Only Regret The Summer was a local band who amassed quite a following in the San Fernando Valley and beyond – even self-releasing a dynamic EP entitled Vera. High school graduation brought changes within the lives of everyone in the band and performances have been few and far between. Not one to rest when inspiration was calling, Only Regret The Summer’s charismatic front man Fabi Behnam started up a new project enigmatically called Compare/Contrast. Placing a good deal of emotion and intrigue into the music and lyrics, Behnam is now in it for the long haul, ready to stake his own claim into the music revolution that Los Angeles is so famous for. An entire band has been formed, and Compare/Contrast is now ready to take on the world. Here is an interview we conducted with Mr. Behnam to find out more about his compelling new project. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Compare/Contrast.
Hi, I’m Fabi and I sing and play guitar in the band Compare/Contrast.
What is the name of the very first song you wrote, how old were you, and what was the song about?
I think the very first song I ever wrote completely was a song called Broken Stories and it was just a cheesy little acoustic song about some girl I liked or something. I was 15 or so when I wrote it.
What do you think of the local LA/SFV music scene and how does Compare/Contrast fit into the scheme of things?
The local scene has quite a few gems in the overall sea of mediocrity; you just have to know where to look. I don’t mean that as an insult to anyone, I just believe that if everything or everyone is great, then no one really is. That applies to everything in life, not just the local music scene. I think Compare/Contrast will be a much needed breath of fresh air in the scene. There is a revolution coming, much larger than our band, but we intended to be a huge part of it, I can tell you that much.
Where do you get your ideas for some of your lyrics? Please cite two songs in particular and what inspired the lyrical content.
As a songwriter and lyricist, I’m influenced by a wide array of artists and bands. At the top of that list would probably be bands like Brand New, Mayday Parade, and La Dispute, and also artists such as Eminem. I don’t know if I can really say any of the songs I’ve put out have purposefully sought to sound like a certain artist, but our song The Martyr, for example, came from me listening to a lot of bands like Balance and Composure and Brand New, while The Gentleman on the other hand came from prominently listening to bands like Pierce the Veil and Panic! At The Disco. That being said though, I’m not the type of person that can just sit down and write a song, something either needs to have happened that has affected me emotionally, or I have to be inspired by something, whether it be a movie, a person, a place, etc. I feel that keeps everything authentic rather than forced and artificial, you can always tell those kinds of writers apart. It all has to do with what mood I’m in and what emotion I’m feeling in regards to the style I write in. I guess I’m a very bipolar writer in that way, but I feel that it keeps things interesting.
How close is Compare/Contrast to releasing an EP or full length?
Well, I’ve just finished writing the entire full length album, which will be entitled Anthropology. The way things have been done so far is just starting with me and an acoustic guitar, and we sort of build around that. Both singles that we have had out have mostly been myself tracking everything except drums and bass, which both singles had different players on. I just recently found official members for the band, and now I think we can have a more team like approach, rather than just myself trying to build an entire song from scratch. But to answer your question, I believe the record will be out by late February of 2013.
How does Compare/Contrast compare to your previous band Only Regret The Summer, and what is the status of your previous band?
Compare/Contrast differs from Only Regret the Summer in that the ideas and direction have solely been my own, rather than a band effort. As I mentioned above, up until now it’s pretty much been a solo project. That would basically be the main difference, but I will say that when the official lineup comes out, some fans of my prior project will be pleased to see a couple of familiar faces. As for the status of ORTS, we are all still completely the best of friends, although a couple of the members have left far away for college. We will be playing a reunion show in December, and possibly a couple more over time for fun, but we will not be releasing any new music as that group.
What could one expect from a live Compare/Contrast performance?
Honestly, all I can say about this question is get ready for a very in your face and real performance. No gimmicks. I want the kids to feel every word I sing right in their gut. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing people singing your words back at you. It’s a very therapeutic feeling, for both you and the audience, it makes you feel like you’re not alone and others can relate to something you have experienced. This feeling is the reason I do what I do.
While at a show in front of your friends, some drunk guy offers you $100 to play a cover of What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction. He is serious and has the cash. What do you do?
Hahah, hell, I’ll get down to some One Direction for a hundred dollars. I guess now we know how much my dignity is worth, yeah?
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Hahaha I love this, but I honestly think that the best way to describe Compare/Contrast would be as a box of a dozen donuts. Each with a different filling, frosting, glazing, etc. I think there’s something in the band and our music for everyone.
Is there any story behind the band name Compare/Contrast and what made you decide to use that moniker?
The name honestly just came out of the idea I had to create a project where I can basically write in whatever I style I feel. In that way, the songs compare/contrast from each other. It’s sort of cheesy, but I’m a cheesy sort of guy. It ain’t easy being cheesy.
What’s up in the New Year for Compare/Contrast?
All I can really tell you at this point without completely giving away the sense of mystery I’m trying to keep with the group is there will be lots of new music, videos and shows. We have many plans in the works that we cannot speak about just yet, but we intend to take over the world.
Any final words of wisdom?
Just keep on supporting the music scene, both local and major. I truly believe there is a renaissance that is going to happen soon where people will be fed up with this sea of gimmicks and crave for something real in art, and I intend to be a large part of that movement. Now, it’s donut time, excuse me!
Thank you :]
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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