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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Farchild
Monday, December 29, 2008

Influenced by everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Lauryn Hill, Farchild is an artist who defies categorization. Her debut album, Chivalry Has Died, is a testament to what can happen when a person refuses to allow themselves to be boxed in by genre specifications. According to Farchild, “I’d be as happy as a clam if someone popped my CD into a player and said, ‘wow, this is absolute madness, a Farchild kind of madness!’” The former University of Florida volleyball star was getting ready to fly to Puerto Rico to compete in a pro league this winter when I caught up with her to find out more about her music, the life story that inspired it, and why she hid her work from her friends for so long.

Adam Bernard: Start me out with some basic background info. Who is Farchild and how did she become the woman she is today?
Farchild: I’ve always been kind of weird when it comes to telling my “life’s story.” I sometimes felt out of place growing up or even shunned for exhibiting a sense of individuality and challenging what was “established.” Overcoming some racial and gender-based prejudice was a bit of an issue, as well. I was also a goofball and had a really mischievous sense of humor. I am, and will always be, a big undercover douche. No one on MySpace believes me when I say that, but it’s the truth. I actually bumped into a fan at a restaurant who recognized me off MySpace and told me that I wasn’t nearly as big of a nerd as I thought I was. To him, I would now say “have you seen me Harlem Shake yet?” And so, if I had to answer who Farchild is I’d say that she’s a sum total of my parts - part impish child, part idealist, part delicate flower, as someone close to me terms it, and part brooding musical activist/healer. {laughs} She’s whatever I want her to be, and sometimes, she's merely an excuse to act like I’m four.

Adam Bernard: Your work almost defies description, which is why I'm now going to ask you to describe your work. Yes, I know I'm evil. If possible, break down what a person is in store for when they take a listen to your music.
Farchild: You, villain! I guess it depends on the song. My songs seem to either enchant people or terrify them. They should expect a rollercoaster of contrasting sounds and emotions; strange and different, but oddly catchy. Aside from needing an outlet, I started producing because I wanted to hear something different. Hopefully, that’s what my listeners are seeking, as well. I’ll sometimes refer to my music as “playfully sinister synth rock” or as “Alterna-Electro-Industro-Rock-Hop for the jaded.” One of the reasons I began using the moniker Farchild stems from the fact that you can’t necessarily decipher what kind music a Farchild might sing. It leaves some doors open and room to be experimental. Lyrically I tend to be very honest about my experiences and my views on society. My initial experiences sharing my music in a public forum were a bit awkward because I felt so damn vulnerable, like I was handing out copies of my diary at the mall. Someone in Ireland described my music as “Evil… in a good way,” which might have been the best thing I’ve ever heard.

Adam Bernard: How do you feel your music has evolved over the years?
Farchild: It’s definitely gotten more electronic and quite a bit more {lowers voice an octave} minor. Lyrically speaking, the songs I’ve written have always been intense and reflective, but the music portion has gotten steadily darker. I’m just letting my inner vampire out, really. I started writing and producing in my dorm at college and was limited to an acoustic guitar, a small electronic keyboard, and some basic recording software that I ran off my trusty laptop. I took classical piano lessons as a child which gave me the foundation to pick up the guitar at age 19. Between college volleyball practice and needing to blow off much-needed steam I started out writing little folk-rock-pop inspired ditties on my guitar and eventually melded those with electronic synth and programmed beats from the keyboard. Having limited equipment is actually what helped me develop my sound. Ironically, I never actually planned for any of my music to go public, or to do the whole professional musician thing. In fact, I hid my hobby from my friends and teammates, refusing to share it with anyone. By accident I left a CD of mine out once and it was quickly discovered by my college roommate. She was excited and thought it was awesome, but I was embarrassed as all hell. I was a competitive athlete in the public eye at a very sports-oriented D1 university (University of Florida) and there I was, curled up in my room, penning these emo lyrics about the decay of modern society while banging out power chords. {laughs} The two images don’t necessarily fit together… or maybe they do, depending on who you talk to. After college, I went to train with the USA National Volleyball Team and continued to produce music on location at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Eventually, my mom stole one of my rough CDs and gave it to a friend in the industry. To make a really long story short, one thing led to another and it just sort of happened.

Adam Bernard: What have you found to be some of the pros of defying categorization?
Farchild: One of the definite pros of being experimental is the attainability of pure, unadulterated, creative freedom. I have a myriad of different musical influences, ranging from Michael Jackson to Pantera. I don’t have to stay loyal to just Rock, or Hip-Hop, or Industrial, or Folk. I can dabble in all four and more. Much of the popular music out there right now is a formulaic, money-making farce. There’s a serious draught in the mainstream music industry where originality is concerned and we live in a culture that celebrates and rewards artistic mediocrity. Yes, it’s much more difficult to stand alone and do something that goes against the decided grain, but I can also stand in front of a mirror everyday without wanting to punch myself in the face. Why anyone would want to jump on the Paris Hilton bandwagon is beyond me.

Adam Bernard:
Are there any cons of defying categorization?
Farchild: One of the cons of defying categorization is that it makes it more difficult to market yourself. I’ve been advised to pick one genre and to stick to it as opposed to being a multi-genre artist. I’ve been offered spots in all-girl groups, I’ve fronted bands. I was signed with a label for seven months and was told I’d have more success if I did R&B or channeled Tracy Chapman. And, yes, I might have had more “success” entertaining offers that were more genre-specific and less hands-on musically, but as of right now I’m more concerned with the creative process and letting things happen naturally and worrying about who likes me later. I’d much rather fly under the radar working on my own for a while to gradually hone and develop my sound rather than having someone else’s crammed down my throat for the sake of notoriety. I started doing music because I wanted to create music that I liked and that’s how I intend to keep things.

Adam Bernard:
Finally, what aspect of yourself are you channeling through your music?
Farchild: The insatiable psychotic in me. Just like any prudent person does in a serious relationship, I’m doling out my crazy in small chunks.

Related Links

Website: farchildmusic.com
MySpace: myspace.com/farchild
YouTube: youtube.com/farchildmusic


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:39 AM  
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