Fakenamé – Dave McLoughlin to his friends – made the brave decision last year to depart from a true Irish indie icon of an act in Le Galaxie, and set off on his own. He didn’t know at the time that he was simply getting a jump on the band calling it a day – in fact, many still don’t know he had already departed – but McLoughlin has already been working away on his own new sound, under the new branding.
Fakenamé has none of Le Galaxie’s 80s influence. Instead, McLoughlin is going solo, making all his own decision in a strictly DIY aesthetic that’s seen him embrace sampling, undertake some remixes, and start to consider what his first magnum opus under the new heading will sound like.
I caught up with a refreshingly forthright McLoughlin as he eyed his next move…
Let’s start with the obvious – Le Galaxie are done. It felt quite sudden from the outside. Did it just run its course naturally?
Being brutally honest: I had left Le Galaxie a couple of months before they had announced the end of the band, so I wasn’t part of that decision. Having departed in July I learned from Instagram in December the same way as everyone else. I put my first solo track “Strangers To Love” out on Soundcloud in October 2019 and even at that stage I was getting messages from DJs saying “What? You’ve left Le Galaxie?” I didn’t have any public social media profiles myself until I started the Fakenamé project, so even now a lot of people have no idea I’m even embarked on this. So if you see me online, please “Like, Rate and Subscribe” as I believe I’m supposed to say now!
When I left Le Galaxie, we were just putting the finishing touches to an all new live show, so I had expected that the new live show would be their focus after I’d left, and for them to start writing new material. That all sounds a bit distant – but don’t get me wrong, I still talk to the guys all the time, I’ve met them a few times for pints when I’ve been over in Dublin, and we’ve plans to meet up for pints when all the current Corona Virus madness ends. I live on the other side of the country now, so I’m not just knocking around Dublin city anymore.
What will be your favourite memories looking back on the band?
So many. Too many. The various Electric Picnic shows were usually our yearly highlights, playing the Olympia several times, even selling out those early shows in the Workman’s was such an amazing time, realising that something was happening. All the trips we took around the world, the days when a new track split open in front of us, mixing our album in Los Angeles with Eric Broucek… I could go on and on. Apart from that we just had so much fun. Being in a band is like having your own gang. There was so much laughter.
Obviously you’re back in another form. What does Fakenamé allow you to do that excites you, in terms of putting your own spin on things?
The most obvious change is that this is a solo project. When you’re in a band everything is a group project. Even when one person writes a song, it’s still going to be filtered by the way everyone else performs it, or the ideas they pitch in, or the things they don’t like about what you’ve written and want to remove. We all threw what we wrote into the ring and then collectively ripped it apart and built it up again.
It’s quite an exciting challenge to have full authorship and responsibility for everything about my sound right now. Even to the point to where, for the moment at least, I’m also mixing and mastering it myself to put it out on the various music platforms. I’m also making all the related videos, and taking the publicity photographs. Right now it’s a one-man show, and that’s exciting in and of itself.
Leaving Le Galaxie is one of the biggest and hardest decisions I ever made. That said, It’s quite freeing in that, as part of a band, with a label, a release schedule, a specific image etc. you can find yourself quite hemmed in by what is expected of you, or even the things that you think you can make fly. But now I have a clean slate: no expectations, a completely fresh start, and anything could happen.
It’s the kind of freedom I have now that led to the recent collaboration with Benny Smiles, and for it to happen so fast. In the context of a band, this probably wouldn’t have happened, there’d be too many filters from everything from “long term plans” to release schedules etc to consider. As a solo independent artist, I can just go and make a track and have it on Spotify in a matter of days – which is what has happened with this song, and I plan to do more of.
What’s the story behind the Fakenamé branding?
In terms of the project name – when I joined Facebook in about 2009 I wasn’t comfortable using my real name (I’ve a bit of a privacy nut, albeit short of the tinfoil hat) so I just used a stupid alias that I’d come with when joking with the lads in Le Galaxie one time.
We were going to a gig in a remote location late at night and I decided that if we were stopped by the police I’d tell them that my name was William Fakenamé (i.e. Billy Fakenamé). I’d previously low-key put out some music under this name too, so when it came time to decide on a name for my solo project I just shortened it to Fakenamé. I’ve always been fond of band/artist names that carry no expectation of genre, and this certainly fits into that.
