Interviews

Fun Lovin‘ Criminals-Bassist Brian Leiser im Interview

LuxByNight
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The band was formed in 1993 by Huey Morgan, Brian Leiser and Steve Borgovini after Leiser, who was already friends with Borgovini, met Morgan at the club where they both worked. They started playing together and would provide the entertainment for the club when a booked act failed to show up. It was during one of these stand-in gigs that they draw the attention of EMI and they were offered a record deal. „Come Find Yourself“, the band’s first album, was released in the summer of 1996 by Capitol Records and followed their single, „The Grave And The Constant“ (UK No.72), which was released a month earlier, into the UK charts. Their second output „100% Colombian“, released in August 1998 by Virgin Records, had a far grittier sound to it tempered by three upbeat songs, and several downtempo tracks, including „Love Unlimited“, a tribute to Barry White. In April 2010 „Classic Fantastic“, their latest album to date, was released to commence a Europe-wide tour which kicked off in Manchester. Legal disputes with their previous manager meant this album was their first official output in five years, although they had played live during this time. Fast and Frank had produced much of the album in London, while Huey recorded his parts in New York. Classic Fantastic was the first album on Kilohertz, their own label. In March 2014 they released The Bong Remains The Same, a live concert video. Now in 2016 their are on tour celebrating the 20th year anniversary from their debit „Come Find Yourself“. Fun Lovin‘ Criminals were having a concert on Tuesday 8th of March at Den Atelier. For this occasion their bassist and founding member Brian Leiser was ready to answer some of our questions.

Hello and thanks for taking your time for this interview. It’s been 20 years since you published your album „Come Find Yourself“. Now you’re going on a 20th years anniversary tour. Is this tour a kind of honour to your debut?

It is my pleasure, thank you for the interest. We were approached by the label Demon in the UK two years ago, to re-release CFY in a boxset. We wanted to give our fans something special so we decided to release a vinyl of the Instrumentals of the album as well as a world tour to support the release. “Come Find Yourself” will always be our favourite album because it was our debut, it saved our lives! Performing it from start to finish is something we have never done before live.

What’s one of your favourite memories from recording session from back then?

We were like kids in a candy shop, recording in a great studio called Magic Shop in NYC. We recorded most of the album in the first 5 days and then had 3 weeks to mess around and fine tune it. Our engineer Tim Latham is the 4th member of FLC and has unlimited knowledge of recording techniques. It was a true honour to work with him and we have done so on every FLC album since.

How do you see yourself evolving as a band over the years?

We stick to the same principles when it comes to how we write, record and perform our music. We do not make compromises unless it is the best option for the song. We also have no rules when it comes to the blending of genres, it’s just what we do and what defines our sound.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To maintain artistic integrity at all costs and do not sacrifice creativity to make an extra buck.

What kind of music do you listen to at the moment?

I love listening to reggae and classic rock on my turntable at home. I get busy with my hip hop and house music when I’m driving my car.

If you have to name one artist who influenced you, which one would it be?

I’d have to say the composer Vangelis (Blade Runner, Chariots Of Fire), as he lead me down the path of electronic instruments like synths and samplers.

Touring has become more important than ever nowadays. Has it become the main element of becoming better known as a band?

We were very fortunate that our label EMI really supported us getting out and performing everywhere we could. This laid down a foundation for us as a touring band. Travelling the world and performing music for people that like it is the best part of being a musician.

When can we expect new material from you?

We are always writing music and gathering inspiration from our everyday lives. A new album is something we are definitely interested in, and will happen when it does naturally and organic like all of our albums.

The American novelist Philip Roth once said that amateurs are waiting for inspiration and professionals sit down working hard. Do you agree?

To each their own but I do feel a bit of luck always helps, it certainly did for FLC!

Any last words to our readers?

To the fans of our music, thank you for the love and support over the years. Without you we would not be so fortunate and blessed.

(Interview by Mike Dostert)

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