Faker’s got new shoes. The Sydney band’s return to the stage is just weeks away and frontperson, Nathan Hudson, has recently returned from a spell of globetrotting in the name of making a new Faker album a reality.
If you’ll recall, Hudson and co.’s wanderlust played a role in Faker’s disassembly in 2013. But before we recap the band’s erstwhile downfall—car crashes and Steve Albini recording sessions included—it’s worth remembering the highs and lows that make Faker’s reunion at next month’s Yours & Owls Festival such an anticipated event.
Faker has always been Hudson’s baby. It was he who founded the band in 1996 and he who, in 2013, wrote on Tumblr that “I broke the band up”; he was the driving force behind the EPs, Wash and Kids On Overload, that put Faker on the map in 2001; and it was his songwriting and Brit inflected croon that made Faker’s 2007 single, “This Heart Attack”, a commercial radio hit.
But aside from Hudson, Faker employed a bit of a revolving door policy throughout its 17-year primary existence, which explains the band’s unconventional career arc. For instance, Faker’s debut album, Addicted Romantic, didn’t appear until 2005; nine years after the band formed.
Addicted Romantic was a document of Hudson’s journey to date—in a contemporaneous interview, he revealed the punkish single, “Enough”, was written in 1997 after “listening to a Patti Smith J File”—but the timing of the album’s release couldn’t have been more perfect. The band’s angular, het up guitar rhythms and Hudson’s Robert Smith meets Ian McCulloch vocal mannerisms put Faker in the conversation alongside hyped UK indie acts, Maximo Park and The Futureheads.
And even if Faker’s alignment with the prevailing indie boom was more accidental than forced—in interviews, Hudson spoke fondly of influential Australian acts like Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Saints and The Go-Betweens—it helped carry the album’s lead single, “Hurricane,” to #21 in triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2005.
After half a dozen stop-start years, Faker had momentum. The band signed with Capitol Records before the album’s release and Hudson meshed well with drummer Paul Berryman (ex-The Superjesus), bass player Nic Munnings and guitarist Stefan Gregory. Not only were Faker’s records selling, but they were an electric live band, with Hudson, freed from his guitar, prone to climbing speaker stacks and thrashing around the stage like a cat with the zoomies.
Faker travelled to Los Angeles in early 2007 to record with producer Paul Fox, whose previous clients included Phantom Planet, Semisonic and They Might Be Giants. The resulting album, Be The Twilight, surpassed the success of Addicted Romantic on all relevant metrics.
Its lead single, the once ubiquitous “This Heart Attack”, was a certified hit. It reached #9 on the ARIA singles chart and achieved Platinum certification. It was voted #5 in the Hottest 100 of 2007, coming in behind triple j mainstays Muse, Silverchair, Kings of Leon and John Butler Trio. Faker played the main stage on the 2008 Big Day Out tour and sold out headline shows at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and Melbourne’s Forum.
Be The Twilight celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. To celebrate, a newly expanded digital release is on the way, as well as a vinyl release—something Faker fans have been clamouring for since 2007.
But even in the wake of Be The Twilight’s success, Hudson struggled to maintain intra-band harmony. It wasn’t long before both Berryman and Gregory exited the band. Replacements were found, but the departures of Berryman and Gregory marked the beginning of the end for Faker.
The muddled release of the band’s third album, Get Loved, sums up the disarray of the band’s final years. While the record was created by just Hudson and Munnings, it was as high quality as anything Faker had done previously—it’s more electronic, but Hudson had his The Cure impersonation down to a fine art by this point.
Rather than a standard album roll-out, however, Faker decided to release Get Loved as a free download in December 2011. As a result, barely anyone outside of the band’s core following had heard Get Loved before its eventual appearance on streaming services in October 2020.
In a Tumblr post, dated November 19, 2013, Hudson explained that Faker had moved to America and made a record with Steve Albini in Chicago—a record that was unlikely to see the light of day. “The recording experience was wonderful, but the record didn’t really make sense to me,” he wrote.
He also said Faker was “over” and that he was “not answering the call of being in a band at the moment.” In a follow-up post, on December 13, 2013, Hudson revealed he’d totalled his car in icy conditions. “On impact with the rail, there was a sound of crushing that indicated I was at a point of no return. My car was flipping,” he wrote.
“[I’m] physically fine,” he confirmed. “My car and bicycle, however, were completely destroyed.” He should probably have included Faker in that inventory, too, as the band appeared finished.
Seven years went by. Hudson released a few solo singles. Berryman opened a restaurant and bar in Seattle. Munnings relocated to an island off the coast of Hong Kong. And then the Covid-19 pandemic came along, confining us all to our homes with nothing but nostalgia to buoy us up—and Hudson grew interested in Faker again.
He revived the band’s social media accounts and, on October 4, 2020, wrote, “I went on a big adventure and disbanded the band, because I guess I needed to. Then the world went a little bit crazy and somewhere in the middle of that I figured out that I wanted to be in Faker again.”
13 months later, and after a few updates concerning the creation of a new Faker record, Hudson confirmed the Faker reunion was no joke. “And we’re back,” he wrote, sharing a link to the Yours and Owls festival lineup. Hudson will inaugurate Faker’s new era along with an all-new supporting cast at Yours and Owls Festival in Wollongong’s Stuart Park on Sunday April 3.
Since the announcement, Hudson’s been chipping away at a new Faker album. In the early months of 2022, he travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Mexico City, Mexico, to commit his new ideas to tape, gaining assistance from Brazilian multi-instrumentalist, Adriano Cintra, a founding member of ’00s electroclash group CSS.
Hudson needed to get away. He wanted some down time. But Yours and Owls called, and Faker are coming back.
Yours & Owls 2022
Bliss n Eso
The Jungle Giants
(The Return Of) Faker
Late Nite Tuff Guy
Big Twisty & The Funknasty
Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys
Death By Denim
Rest For The Wicked
Lizzie Jack & The Beanstalks
The Morning Mood
Nothing Rhymes With David
Plus DJ’s at Das Schmelthaus
L N T G
Barney In The Tunnel
Cover Sound System
Wilder & Pryor
Saturday, April 2nd – Sunday, April 3rd, 2022
Stuart Park, Wollongong, NSW
More Info: Yours & Owls