By: Mary Klein
*The following is a transcription of an interview recorded at Bearcast Media’s Fall Fest (10.09.21). Due to audio issues, some minor words and banter have been omitted so as to not misinterpret the interviewees’ replies.
I: So, all right. I’m here with Fat Sal. I guess my first question is where does that band name come from?
Liam: I had a dream where I moved into a house with a bunch of my friends and our first piece of mail came down the chimney, and this was right after I turned 21, so it was like my new ID in this letter. And the name on it was just Fat Sal.
Eric: Did it have your picture on it?
Liam: Yeah, it was like a real ID only the name said Fat Sal.
I: That’s you in a past life. All right; as a band, you guys are relatively new to the scene. How did you guys start making music together?
Liam: Well, I started recording it as like a solo project over the pandemic, and I released the first thing, like, December; there still wasn’t shows happening. So once March came around and things started to ease up, like restrictions eased up, I started trying to get a band together. And I just knew these guys, knew they were good, and we just put it all together. Started practicing around like April or something
Hunter: Pretty, pretty quickly; like two practices.
Liam: [We] just showed up and I said, “play this” and they did: It sounded great.
I: So it started as a solo thing, so when it comes to writing lyrics, who takes most of the [prominence] in that, or do you all kind of split that up?
Liam: I do all of it.
I: And I was listening to some of your stuff, and a lot of the lyrics feel very personal. Are there any songs that are hard for you to perform, or is it more a feeling of catharsis?
Liam: It’s cathartic. There are some that, like, I don’t realize how much they hit me until later, you know, like I’ll be on stage and be like, “oh, that was kind of sad, I didn’t realize that when I was recording” and I mean, some of [the songs] at different times will be sad to me, because they will come back to relating to something that just happened, even though I wrote and recorded it six months ago.
I: Switching gears a little, I saw you guys at Bellevue a while ago. It was really incredible. Which brings me to my next question: What is your favorite place in Cincinnati to perform at?
Liam: Any house.
Chris: House shows.
I: I love house shows! I was at one last night in, like, someone’s cellar and I’m from Nowhere, Ohio: There’s no house shows. So whenever I’m at a house show I’m like, “oh, this is the coolest thing that’s ever happened.” I’m glad that you guys also feel that way. Tonight you’re performing at UC, and [Hunter], you already went on, but do you guys ever still get nervous before going on?
Liam: Yeah, every time, half the time I’ll throw up before I play.
Chris: Same here.
Eric: I do not throw up, but I do get nervous. You gotta harness those nerves.
I: What do you listen to to hype yourself up before performing?
Eric: My rock playlist on Spotify.
Chris: My “loud songs to blare with the windows down;” that’s a good one.
I: And then what are you currently listening to? Any favorite albums, artists songs?
Liam: Um, not really. I’m usually listening to just my liked songs playlist on Spotify, and so it’s like the same 10 songs for weeks at a time.
Eric: Hiatus Kaiyote, they came out with a new album, Mood Valiant. That’s one to check out.
Hunter: I’m a bass guy, I’m just always listening to Jaco Pastorius, man.
Chris: Yeah, I’ve been big on the new Snail Mail song that just came out.
I: Ohh, I have not listened to Snail Mail, but I need to get on that because that’s definitely the type of [stuff] I would like. Back to your own music, what’s coming up for the band in the future? I know you have a lot of singles out. Do you have any plans for an EP or an album?
Liam: I don’t really know. I’m not very consistent with how fast I write things. I wrote, like, four songs in January that I put out throughout the year, up until now. And then I haven’t written anything except for one song that I liked a lot. It just came out in September. And we’ve got a couple songs that I revived from demos that were like a year or two old that we’re going to get down solid. And then after that, it’s just kind of up to me to write some stuff, get it down, but I don’t know how fast, so it might come out as singles if it’s too slow, or I might put it all into one thing.
I: This is a question for every member individually: What’s your favorite piece of gear to use? Instruments, pedals, any of that stuff.
Hunter: Well, I would say that my favorite is… I really like Rickenbacker basses. I don’t have one, but that’s what I’m aspiring to.
Chris: I’ve, uh, I’ve always played mostly fender stuff, but I’ve had my eyes on some new equipment that I want to get in the future, cause I’m kinda getting a little tired of my stuff. I was also looking at this Orange Amp for guitar, and then there’s this Reverend guitar that I’m looking at.
Liam: I finally brought out my nice guitar today, and it’s my favorite thing to use but I don’t take it out to house shows and stuff, just because it costs more than my car, so I don’t want to, like, bring it out. It just means my car is cheap, but I finally brought it out tonight. It’s like a 70’s Martin, and I love to get to use it, but I’m really cautious with it so it has to be the right time and place to do it.
Eric: I guess…Liam’s snare, I’ve been using his snare and it’s super phat, also my ride cymbal: It’s a beautiful 21 inch, hand hammered 20 series ride. It’s beautiful.
I: Once again, not sure how good the sound quality is right now, but this is something I just genuinely want to know, and the final question: What’s everyone’s desert island band or artist? Like you’re stuck on an island, and you can only listen to their discography.
Eric: I would say the Beatles.
I: Solid choice.
Hunter: I would literally say that as well.
Liam: There’s just so much, and there’s a bunch of variety.
I: Then when you’re trapped on the desert island, it’s like, this is, this is a seminal piece of the culture.
Hunter: The Beatles are where it all comes from.
I: Do you all agree on The Beatles for desert island [band]?
Chris: I was gonna say Pearl Jam, but they bring up a good point!
Watch Fat Sal’s Queen City Session here.