Any true music fan is familiar with the concept of “fangirling.” Whether you were a teeny bopper who lost their shit over Harry Styles and the boys back in the day, or even someone like me – who almost passed out with enthusiasm when he was directly acknowledged by his personal hero Noel Gallagher from the front row of his Bluesfest set in 2016 – we can all relate. Some artists are just so important to us that it’s completely understandable to transform into a 12-year-old and squeal at the top of your lungs at the mention of their name.
One band worthy of this transformation is the ever so appropriately named Fan Girl. Guitarist Vincent McIntyre took the time to speak with me.
“We had the record done – mixed and mastered – a full live band ready to go and we had a gig booked but we still didn’t have a name. We’d been thinking about it for like 9 months… We were throwing around names every day. Then we just got into little cycles talking about our favourite songs… Radiohead named themselves after a Talking Heads song so we thought maybe we could name ourselves after our favourite song… Then Jack said ‘maybe we should stop fangirling over our favourite bands…’ Then we all just kind of thought, ‘Fan Girl – that’s interesting.’
The rest is history. With such a great band name I couldn’t help but ask what artists it was that made McIntyre fangirl himself.
“I grew up on The Beatles… But then, contemporary artists – we’re all big fans of Radiohead.”
On whether he would describe himself as a fangirl in situations that may warrant it, McIntyre expressed, “I’ve met some of my heroes over the years and it’s been amazing… We played with The Vines a year and a half ago and that first record [Highly Evolved] meant so much during my childhood. That was such a big record for me when I was younger… I’ve always managed to distance the love of the music from the fact that it’s just a person. But I’ve been around lots of people who get super weird around people they admire.”
I think we can all agree that no one wants to be that one creepy fan that forever traumatises an artist that they admire through our obsessive behaviour. On whether McIntyre has ever been on the receiving end of this, he explained with nothing but admiration for his fans, “It’s amazing when you encounter people that really like your band that have no personal connection with the band at all… A guy from Newcastle comes up to you at a gig in Sydney and says ‘hello’ and how much he likes the songs… that’s pretty trippy… We’ve had people talk about getting tattoos and stuff which is interesting. But I’ve advised them against that,” he joked. “I’ve had the odd person come up to me in public but our fans are really civil which is really good.”
Next, I couldn’t help but reference the band’s most recent music video for the song, Small Town. Featured in this video is a hero of mine and someone who I would almost certainly fangirl over if given the opportunity – Melbourne comedian Broden Kelly of sketch comedy group, Aunty Donna.
“We had this idea for the music video which was sort of a slapstick/Monty Python video. We had a lot of ideas about what we would do with it and who we would get to do it. We came to the conclusion that it had to be someone that was going to be good at that… Not just a friend of ours that we thought was funny, because that doesn’t translate a lot of the time… Broden was the first person we thought of. We had a connection with Broden because we’re good friends with his brother… We proposed the idea and he was very open to it… He was so lovely and just made the video so much better.”
“We’ve been releasing all of these outtakes from the video and they’re really funny. There’s some stuff that we can’t release because it’s just not suitable,” McIntyre laughed. “That was the funniest video I’ve ever made in my life. It was so much fun and nothing will ever beat that.”
Fan Girl themed questions aside (finally) it was time to talk to the Melbournian guitarist about the ongoing rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne and how the two cities compared in the context of live music.
“Sydney’s been really kind to us… We always get a really warm reception when we go up there and we’ve got a lot of friends and lots of lovely fans that keep in touch with the band… Melbourne has a thriving music scene and you guys – against all odds – have still managed to have one. But it’s just not the same in size as Melbourne’s.”
This is the unfortunate reality of Sydney’s live music scene. Sydney’s lockout laws have had a disastrous impact on the city’s once-thriving nightlife. However, McIntyre expressed one way in which Sydney is ahead of the curve, beating out even his hometown.
“It’s way cheaper to eat breakfast in Sydney. We keep going to this really nice place for breakfast in Redfern every time we go up and it’s genuinely $10 cheaper to sit down and eat a delicious meal.”
When given the choice between a thriving music scene and a quality cheap breakfast, McIntyre decided, “I’d choose a cheap breakfast… If we’re rocking up at 10pm to play and then we’re on the road the next morning I’m not gonna have time to see any live music. But I am going to eat breakfast.”
Any rock’n’roll fan in their 20’s probably feels a sense of nostalgia for a certain 2003 film starring Jack Black, titled School of Rock. I for one found my music tastes forever solidified as a result of this film and have never looked back. Fan Girl obviously share a similar affection for the film, resulting in their decision to cover the film’s titular song. McIntyre explained the reasoning behind this.
“We’re all big School of Rock fans – everyone in the band. We all agreed that we could all sit down and watch that movie and all quote it word for word. Then I made the drastic call – that I could totally back up – and say that ‘I reckon I can quote the commentary that came on the DVD…’ I’ve watched that film so many times it’s disgusting.”
“Coming from a musical family, it solidified the fact that music’s cool. It’s not just a dorky thing my dad does. It’s actually this really cool thing and I’d just never heard anyone cover that song… it’s hilarious. It’ll be great… Sure enough, we had a benefit concert that we did a year and a bit ago and it went down so well. It was so much fun.”
Be sure to catch Fan Girl at their upcoming shows. You will not be disappointed!
21 April, Workers Club, Melbourne
4 May, Botany View Hotel, Sydney