By Em Marcovecchio
FARE is an incredibly talented lady. Touring alongside Ben Howard in the Netherlands, Christina Smith, who goes by FARE, creates music that is purely beautiful and tranquil. She has recently released her debut album ‘Through The Walls’ which has been meet by shining criticism, it is very exciting to see where this lady goes next.
Releasing her debut album, ‘Through the Walls’ last week, it is very exciting to see where this lady goes next. I caught up with her recently to have a chat about the new album, her influence and much much more!
Em: How would you describe your sound?
Christina: Sad haha! No that’s just pigeonholing a bit, emotional, reflective in terms of lyrical content. Kind of ambient folk, I guess that’s what I’d go by. Very personal and intimate and Lo-Fi. A lot of adjectives to choose from there.
Em: Who are your top three women in music at the moment?
Christina: At the moment, I’m not really listening to anything new, so these are probably just my top three ladies:
1. Grouper (of course)
The lady who inspired all of the music I’m making now. Who inspired FARE, and helped me decide and realise what kind of music I could be making. The ambient loops and fuzz and noise, plus her haunting melodies and vocals just resonated with me so much and are all things I wanted to experiment with in my own sound. I felt kind of lost musically before I heard Grouper, and the first time I listened to her (it was Alien Observer) I just felt like I had finally found my little place in music, through her.
2. Elena Tonra
The leading lady of Daughter, another big inspiration of everything I make. More melodically and lyrically. I think her lyrics are really stunning. She uses a lot of metaphors really beautifully, in a way that makes you feel like you can draw any line between what she’s saying, and your own experiences. But even though she creates some lovely metaphors, her lyrics are also so honest and vulnerable. I guess that’s something I like to do in my music too, and she made me feel like it was okay to do that. To be vulnerable in music. She’s just released an album through her solo project Ex:Re, and some of the tracks, especially ‘Romance’ and ‘where the time went’, are so beautifully descriptive, so exposed.
3. A third is a hard one, there’s a lot of ladies I listen to that inspire me, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, etc.
S.Lindsey Jordan of snail mail is definitely someone I’ve enjoyed more recently. She started playing as Snail Mail when she was like 15 which is pretty cool, and released her EP ‘Habit’ not long after that, and it’s such a great EP. When I first heard static buzz I just fell in love, and she released her album ‘Lush’ fairly recently too, and it’s so perfect. She’s pretty vulnerable and honest with her lyrics too, but in a different way.
Em: How much does the material on your debut album mean to you in comparison to your previous releases?
Christina: With the first EP, this album signifies a portion of time, a couple of years in my life, since ‘Overgrown’ was released, up to now. And the songs on it are all the things that happened, or that I felt in that time.
“I don’t play a lot of them anymore, apart from a couple, because I think they stopped resonating with me so much, and I moved onto things a bit more real, things I can really feel and portray in newer music”
The first EP was written during a year, as soon as I began playing as FARE. I was learning who I was as a musician. ‘I Am Now’ and ‘Today’ were my first ever ‘songs’ that I was really happy with, and actually wanted to share with people, and they came from FARE. I grew a lot musically over that year, and I think with each track you can really tell that. They were vulnerable and raw, but now, since writing more and learning how to translate experiences into my music with a lot more ease, I wonder if the tracks on ‘Overgrown’ are a bit too surface level. That’s probably not the case at all, but I think I can be more than surface level? But that’s just something I’ve obviously become more comfortable doing. I think that’s the reason I don’t play a lot of them anymore, apart from a couple, because I think they stopped resonating with me so much, and I moved onto things a bit more real, things I can really feel and portray in newer music.
As for the album, a great deal of the tracks were written in the run up to me leaving university. I was feeling quite comfortable with my music, quite confident in what I was creating (which isn’t like me at all) I think I was running off the fuel from ‘Overgrown’, and I just wanted to create the best work I could and perform it at the end of university. When I came to Falmouth I wasn’t writing at all. FARE wasn’t even a thing and I had no idea what I wanted musically, just that I wanted to live and breathe music, but I didn’t know how to get there. By the end, I had really come quite far, and I got to where I wanted to be when I came here. I think my music on this album showed that. There was a bit of experimenting, some very personal isolated tracks that no one heard until it was released, and some that I’ve been playing live since ‘Overgrown’ was released. Songs like ‘lavender’, ‘grey sky’, ‘broccoli cat’ and ‘16/25’ were all written towards the end of university. Things were piling up on me, but musically I was just writing everything I felt with so much ease. I’d never had that before and I really felt like I’d grown, and I was happy to be in that place where everything came flowing into music. I finished writing all the songs by about March last year, and that was initially when I wanted the album out, but it just took some long old’ time to be ready. Since then I haven’t really written like that, I hope to eventually be able to do that again though. I’ve lost a bit of confidence in that area, but since the album was released, I’ve had some new ideas, writing little riffs, feeling inspired again. A lot of instrumental stuff, still no lyrics, but I think that ease of lyric writing will come back eventually.
Listen to FARE‘s RouteNote Session here:
Em: The artwork! What are the meanings of your tattoos? Who’s drawing etc?
The artwork for this album has always been in the back of my mind. But again, I think I just didn’t have the confidence to try it out. I am very particular when it comes to every aspect of my music; I like to do everything myself. It’s one of the reasons the album took so long to get here. I like to work with people I’m really super comfortable with, and I hate being in front of the camera. I’ve done a few shoots with Em now and each time I loosen up a little more, thus I asked her to come over and take some relaxed photos in my room. Very intimate, which all felt genuine and we got some really lovely shots. Em is such a beautiful photographer and came back with a handful of equally beautiful photos. However, I still felt a drawing of the photograph would translate better into my music, which Em agreed with. We both had the same favourite photo, and it seemed to work so effortlessly as album art. So, I started drawing and eventually landed on the artwork I have now.
The Tattoos! They are two of my favourites (not that I don’t love them all) but the one on my ribs is a little something I got for Grouper. I went to see her last year and it was one of the most stunning things I’ve ever been to. She’s meant so much to me and my music, and her album dragging a dead deer up a hill is one of my favourites (I also thought I could get away with thinking up a tiny tattoo for that one). While on tour with the boys, we all decided to go off and get some done, mine was super last minute, but I didn’t want to be left out, so I drew up this dead deer and a couple of others, and the tattoo guy helped me choose this one. The one on my arm was done for my Nana. I’d never lost anyone before and that came out in a lot of the music I was writing during that time. I wanted to get something for her but I had no idea what. One of our friends Lilly, from Penelope Isles, came down to stay with us and create some of her incredible sick and pokes. We’d just moved into our house and it was summer and we just had the nicest time. It’s of a flower sewn onto the side of one of my Nana’s old handkerchiefs (I would always send her them on her birthday, and picked it out of her things) and I thought it really made a nice reminder of her on my arm.
Em: What’s your go to breakfast??
Christina: I never ever have breakfast and I’ve never been a breakfast person, I just skip to lunch. But if I do it’s probably something boring like toast. I love bread. Although today I’m making pancakes, technically it’s breakfast as it’s my first meal of the day…but it is 6pm so I don’t know about that.
Em sat down with FARE at the beginning of January and chatted through how she feels being female in a very male industry. This video is part of a greater series titled ‘A Conversation With’, talking about ongoing issues in the music industry with various women from across the country.
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