4

What's Chamber Punk? Fables of the Fall Explains

Fables of the Fall is a new chamber punk project from Denver DIY punk and classical music veterans.
Fables of the Fall is a new chamber punk project from Denver DIY punk and classical music veterans.
Heidi Hass
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

When folk, punk, classical, metal and chamber music all crash into each other, what do you get? The sound of Denver's chamber-punk band Fables of the Fall.

The quartet, including Joshua “Schwa” Michel, Derrick McGuire, Dana Shin and Lindsey Gardner, are dropping a self-titled debut album tonight, Friday, March 22, at Goosetown Tavern.

Started in 2017 as Michel’s solo folk-punk project, Fables of the Fall eventually evolved into Michel and longtime friend and bandmate Derrick McGuire exploring their shared love of Denver’s DIY folk-punk scene.

“We were playing together for years. We were in a folk-punk band together that broke up maybe three or four years ago,” says Michel. “Right after that breakup, I started doing solo sets. I decided I wanted to just play heavier, darker folky stuff, different from the usual singer-songwriter stuff. It was also influenced by '90s alternative-rock pretty heavily back then.

“At some point, I started playing with Derek again, and then we added mandolin to the thing," Michel explains. "Both of us come from a punk and bluegrass background, but we decided we wanted to do something different with this project.”

Once mandolin player and classically trained cellist Dana Shin joined in 2017, the band started to go through a musical transformation.

“Dana took us in a very different direction than we’re used to going,” says Michel. “Working with classical people was so different. She started teaching us how to play…tightly, is how I would put it. Without us realizing that’s what was happening, she was introducing a lot of ideas about the aspects of chamber music — specifically how we rehearse, how we interact, things like that.”

After pianist Lindsey Gardner joined in 2018, the identity of Fables of the Fall had radically shifted and the band had reached a new level of experimentation.

“Now we’re sort of half-punk, half-classical in the band,” Michel says.

He still has strong relationships within the city's DIY punk community, but his new project no longer fits with the venues he once thrived in. Fables of the Fall still hasn’t quite figured out where it belongs in Denver’s music scene — or anywhere, for that matter.

“I don’t know if there’s a good city for this band. I think we could do well in a place like New Orleans,” says Michel. “I think our sound would go over pretty well there. We dabble with some jazzy elements and are working on being able to play on the streets.

“When we put this together, we wanted to play things like street festivals, art festivals, things like that," he adds. "I don’t know if Denver is the right place for us, but this is the place we’re at, and it’s a thriving music scene."

GhostPulse, with Lief Sjostrom and Fables of the Fall, 9 p.m. Friday, March 22, Goosetown Tavern, 3242 East Colfax Avenue.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.