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December 9, 2015
We chatted to Sydney resident and newcomer to the UK producing scene failr (real name Warwick Levy) about his musical inspiration, his clothing label and what the future holds for him. His EP Annie came out on Inertia records on 13th November, and his clothing website is www.lonelykidsclub.com.
Where did you come up with the name failr?
There were kind of two things that happened here. Originally, when I was still living at home, I remember waking up one day to mum talking on the phone about me to her friend. She was saying “Oh yeah, he’s not doing a whole lot, he’s a bit of a failer.” And stuff like that for a while. Afterwards I said that wasn’t very nice and she said “No no it’s fine my friend’s daughter is a failer too” and I hadn’t heard that word before, but felt like it sounded like Failr with an R at the end. Then fast-forward a few years and I’m in a new band called Tiger Raves. We’re at Falls, and after one or two band rehearsals my friend says they want to quit the band so I said I was going to make my own solo music as Failr. I don’t know why I chose that name so specifically but everything sort of happened from there.
What’s the story behind the EP? Do the tracks link or are they all individual pieces?
I made every demo on the EP in the space of two weeks after a close friend passed as a way to deal with it. I think it covers the different emotions I was feeling at the time. It’s a personal EP like that. I then decided to make each song a collaboration with a different artist and gave them the creative freedom to do what they wanted on the tracks. Somehow they ended up even more in line with how I was feeling than I could achieve on my own. It was pretty crazy like that. The EP itself is dedicated to my friend’s mother, Annie. She’s always been so supportive of my creativity. The EP is also based around the running peace symbol on the front which represents finding your inner peace when tough things are going on. I guess in a lot of ways making this EP helped me find mine.
I’ve heard you have a clothing label, how did that come about?
Yeah that was soon after that Failr thing. It was something I had wanted to do pretty much my whole life. I spent all my time talking about it, and was obsessed with buying and wearing cool obscure T-shirts, but I was forced into a construction degree that made me miserable. Eventually I snapped and dropped out of my degree to the label instead to the dismay of everyone around me and I’ve never looked back since. It’s my passion and means everything to me. It’s called Lonely Kids Club which was the name my best friend and I gave ourselves because everyone else around us was in a relationship and we were single (We are both now in relationships as it turns out) and we made a marriage pact that if we were both still single when 45 we’d get married. That’s why I limit most items in the shop to 45 items per size.
How would you describe your personal style?
Oh man I’m pretty scruffy. I don’t even wear jeans anymore I wear soft stretchy pants with cuffs that look like skinny jeans but feel more like trackpants. Or chinos. I match that with sneakers and a T-shirt or polo. For 3 years straight my outfit was always skinny jeans, desert boots, button-up shirts & a parka jacket but this year I swapped to the comfort of track-pant feeling pants and a T-shirt. I think I’m really obsessed with blurring the lines between pyjamas and stuff you can wear out socially and not feel weird about. Life’s too short to be uncomfortable but you still want to look trendy so it’s a balancing act.
Is fashion something you take into account whilst performing?
Not really. I mean I like to wear a black T-shirt so when I’m dripping in sweat it’s much less noticeable. Does that count?
How does the UK compare with Australia in terms of the music scene?
I can only really comment on the Sydney music scene but I think the UK scene is much bigger and more open. Sydney is a really tough place to perform because our government implemented these “lock-out” laws that make bars stop letting people in at 1:30, and stop serving drinks at 3:30. So bars can’t really take risks with having gigs anymore with smaller acts who aren’t going to pull the crowd and a lot of venues are closing down. This is to stop violence but y’know, it’s not really going to work if people get locked out, have to pay $250 for a taxi to head home and can no longer get a train. They’re just going to get into fights on the street (I’ve seen a couple actually). But it’s okay, there are some amazing artists around Sydney right now and some amazing supportive venues who try do what they can to support the scene. The idea of everyone just being out and walking in to venues to see whose playing is a bit of a distant dream now, but warehouse culture is picking up a lot of heat.
Are there any particular UK artists you are enjoying the work of at the moment?
I really like this dude called Billy Childish. He’s an artist / musician and everything he does is exceptionally raw. His projects include The Buff Medways, Thee Milkshakes and a stack more but I’ve been listening to a lot of his older stuff. I also listen to a lot of The Horror’s older stuff, along with Keaton Henson who’s literally the most beautiful artist that ever existed. We were supposed to work together on some clothing designs back in the day but I’m glad he’s doing music now he’s so talented. Also there was this band called Plastic Passion who released one of my favourite albums ever that I still treasure so much. I wish they released something new.
Are there any up and coming Australian acts that we should keep our eyes/ ears open for?
Yeah so many. One of my closest friends just released the album of the year. He performs with a band as Cull and he released an entire album about his loft bed, called Aloft. It’s like a rock opera. That phrase always makes me think of that movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Which I always list as my favourite movie ever) but I mean that in the best way possible I’ve been playing it non-stop. There’s also another artist on his own level called Cherax Destructor that does really cool beats and almost opera level albums telling crazy stories about Anime and other things. I really hope they both blow up they deserve it.
What does the future look like for you? (are you touring/ writing/ working on an LP etc)
I just had my morning coffee and haven’t used the bathroom yet so I feel like there’s really exciting things around the corner for me. But in terms of Failr I just released my first music video and have a few more shows coming up. I plan to do an interstate tour with a friend next year and my next release will be an EP with a rapper called Marky Vaw. It’s going to be much intense release with bass heavy bangers but I’ve been playing the songs live and they’ve been going off so I’m stoked about it. We’re getting to serious work on it soon and hopefully will drop it some point next year so I can keep up releasing one EP a year and some Soundcloud tracks in-between.
Words by Sophia Miles