Local Tunes: The Faux Cults – More than just shameless rock


The living room of the big house on Dalhousie St. has been taken over by a huge amount of amps, mic stands and pedals. It’s been like this more or less since last summer, when the Faux Cults started playing together.

Luca has, in the opinion of someone who knows nothing about guitars, too many darn pedals. It’s been a feature of his life for as long as I’ve known him, and the fuzzy, distorted rock he plays with the Faux Cults is probably only fuelling it.

This three piece band, while being “shameless rock”, clearly takes inspiration from garage rock, surf rock, and early Velvet Underground. Luca Mo, Riley, and Will took some time before their Saturday show to chat with me in Luca’s living room.

Fun fact: The spacious student house on Dalhousie St. was the location of their very first show. I remember being there like it was yesterday, assuming my memory of yesterday is not very good. It was a summer night and the MIGHTY Weed and Cobras had drawn a lot of people out. Everything was getting a little … sweaty. Especially since the house had to be as sound-tight as possible to avoid getting a noise complaint.

I don’t like house parties but I was pretty excited to hear them for the first time, mostly because I like rock music and really very little else. The set list included Radio Mama as well as the now re-named/defunct Mighty Weed and Cobras.

Another Fun Fact: It was at a Mighty Weed and Cobras show where Luca and Riley came to the agreement that Luca should be in a band. Though at the time, Riley didn’t “plan on being in said band, persay”. However, Riley also began drumming since there aren’t a ton of drummers in this town, and they’ll always be in demand. This must be true, because I think I could run an article series on all the other bands and side projects he has.

One thing I’ve always liked about the Faux Cults (aside from the homage to Foucault) is that while they are a fun band to see, they don’t go over the line into “derpy” party band turf. Luca stated that they mostly do music that’s fun for them to play, but they try to avoid sounding too much like Radio Raaaawk.

I asked the guys if this was a challenge; how do you balance having fun as a band, with the high student population, with the expectations for… drinking songs? You’ll probably want to keep the energy up at a rock show, and Luca puts it succinctly:

“If you don’t play jolly music, no one will wanna listen to you.” As a lover of all things sad, I disagree. But I also understand what he means.

This is a band that loves playing music, has fun, goes out on the weekends ,but doesn’t want to be puking into a box outside the Whistle Stop, to compare music to students. The band has played many shows with both the Lonely Parade and the Mighty Weed and Cobras, neither of which are really Trent bands, and attract a mix of youths, students and locals.

Speaking to the split between the Trent and downtown music scenes, the band doesn’t really consider themselves a Trent band.

“We’re not kids, we’re adults.” Riley explained, sheepishly.

“That’s gross.” Luca quipped.

Aside from the garage rock inspiration, the Faux Cults have a couple little quirks that set them apart from other bands playing three piece rock.

First of all, Riley is a hard-hitting drummer, who stands out aesthetically from the other guys. He’s soft spoken for a punk drummer, and I was alarmed to hear pig squeals and other metal screams coming from him when I saw him perform in G.O.D. last year.

Luca tends to try to distort his voice with as much reverb as possible, and commonly complains that they need more. Always more reverb. While they don’t have a bass player, Luca’s guitar is run through a bass amp, effectively doubling it. Since Will wasn’t at the house yet, I sensed an opportunity to get the other guys to talk shit.

“Yeah, Will’s a more technical guitarist,” Riley commented.

“Whatever, that’s just ‘cause I’m too busy holding everything down!” Luca’s humour and above all, tone and choice of what to emphasize sadly gets lost on the page.

“He’s also just a better guitarist.” Riley added.

“…Yeah.” Luca admitted.

Though they may consider themselves, “shameless rock”, Will’s technical style of guitar playing, and Riley’s drums alter the sound a bit from what you’d expect.

Originally considering life as a two piece, Luca Mo and Will Dobbins first thought of jamming together after a conversation at The Only. The conversation started when Will overheard Luca proclaiming that Ty Segall was the best. I’m not sure if I was there, or if this is just something Luca proclaims a lot.

Whether or not you think rock is dead (Ahem, Luca), like “party raaawk”, or just want something to do, I think everyone’s been in a situation like the one described in the band’s typical show closing song.

This is the party from hell.

Check ‘em out at thefauxcults.bandcamp.com and check out the Spill and the Garnet for upcoming shows.