Interview with FAKE MAGIC
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We’ve been playing music together since grade school in various garage bands and projects - it’s something we bonded over, and never stopped being a point of conversation. Growing up in the suburbs, it was what you did for fun if you weren’t particularly athletically inclined - most of our friends were into it, and everyone had their own opinions on who was best, and who was lame. It was a fun time to grow up, before the dawn of social media. Currently, we both have “day jobs”, so in terms of what we’d be doing today if not for music, the answer would be “our day jobs minus the music part”.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
We’re big comedy fans, who enjoy going out to see stand-up or sketch from time to time. Bryan went to school for comedy at Humber back in the day, and there’s a definite connection between the two disciplines. The old wisdom is that “every comedian wants to be a rock star, and every rock star thinks they’re a comedian”. But beyond that, it’s all timing. It’s all rules being adhered to and broken in order to surprise and delight. Both involve improvisation. A good comedy show or good movie can sometimes inspire me to write a good song.
How long has your band been around?
We’ve been noodling around since 2019 under the “Fake Magic” title.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Toronto. It’s a fast city, at least by Canadian standards - people move with purpose, and there’s no patience for stupidity. It’s cold a lot of the time, and I’ve heard that newcomers sometimes feel that coldness from people at first. That said, I’ve found the opposite to be true - the cold weather here makes people warmer. When people come out of hibernation, they do so with a smile on their face, ready to enjoy themselves in spite of the weather. Stepping back from it all, you could posit that it gives our sound a faster pace, and a bit of cold grit with a warm, welcoming interior.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We tried on a number of band names at first, but settled on Fake Magic because it made us laugh. We like that it implies that real magic exists, and we’re not it.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Way back in the high school days of Richmond Hill, we used to play shows wearing wild outfits - taped nipples, stacked hats, bandanas, cow costumes, you name it. We had one show where we brought a gong on stage, and got a little girl from the audience to hit it at key times during the song. That was a blast. Another time, we played a song about getting a zucchini stuck up your butt at a general school assembly. It was subtle enough that we got away with it.
We still try to do that kind of thing today - we’re inherently tricksters, and despite some songs having real, deep meaning for us, there’s always a chance it could be a stealth fart song. Often times, it’s both sincere/ personal and surface-level silly at the same time - we enjoy creating things with layers that you can peel back and take what you need from it.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Lee’s Palace is a spot I’ve always loved to play. We admittedly haven’t played as Fake Magic very much in terms of live stuff. We’re a basement project. We’d love to play the El Mocambo. Massey Hall would be a fun one - apparently that place is haunted, so some pre-show ghost hunting would be some spooky fun.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
We’d love to open for the Tragically Hip. If this is a fantasy show, Gord Downie would still be kicking around. He’d be a great person to chat with backstage - a personal hero. Outside of that, there’s so many great acts we’d be honoured to be on a bill with. Mother Mother comes to mind, but the list is huge.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
It’d be the same advice in both cases - just keep doing it. Not because you have any expectation of where it’s headed. And not because you want to impress girls or cater to any particular crowd. Just keep doing it for the pure pleasure of it. Do it because it provides more energy than it takes, and leaves you feeling better about the world. Life is too short to worry about comparisons or approval. Enjoy yourself, and others just might see it and want in on it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It might be Sit Down. It’s the last track off of Sad Dad (our latest album) and it’s about the clouds parting after a storm, so to speak. It’s a father explaining divorce to his son - a nod to Glen Campell’s “You Better Sit Down Kids”. Like most of our stuff, there’s silly and sincere layered like a mille feuille pastry, but it ends on a sweet note that things will be ok. For whatever reason, that idea - that things will be ok after the storm - resonates pretty strongly at the moment.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
Right now, Old Days is one we’re really enjoying - Cory gets a rippin’ solo off the end, and overall, it’s a track that thumps. In terms of what gets requested, Begging to Be Lonely and Sit Down seems to be emerging crowd pleasers.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Inspiration can come from anywhere - a movie, an old album, a guy on the subway, a phrase in a book, a podcast, a noteworthy sandwich. The source is less important that capturing that inspiration sufficiently when you pick up a signal. At the very least, it’s about writing a note in our phones, and at most, it becomes something we’d scratch out in Logic and bring to a practice. We like to mull our stuff over a bit, and refine it from raw material. We’ve got a lot of songs in the hopper, that are slowly filtering towards the best, coolest stuff we’d like the world to see. Typically, we start with a rough frame of a hooky riff, cool sound, or interesting progression. From there, we slowly add sounds, lyrical ideas, and additional instrumentation as it comes until it sounds like it always should have.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We enjoy the dichotomy a lot of our music presents. Generally, the message is that things are almost never one thing, and are often many things. Silly things can be serious. Good people can be bad. Sad songs can feel positive. Melancholy can feel exciting. Happy songs can feel dark. Life is messy, and to best reflect life in the art we choose to pursue, we need to be able to present that without too much additional logic and judgement slapped on it. People like things to be clean, but the world seldom is.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We get along pretty well. We can honestly say that, while we may not always 100% agree on specific choices being made, we never end a jam without a decision made that we can agree on. Big picture, we both want it to sound as cool as it can. While interpretations may differ sometimes on what’s best, there’s mutual respect in that conversation that always leads to something good.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re excited to see what this album brings, in terms of feedback. So far, it’s been really positive. We’ve already started work on a new album, so expect bigger better stuff from us in the future.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Sure! Listen to the new album Sad Dad here (Also available across most music platforms - Apple Music, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, etc.) -
Follow us on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/fake.magic.band/?hl=en
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Fake__Magic
And watch the video for Begging to Be Lonely here -