Fabled Mind: Songwriting & Starting Afresh [Interview]

We spoke to Fabled Mind about Copenhagen, their fast melodic punk roots, songwriting, and how it feels to be part of the Lockjaw Records Crew.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Fabled Mind released their debut album Passenger on Lockjaw Records on 22 November 2019. Formed in Copenhagen earlier in 2019, the band have landed onto the scene fully formed, and have event completed their first UK tour. They’re a fresh Danish response to bands like RX Bandits, Millencolin and Rise Against – combining irresistible melodies with technical skate-punk composition and meaningful lyrics.

Fabled Mind is the brain child of Dion Finne, who wrote the album before going on to form the full band with Leo Wallin, Brian Brinksby and Søren Olsen. We were keen to find out why Dion chose to approach the new project that way, how he goes about writing songs, and what their future plans are.

Fabled Mind will be returning to the UK in January to play our weekender Do It Together Fest at New Cross Inn, London. Find out more here.

Fabled Mind is a brand new project. It’s unusual for a group to record a full album before even announcing that they’re band. What motivated you to take that approach?

I wrote this album as a personal ’challenge’ since my other band Stream City went on a break. I’ve always wanted to write punk rock songs, but SC quickly developed into something else – more experimental and progressive. So I took a couple of steps back and focused on writing directly from the heart. That’s how the album took shape.

Was Fabled Mind more of a creative challenge or an emotional outlet for you?

I would say both. It was a relief to write songs within a genre that I love, and the lyrics came easy to me. I spent many hours on them, but the album’s theme revolves around more personal stuff than I’m used to writing, so it felt easier and more sincere. I kept my song writing style from SC, but the tracks are more focused and streamlined on Passenger.

There’s a real melee of influences present in the album. Did you set out to create a new sound?

I did that with Stream City, but it was never the ‘goal’ with this album. I restricted myself to writing more straightforward songs and often stopped myself in the process from writing a super weird off-beat riff or creating odd song structures that I’m used to.

It was a fun challenge and I think the ‘new sound’ is a reflection of wanting to write simple, catchy and recognisable songs. I guess the album landed somewhere in between that and the weird DNA of SC.

As I understand it, you wrote a lot of Fabled Mind’s material yourself, then pulled on other musicians to help create the band. How much of the writing did you have control over?

I did all the writing myself – mostly in my boxers. I wrote 12-14 demos in my little home studio and sent them to my friend Mattias (bassist in Stream City and Co-Producer / Engineer on Passenger). He’s not really into punk rock, but he has an opinion on my writing and voicing if it’s good or hideous. He would write something like “nice” or “yuck” and I would know if/how to continue from there. He would also give me constructive criticism.

In any creative process, it’s important to have someone to ‘take out the thrash’ – at least to me. I’m constantly seeking approval when I write songs. I would send 20 seconds clips and expect people to have an opinion about it (since, at the time, I didn’t have a band). I’ve undoubtedly annoyed all of friends and family members.

What do you find best about that approach?

100% control over the process; which was both nice and an absolute pain in the ass. It also means that the album is a direct reflection of my inner thoughts and my take on punk rock.

It should be noted that I am the king of procrastination- sometimes I didn’t work on the album for months and almost quit the whole thing. There was no one anxiously awaiting the album’s release and no one to pull me out of my writer’s block. It still felt right to deliver a finished product.

How did you go about recording the album?

We recorded the guitars, vocals and bass at Mattias’ studio (Driftwood Studios), then Leo and myself recorded the drums in his practice room. For the bass and guitars we used an Axe FX and I recorded the vocals while Mattias played Hearthstone in the background. But he was there through the whole process to help when I fucked up the electronics.

You’ve previously said that Entangled is your attempt at writing an uplifting song, incorporating some of your experiences from social work. What do you find most inspiring when you’re writing?

I’m inspired by the stories of the people that I meet in my everyday life; friends, family and coworkers. The young people I meet through my work as a teacher / social worker often live an unjust life in many ways, where the “best social system in the world” fails them in every imaginable way.

