Music

Fresh Faced & Effervescent: The Fairview talk about their latest album

The Fairview is one of the bigger pop-punk bands in the local scene right now. With catchy tunes cognizant of other alternative greats like As It Is, Paramore, and Neck Deep (just to name a few), their music is easy to listen to and hard to forget. Led by co-vocalists Nolan McGovern and Jake Perreault, the band rules the sound waves with clever instrumentation and sonic layers aplenty. Drummer Isaac Hiller provides bright percussion, while Brenna Guay holds down the beat on bass. She joined the band in 2019 after this latest album was recorded, but she’ll undoubtedly be a major asset to their upcoming music in the future. On this album, Nolan and Jake took over the guitar and bass work before her addition to the band. 

The sonic mix is clean and crisp, proof of Corey Bautista’s prowess served up by producers Joshua Riley and Dominick Maduri alongside the band at Toast n’ Jam Studio. Finishing touches were provided by Chris Bowman’s mastering of the recordings, while Jess Gonzalez created the album artwork. 

While I don’t identify with every song on this record, my favorite songs on this album have to be “Your Hair in the Rain” (which is accompanied by a unique concept video), as well as their ballad “…And the Drive Home” for its lighter tone and raw emotion. 

I had the distinct pleasure of posing some questions to Jake and Nolan about their experiences writing Fresh Faced & Effervescent and performing (back when that was a thing). We also talked about a pretty intense dental mishap during a gig that must’ve been awful at the time, but probably serves as a hilarious anecdote now. 

Angelina Singer (Motif): How did The Fairview form, and what does the band name mean to you?

Jake Perrault: The Fairview started up around 2014, just Nolan and a few of his friends from high school playing pop rock songs and All Time Low covers. I joined the band in 2015, and that’s kind of when we nailed down our co-vocalist pop punk dynamic. 

Nolan McGovern: The band formed out of the ashes of all our high school music endeavors. A few line-up changes and a tour or two went down over the years, and that’s what got us to today’s “The Fairview.” The name was honestly just the street we used to practice on back in our teen years.

JP: If anything, these days I think the name represents the propensity of change in our lives and how far from where we started we are in any given moment, but we certainly didn’t always conceptualize it that way.

AS: What would you say is the driving theme behind your latest full-length album, Fresh Faced & Effervescent?

JP: I think I’d say growth. Much of the album revolves around a breakup I dealt with and how much it forced me to look deeply at myself and deal with how I was living my life up to that point. I started really engaging with therapy, I started talking about my religious upbringing, I really started to pick apart what was dysfunctional about myself, and that introspection kind of colored the album as a whole. 

NM: It’s an album all about rolling with life’s punches, on a generalized social scale and on a more personal level. I think it touches on both universal and personal truths.

JP: Like I feel Fresh Faced & Effervescent today because all my life I only ever wanted to die, and now I’ve found a way to move forward and be better — not quite an optimist, but hopeful for the first time.

AS: Who are your biggest musical influences?

JP: We’re very obviously influenced by some of our pop punk/emo contemporaries like The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball, as well as early 2000s Fall Out Boy and Mayday Parade, but we take inspiration from a lot of places.

NM: For me it’s super eclectic. Everything from Motown/soul to swing/big-band to pop in general to mid/early 2000s alternative to hardcore to more industrial metal and stuff. 

JP: We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music, so we’re always being influenced by different sounds.

AS: Which song off the album best sums up your band’s overall sound?

NM: Oof. I think “Plan B” definitely. It’s loud and forward with its messaging, but dialed back in the right places. I feel like it’s got all the fixings and represents us well, and pretty much every person in the band gets a moment to shine during it, too.

JP: Probably “Cigarettiquette” if I had to choose. It’s got our kind of classic pop punk vibe, but shows a softer, more artful side of us in the bridge, and the lyrics I feel are some of the best I’ve written. I don’t think we necessarily try to achieve any one particular sound when we write, but I really think this song captures our heart and energy pretty perfectly.

AS: Are any of the songs based off a specific real-life experience? If so, please share if you feel comfortable. 

JP: Pretty much all of them, but specifically, “Connecticut” and “…And the Drive Home” revolve around going on our first ever tour at the same time the relationship I was in really started to fall apart. I based the whole concept off of being stuck in stop-and-go traffic on Merritt Parkway literally for hours, stressing over what I felt was inevitable but being powerless to do much about it — aside from giving her the space she needed and letting it all play out. Everyday I would wake up on a stranger’s couch or an air mattress and remember that the person I loved couldn’t be with me anymore and that so much of it really was my fault. They’re some of the rawest songs on the record because they came from such a raw place.

AS: Tell me about your writing process. How do your songs typically start?

JP: Typically, Nolan or myself will write the bones of what a song will be by ourselves and then share it with everyone to get thoughts and ideas. We’ll usually send the band their parts from the demos, and everyone learns them and are encouraged to expand on the ideas. 

NM: From that point, it really comes together as a Fairview song either in practice or in the studio when we play it together. 

JP: Sometimes a song can start from lyrics like “Adhesive” did, but most of the time I write lyrics for an instrumental over a long period of time with a number of drafts. It drove Nolan a little nuts when he was in the vocal booth and I had to tell him he was working off the wrong draft of “Only Greys.”

NM: It happened more than once.

AS: Break down the ideas behind the concept video for “Your Hair in the Rain.” I found it especially intriguing, but would love to hear more about your artistic vision. 

JP: I thought it would be interesting to take something safe and even romantic like an old camera, and make it almost like a villain. Like someone always looking back, romanticizing instead of seeing things for what they were or are can kind of wear away at them in the present. And the fact that the subject of the video (played very well by my sister Corinne Perreault) finds the camera on a similar discarded pile of clothing implies that not only is it common to lose your way in false nostalgia, but that it’s something we can kind of encourage and exacerbate in each other — on social media or otherwise. I’d be lying if I said I was fully cognizant of that idea when we shot it. Frankly, I just wanted to take a run-of-the-mill pop punk music video and gradually warp it into an offbeat B-horror type deal on a budget of zero dollars. When I edited it, I started to see lines I didn’t necessarily draw on purpose, but really enjoyed. [Watch the unique concept video: youtube.com/watch?v=D2NNC1F1LmI]

AS: What’s a lesson you’ve learned from being a part of this band?

NM: Relax, stop worrying about being popular right now, take vocal lessons.

JP: Vulnerability breeds vulnerability. Authenticity is king. We all get along so well in the band, partially because we’re committed to being upfront and honest with each other. It’s important to put yourself out there and say how you feel, because the right people will stick around and see you for who you are.

AS: What’s your most embarrassing (PG-rated) moment from a gig?

NM: Playing in NYC one night, my mic stand was like broken and off-balance. Going into a chorus or something, I accidentally stepped on the base of it and sent the mic directly at my open mouth, chipping my front tooth mid-song. I choked, swallowed it, and kept playing, but I couldn’t tell if anyone noticed what happened — or the giant gap in my tooth or not. It was terrible.

JP: I think I had a panic attack during a noise set that night too.

NM: That was a fun night for us.

Stream music by The Fairview on Spotify HERE: open.spotify.com/artist/5XfOIVV2fsMrk14TSBGh01?si=w13BnDUKQfu9wFkfTo8uhg

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