Now nearly 20 years into their impressive career, Fake Shark has somewhat quietly become one of Canada’s premiere indie acts. Originally from Vancouver, the quintet has been up to quite a bit since the pandemic-related lockdowns started to ease, and they returned last month with a new single entitled “Bummer Summer.” The song was written from the point of view of a person who does well in hurting those around them but then acts with surprise when they find that no one really wants to associate with them. Burning bridges has its consequences, and “Bummer Summer” is an acknowledgement of those consequences.
“Bummer Summer” is the follow-up single to “Save Me,” which the band released towards the beginning of the year. It ended up being one of their most successful singles, reaching the #1 spot on the Breaking Alt Chart and hitting the Top 30 on the general Rock charts. This all comes after a 2022 which saw Fake Shark nominated for ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Rock/Alternative Group of the Year,’ and ‘Song of the Year’ at the 2022 Indie Awards. With these milestones and acknowledgements, it’s no wonder why this is a group that is now being included amongst Canada’s top indie acts.
To discuss the band’s music and some of their thoughts on touring and the music industry, we recently caught up with frontman Kevin “Kevvy Mental” Maher.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Kevin “Kevvy Mental” Maher: “I would change the way live music is supported in Vancouver. The nickname for our city is NOFUNCITY, and I think a big part of the reason is that there’s a disconnect from people putting on shows and patrons of the city feeling like they should support those artists. It’s also expensive to put on shows; it’s also expensive for people to rent rehearsal spaces. It’s also expensive to be friends with me because I enjoy fine dining. Hmm, maybe I should change that aspect of myself. Let’s all go to Arby’s. On me. No wait. Quizno’s. Let’s go find one.”
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
“I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with a lot of people I’m a big fan of, whether in studio, or on the road. Dave Grohl drummed on a song I wrote with Kat Von D for her last album, and I was playing in a band with Josh Freese for a minute, so I’m all set on drummers. Erykah Badu is my favourite singer, so I choose her. And… Thundercat on bass.”
Tell us about “Bummer Summer.” What was your experience writing and recording it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?
“For years, we were putting out one album per year, which is kind of insane. This record, I had some demos kicking around and decided to start from scratch with the band guys. The label was cool enough to rent us a mansion on the water for five days, and I threw all the songs I was working on out the window, and the first one we made was ‘Bummer Summer.’
“I like to tease myself about things, my anxiety and depression stuff, and I thought it’d be funny to do a song about it being beautiful out, sitting by the water with my friends and still in a bad mood. I was dealing with a really narcissistic person in the comedy world, and had been discussing that kind of manipulative person to a therapist, and so it had been on my mind, people who burn every bridge and still think they’re somehow a victim, so I decided to write from that perspective.”
What’s the best criticism you’ve ever received about your music or performance?
“Early on in my career, my old band was told every song sounded like a different band, and that wasn’t a compliment (laughs). We had a hard time landing a booking agent, even though we were touring UK and Asia, it was interesting. I like to think that now as a producer, and writer I’ve figured out how to keep songs fresh, not repetitive, but more cohesive.”
What’s your favourite city or venue to play in?
“This being a Canadian publication, I must say Halifax is the funnest city to play. People really love when bands come there, awesome bars (go to the Seahorse), and the other bands in town actually come to support.”
What was the highlight of your last tour?
“We just did a little jaunt with Royal Foundry and we hit it off big time. I even made friends with their parents. Huge Shark heads, those parents are now.
“The reason touring is awesome is the camaraderie, within your own band and the other bands you travel with. We love Royal Foundry, and wear their shirts, and I love their music. Great band.”
What’s the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows?
“I made a joke about Juggles and a handful of dudes up front lifted up their shirts and they had Insane Clown Posse tattoos. I quickly reassured them that I love ICP, and I’ve even interviewed them for ION Magazine, and I’ve seen them live about nine times. We all had a pint of Faygo after.”
Who are your biggest influences?
“It’s diverse and always changing. I’m in a Britpop zone right now, rediscovering Blur songs from 20 years ago that are so good. Oasis are the best interviews ever. I’m more inspired by a band’s interview than their music. Long live (Canadian celebrity journalist) Nardwuar.”