You may have heard of Queensland’s Fake News before, be it during their time supporting some of our favourite punk bands ever or otherwise since their inception in 2017. But the Fake News that we hear on the band’s debut album, Everyday Warrior, is a fresh incarnation entirely, featuring new vocalist Tim Russ at the forefront of the anthem-making troupe. We caught up with Russ to pick his brains on the outfit’s first full-length and maintaining their “positive tunes, positive vibes” ethos.
Your debut album just dropped last week, but you’ve been a band since 2017. What’s the journey been like to get to this point?
About October 2019, I got a call from Mick and he asked me if I could record some vocals on a song and see what I could come up with, so I had a listen and I was blown away with how tight the songs were. The next day I had a crack at some vocals and recorded them in my brother-in-law’s pantry then sent it to the boys. And that was when the song ‘Brainwashed’ was written, and it hasn’t changed at all since then. Unfortunately, at that time I couldn’t commit with the distance, so we called it a day. Then mid-2020, I got asked to join a video chat with Nick, Darren, and Mick and that’s when they offered me the position as the vocalist for Fake News, and I was stoked. At that stage, we were still looking for a drummer and I mentioned that I knew Nat from bashing around in other bands back in the day and I said, “He is the perfect drummer for this but we will have to see if he is keen.” Once I spoke to Nat and he heard the songs, he was 100% on board and we have all since built a really strong bond and have some pretty wild times together.
You cover a lot on the record – was the intention to get across a certain message or was it meant to be a collage of your thoughts, opinions and experiences?
I feel like the songs really lead me in certain directions naturally. Like when I heard the poppy guitar riffs and palm-muted chords in ‘Checking In’, it naturally brought me back to late ’90s early 2000’s punk. I just started writing about the good old days where stress and the everyday bullshit didn’t exist. Then there are the dark mysterious guitar riffs in ‘Numbered Areas’ that naturally made me want to write about unanswered questions. But most of it is just stories loosely based off past experiences that we have all been through in life.
There is an element of discussing these external issues, like how we’re casually destroying the planet every single day. How do you deal with the feeling of helplessness that comes in a time like this?
We pretty much just express it through the songs. Positive tunes, positive vibes are what we aim for. The songs can get dark here and there but then we slap ya with a foot tapper and leave ya with a fresh face grin.
Your sound has been described as akin to classic punk, a la The Bouncing Souls, Millencolin, Strung Out. Are those the bands that inspire you?
Between the 5 of us, I don’t think there are many punk bands that we are not inspired by, those bands are definitely up there with our favourites.
Have you written anything now where you’re like, “Fuck, we wish we could have included that song on the album”?
That’s a tough one, we sat on this album for quite a while leading up to the release so we are pretty happy with how it all fits together. But we have been writing a lot of new stuff lately and the idea of another full-length album has been discussed a couple of times, but that won’t be ’til at least next year at this stage.
We’re always asking this question because this is an incredibly hard time to be an artist. What keeps you motivated to keep pursuing music?
It’s just passion, we all absolutely love doing this. Whether it’s in front of 50 seated people or 400 standing, it’s always a fun time sharing our songs with people.
We just had a bunch more lockdowns hit across Australia. What’s the vibe in your local scene right now?
Fingers crossed Freddy. All we can do is hope for the best at this stage. We have our album launch on the 6th of August so we are really hoping it goes ahead with all the new cases.
What does success look like for you guys?
I guess it’s just positive feedback. We just want people to be able to relate to our music and sing along. We would love to play to bigger crowds but it’s just baby steps ’til things get back to normal, so in the meantime we will just keep writing more songs.