Jane Grammer chats to KU creative writing student Sam Monaghan and his band Faro about lighthouses, bath tubs on wheels and their first EP to be recorded with star producer James Flannigan.

KU student records EP with Snow Patrol producer

In Surbiton, the sound of rain pattering against the window mingles with the chuckles of laughter from vocalist Laura Hayden, bass player Josh Rumble, guitarist and Kingston student Sam Monaghan, who form the band Faro.

Although drummer Sam Greenland, could not attend this little tea party in Monaghan’s kitchen, nothing could stop Faro from chatting excitedly about their upcoming EP, due to be released before Christmas.

Watching them laugh and answering each others sentences, it is hard to believe that a band so in sync with each other only united nine months ago. What is even harder to believe is that the group will be producing their first EP with James Flannigan, one of the big names in the music industry.

While he may not be a familiar name to most, he has an impressive portfolio having worked with some of the biggest record selling artists including Snow Patrol, Lucy Spraggan and Example. Hayden has known the producer for over a year having worked with him while in his previous band, The Proxies

Making music for music

What is so novel about a budding band like Faro, is their humble nature and fervent passion to make music and just enjoy the moment. Unlike many fledgling groups whose dreams of fame fuel their musical ambitions, Faro are not in it for that million dollar record deal, flashing cameras or to see their faces on the covers of magazines. They make music that they love for themselves. They fill a gap in the music scene that left, undiscovered, a genre of music they want to listen to, which Hayden hopes they will still be proud to perform in 30 years.

“It’s definitely a self-made exploit and I think we have all wanted it to be like that from the start,” Rumble says. “It’s the obvious cliche that people don’t do music because they want to make money. They do music because they want to make music.”

Lighthouse Sessions

Faro’s music is also unique in that they aspire to differentiate themselves from those exploding onto the music scene with regurgitations of mainstream music in a fast-tracked attempt to make it to number one. Faro desire to take their music back to the 60s and 70s and create an organic, acoustic old school sound in stripped back environments that they call ‘Lighthouse sessions’. Which Monaghan says is a far cry away from the over produced tracks that are dominating the charts.

“It’s four people playing instruments as opposed to someone on a computer programming something. It’s easy to sort of hide bad lyrics or sort of bad chord sequence in a big arrangement with lots of instruments and stuff,” says Monaghan.

Rumble adds: “There’s such an insurgence of bands that have stuff that is over produced. But we kind of wanted to take the old school way of making records where you know everything is real and everything is how it should be. Go back to the records of the 60s and 70s where everything was to tape and everything was analogue and they didn’t have computers.”

Faro's lighthouse

The name Faro has also been inspired by the bands roots. Touching on Hayden’s Spanish background, Faro means lighthouse and was the result of three days of seclusion in Rumble’s studio writing and recording music. The name also acts as a metaphor for the band as Hayden and Rumble say the band, like a lighthouse, guides them through the musical path their lives have taken.

“I guess the formation of Faro as it is, kind of came out of a lot of weird and life changing situations where there had been stuff which hadn’t necessarily been great, that came to an end, and then Faro. The fact is, it kind of is our lighthouse, it was kind of like that new start, like coming in from rough seas and it kind of signifies a lot of us,” says Rumble.

So how would Faro describe their band? Simply put in four words: This. Is. Our. Band. And it certainly encapsulates the concept of the band. It is theirs, to make music, just for them.

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