New York, just days after September 11, might seem an unlikely place to record a new album, but then Lausanne-based Favez are no strangers to the unexpected.
Their first album, "A Sad Ride on the Line Again," was recorded in a church, but even that experience left them totally unprepared for what they found when they arrived in the Big Apple.
"It's hard to describe New York after September 11," remembers lead singer Christian Wicky.
"Everybody was really depressed, including John Agnello [the producer], who had to work like crazy to catch up on his schedule. The feeling of the recording was definitely not as much fun as the first one with Agnello."
The 11-day recording session came after a tour across Europe and Canada. As in the past, the band went for live recordings, as opposed to playing and recording separately.
Entitled "From Lausanne, Switzerland", the album is laden with a heavy sound that Wicky jokingly describes as "a punk band doing old Seventies hard rock songs, but with a wimpy pop singer!"
"We did hundreds of gigs and felt like we were a much tougher and heavier band," he says. "We were actually trying to sound like Led Zeppelin, so I guess we sort of failed at that!"
Treading a steady path
The new album follows the same steady path Favez have been treading since the end of the 90s, when they published their first acoustic record, "A Sad Ride on the Line Again". That album featured slow, lulling rhythms.
It was followed in 2000 by "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines", which concentrated predominantly on melodies, but with a heavier sound.
Both this and the last album were produced in New York by Agnello, who has worked with many artists whom Favez admire.
Agnello started out as an assistant on big albums such as Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA". He then focused on his own productions with Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Alice Cooper and Mick Jagger.
However, he also worked with smaller bands such as Dinosaur Jr. and The Appleseed Cast.
And there was Favez
Favez started out in 1990 as a cover band set up by a few school friends. At the time, they were fans of The Clash, New Model Army, the Sex Pistols and the Pixies. Between 1993 and 1997, the band recorded three albums.
Their first break came in 1997, when Favez cut two record deals: one with the German label Stickman, and the other with Doghouse in the United States. Three more albums then followed, two of which were produced by Agnello.
The band is hoping to tour in Japan, now that a deal has been cut with a local distributor.
by Jeff Nottage