Josef Page's collaborative spirit is so strong that he often steps out of his own limelight altogether. As the driving force behind London-based collective FAUX, he's co-written, produced and moulded a handful of funk-laced pop songs, the first of which – "Take Back Time" – Noisey is premiering the video for below. It's a sick track and video, but within minutes, our conversation is already peppered with self-deprecation.
"I'm a terrible singer," he says, laughing. We're talking on the phone – he's on his way to a session, but he's running late because he had to buy a new phone. He smashed his old one to pieces walking into a lamp post. "It's a singer called Sherry Davis' voice on 'Take Back Time'. Lots of my friends have been in touch to be like, 'Dude, I didn't know you could sing like that!' It's definitely, I wanna reiterate, not me singing on anything." What he doesn't reiterate – so I'll have to do it for him – is the crucial role he plays in the nostalgic, infectious appeal of the collective he helms.
Having been in bands since he was 14, and worked as a session musician, co-writer and producer for six years, Page eventually decided he wanted to "just do what I want, without having to worry what anyone thinks of it." So he began mining the contacts he'd made over the course of his career, asking the people he admired the most if they'd get involved with his new project. He recruited Amber Simone to co-write, Netsky collaborator Sherry Davis, New Jersey singer Isadora and hip hop artist M.E.D (among others) to provide vocals, and Jorja Smith collaborator Prash Mistry to mix songs that blended elements of old school hip hop with an 80s pop-funk sensibility."Take Back Time" (above) – which, with its billowing synths, funk riffs and rallying chorus Page labels "very much the pop song of the bunch" – was inspired by his love of Prince. "I think he's a bit of a genius. The track originally started with a drumbeat like the LM-1, Prince's drum machine. I think I was trying to do something like 'Alphabet Street', and it didn't quite work out like that. It feels so nostalgic, which seems to be a running theme for me, I don't know why."
The accompanying video, which sees a young woman dancing through the streets of Hackney, played backwards, was created by directing duo Will and Carly. "When people have such a clear idea of what they want to do, sometimes it's best to just let them do it, rather than getting in the way" says Page, who basically doesn't seem to have an ego. "I just think it's nice, for it truly to be a collaborative thing, to let people do the thing they're good at. I love it, they've absolutely nailed it."
Starting FAUX, he says, "has just been a really nice creative process compared to writing for other people, which is 'get in, do a day, deliver a song to the management.' This has just been bubbling away for a bit, and I just wanted to get it right and make something that I'm really happy with." There are two more songs coming in the next few months, one called "Queens", which features M.E.D. and Isadora, and another called "Body to Body", "that's got a bit of a disco vibe going on." His music, he says, "is just a mash of lots of different things, but with a pop sensibility as the heart of it. I'm just chucking stuff at it that I like, drawing from different eras and sounds. It's a bit of a mash of everything."
So what's next, once those songs are out in the world? "I'd love to do an album, and get the live show off the ground," he says, his voice brimming with excitement. "At the moment I've been playing a lot of the instruments, and I'd really like to make that more collaborative, and bring in more musicians to do their thing. It's a shame you don't get to hear that much playing on pop records anymore, so I'd love to get to the stage where I could do an album and then tour it with a band. That would be the dream." We'll be ready and waiting.
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