Interview: Faye Webster
Faye Webster is barely old enough to legally purchase alcohol, but the Atlanta native has already photographed such stars as Killer Mike and Lil Yachty, and recorded three critically-acclaimed albums. Her most recent release, Atlanta Millionaires Club, features an appealing mix of classic country music traditions alongside laid-back, modern indie rock sensibilities, and silky vocals reminiscent of Natalie Prass.
Prior to returning to The Mothlight on Friday, June 28, for her first headlining show at the venue, Webster briefly spoke with Asheville Stages about baseball, turning iPhone demos into polished tracks, and her rap skills (or lack thereof).
Edwin Arnaudin: It’s nice to talk with a fellow Braves fan. I grew up in Western North Carolina and started following them as a kid in the early ‘90s — which was a good time for that.
Faye Webster: Yeah!
EA: Since you came around later, I’m curious about your earliest memories of Braves fandom.
FW: I remember I used to do that thing where you run the bases. [Laughs] All those things they offer to toddlers — but I don’t know. I don’t remember anything about them or the game or the players. I just remember being there.
EA: I’ve not been to the new stadium yet. Once I do go, are there places in the park where you recommend I sit?
FW: I really like sitting behind home plate.
EA: And do you feel like the signing of Dallas Keuchel is the tipping point in the team getting to the World Series?
FW: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah.
EA: Nice! Well, thanks for humoring me on that. On to your music — I feel like you have such a nice layered sound on Atlanta Millionaires Club, and that got me thinking about how these songs first started. Do you begin with demos?
FW: Yeah, I do. Just really shitty iPhone recordings in my kitchen. That’s what we listen to.
EA: Just you on guitar?
EA: And then while making the demos, are you jotting down notes of where you want to add in other instrumentation?
FW: Yeah, we kind of play it all together and whatever happens, I think, just happens.
EA: Specifically with the horns and strings on “Jonny” — are those your arrangements or do you collaborate with others to realize your vision?
FW: Yeah, we got Mackendrick [Bearden] in Athens. He wrote the strings for that song. But that was the only song that we had sheet music, which I think was kind of neat.
EA: I also respond positively to your use of pedal steel across the album. What made you want to incorporate this instrument?
FW: I don’t know. I think it was just what I listened to when I was around my parents growing up.
EA: Are there any particular songs or albums with pedal steel that inspired you to use it on your album?
FW: Yeah. Really anything from Asleep at the Wheel, I think, is a really big inspiration for me.
EA: And then you slide a little hip-hop in there as well at the end [with “Flowers”]. How did [Atlanta rapper] Father become part of this project?
FW: We made that song together kind of around the time when I was still on Awful Records. So, I don’t know. He gave that song to me and I think it was just a really nice homage to him and Awful and the years I spent with them. So, I don’t know. It’s very special to have him. Yeah.
EA: And are there other hip-hop connections through your photography or other networks that you’re looking to work with in the future?
FW: Yeah, I’m always very open to it and I love doing that. I don’t have any specific people in mind, but I also had no idea that “Flowers” was going to be on [Atlanta Millionaires Club], so I don’t know.
EA: Do you rap?
FW: Nooooo! [Laughs]
EA: [Laughs] Why not?
FW: I’m so bad.
EA: [Laughs] Fair enough. So, how big of a band are you bringing to Asheville?
FW: There’s five of us.
EA: And as the tour winds down, are there songs you’re particularly looking forward to playing each night?
FW: Yeah, we always play “Jonny” last. That’s one’s always really fun.
EA: Is that song especially challenging or rewarding to play? Or have you been getting an enthusiastic audience reactions from it?
FW: I don’t know. It’s just really fun. I don’t even play on that one, so I don’t know. It’s just a really nice switch up, I guess.
EA: You’ll be closing out your tour on Saturday with a hometown show at The Earl. Out of all the potential Atlanta venues, how did you pick it?
FW: I don’t know. I didn’t necessarily choose that one first, just because I like everybody being able to come. [Laughs] And, I don’t know. It’s in a great location. I’ve never heard of somebody not liking that venue and I think it just timed out well and, yeah.
EA: And lastly, I figure you’re mainly focused on music during this album cycle, but are you getting to do any photography work or planning for future projects while you’re on this tour?
FW: Yeah, no, I don’t really get to do that. I carry around a little point-and-shoot which I use a lot, which is nice. But I take portraits — I don’t really have time for that.
EA: Do you think you’ll lean into that more when the tour is over this weekend?
FW: Yeah, I hope so.
IF YOU GO
Who: Faye Webster with Jenny O.
When: Friday, June 28, 9 p.m.
Where: The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road, themothlight.com
Tickets: $10 advance/$12 day of show
(Photo by Eat Humans)