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Interview: Fat White Family

Interview: Fat White Family

Thursday 21st July, 2016 12:20PM

South London squat-dwellers Fat White Family will be in New Zealand next week for their first ever shows on these shores. As has been pointed out by many a music journalist, the five-piece group seem to constantly teeter on the edge of break-up - at each other's throats one second and then best buds the next. But this tumultuous camaraderie is what enables the group to make music that is incredibly infectious - if not stylistically difficult to pin down - and then go out and deliver the type of live shows that've been called "untouchable" by The Guardian.

Ahead of their trip downunder we managed to snag some time with (the possibly drunk) organist Nathan Saoudi, to have a chat about band dynamics...

UTR: Hey there!

NS: Hello!

How are you doing?

I'm doing good! How are you?!

I'm alright. A bit hungover to be honest.

Oh, well then why don't you have a drink, eh?

Ha it's 10 'o clock in the morning here. Where are you at the moment?

I'm in Paris trying to get a drink. Where are you?

Auckland, New Zealand.

You're in New Zealand?? At what time?? 10 'o clock in the morning? 10 'o clock is the right time to get a drink, isn't it?

Hahaha maybe. You're coming here soon...!

Yeah we are, it's going to be very interesting going upside down. I just hope I don't get by a spider or a fucking snake.

Nah not in New Zealand. Maybe in Australia...

You promise?

I promise.

Alright, you've promised me. I don't know what your face looks like but if your wrong I'm going to hunt you down and fucking kill you. If I survive it anyway.

Ha, I promise mate. So you don't know much about New Zealand then?

Ah they have a very good rugby team, ahhh they're a bit more peaceful than Australia. And Lord Of The Rings was shot over there. And that's all I know. And the capital is Wellington, isn't it?

Yeah right on. Are you a rugby fan?

No. I fucking hate rugby. It's posh toss. I can't stand it. It should be illegal, mate.

Ahh, we are really looking forward to your show down here, it's going to be fun. I've watched some videos of you guys performing live and it looks like a pretty cathartic experience...

Yeah, well after all the bullshit you have to have one thing to give you a bit of release, so you're right in saying that. A lot of other people in the band feel the same. Normally we don't really talk to each other for awhile, and then after the gig it's all good, we're all best friends again, you know.

What do you mean, all the bullshit?

All the bullshit. Being in a little metal box for like eight hours and the atmosphere is just fucking deathly. That bullshit. Ah, arguments for no reason. That bullshit. Ah, and having a terrible driver who won't let you listen to music. That's bullshit too. There's a lot of bullshit mate.

So it really is like a family?

Yeah, a really shitty family. Hahahaha. But we ALL LOVE EACH OTHER SO IT'S GREAT.

So, I've been asked by two people in the last 24 hours to describe what Fat White Family's music sounds like, and I really struggle. How do you answer that question?

It sounds like if the Jihad were making jazz. Jihadi jazz.

I've really been enjoying the new album Songs For Our Mothers. I've had it on repeat the last couple of weeks...

You're lying. That's just what people say. No one listens to music on repeat. Don't lie to me like that.

No, well... I have been!! I'll be honest though, I didn't buy the album, I've been listening to it on YouTube.

Ah, you fucking cheap bitch you.


Go and buy it. I'm over here trying to lick the fucking walls to get some nutrients. Oh c'mon.

I love the song 'Hits Hits Hits'. It's my favourite. Can you tell me a little bit about it, coz it's about Sonny and Cher, no wait... Ike and Tina, right??

Sonny and Cher, hahahaha. Well, my brother [vocalist Lias Saoudi] wrote it, and it's about Ike and Tina. And I think he was trying to write about his relationship with Saul [Adamczewski, guitar] - he's a crazy motherfucker. And he was just trying to place himself in the position of Tina, and Saul as Ike. I guess it's just their metaphor. It's got to do with, I dunno, the violence and aggression of those two making music together. That's what it's about. People seem to like it.

Yeah, what's your favourite song on the album?

Ahhh, probably 'Tinfoil Death Star'. I like that's its got an MJ groove, ya know.

You play organ in the band, and I see on Facebook you've been trying to borrow organs while on tour. What's going on there?

Coz my organs aren't strong enough for my fingers. They're too weak. They should be made in Germany, but they're all made in Italy, and you know what the situation is down there.

No. Tell me.

Well, they just make things to break don't they. They make things to look good and to break. Yeah, my organs break. I smash them.

Oh. Have you ever seen The Mummies live?

Yeah. They've got an organ that doesn't break. I want to know what that is.

It's a Farfisa I think. The dude thrashes it on stage.

Yeah, I hit mine more out of frustration, rather than theatrics. I think they move around and dance by it. I just hit it coz I don't know how to play it.

Yeah, the dude does handstands on it.

They do handstands on it?!? Oh man, I need to up my game.

Hahaha. I've read a few articles about you guys and a few of them talk about Fat White Family being "on the brink of breaking up". Is that how you feel, or is that just press speculation?

Ah, we are pretty... ahhh... what's the word. My mind's gone blank. We don't want to break up. You know it's just like when one chemical reacts with another one really violently. And, we have a volatile relationship with each other, so it seems like it could blow up, but it doesn't because whenever we are playing or making music or whatever, it's really good. The relationships can be a bit volatile, but we keep it together, I mean nothing lasts forever does it?

Do you get scrappy?

Yeah, a bit sometimes. I wish it was more peaceful, but I guess those relationships make the band what it is, in a way. Like you said earlier on, the cathartic release. That kind is a product of the relationships and the bullshit that I was talking about before. So there's an equilibrium.

Well, I'm glad to hear that. I'm looking forward to seeing you guys soon. Thanks for talking to me!

No, thanks for talking to me. Now go get yourself a drink, you've earned it babe.

Fat White Family are playing Friday 29th July at The Kings Arms in Auckland, and then Saturday 30th July at Bodega in Wellington. Head over here to buy tickets.


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