Denmark’s social administration is frightened biocratically and has some extremely damaging mechanisms. There are too many young people who are lost in the system and left to fend for themselves. They are often left with loneliness, emptiness, depression and anxiety, some choose to self-medicate, while others deteriorate at home without any network to help them.

When I hear their stories and their thoughts, I often get ideas to write from a dystopian perspective. So many people are oblivious to this, especially in Denmark. I like to feel like I’m giving them a voice through some of the songs. Erwing Goffman, among others, inspired me a lot.

You’ve incorporated a lot of political or social themes into the lyrics, but they’re quite metaphorical. Are there any messages you’re keen to convey?

In general Passenger is an invitation to reflect. The lyrics are open to interpretation and l’d like to keep it that way for now. Every track has it’s own story or message and I’ve always been a fan of the ‘showing not telling’ way of writing songs.

What are you hoping for listeners to get from the album? What can we expect?

Fast, melodic and catchy tunes with some heart. I think the songs grow on you and it’s going take a couple of listens before you’re in tune with the FM universe. I hope listeners have the patience to listen through and appreciate the details.

What inspired the name Fabled Mind?

Same with the lyrics – I like to keep it open for interpretation. To me, it’s a reference to our subjective perception of reality. Fabled can mean fictitious or non-existing and we all have our own ‘right’ view on how the world works, but the truth is that reality is subjective.

Tell us a bit about your musical career – what brought you to Fabled Mind?

I started Stream City 12 years ago, as a punk rock band. The band developed into something completely different, but my love and interest for punk rock never did. I went to as many punk shows as I could in Copenhagen and really connected with the people there.

I went on a European Tour with Stars Burn Stripes (ex-Forever Unclean) as a stand-in guitarist before the band dismantled. We also played Punk Rock Holiday, which really made me want to play in a band again. I’m so proud of the one album Stream City did (HOAX), but when people started to leave the band I had to look elsewhere.

Since there’s no real punk scene in Denmark- I decided to start a new project. It was never my intention to make the songs public –I just wanted to share them with my friends and family. And here we are two years later.

What did you grow up listening to?

My parents played in a band called Love Explosion with my mom as the singer and my dad on guitar in the 70’s. They were hippies – I vividly remember my dad rocking out to Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and a few legendary Danish singers. My brother introduced me to Metallica, System of a Down, Defones, KoRn and Slipknot. He had an amazing CD collection, so I would often steal one, listen to it and get beaten up for stealing it.

The first album I ever bought was Dookie. I had heard someone play the album at ‘Skater House’ in Bornholm, Rønne where I’m from. The next record I bought was Americana. I loved everything about it: the pace, the melodies, the lyrics, the vocals. Those albums really got me interested in the genre and from there I was searching for punk bands on Google with my dad’s high tech 56k internet connection. Obviously I discovered NOFX, Bad Religion, Anti-flag, Pennywise, Rise Against, Satanic Surfers, etc. The bands we all love.

How has your taste developed now? Do you listen to a variety to help improve your own songwriting?

I’ve been listening to a lot of progressive rock and metal earlier in my life hence the crazy Stream City universe. I still listen to classical music from time to time when I need to escape from reality. For the past couple of years, I’ve mainly focused on punk music because it seems like there’s quality bands popping up everywhere. I really love the wave of techy brilliant bands from the UK (The Human Project, Dead Neck, Fair Do’s, Darko, etc.).

I’m looking forward to writing songs again, I’ll always move in a different direction for each album. I’m going to stick to the core concept, but it will be very different with a fair amount of new inspirations.

What are your ambitions for Fabled Mind in future?

I’m stoked to be associated with many of my favourite bands at the moment. I really love a lot of the Lockjaw bands and what a great start this project has gotten. Just being able to play in the UK after three months of existing is amazing!

