Interview: From Dramatic Moments to Memorable Sonics, Fake Dad Dish It All

Fake Dad © Austin Ciezcko
Fake Dad © Austin Ciezcko
Brooklyn alternative pop duo Fake Dad talk about their lighthearted, feel-good piece “So Dramatic!” that unleashes all the thrilling, theatrical vibes.
Stream: “So Dramatic!” – Fake Dad

What we were really doing ultimately was establishing a sonic language with each other and finding the common ground in our taste.

We all feel a little emotional and dramatic sometimes.

It is depicted in movies and TV shows showing certain characters heavily piling on the dramatics. In the 2017 Academy Award-winning film Lady Bird, the opening scene displays Lady Bird McPherson, so sick of arguing with her mom, literally jump out of the car resulting in a broken arm. Then there is Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen with Lindsay Lohan and the name says it all. Lohan’s character Lola is not allowed to go to a concert and therefore goes on a hunger strike. Looking at these fictional individuals, their actions can seem silly or over the top, but the mischievous side of us may also think it looks kind of fun. Infectious duo Fake Dad play to that part with “So Dramatic!” – the witty, effervescent single flaunts glittery synths and lush layered vocals to construct a captivating moody, passionate world.

Yerba Mala - Fake Dad
Yerba Mala – Fake Dad

The one-of-a-kind duo is comprised of couple Andrea de Varona and Josh Ford. Their electric chemistry is what makes the project’s music so in sync. Fearlessly fusing synth-pop and indie rock, the pair’s unique creative vision shines in each release. This latest track further pushes the innovation they are known for using a bold mix of English and Spanish.

The song is off of their brand new five-track EP Yerba Mala, which explores interpersonal relationship dynamics. That EP breaks genre barriers, exhibiting an intoxicating blend of pop, rock, synth and electronic. Atwood Magazine spoke with the tenacious twosome about “So Dramatic!,” the new EP, their rare musical style, and a lot more.

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:: connect with Fake Dad here ::
Stream: ‘Yerba Mala’ – Fake Dad


Yerba Mala - Fake Dad

Atwood Magazine: I love the name Fake Dad. How did you come up with that title for your project?

Josh Ford: It’s part of a running joke that we had when we first started to make music together. We would hear a random phrase and say, oh good band name. When Andrea won a songwriting competition at NYU, we had to actually put together a band. We looked through our list and that was one that stood out that we both liked. It was fun. It didn’t seem to mean anything specific. It was two words that I’ve never really seen put together in that way.

You both met at a college party in the East Village. What made you realize you have such a strong bond as a couple and also musically?

Josh Ford: We met there. It was at Andrea’s apartment warming party. Our mutual friend that I went to high school with and Andrea met in college had invited me. We really hit it off. We liked each other right away and started dating. At the time we both were pursuing music separately.

Andrea de Varona: One of the things we instantly clicked over was music. We both, early in college, were going to shows every night when we could in the city. Also we shared playlists with each other. What we were really doing ultimately was establishing a sonic language with each other and finding the common ground in our taste. We would show each other things and we really understood the vision.

Your music is so upbeat and playful with colorful synths and catchy hooks. How did your duo develop its style?

Josh Ford: I think that we both brought things that we loved from our musical endeavors prior to that into it. It’s funny, we weren’t actually sonically aligned at all when we met. There were things that we both loved to listen to, but what we wanted to make was very different. We learned to compromise and learned to appreciate the value of what the other wanted to make. Through doing that, I think we found something that was much cooler.

Andrea de Varona: I feel the same way. I felt ultimately more excited to be making what we discovered was our sound and is our sound now, than what I thought I wanted to make before.

Fake Dad © Austin Ciezcko
Fake Dad © Austin Ciezcko

You say your goal is to “create music that understands you.” Can you elaborate on this in more detail?

Andrea de Varona: When we were both growing up, the thing that was most moving about music and the thing that made both of us as little kids sit around hoping to one day make music was hearing a song that expressed an emotion that you felt like no one else felt. It conveyed a feeling you didn’t think you could ever explain to anyone. Here’s someone who’s made a song that either through the lyrics or through the sonic landscape, has just created something that makes you feel less alone in that feeling.

Josh Ford: It makes you realize it’s not so special and captures all the thoughts that, in your adolescent minds, feel so hinged.  You feel things so deeply as a kid and as a teen. We both like having that comfort it gave us.

Your latest single “So Dramatic!” is a spirited release for the drama queen within us all. Can you explain more about the track and its message?