Regarding the pictures I use with my face blocked out. That just came from when I was first taking an urgently needed publicity shot while I was in France with my girlfriend. I just gave her my camera and stood up against a white wall – but I was a bit wrecked from the journey so I just held a small travel keyboard that I had up in front of my face.
But again, harking back to Facebook, and how I’m a bit of a privacy nut when it comes to the internet – I never used my actual face as my profile picture, so I have a large folder of images that I eventually gathered on Facebook – various artworks, statues, drawings and photos where they were portraits with the subjects face distorted or obscured. So I just started to dip into these for photo ideas for Fakenamé.
Don’t worry, I don’t plan to wear a mask for live shows or anything! Did that in Le Galaxie and we usually couldn’t wait to rip them off after the first song.
The new single has a bit of an unusual back story. How did Benny Smiles feel about your changes to the song being so thorough?
Yes, it all just happened so fast, and Ross of Benny Smiles was nothing but positive about it. He was glad I’d just taken it and ran! I was literally sitting working on another track one afternoon when I got an email from him. We’d had a few exchanges in the comments on Instagram, but apart from that we’ve never met, and even at this point we’ve only spoken over the phone twice.
I’m still working out exactly what Fakenamé will sound like (It’ll be an ongoing process even when I get to start testing out tunes at live shows) and I had actually actively decided to avoid any sort of retro 80s aspect to what Fakenamé does, as that was something that Le Galaxie once were known for. I still like that style of music to listen to, but have no particular want or need to make anything of that genre anymore.
When Ross of Benny Smiles asked me about doing a remix my very first thought, the moment he asked, was “I like this track but it’s too 80s for where I’m headed”. But giving it a shot was a fun idea – to put my own spin on it and bridge the gap to where I am now musically.
So within an hour or two I had the gist of the feel down, and had taken out a mic to start singing. I was a bit hesitant, but at this stage I was having too much fun and didn’t want to overthink, so I just went for it. I didn’t have particular plans for singing vocals on any Fakenamé tunes, but now, who knows! It could be an option.
How much material do you have ready to go at this point?
I’d say I have between 30 and 40 tracks that are anything from a verse or a chorus long to some that just need a vocal put on top. There’s 3 or four ready to go right now. There’s also some remixes/edits some of tracks that I’ve found and sampled vocals from. After I left Le Galaxie I moved to Galway, assembled a new studio, and had really only gotten the ball rolling properly when all this Corona Virus stuff kicked in and put a bit of a spanner in the works.
I’ll definitely be out doing live shows this year (if that becomes legal again), and have plans to just keep putting out individual tracks whenever the humour takes me in the current months. I’m in no rush to sprint towards a big “THIS IS FAKENAMÉ” album statement at this stage.
I also have started to release short interludes or other pieces of music that don’t quite fit in with what I’ll do for an album or for live shows, just to give myself an outlet because so much of the music I’ve written over the years has never seen the light of day.
How do you set up live as Fakename?
Live shows are in the future for me, but I already have assembled my setup. It’ll be a solo show. There will be synths and controllers, there will be percussion, and also an e-drum pad that I’m also going to use to play basslines/melodies/chords and samples. There might be some bass or guitar.
I have other ideas for the visual aspect to the show, and for guests vocals etc. but that’s very much in the future. The first shows I do will be very much to test the waters with what I’m doing – we were a few years into LE Galaxie before we realised exactly what we wanted to do and how to best do it. I certainly don’t plan to be a fully formed act with a rudder set when I play my first shows. For me that’s something to be embraced, there’s all kinds of possibilities to explore.
Have you managed to make any music through lockdown?
Everyone thought they’d have lots of extra time during lockdown, but as it transpires we’ve all realised that that’s not the case as all the other usual things you have to do from day to day are a lot more difficult now and take more time. That said I’ve still managed to get a lot of music done – the remix for Benny smiles was done entirely during lockdown and there was less than three weeks from when I was asked to do the remix and the release date. It’s actually going to be amazing to see what great stuff people have been working on in isolation when all this is over… But yeah, I’ve kept things ticking over by snatching time when I can every day.
What are your hopes for the future?
My main drive at the moment is to get enough tracks together to justify a live show. I really miss playing live and can’t wait to get back to it. But really, as I was saying to a friend the other day, I just want to have fun with this project, follow my nose, release as much music as I can even if it’s not strictly dance music. At Le Galaxie shows the audience was just as important as the band, we were just a conduit for people to lose themselves and have an amazing night, and the opportunity to do that was such a joy. I really look forward to the chance to experience that again.
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