Following from the release of their critically aclaimed debut album, Melbourne duo Fraudband have been touring round Japan showing off their special brand of intrumental prog rock. Tomatrax caught up with the band to ask a few questions.

How did the band form?
We had known each other for a while. Then there was a time when both of us were at musical loose ends. When we were chatting there seemed to be material and ideas that we were both interested in. We started playing not really being clear about what our sound was. Playing a lot of live shows in the first year or so made this a lot clearer. The songs from this period formed the basis of the ‘First Songs’ cassette. Things just seemed to roll on quite naturally from there. Each release has been a significant step for us. This has been quite a satisfying way to mark the band’s development.

You released your debut album late last year, what have you been up to since then?
Well it was not an album in a true sense in that what we did was record the tracks from our first two Eps as a whole record. We did this as we were running out of copies of the Eps and we wanted to have something to share with people in Europe. We liked the original versions but felt that these had moved along live and so we wanted to re-present them afresh when we toured in Europe, UK and Australia. We’ve toured this first full length release on a 7-date tour of Japan as well. We’re also finishing off work on a split Lp with a British band that we played with in Europe last year. This record will be out in July – we’re quite excited about it.

Where did the name Fraudband come from?
It has a kind of playful meaning for us. Since we don’t have a bass player or singer, we thought we might be perceived as not a ‘real’ band. So, partially we were trying to undermine that idea with our name. As it’s turned out of course, we’ve been taken quite seriously. We do have a good sense of humour within the band though our musical performance tends to get intense.

Where did the album title Many ways in… one way out come from?
It just seemed to sum up the process of how we ended up with a full length release. We had done earlier recordings of these songs and had released them over two formats – a cassette in hand made and hand painted sleeves, and a 10” vinyl in hand painted sleeves. Both of these releases were limited to about 100. So, they were selling out as we were planning our European tour. We liked these songs, they formed our set and we didn’t want to move on from them before European audiences had the opportunity to hear them. So, we decided to put together the first two (Ep) into one release. Loki Lockwood, who had mixed us live a few times, offered us some free studio time in an awesome room. This seemed too good to pass up so, instead of just putting the first two recordings together, we re-record the songs from the cassette and the 10” (bar one) for the full length release, ‘Many ways in.. one way out’. I guess the title sums up the process of getting to putting this release out.

What was the inspiration behind the album’s front cover?
It came from an idea which featured on the hand painted covers of our 10” Ep, ‘Some Things’. Given that the full length release included a re-recording of these songs, it seemed appropriate to work with that motif. The artwork of the 10″ consisted of impressions of leaves floating over layers of watery inks which gives the sense that the composition is still forming. This idea lent itself well to the Many ways in…  cover in as much as this cover again uses natural/living objects in a vivid image

What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘Keyed in’?
The source of the inspiration came from a video artist we both know, Paul Rodgers. He suggested that we do something with bunch of old 16mm film loops which he had lying around. These were partially bleached, which removed the previous images. This was an imperfect process so the film wasn’t totally wiped. This created an interesting affect in that there were still some images left on the film that surfaced randomly. From there the process was to apply transparent inks to both sides of the film. This had a density with enough transparency to allow the remaining original images to come through. From that point it was the mastery of Paul Rodgers who filmed more current material in & around the inner city where we live and reassembled it all and came up with a final cut.

Given your music is instrumental, how do you determine your songs’ titles?
They generally relate to things going on around us. Things we experience in our lives, whether directly or through those around us. Some songs are drawn from specific events but usually they are about an aspect of an experience, be it involving one of us or some of our friends and the song’s music seems to relay our response to these things.

You’ll be playing a few shows in Australia, what can fans expect from your shows?
In our upcoming Australian shows we’ll be drawing largely from Many ways in.. adding in some new songs that have not yet been released. The songs form Many ways in… have taken on a new life in live performance. We have had most of these songs for a while now, some back to the start of the band. We’re quite happy with the recorded versions of these songs, live we have found more space with them. Some get longer, some get louder in sections and some get very quiet in parts. It is really amazing how these songs keep drawing more out of us as musicians.

You’re also about to tour Japan, how did this tour come about?
It just seemed like a fun thing for us to do as neither of us had really been there before. When we started looking at playing there, it all came together very quickly and simply, 7 shows in 8 days. It has definitely been the easiest tour to book, that we’ve been involved in booked. The response has been strong, we’ve been kinda surprised about the interest in the band there, really nice people.

Do you ever listen to your own music?
When we write new material we generally demo it with a home cassette recording. This tends to get listened to a bit as we shape arrangements and work out where it might fit in for us. With studio recordings there is a lot of listening during the mixing process. Generally by the time a recording is mastered your ability to ‘hear’ the song can be severely impaired, ha! In saying that, it’s always informative to listen back to previous recordings whilst preparing for a new one.

What music do you listen to?
That’s a very open ended question. We listen to a wide variety of music from across a large period of time. Generally there are two things that interest us in music listening, atmosphere and rhythm. If these resonate with us then we tend to enjoy the music.

What do you have planned after your tour of Japan?
We are finishing work on a split Lp release a split with UK neo-psychers, The Bevis Frond. We played with them in Hamburg last year and hit it off. They had recently played Glastonbury so we were stoked to engage them and we’re quite excited about this release. We’ll be doing a more extensive run of Aussie tour with this release, including our first shows in Brisbane, around a festival that we have been invited up there. It’s great to be in a band that keeps moving forward doing things that interest us.

Check out Fraudband’s Facebook page to find out more!