Fauvely – In Their Own Words

Fauvely (pronounced faux-vlee if you were wondering) started back in 2016, as the project of principle songwriter, Sophie Brochu. Now splitting their time between Chicago and Sophie’s hometown of Savannah, Georgia, the band have been through various guises before settling into the current four-piece line-up, which Sophie has suggested is more like a family than a band. The band recently shared their debut album, Beautiful Places.

From the moment it arrives, on the beautifully understated instrumental, Welcome, Beautiful Places is a deeply atmospheric piece. There’s nothing minimal about the way this album has been recorded, the guitars are moody and intense, the vocals rich and expressive, and the drums, even in the gentler sections, are pounded with a real potency. It’s not that it is a loud or brash record, it just comes across as an album with a sense of purpose. In the same way the Fauvist art movement, from which the band’s name is taken, eschewed realism for bold colours and wild brush strokes, so too does Fauvely’s music; layering collages of sound to create drama and a distinct contrast between the light and the dark, as Sophie sings on May3e, “there’s always a light, there’s always the dark. There’s always a road, it’s only my heart”.

Discussing the influence behind the record, Sophie has spoken of it being inspired by, “the moments in which I’ve found myself holding my breath”, and throughout the record there’s a sense of those big moments, the stick or twist, the fight or the flight, the should I stay or should I go. A fact particularly present on the surprisingly light title track, Beautiful Places, which adds a certain country-twang to a tale of a someone you love, who seemingly can’t love themselves, “you can’t run away, demons like beautiful places”. Elsewhere, propelled by the fabulous interplay of bass and guitar, Always tells a tale of dreaming of escape and falling back into old habits, “I’ve been thinking, talking of leaving, and I’ve been losing, dreaming of quitting”.

Beautiful Places is undeniably a record about the dark times, an undercurrent of abuse and control is writ large across the scenes that are presented to the listener, yet within that is a certain amount of hope, a feeling that despite the troubles, Sophie is glad to be here telling us her story. This is present in Haunts Me, when she matter-of-factly sings, “I cannot believe that I am alive”, and even more so in the record’s one moment of real release, the joyous, In The Dark, “Spring is almost over, the Summer’s comin’ the days are getting long. We waited all winter for the time to be right just to bring you along”. Ultimately, Beautiful Places is a very human record, one littered with moments of pain, moments of struggle and moments of joy. It isn’t here to offer any grand conclusion, because life, as it tends to, doesn’t reach any neat moment of resolution, it keeps on going, messy, difficult and in its own way, rather glorious.

Today the band are sharing behind the scenes footage of their album recording process, which you can check out below, alongside my interview with Sophie, which is accompanied by a series of photos detailing the past, present and incredibly bright future of Fauvely.

Photo by Aaron Ehinger
Photo by Robin Elise Maaya

FTR: For those who don’t know who is Fauvely?

Fauvely is a project I started at end of 2016. The name comes from the word ‘fauve’ meaning ‘wild beast.’ It’s evolved over the years, but the band is currently comprised of Dale Price, Dave Piscotti, and Phil Conklin. Other instrumental members have been Scott Cortez who encouraged me to start writing my own songs when I was playing in Astrobrite; Mike Altergott, who plays synth/keys; and Chace Wall, who co-produced our 2019 EP, This is What the Living Do, and our latest release, Beautiful Places.

[Myself, Dale, and Chace, June 2019.]
[Myself, Dale, and Chace, June 2019.]

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

The intimacy. The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop, but in the best way. It was just myself and Scott Cortez playing as a duo at this DIY space in Chicago called DC Torium. My friend Melissa from Born Days helped me put these beautiful projections on the wall. I played six songs because that was all I had. I was just starting to write my own music. 

I have this to show from it: https://www.instagram.com/p/BL5dRTGBx72/

[My friend Briseis took this photo in the parking lot at work because I “needed” a photo to promote the show. Credit: Briseis Guthrie.]
[Scott and I playing in Astrobrite. Credit: Amelia Rose Baird.]

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

I love fiction writing and poetry, but with music, I’m able to express something that can’t be distilled into writing. For me, writing music is more spiritual, intuitive, and guided by the heart. I think the music was coming for so long within me, it was less of a decision and more of a compulsion. For a while, I was strictly focused on fiction writing and working toward my master’s and playing in other people’s bands, but my heart was aching to communicate my own songs. I say this laughing, but I have been yearning to play music ever since I quit jazz band in middle school. I just had to take a few detours and explore other outlets. I remind myself that we’re all on different trajectories.

[This is a photo of Videotape, a band led by AJ Cesena. We met on Craig’s List. It was my first time singing in a band. Annie McDuffie is on my right and Phil Conklin is back there playing bass. He later moved to Nashville then moved back to Chicago and joined Fauvely.]

FTR: What can people expect from the Fauvely live show?

True emotion and compatibility. The band is made up of my best friends. There’s a lot of love and respect. The songs are deeply personal and heartfelt. Sometimes I wish I could be more of a nuanced singer, but I feel these songs in my throat. I sing about things that are difficult to talk about. Sometimes it’s rough and imperfect. You can expect a lot of vulnerability, trying new things, and continuous evolution.

[Practicing for our Audiotree session, March 2021. First time playing together in five months.]

FTR: What’s next for Fauvely?

We’re working on some music videos that I am so excited about. My friend Simon Davies of ilixr Creative is filming something for us in May. I’m also genuinely excited to work on new music. Writing is my favorite part of the process. Even though I love connecting with an audience, releasing music has quite honestly taken a toll on me. I get very anxious worrying about what others think and then obsessing with how I might have recorded things differently. I’m really looking forward to looking inward and creating with the band. I don’t know what’s next exactly, but I know what we can control: writing, practicing, demoing, and continuing to work hard on what we love. Oh, and we’re playing an outdoor, limited-capacity show in Savannah (where I’m currently living) on May 15th with Nordista Freeze and Reverend Bro Diddley and The Hips. We will all be vaccinated and we will be celebrating.

[Mostly what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis.]

Beautiful Places is out now. For more information on Fauvely visit https://www.fauvelymusic.com.

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