The Fair Saints
               -   the passion and joy
                        of valid hearts

I remember the passion of great rock music, but one doesn't stumble upon it too often lately, at least when taking in the music of the streets. You're lucky to find something musical enough to keep you from changing channels, let alone something that goes deeper, that actually inspires you to have the now rare thought that the song you're listening to actually has something to say.  I know I surely wasn't expecting such a thing when I clicked onto this song called Everyone Stands Still.  The title alone reminded me of how I have often accused the whole online music world of being so.. lethargic.  It was such a great feeling to hear a song that let me know in such a direct way that I wasn't alone with these thoughts.  The great void resounding from this collective lack of spirit within this culture was finally being addressed by this band, known as The Fair Saints, with a song so powerful it could be a theme song for a generation.  Everyone Stands Still  reached Number One on the Kayak Big 50, which means it will be up for Indie Song of the Year in the upcoming Golden Kayak Awards.     
     With a tight sound, angsty penetrating vocals, and lyrics that cut right thru numerous superb pop-rock hooks, The Fair Saints immediately sound like they're aiming to change you and me with their songs, and also seem to have a pretty good idea how to go about that.   They have a great new song up called Friends are Famous.  Recently I had a chance to talk to the singer, Derek, and ask him some questions about the band...

Scott:  So let's start with an easy one, how did you get together ? 

Derek:  Mike and Jeremy were in a band together a few years back.  I knew Jeremy through various friends.  Chris Pedro was brought in because we had mutual friends, and because he had a blue car with a spoiler on it, and I thought that was pretty sweet.  We all kind of came together and realized that our influences conflicted so bizarrely on certain points that it had to sound interesting. 

Scott:  Your songwriting has a depth to it.  Do you find a fair amount of good lyrical music out there in the current mainstream, or is it as I would guess, that you are influenced by the school of Dylan, Neil Young, Springsteen and the like, from earlier eras ? 

Derek:  There are a few modern songwriters who I really admire, such as John Darnielle from the Mountain Goats.  I’m finding that the songwriters that I enjoy the most are the ones who write descriptively, like little novels set to music, and I think that’s totally due to my love for Elvis Costello.  It’s interesting that the stuff I grew up on is informing what I love today.

Scott:   About your name, are you Saints because you're actually trying to say something ?  And aren't most saints fair ?  :) 

Derek:  You know, the name “Fair Saints” actually came from a Breeder’s lyric, after we found that the name “Jackyl” was taken.

Scott:   ha ha  Give us your views on current indie music and what you think the future will bring for the independent realm. 

Derek:  I’m interested in what’s happening in indie rock, because it’s so much more widespread, and it’s leading to more creativity.  I mean, when I was in high school, I listened to bands like Mineral, Archers of Loaf, Knapsack, Sunny Day Real Estate, etc..  And there wasn’t any Pitchfork Media or many websites devoted to that kind of stuff, so it was kind of left to the listener to hunt out bands that they would like.  You never would’ve heard those bands on the radio or on commercials.  I think it’s great that you can hear bands like Spoon on commercials, and that bands like the Arcade Fire are on the radio, because there are kids who are listening, and to a certain point, they’re going to start gravitating to what they like and what they respond to. I’m not elitist; I want as many people as possible to hear bands like that, because that’s going to inform the music being made in the future.

Scott:  I bet a lot of girls like your music since it's well.. kinda passionate, have any of you met your current mate due to the music of the Fair Saints ?  :) 

Derek:  We’re actually 3/4ths married, and we all knew our current wives/girlfriends before the band began. So, that’s a negative.  I don’t think a lot of girls like our music, but I could be totally wrong about that.  Women of the world – unite around the Saints!

Scott:  My favorite of yours that I've heard is still Everyone Stands Still.  It is just an amazing song, unfolds verse-by-verse.  I saw somebody commenting on the pipeline recently that indies don't have much of a sense of humor these days.  You sing "they don't understand laughter".  I was wondering if you care to go into your views on the current media culture, including the internet.  Everybody is hunting new obsessions you say.  Is this an era to embrace or one to change ? 

Derek:  The Media kinda fascinates me, especially with the dawn of the Internet as a credible news/information source – everything is just so much more immediate.  I constantly find myself flipping through my wife’s Hollywood gossip mags, and it floors me – partly because it’s mostly people exhibiting a (rather unhealthy) obsession with other people.  I guess I just wish that we could be more obsessed with ideas and intelligent discourse.

Scott:  Listening to that song, I ask myself how can these guys not be signed?  Are you frustrated by the music business that rewards clone music and simply doesn't seem to notice powerful, quality music ? 

Derek:  You know, I think we have some time to develop before we get signed, honestly.  We’re patient, we want to build this. 

Scott:  Concerning your song City on Stilts, why in the world are you still crying, anyway ?  :) 

Derek:  You know, swift, unmerciful rabbit punches to the solar plexus will do that.

Scott:  Have you ever had any UFO or other experiences of high strangeness ? 

Derek:  We’re smack-dab in the middle of recording our first full-length, and I left our studio late on night to go to my car for something, and I saw this amazing, shimmery, bizarre-looking torrent of mist crawling across the sky.  It was actually just a fire hydrant that had exploded across the street that was shooting this huge jetstream of water right over our heads, but for a second, I definitely thought something was going on.  Like, that’s what it’s going to look like when the world ends, just mist everywhere and people disappearing.  I cried myself to sleep that night.  Just kidding on that last part.

Scott:  ok, one last thing.. you say on one of your sites that you "traffic human emotion".  Care to elaborate on that ? 

Derek:  I just hate seeing bands that aren’t into what they’re doing – kind of these walking exhibitions of pseudo-boredom, that “been there-done that” rock pose.  Then again, I also think the current crop of what is being called “emo”, and everything that comes with it (non-existent hooks, song titles that are all like a paragraph-long each) is pretty cheesy.  We just want to do something real.

The Fair Saints