Photo courtesy Danielle Nemet
Jonah Falco has a host of side ventures next to his main gig as drummer in Fucked Up. Today, we at Noisey are premiering his project Lonely Wholesome's song "I Don't Think I Can Love You Anymore (Than I Already Do)". It's a joyous jangle-rocker that fully lives up to the two-faced "not!" joke of its title. In lieu of a traditional statement we had Ben Cook, Falco's bandmate in Fucked Up, interview Falco on his songwriting methods and the aims of his solo career.
Ben Cook: OK, so here we are: two members of Fucked Up supporting each other. I'm releasing your record and you let me, it's gonna sell millions, we are such nice guys - I thought Fucked Up members were supposed to hate each other as per all that dumb press a few years back? What gives, mate?
Jonah Falco: The love bridge and the hate ladder balance each other out in our band. I sincerely hope this sells millions.
So you record every single little punk and hardcore band in Toronto and they pay you in dog food or whatever, what's it like recording so many little shits who can't play their instruments and only communicate by mumbling? Like, what have you learned about music by doing this, yourself, younger generations of punks, and the Toronto community as a whole? And don't give me a huge long answer because no one actually cares that much.
I started doing it to learn how to record and get some perspective on making music from the ground up again. I did it for free because I didn't feel like I was good enough to charge money. Now that i'm better at it, I charge money (to buy more dog food to eat...with a stick), but also think that giving young and inexperienced musicians a chance to express what they want out of their music (without me necessarily telling them what to do), that ends up sounding relatively slick, is a leg up toward fostering creativity in the long run. Sike I just do it cause i'm old and want to seem relevant to impressionable people.
When you listen to these songs on the Lonely Wholesome "Savage, Lovely, Lonely" 12" due out Winter 2016 on Bad Actors Inc - the only label that matters in Toronto - do you realize that you are one of the best living songwriters on Planet Earth? Or are you actually this nice and humble that you just listen and think "oh, that's cool but I could probably do better next time". What's your honest reaction to listening to your own music? I know most people pretend to hate themselves as a reaction to their art 'cause it's cool to be self-deprecating but secretly they are obsessed with themselves... What's up with you, though?
I obsess over my own music and get so excited when it turns out well. At those moments I truly believe I might be talented. Then I hear something, anything else, and just tell myself how much better planned, produced, or performed than mine it is, and assume i've missed something so crucial to making music that everyone else realizes except me. Then everyone will hear this music and say: "hm....neat.....why so many notes?" "Uh these lyrics are weird" or "wow, that's so something you'd write." "I'm baring my soul!" I say, but it's kind of overwith and they're all listening to Thee Oh Sees or some guy's neo-synth interpretation of "A Swedish Love Story" or outrageous acid house track. I live entirely in my own typhoon-like whirlpool of self reference and fantasy where you can still dress like the set of Alphaville or Le Mepris, and I have good enough hair to be like Alain Delon, write timeless pop songs, and sing in tune.
Remember when we made a Thurston Moore diss track and released it on cassette? That guy's such a wasteman. I'm so glad we did that.
I listened to that really recently and started laughing uncontrollably. I might have air guitarred.
Jonah, I just want to say that on behalf of Fucked Up and everyone that knows you.. I Don't Think We Can Love You Anymore (Than We Already Do)... Thanks for the interview, i hope you have a great day and congrats on a great record.
Thanks Ben, and thanks for being there for this project since day one. I won't forget it. I'll be waiting in total terror and self doubt for this interview to go live. Byee!
Phil Witmer is a musician and writer living in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter.