- Josh Crowe
Behind the Decks: Fakear
The 13th of April marked the release of ‘All Glows’, a date that was long overdue for the electronic producer Théo Le Vigoureux, known to many as Fakear. The sixteen track album release paints Théo in an entirely different light musically and spiritually. The album flirts with several moods, cascading from pop manifestos to melodious snippets of sound.
I rush towards Headrow House with my interview questions in hand, in a desperate attempt to salvage them from the onslaught of rain falling from above. I scamper up the stairs in nerves, heading for the third floor of the venue. Halfway up on the second I meet the eyes of David, Théo's agent, who welcomes me backstage where he and Théo are sitting. Any nerves I had are quickly brushed away when Théo stands up to shake my hand. He is quietly confident, dressed from head to toe in black, speaking in a thick French accent. “It’s my first time here in Leeds”, he tells me as we share a drink backstage just before his set at Headrow House. This headline tour sees Fakear playing all around Europe, in several countries he has never performed in. “It really feels like I’m playing for a brand new public, I don’t expect anything from it, I’m just going to see what happens”.
Théo is no stranger to massive crowds, not only from his native France but from his recent travels around America. This tour is different in that he is bringing his sound to a new audience, playing venues far more intimate than ever before. “When you play in front of a small crowd you can really create a bond between you and the people, but it’s so much scarier. In front of a big crowd you almost act like a fake character in a theatre, you just feel like you are yelling at people. Whereas in a smaller crowd you have to be yourself and I find that a lot scarier. It is great to have this new experience of small crowds, I am really enjoying the challenge!”.
‘All Glows’ is a breath of fresh air for Fakear, maintaining an introspective gaze throughout. “I’m really happy with the results, it’s the first time I managed to render a finished product I’m happy about, whereas with previous records I felt they were rather rushed. Almost everything I’ve released before has been done quite instinctively, but I feel differently about this record. I feel like it is a big step for an artist to actually release a record and say this is finished now.” Prior to the release of ‘All Glows’ Théo supported both Bonobo and Odessa’s tours of America and Europe, where he gained a lot of inspiration in terms of touring and writing. “The energy both of them have is just amazing. I feel like when I supported them they were going through a transition, a real sense that they were really beginning to make a name for themselves. I definitely left both of those tours feeling very inspired, with a lot more knowledge on how I can improve my live performances.”
There is no doubt that the ‘All Glows’ album can allow Fakear to reach the heights of his touring buddies, boasting successful collaborations and a wide range of sounds. “It was the first time for me to collaborate with my music. I have previously made all my music and albums on my own in my bedroom. This time the label said to take a risk, they encouraged me to collaborate. They let artists know that I was making tracks, and people contacted me to get involved in the album. It was honestly the richest experience I’ve had in music, I’ll certainly be doing it again.” Whilst this may be the first time people have featured on a Fakear album, the Frenchman is no stranger to collaboration. He famously helped produce the track ‘Finally’ by M.I.A in 2016, which featured on her album AIM. The pair got in touch over twitter, M.I.A offering a rare Parisian football top in exchange for Theo’s slick production on her track.
Théo's story brings us onto the issue of social media and the benefits it can have for an upcoming artist, “I think it’s a really good thing, before that all the major labels had the power. It feels like now you are your own media, being able to organise your music and promotion. Major labels have to adapt their strategies.” The conversation then turns to the label that Théo is signed to, Ninja Tune, Yes, I always wanted to sign with Ninja Tune. When my manager first met me he said, get a list of your five favourite U.K labels and I will get you a deal with one of them. We got in touch with Ninja, they were like a family there. In terms of people I go to about my music it is always them or my girlfriend. She has followed me for so many years as an artist. Before we met she was a fan of my music, now when I make new stuff she gives me a real idea of whether it is the FAKEAR sound”.
There is no doubt that the Théo as a person and artists has evolved throughout the years, incorporating new sounds and issues in his work. “When I’ve listened back to previous productions it feels too superficial, it was like I made ten songs with ten ideas. With this album it feels completely different, like making one song with ten ideas. Previously it would take like one whole album to express one idea or concept, whereas now I feel like I have narrowed it down and am able to present several concepts,” says Théo. Two of these concepts are Karma and spirituality, “It was quite new for me, my girlfriend introduced me to both concepts. I started to make an active effort to understand the notion of karma a lot more and in turn believe in it. It has changed everything for me, I was really keen to address it in the album.”
Théo le Vigeroux is an artist ticking all the boxes, he has broken out of France, toured worldwide and released an outstanding album. When I asked him what advice he’d give to people hoping to follow in his footsteps, he said “I realised very quickly that France is like an island, you can tour there for your whole life and just about get by. But I knew that I always wanted to travel the world and see different things, so for me it’s so important you push out of your comfort zone”.