Late Night Hype - Farandicus


We caught up with drummer Ben Michelsen for a quick Q & A

Farandicus is a unique name, how did you guys come up with it? Farandicus was actually the working name for the project back when it was just Rhys Farrand, Matt Shepherd and I. By the time we'd added Andrew Easterbrook, we were using the name all the time - it was just a play on Rhys's last name, but we were using it so often we just stuck with it...

You recently released two tracks; Blue Funk and What to Give - what was the writing/recording process like for these songs? Blue funk started as a simple guitar riff that Rhys and Matt came up, which became the chorus chord progression. Nicola came in and added her part after joining the band. The main riff of What to Give was conceived during a jam at practice. Some of the music is based on an old demo of my Rhys's recorded in 2011. The lyrics were co written between Nicola and Rhys. The “what’s your name? what’s your number?” Lyrics were originally nonsense lyrics used to convey a melody idea, but they stuck and became the premise of the song. The recording process was mostly undertaken at The Old Library in Whangarei, with recording engineering by Rhys and Matt. We tracked guides beforehand, then we used those guides to record the drums at The Old Library. The other parts were retracked afterwards, and were re-amped in The Old Library as needed, to match the room sound of the drum tracks. Mixing was done by Rhys at his studio, The Percy St Playhouse, and mastering was done by Bob Katz in USA.

Ben, you have a pretty rich background as a musician - can you tell us a little more about your experience in the industry? I started playing at 10, and jammed a lot with Matt Shepherd in various bands while we were going to school in Whangarei, and afterwards while we worked at the local music shop in Kamo. After moving to Auckland, I played in several different bands, eventually joining an electro-pop band called Charlie Ash and playing all sorts of shows in NZ and overseas. After that I did several years playing with Auckland rockabilly band The Broadsides, who, along with Bernie Griffen were running the Gunslinger's ball, a live band showcase that eventually toured NZ. After moving back to Whangarei, Matt and I got together and formed punk band Wavepig with Manuel Springford, joined with the Rhys to start Farandicus, and also joined with Moondog as the blues trio Moondog's Blues, and have been playing regularly in those bands for the last 4-5 years.

Finally, we wanted to know five of his favourites:

  • Favourite spot in Whangarei: Pataua North, or Whau Valley Dam for old time's sake.
  • Favourite food: Spicy Thai stir fry.
  • Favourite TV show: The Wire.
  • Favourite song of all time: This tends to change constantly.
  • Favourite season: Winter - lots of surf, no crowds, gigs are still busy.