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Franco-American duo Faux Real (brothers Elliott and Virgile Arndt) released their self-titled EP at the beginning of the month, and the resultant avant-pop gems have been stoking my soul coals ever since. (Stoking your soul coals is v. important during a pandemic.) I was able to have a quickie catch-up with the band over email to find out how they’ve been faring in these wild times, and to ask about origins, aesthetic and more // internet-eavesdrop on our full digital chat below:

For starters, where are you riding out the pandemic, and are you together or apart? 

We are currently in Los Angeles together. 

What have the last few weeks been like for you? A lot of people have expressed feeling pressure to create during this forced downtime. Have you experienced any of that yourselves? And/or have you had any potentially unexpected creative “breakthroughs” during the last few weeks? 

So far, we have managed to avoid the tedious claws of boredom. When there’s a lull we make things up, usually from scratch. We’ve been feeling an urge to adapt to these uncertain times, rather than a pressure. The breakthroughs should be coming any minute now. 

Going back to the start of this project, what sparked the inception of Faux Real in the first place? (Apart from the fact that you’ve known each other since birth?) Was there a specific moment that kicked everything into gear, or has it been such a gradual progression that it’s tough to pinpoint exactly? 

We had to work up to it, gradually. As brothers and friends, we have always been making things as a duo, but had never thought to put a name on it. Everything we’ve done until now has been leading us to conduct this project together. The birth of Faux Real was probably inexorable and definitely accidental. 

Faux Real feels very cohesive as a whole, and like it has a strong sense of self. Is that something that has been fairly effortless? Or was there ever any debate (like the friendly kind, not necessarily the heated kind) about what you wanted this project to be? 

Faux Real is the product of going about things entirely based on our collective gut feeling. It is a stomach band, an intestine project, a visceral venture. There is very little thought in the process – in fact, we make a conscious effort to not overthink, which is one of our habitual pitfalls. 

How did you meet Jay Watson initially, and how did it come to be that you decided to work with him on Faux Real? 

We met through our ex-manager. Jay was at the end of a world tour at the time, and running a very high fever – which clearly explains why he agreed to jump on board. He was a real pleasure to work with, and provided brilliant ideas during the sessions. 

Finally, how did you celebrate the EP release? Was it drastically different to how you’d have celebrated in the pre-pandemic universe? 

We wanted to perform our EP in its entirety at the top of Boss Sweet Hill™. A passing jogger called Craig agreed to film it for us, except he ended up running away with the phone. The Face-To-Face Ratio was drastically different, but the mythical energy of Faux Realism was palpable right through the 5G.

Featured photo by Audrey Del Piccolo

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