Chris Farren, front man of indie-punk band Fake Problems, one half of the band Antarctigo Vespucci and a solo artist in his own right is heading downunder next month.
Supporting Gaslight Anthem on their Aussie tour, Chris will open for the New Jersey band who are touring their new album, Get Hurt at HQ on Thursday 5th February.
Speaking to The Upside News from his home in Naples, Florida, Chris says the news to come to our shores with Gaslight Anthem came as a welcome surprise.
“I was on tour in the UK, and I was in London, and I went to see Gaslight Anthem play a show. I was just talking with Brian [Fallon] after the show and he turned to me and said, ‘You know you’re going to come to Australia with us, right?’” Chris says.
“I was like ‘No, I didn’t know that, but cool!’ and then a week later it was confirmed with their booking agency. It was awesome. It was very exciting. You never learn you’re going to do a tour in person. It’s always boring through email so this was definitely an actual fun, exciting thing.”
This will be Chris’ first time in Australia and he’s hoping to follow the traditional international tourist obligation of having a photo with our wildlife when he’s here.
After he’s fulfilled that compulsory requirement, he’ll be seeking advice about what he should do next.
“I don’t know what to do when I’m in Australia! I need advice. I need you to tell me what to do. I have a few days off so I’ll have the opportunity to explore,” he says.
“All I know is everyone who has gone to Australia has a picture with a koala. I don’t know whether you guys have koalas at the airport or something? I feel like if I don’t do that, I’ve failed.”
While he’s not seeking koalas to pose with, the musician with a wicked sense of humour will be playing a range of his work at the Gaslight Anthem shows.
“It’ s definitely more stripped down than any of my full band stuff. It’s just me and my acoustic guitar, but I’m playing Fake Problems songs and I’m playing songs from my other band, Antarctigo Vespucci,” Chris says.
“I’m playing my own solo songs as well so a more intimate thing but still energetic and definitely not crazy depressing. I’ll play some depressing songs but I’ll try to keep it up a little bit!”
Never allowing himself to be idle, Chris Farren spent the latter part of 2014 working on a Christmas album with all the proceeds going to a good cause.
“Earlier in 2014 I had written a couple of songs for a split I was doing for something else. A friend of mine mentioned they sounded a bit like Christmas songs. They weren’t, but the gears in my head started turning. I’ve always thought about making a Christmas album but dismissed it as crazy, or it would only be cheesy to do that,” he says.
“For some reason, something just clicked and I thought I could do this in a non-cheesy way. All summer of 2014 I watched a bunch of Christmas movies, wrote Christmas songs and then recorded them. I had some of my friends sing or play on them.”
All of the proceeds of the Christmas record went to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Chris says it was great to raise money and awareness for the cause.
“I don’t know the exact numbers but we raised well over $1000 for NAMI. We sold it for pretty cheap and had different bundles. Sound Supply put together a whole Chris Farren bundle with a Fake Problems record, an Antarctigo Vespucci record and the Christmas album and sold it for $10,” he says.
“100% of the proceeds went to NAMI. It felt good to get the word out about NAMI and we got some good press for it. We were around some bigger websites who mentioned the link, so hopefully if anyone was dealing with depression they might click that link and get to know what NAMI is about and get some help.”
Right now, Chris is looking forward to getting over to Australia, playing shows and working on his EP set for release when he returns home.
“I’m working on a solo EP and I’ll be working on that up until I come to Australia. I’ll work on it a little bit in Australia; not too much though because I want to enjoy my time,” he says.
“But when I get back home I will finish it and release it pretty immediately. Then I’ve got another tour that starts at the end of February, but that’s not announced yet so I can’t say much. I also have a couple of other things going on as well so I definitely won’t be sleeping!”
You can catch Chris Farren opening for Gaslight Anthem on 5th February. Grab your tickets through Oztix before they sell out.
Story by Libby Parker
Photos courtesy of Chris Farren