I see this album as the beginning of a new journey and sort of a stepping-stone for me and the rest of Fabled Mind. It’s my ambition to improve my songwriting and take people by surprise on every release. I’m really looking forward to meeting like-minded people around the world and share stages with awesome bands! It’s always scary to put out music and be the ‘new kid in school’, so I’m anxious to see what people will think about the album…

Be sure to listen to Fabled Mind’s full album Passenger. Fabled Mind will be returning to the UK in January to play our weekender Do It Together Fest at New Cross Inn, London, alongside bands like Lightyear, The JB Conspiracy and Forever Unclean. Find out more here. 

Interview by Sarah Williams.

The Best Ways To Support Independent Records Labels (From The Labels Themselves)

Sarah speaks to the owners of small, independent record labels, to understand the best way people can support them and to demystify some preconceptions about small music businesses.

Written by Sarah Williams.

We’re currently running a competition to support small record labels, where you can win a massive bundle of vinyl, CDs and other goodies. Head to our Instagram to enter.

The role of the record label has changed in recent years. Small, independent DIY labels are popping up all the time, but they don’t have the capital to fund recordings or the clout to market bands to a mainstream audience, as a label would have done traditionally.

Instead, many of the record labels we love are started at kitchen tables by keen music lovers,often to help their friends or to release their own band’s music. Nowadays, record labels are a helping hand, a word of advice, financial support and a labour of love.

Outside of Shout Louder, I’m part of a team that keep the cogs turning at Lockjaw Records. Although we’re relatively well established, we’re not doing anything for profit. The reward for our hard work is seeing our bands reach new listeners and play bigger stages. Many label proprietors are passionate punk rockers, who simply want to keep the scene alive.

I spoke to some of the small labels I respect the most, to understand how best to support them. Continue reading “The Best Ways To Support Independent Records Labels (From The Labels Themselves)”

Win A DIY Punk Rock Mega-Bundle!

We’ve teamed up with TNS Records, Lockjaw Records, Charlie’s Big Raygun Records and Less Talk, More Records to give away this huge bundle of vinyl, CDs and other goodies!

Here at Shout Louder, we try our hardest to champion independent record labels. They work hard to support small bands, with no expectation of financial return. Although we’re all for doing-it-yourself, small record labels are an essential cog in our musical machine.

To celebrate some of our favourite labels, we’ve teamed up with TNSRecords, Lockjaw Records, Charlie’s Big Raygun Records and Less Talk, More Records.

We’re offering you a one-off chance to win this huge bundle of vinyl, CDs and other assorted goodies.

To enter head over to our Instagram page. Find the competition post, follow the record label accounts and tag a friend. You have until midnight Saturday 6th October to enter, and we’ll choose a winner on Sunday 7th. Continue reading “Win A DIY Punk Rock Mega-Bundle!”

Punk Rock Coffee: A Hungover Tale of Lockjaw Records’ Latest Creation

Rick Delaney taste tests Lockjaw Records’ Coffee midway through Manchester Punk Festival. The result is this hilarious, hungover story, that’ll resonate even if you don’t have the slightest interest in coffee.

Lockjaw Records (Sarah Shout Louder’s other love) recently teamed up with Sham City Roasters to create their own bespoke Lockjaw Coffee. They challenged Rick Delaney, who usually writes serious stuff for Dying Scene, to take it for a serious taste-test. 

Bravely, Delaney chose to do this early in the morning, halfway through the liver-crippling marathon of Manchester Punk Festival. He’s a true hero; here’s his (inebriated, tangential, absolutely hilarious) story.

In screaming sunshine, I hotfoot across Manchester with a photographer on the verge of alcohol-induced paralysis and a shopping list of accoutrements and crucial equipment for a coffee morning. The goal is a double review – the latest compilation and a custom coffee blend from the hardworking and frankly spectacular bunch at Lockjaw Records.

Surprisingly minimal fucking around in shops later – camera operator Josh Sumner [Shout Louder’s resident photographer] sweats outside – we get the gear and head for an apartment on the North side of town. We call Carly Ashburner – one of many truly magical humans attending Manchester Punk Festival 2019 and literal bench-presser of band members. She meets us on the street in typical high spirits. We head upstairs.

