m waiting for the right time and for it to feel right before I try anything. I think it has been a little supply over demand regarding streaming stuff. I’m all for leaving space for the artists who should have been on tour or whatnot during this period either looking to raise lost revenue, or money for charity or are scratching the itch of performing when they should be on the road at this time. And obviously there are massive artists and the demand is huge for a home performance. I’m just cynical about some of the bandwagon jumping.

A lot of the time I open social media it is a lot of wee guys all streaming busking style covers. It’s just a bit oversaturated at the moment. I get it though. It is a great way to immediately feel part of the zeitgeist and it suddenly puts you on a level playing field with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones, so why the hell not.

Also, I cringe at myself at the best of times and I don’t know how much of a demand there is for me to do something online.  But I’m as much a hypocrite as I am a cynic so I will do something if this lockdown goes on much longer because my EP is out soon and like I say there will be no launch gig or tour this month so I might mark it with something.

What tips do you have or what things do you find useful in keeping yourself going during these strange times?

I’m afraid I have nothing to offer. I’m in need of tips as much as anyone. I’m in a bad routine of drinking too much, eating too much junk food and staying up way too late. Because…what else is there to do? I might give up drinking for a bit to see if I suddenly become more productive.

Have you taken on any new challenges or routines during lockdown?

Only bad routines. I’m still working full time from home so I haven’t had that much time to try any new challenges. I’m just trying to stay afloat and come out of this in not too bad a situation. If I could focus on getting more music demo’d I’d feel better.

What music, books, films, art or television shows have sustained you through lockdown?

TV, almost exclusively Seinfeld. Rewatching old films for comfort.

I haven’t read much. I’ve been trying to listen to as much varied music as possible. Listening to other folks playlists they have been posting. I’ve been watching the archive gigs The National and Radiohead have been streaming an enjoying getting pissed whilst along to them. So music has sustained me, unsurprisingly.

Mainly though I’ve been listening to a lot of The National, House of Pain, Pantera, Tool and Bob Dylan. A good mix there, I feel, of pathos and pent up frustration. Oh, and the new Mogwai soundtrack. I’m loving it but it is also quite unsettling too.

What are your hopes for a post-lockdown world?

Well, I’m tempted to just say I want the old world back and life to go back to normal as soon as possible because my year has been somewhat ruined. Not just the gigs I was supposed to be playing but we’re just coming into a period where I had tickets for lots of gigs (such as Nick Cave this week) and now it looks like none of this is going to happen.

But on reflection, trying to learn something from all this, it is clear to many of us that those who have sustained us are underpaid and underappreciated. A new appreciation for the service industry and pay rises and investment in key workers, the NHS would be nice as well. Closing tax avoidance loops, offshore tax haven stuff and just fair taxation would hopefully pay too to help pay for it as well as just being fair rules.

Anything else that you would like to add or say?

Just thanks for supporting and championing Scottish music throughout this period as ever. Thanks for the thought provoking questions and hopefully see you at a gig sometime sooner rather than later.

Previously on Life Under Lockdown:

#1 – Lonelady
#2 – Jan Burnett (Spare Snare)
#3 – Ghari Mure (Echo Machine)
#4 – Lomond Campbell
#5 – Adam Ross (Randolph’s Leap)
#6 – Jason Brown (Brix and the Extricated/Parent)
#7 – Jeremy Thoms (The Cathode Ray / Stereogram Recordings)
#8 – Cammy McFarlane (Mitchell Museum)
#9 – Dickson Telfer (Vulture Party / Out of the Swim)