Strap on your rollerblades and prep your smooth moves — we’ve got some incredible disco-rock for our readers today. We’d like everyone to meet London duo (and brothers) Robin and Simon Lee, also known as Faze Action. In a recent interview, we spoke with Robin to discuss being gentlemanly, their new album Body of One, biggest influences, and The Rolling Stones — enjoy!
AMBY: Hello Faze Action, thanks for speaking with us today. What’s the band been up to lately?
R: As a band we have just finished rehearsing and performing at our album launch. We have an eight piece band that includes Zeke Manyika (Orange Juice, The The, Style Council) and Mary Moore (Groove Armada) on vocal duties. As producers we’ve been getting singles ready for the next release. In some ways we are reeling from having put the album out, which always requires a lot of energy, so we are digging deep and finishing mixes for the first single from the album.
AMBY: How would you describe each member of Faze Action in one word?
R: That’s a hard question because there is only two of us, so he will know exactly who I’m talking about. Also, we are related so the way we might describe each other is quite different to how we might be perceived. I would describe Simon as being “gentlemanly”.
AMBY: Do you find the dynamics of being siblings makes working together easier, or do you butt heads more often because of it?
R: Well we have our moments but it does make life easier in some ways because we can tell each other the exact truth of how we are feeling. It speeds things up in some ways and slows us down in others. I guess its about recognizing what each others strengths are and encouraging each other to develop those.
AMBY: You released your new album Body of One in April. What’s the significance the album’s title?
R: Music making can sometimes feel like a very selfish endeavor. After all, you are expected to express yourself. It’s a bit like having a window open on your most intimate thoughts and feelings. There is a danger that you can lose focus and become very self indulgent. But really the whole point of music is to bring people together. It sounds like a cliche but it really is quite a profound thing. There isn’t a culture in the world where people don’t get together and play music and dance. It must fulfill a basic human need. When you are on the dance floor and you look around and everyone is moving to the music and sharing that space and that joy with each other, individuals can connect with one another. We can truly become a body of one people. It’s a very powerful thing and I really do believe that it can be a way of promoting peace among people.
AMBY: The album fuses house music with Western classical, funk, and Latin music. When it came to songwriting, who were your biggest influences or inspirations?
R: We have grown up listening to such a wide variety of music and those influences stay with you, but they tend to be stylistic influences. What influences our songwriting these days are more concepts and ways of writing. For example, there is an idea that came from reading all about the avant garde cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, who often prized his initial idea over any development. So we decided to write by literally hitting record and seeing what came out. Other times we write down a list of titles and pick the ones that seem to stand out and try and figure out how they would sound if they were sung. In the back of our minds we try and make our songs “hooky”, because if a song is easy to memorize then that is another way of connecting with people.
AMBY: Where would you go in a time machine?
R: Haha. I’d go back in time and write all of the biggest hit records before the actual writer wrote them.
AMBY: If you could trade places with another artist in the music industry for a day, who would it be?
R: Keith Richards. The man loves music. I think he has a deep connection with music and it really shows when he performs with the Rolling Stones.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Faze Action that nobody knows yet?
R: We have both performed on stage at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Thank you Faze Action, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout