While many bands starting their career in Los Angeles struggle to achieve their goals, Fencer is one of the exceptions. The band was formed in February 2017 by former actor Field Cate on vocals and guitar, and lifelong musician Cameron Sauve on drums. They aimed to perfect their unique and transcendent sound, but something was missing. The missing piece of their trio was found when they discovered Cameron's brother, Scott Sauve, on bass. They quickly formed a strong bond and secured their permanent lineup.
After years of midnight writing and being featured as a KLOS' NeXt2Rock Finalist, Fencer released their debut EP, Growing Up Selfish, in 2019 after a successful run opening for Badflower on their OK I'm Sick tour. The EP was produced by Josh Katz, the lead singer of Badflower, and the songs were mixed and mastered by Zach Fisher from Big Bad Sound LA, who has worked with bands like Weezer, Rancid, and Bad Religion. While their lead single "Junebug" was an instant hit and their breakthrough into the music industry, the band is eager to change it up and blend their sound even more remarkably.
Despite the pandemic putting a hold on live shows, Fencer spent the last two years redefining their sound and experimenting with different styles of songwriting. Their triumphant return to new music, “Fishfriend,” was featured almost immediately on KROQ's Locals Only. The song showcased a folkier side of the band, while their latest singles, "Buena" (a Morphine cover) and "Sleepcount," are closer to their newfound sound. The band's spirited dynamic, made up of Field's erratic yet melodic vocals, Scott's heavy sonorous bass lines, and Cameron's hard-hitting percussion, sets them apart from the rest.
Fencer's unique take on songwriting allows the band to resonate with fans in multiple ways. Each member's talents are used to cultivate the iconic Fencer sound, with Field's distinctive approach to lyricism and Scott and Cameron's instrumental reinforcements. The band's discography centers around Field's determination to break the stigma surrounding mental health and its struggles. Field also fully embraces his synesthesia in all writing efforts, and the motto "everything must sound blue" is evident throughout Fencer's overall sound and visuals. While some may call it a coincidence that all the members' zodiac signs are water signs, the band believes it's fate. At the end of the day, "if it's not blue, it's got to go."
Fencer's self-titled album is their most authentic work to date. While Field's emotive vulnerability is seen throughout the songwriting, it wouldn't be Fencer without Cameron's production skills. After spending most of the pandemic learning how to self-produce, Cameron was able to perfect the band's brand-new sound just in time for their first-ever record. The trio kicked off 2022 with a co-headlining tour with Crossing i's Dotting t's and have no plans to slow down. Even though Fencer has already achieved over two million listens across all streaming platforms prior to the release of their debut album, they're determined to prove themselves as rock's newest novelty.
Having an affinity for water signs myself (as a fellow Pisces), I can relate to the desire for everything to sound blue, a sentiment shared by Field Cate, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Fencer. I was also delighted to discover that Field's name bears resemblance to my daughter's name, Finley Cate, who is also a water sign (Cancer). In this interview, we take a deep dive (pun intended) into the world of Fencer, featuring an exclusive interview with Field Cate. From the band's early beginnings to their latest self-produced album, we explore the journey of this exceptional band and gain insight into their creative process.
GW: Hi! How's it going?
FC: Good. How about yourself?
GW: I am great! Thanks for asking. So first of all, your name, Field Cate, I had to ask your publicist if that was your real name. My daughter's name is Finley Cate. I just thought that was cool.
FC: Oh, how bizarre and cool. My mom would love to hear that she's obsessed with names.
GW: So where did your name come from?
FC: My parents are just hippies. They wanted to make up something cool. I don't know. My brother's name is Springer, so there's some strange names throughout, but I dig it. I like it a lot.
GW: Oh, yeah, me, too. Can we start with you telling me a bit about yourself?
FC: Yeah, definitely. So my name is Field Cate. I am the singer and guitar player of the rock band, Fencer. We have been doing this for six years, and we have just released our first album, which we are super excited about. We had a big sold out release show in L.A.
GW: That’s amazing! How would you describe your sound to someone who is unfamiliar with your music?
FC: I guess if I had to describe it, I would say it's pop-ish garage rock. We try to get as heavy as we can while still being competitive and catchy.
GW: Have you always been a musician?
FC: I was an actor for a decade growing up. That was pretty much my whole childhood. So doing that from such a young age, of course I evolved as a person. I have been singing my whole life, and I went through a few different bands, which is how I met our current drummer, Cameron. He and I kind of broke off and started our own thing. I quickly learned how to play the guitar, because we didn't have a guitar player, and we started writing songs, and ultimately his brother Scott, who's our bass player, we all kind of just figured it out. The three of us clicked and we've been doing it since then. Since early 2017.
GW: When you're actually recording making the music, can you describe the space that you're in? However, you want to take that, it could be the physical space or something else.
FC: Yeah. So I mean, we've worked with many producers, but this is the first album we completely self produced, and we're really proud of that, because we've put out EPs and stuff before, but this was our first full-length introduction to putting our discography out into the world. And yeah, we have our own little studio we call Fencer Headquarters. It’s this little studio we've built up, and it's all saturated in blue lighting.
GW: Why blue?
FC: Our whole thing is blue. I'm not sure if you know, but everything we do is blue. I have this thing called synesthesia.
FC: So the three of us have been meeting every day for the last couple of years, and we would just get in the studio and work on tracking. Cameron, our drummer, engineered the whole thing, so he would be setting up all the mics, but we all co-produced it together. Everyone had input on everything. Of course I'm the singer, so I have a lot of input, and I'm the only guitar player, but it was basically like whatever anyone thought of, or however they thought of something that was being played, or a take of something, we just all brought our opinions in and everyone had ideas to add things. It was our own little thing, and it was just the three of us in there the whole time. We have a great guy named Henry, who mixed the whole album, but as far as the recording process goes, it was just the three of us. No one else is there, and I think that's really cool.
GW: Okay. So there's a lot that is very fascinating. You see color when you hear music?
FC: Yeah. So there's this thing called synesthesia. I didn't even know it was a thing, but I guess it's this brain association with color, words and letters. I've had that ever since I was in kindergarten. I would just associate different letters with colors and stuff. So when Cam and I were starting Fencer, we wanted it to have some kind of aesthetic or color scheme.
GW: And you decided on blue.
FC: Yeah! I was like, let's just do blue, because the first batch of songs we have, they are all blue. Since then it's gotten completely over the top, like we only write songs that I feel are blue now, otherwise we'll shelf them.
GW: Who writes the lyrics?
FC: I write all the lyrics, but we're all involved in songwriting. It'll usually be like, Cameron and I will bring in some kind of riff or idea, and we build off of that. But I write all the lyrics, and everyone contributes to the music. However, they want to do it.
GW: Does it start with the lyrics?
FC: Never. Lyrics are often the very, very last thing. I remember we would be recording and be like, “Oh, hey! Vocals are up for the song,” and I'm like, “I haven't written any lyrics. I don't have a single word.” Often, there will be a song title far before there are lyrics, and sometimes song titles inspire music for us. But yeah, usually the lyrics are based around whatever kind of vibe the music is giving me. I don't know. I just like to write lyrics as late as humanly possible.
GW: What are you most excited about right now?
FC: The big thing is the album. Go listen to it. It's out.
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