Leeds Music Scene had a chat with guitarist Dave Fawbert from Defend Moscow
Hello Dave from Defend Moscow. Where are you currently?
Currently resting, and recording 3 new surefireradiosmashhitsingles. Specifically I just watched England's abject collapse in the West Indies, which should inspire some good new angry lyrics...
How's 2009 going thus far?
Very well, we've been holed up doing lots of rehearsals, and the recording just mentioned before the single comes out in March and we get back out for some touring. I think we've finally worked off the Christmas excesses, my god it's taken long enough.
Are you pleased with the single 'Manifesto'?
Yes, it was the last song we wrote, and the first that we'd recorded properly with our producer Duncan Mills - the next Trevor Horn, trust me. It was great to move out of bedroom recording and make a big sound.
When are we due an album?
When we get signed I guess! We have about 15 songs written that we're completely happy with, that are demoed in various states, so we're kinda ready to get in and do it properly whenever we get the funds from some nice record company out there! In the meantime we'll definitely be putting out another single after Manifesto, probably Die Tonight.
What's your favourite track of yours?
My favourite track is one we're recording now, called When You Wake - it's a cross between Mr Brightside and Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) by the Pet Shop Boys so has a big, desolate synth sound a la The Pets, but with a Killers drive to it. My favourite song to play at gigs is called Something Good, which is ridiculously fun - it's basically a big camp electro-disco track and, let's face it, that always goes down well live.
If Defend Moscow was a Jelly Bean, what colour and flavour would you be and why?
I think a purple one, slightly darker than the average, a bit moody, but still sweet and popular.
If people don't know what you and your music are about, how would you describe Defend Moscow?
I keep using this cooking analogy but I like it so I'll stick with it: we are a lean pop steak, with electro seasoning and a zest of indie. It does make me feel hungry every time I say it though.
How did the band come together?
Very randomly - me (Dave, guitars) and Jon (vocals) have been friends since the dawn of time and always made music together in different forms. I then met Sofie (vocals) through work in Bergen, Norway, and we had a shared love of great synthpop so she came over to the UK to get involved. Adam (drums) was recruited via an old school ad on a notice board at LIPA, where he was a student, and we bumped into Rick (bass, smoking) when he was assisting a mix of one of our early demos - he was a month away from returning to Paris so we got him just in time. We now keep him locked up in a cellar to make sure he doesn't go back, it's better that way.
Where did the name come from?
I've always been interested in Russian History, and I kinda saw the Russian Communist experience of the 20th Century as analogous with a lot of things we all experience - we aim for something great, and noble, and we get it wrong, but we keep trying. It was the ultimate bittersweet idea, and that's also what I think makes great pop songs - happy music, with dark lyrics and undertones. Also Socialist Realism artwork is amazing. So the name was from a cool poster that we found that was made during the 2nd World War...
Who would you love to perform with, past or present?
That's a tough question - for me, it would be Rage Against The Machine (playing bass) for the pure energy and aggression, or Fleetwood Mac (playing guitar) for the amazing songs. Rick would almost certainly go with Guns n Roses. Actually, I'd play with Guns as well - we could be the new Slash n Duff! Axl would probably still fire both of us though.
What are you currently listening to on your mp3 player?
I can't stop listening to Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun - it's a beautiful, understated pop song. I also love the Saturdays' album - it is genuinely brilliant. I'm sure a lot of people who don't like 'pop music' would be put off but seriously, the song writing is amazing, and the production is innovative and modern - some incredible synths on there. Plus, obviously, they are really fit, which helps.
Best venue you've played?
I loved playing at Koko, but probably the best venue was Newcastle Academy, where we supported Sam Sparro - it was just HUGE. And there were about 2,000 people there to watch the support act (us) which was crazy. We got very drunk that night and I had to try and check the band into a Travelodge while they were rolling around on the floor wrestling. A true test of my diplomatic skills, that one.
Where do you find your influences?
I dissect every single song I ever hear - even in a rubbish song there might be a great moment, so I'm influenced by everything. I guess what I listened to when I was growing up influenced me the most as that's when things seem awe-inspiring - so stuff like Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Fleetwood Mac all still sound amazing today and inspire me.
What do you miss the most when you're on the road touring?
We haven't really been on the road long enough to really miss stuff yet so we're not going to start doing any complaining at all yet - that can wait for the disappointing 2nd album world tour!
Some quick fire questions: Tea or coffee?
The English contingent of our band will say tea, the Europeans will say coffee. But we outnumber them 3 to 2 so we'll go with tea.
Summer or winter?
Winter is cooler. Literally. Ahahahaha.
Superman or Batman?
Batman is the boy, although he was really boring in The Dark Knight.
Possibly the most important question now, Reading or Leeds?
I will say... Leeds! I can actually back that up as my first 3 festivals were all Leeds, despite being from London - for some unknown reason me and all my mates always went to Leeds instead of Reading, maybe 'cos tickets didn't sell out as fast as Reading in the old days, maybe 'cos Guns n Roses only played Leeds in 2001 I think it was. But I always loved it as everyone there would hear our accents and be thoroughly confused why we were there. Plus there were cracking riots that were fun to watch. Leeds also had, or still has, the benefit of the extra tent of new bands, and I remember watching iLiKETRAiNS play a brilliant set - my mate Mark wrote their name in massive blue letters across his face just before they played. I think they were a bit scared when they saw him. You can't really blame them.
And finally, what's next on the agenda for Defend Moscow?
Firstly, a cup of tea and trying to write a new song. Ultimately, nothing less than world domination.
A good brew it is. Thanks for your time Dave from Defend Moscow.