In the swankiest of weekend rentals, overlooking a spectacular Manchester cityscape and the Peak District National Park, I find a scene of absolute mayhem. Continue reading “Punk Rock Coffee: A Hungover Tale of Lockjaw Records’ Latest Creation”

Edward In Venice: Aggressive, Dynamic and Full of Empathy [Interview]

We talk to Italian favourites Edward In Venice about their screaming fast mix of pop-punk, emo, and melodic hardcore.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Edward In Venice are a screaming melodic hardcore band from Pesaro, Italy, with a strong penchant for pop-punk melodies and technical guitar work. In April 2019 they released a new EP Empathy on Lockjaw Records. Empathy is an intricate record, recorded with no deadline to allow full creative freedom.

I first caught Edward In Venice playing Manchester Punk Festival 2015, where I fell in love with their speed, their skill and their energy. Their Howler EP was one of my favourite punk rock releases that year, and I’ve been waiting for a follow up album since.

We spoke to Filippo Greganti about the new records, their inspiration and their future plans.

You’ve recently released a new 6-track EP Empathy. How does it feel to have it out in the world?

It’s out in the world? Really? Hah! It’s so motivating. A lot of our friends and fans were waiting for this EP and now finally they’re happy… Hopefully! Continue reading “Edward In Venice: Aggressive, Dynamic and Full of Empathy [Interview]”

Brightr: Ebbs and Flows of Emotion [Interview]

We spoke to acoustic melody-master Brightr about his new album, the emotional songwriting process and the supportive punk rock scene that’s helped him along.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Earlier this year, solo artist Brightr (otherwise known as Laurie Cottingham) released his second album Two Sides. It’s an intricate, moving acoustic record, which launched with a little help from Lockjaw Records, No Reason Records and Penultimate Records.

Although he describes himself as gloomy emo-pop, I consider Laurie to be an expert in weaving bright, hopeful acoustic tunes, in the same family as City & Colour or Newton Faulkner before Radio 2 picked him up. Two Sides is a welcome follow-up to Year One; it’s a beautiful, soulful and positive record.

We had a chat with Laurie to celebrate the release.

You’ve recently released a brand new album Two Sides. How does it feel to finally share it with the world?

It feels great to finally be able to get the record out in to the world. These are songs I’ve been working on and obsessing over for far too long (tweaking and changing… and overthinking) so to finish recording them was a huge emotional purge for me. To release them is an entirely different, more exciting time. Continue reading “Brightr: Ebbs and Flows of Emotion [Interview]”

Review: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8 Throwback

Relive PRH 2018 with our honest, personal account of last year’s shenanigans. Featuring Bad Religion, Adrenalized, Almeida, Mad Caddies, Authority Zero and many more…

Last year I (Sarah) had a fantastic trip to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia with the Lockjaw Records crew. I wrote a review while I was there… but I was too catastrophically overwhelmed with real life to finish it off and get it online.

Rather than waste it, have a giggle about last year’s shenanigans while you gear up for Punk Rock Holiday 2019… with some fantastic photos from Silvy Maatman and Dave Sloan.

“This is the best festival ever!” says everyone, about every festival, ever. The difference is that Punk Rock Holiday genuinely is The Best Festival Ever.

Talking to people over the weekend, interestingly the consensus is that people attend PRH year after year for reasons other than the bands playing. They come for the stunning Alpine scenery, the crystal clear, glacial rivers, and the opportunity to relax on two wonderful river beaches. The main stage is nestled in a clearing in the forest, so the evening bands play surrounded by tall, verdant trees as the sunset glistens through the canopy.

Menzingers Crowdsurf Punk Rock Holiday cred Silvy Maatman

This is a festival where you are guaranteed to be partying with punk rockers from every corner of the world: I mainly spent the week with friends from Brighton, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Belgium who I’d hardly have the opportunity to see if events like this didn’t draw us together. Continue reading “Review: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8 Throwback”