Andrea de Varona: This one is really fun. It was honestly one of the quickest to write and record. It only took a day or two. It felt so effortless how it went down. “I’m so dramatic acting like I’m drowning on the Titanic.” I am a very dramatic person and one day Josh said that to me. It was just one of my highly dramatic moments. He said that exact thing.

The song is sung in not only English, but Spanish as well, which really gives the track that rich flavor. What made you decide to incorporate both languages?

Andrea de Varona: So we’ve been talking about it on and off for a while and we have tried it on stuff before. I grew up in Miami and my family and grandparents only spoke Spanish. Then moving to New York, it was a little bit disintegrated from my daily life compared to when I was talking to family. I feel moving to LA was different though because there’s definitely a Latin community in New York, but it’s not like in L A. Also, with my job working at a local café, a lot of my coworkers were Latin themselves. So I found myself switching more and speaking Spanish every day because I was in that mindset.

Josh Ford: I think it was more at the forefront. The reason we hadn’t done it before is because Andrea has always been very protective of her artistic voice. She’s been very protective of that side of herself and making sure that if she does it, she is doing it in a way that feels authentic to her. Somebody else might do it to get attention, but Andrea is doing it in a way that is still authentic to the unique style that she sings.

We all have our moments of laying on the theatrics. Can each of you tell me about a time in your life you maybe overreacted to something and were a bit too dramatic?

Josh Ford: I grew up in Connecticut. I’m a Jew and I grew up 40 minutes outside New York. So I was always within the Jewish New York area bagel bubble. Since we moved to Los Angeles, bagels aren’t great here. It’s a bummer. There’s a lot of Jewish people here so I was really shocked by that. I’ve been driving all over trying to find even a decent bagel and I get really up in arms about it. I can’t let it go and I’m really upset about it.

Andrea de Varona: We were about to play a show, the basement show in New York.  It was a very cool place, but it was also a weird set up. We were playing in very low ceilings. There was a seating area and there were speakers hanging. We were 20 minutes in and I stood up and hit my head on the speaker kind of hard. I am always really nervous before shows. I think I was more in shock of the loud sound than the feeling. Also I can tend to be a hypochondriac so I was worried it could be a concussion. I said, “I feel faint, I need to go to the emergency room.” Friends who had come to the show, hadn’t seen that side of me.

Josh Ford: They thought, “oh my God, she needs to go to the emergency room” and I was like, “no, she doesn’t.” We’re going to leave here, go to the supermarket and get a bottle of water. Then if she still feels like she needs to go to the emergency room, we will. I’ve been in enough of these situations with Andrea to know that if we just go get her some water and get out of this loud place, she’ll feel better and she did.

Fake Dad © Austin Ciezcko
Fake Dad © Austin Ciezcko

The piece is off of your upcoming album Yerba Mala that explores the intricacies of interpersonal relationships. What inspired this album concept?

Andrea de Varona: So the name itself, Yerba Mala is something that my mom always says and used to say to us both when we were in Brooklyn. Where we lived had this little outdoor garden space. She’s very much a plant lady. Whenever she’d come visit, she loved to help clean it up and give us notes on all the things we weren’t doing right for the garden. She’d always be pulling out weeds and other things that didn’t need to be there. She would say, “Oh this is all Yerba Mala” and Josh was just like, what is that?

Josh Ford: I thought it was the name of a kind of plant, but it means bad grass or bad plant. The direct translation would be like bad grass.

Andrea de Varona: It’s for weeds or anything that can ultimately prevent a plant or something that you’ve planted from growing fully or healthily. It can even end up killing it.

Josh Ford: Many of our past songs have been about the relationship with the self. These are more about a relationship with someone else or with a place, something like that. It focuses on how through growing and changing and trying to better yourself, those changes can challenge those relationships and sometimes it makes them stronger. It’s about how the relationship just needs to change and the difficulty of making sure if you value a relationship it grows with you. Sometimes though, it’s about outgrowing a relationship with something or someone, like Yerba Mala.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Andrea de Varona: I feel like for this project, it’s always changing. LCD sound system is a pretty consistent one. For the production side of things, it’s Gorillaz.

Josh Ford: Wet Leg. Also there’s new wave stuff such as Joy Division and The Cure.

Andrea de Varona: We are big Remi Wolf fans as well.

What’s next for Fake Dad?

Josh Ford: We are going to play some shows in the West Coast. Our goal is to play as many live shows as we can and tour. On the 24th we are playing the Moroccan Lounge. It’s an unofficial EP release show.

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Yerba Mala - Fake Dad

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