Uptempo melancholy

Chris Fairman lays down artistic sincerity with latest album #OAKLAND

A Mouseketeers shirt is only ironic if you wear it with a lack of enthusiasm.

A Mouseketeers shirt is only ironic if you wear it with a lack of enthusiasm.

Photo by lauran fayne thompson

Check out Christopher Fairman Monday, September 11 at Harlow’s. The #OAKLAND debut show will start at 7 p.m., costs $10, and is all ages. More information and Fairman’s music can be found at https://christopherfairman.bandcamp.com.

Dreamy guitar filters and painfully real lyrics mark Christopher Fairman’s new album #OAKLAND. It shows what he does best: soul searching lyrics and haunting melodies.

Fairman, 32, a native Sacramento resident, said he doesn’t have any specific expectations or agenda for his music—to him, the most important thing is creation.

“I kind of had an epiphany about two years ago about music,” Fairman said. “I’ve been doing it since I was 16 and always wanted to be some kind of rock star or whatever, but I really don’t care about that anymore. I’m just trying to make good art.”

Having worked with critically acclaimed artists like Chelsea Wolfe and recorded in a studio run by indie musician John Vanderslice, it appears Fairman’s rock star dreams were realized on a level that most only dream of—even if that’s not his goal anymore. His other goal, to make good art, is realized on #OAKLAND.

Recorded at Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone recording studio in San Francisco, #OAKLAND is a six-song atmospheric indie-dreamwave pop record—and it delivers. The songs and musical style resemble indie-outfits British Sea Power or O’Brother in their melancholy yet upbeat pace. He carries it all with solid songwriting chops.

Fairman’s sound on #OAKLAND seems perfected. Chalk it up to the studio or to his chemistry with bandmates Christopher Vogel (bass, synth and piano) and Andy Miller (guitar and drums). Fairman’s vocal and guitar work shine on #OAKLAND, blending layers of longing in his voice as it swims in a gentle stream of instrumentation.

Fairman explores themes of love and personal insecurity openly in his lyrics. For instance, on the fourth track “Walls,” he opines: “I hide behind these walls, / I don’t want you to see me fall, / and I fall down all the time.”

In his writing, Fairman said he tries to allow the creative spark to catch fire naturally.

“I learned a long time ago not to push myself too much, and to trust myself,” Fairman explained of his songwriting process. “It kind of comes in flows.”

Fairman creates art, whether it be music or painting, as the mood strikes him. His latest album’s title draws on Fairman’s sense of humor—and his love for the Bay Area.

“I just thought it was a funny, silly thing to have a hashtag in the album title. I’d never seen it before,” Fairman said, and added that the cover photo for the album drew inspiration from a ’90s hip-hop vibe.

Of all the songs on #OAKLAND, Fairman said that only the final track, “Stuck in The Middle,” was actually new.

“Most of the songs are older songs that I’ve maybe recorded before but didn’t like how they turned out,” Fairman explained. “I didn’t put them out for a reason, I guess. The last song was the only real new song, [and] I finished that song … on the way to the studio.”

After three days of recording at Tiny Telephone, #OAKLAND was the result.

Though the band’s plans for a tour are hampered by their other jobs—and the fact that all three members live in different cities around California—they aren’t stopping at the release show. Fairman and the band plan to make a music video for each song on #OAKLAND and are planning a one-off show in Los Angeles later in the year.