Adrian Fitz-Simon is a crook, plain and simple, but you have to admire his moxy! If you click on his website, you will see a page of glowing reviews for his new album from newspapers and magazines around the world. Five Stars from the Rolling Stone and glows from the Irish Times and Sydney Morning Herald, but sadly none of them are real!
It is one of the most difficult things for an emerging artist to get their music reviewed. Music Journalists get bombarded with hundreds of albums sent to their inbox every day, so it’s impossible for them to listen to them all. But how can someone know how good your album is without even listening to it? Adrian took matters into his own hands by faking a series of reviews from some of the most respected music journals out there.
Here is our interview with him on his dastardly deed!
> Was this always a publicity stunt, did you want to be ‘found out’?
The idea was born from the frustration of my largely unsuccessful attempts at soliciting for reviews. This is a problem for every unsigned act, there is so much material out there, journalists and bloggers simply don’t have the time to read the emails and letters, let alone listen to the music. My hundreds of requests amounted to one press review and three blog reviews. I felt the project was coming to an unhappy end and I wanted to do something to make it fun again for me. So I wrote the reviews for the Indo and Hot Press, posted them on Facebook and waited to see what happened. People believed it, so I did some more. All along I knew I’d reveal the truth in some way. But it was a few weeks before I came up with the idea of the song Five Stars and accompanying video.
> Did you ever worry about legal action from any of the magazines/ papers you quoted?
It was something I considered, but I was always going to reveal the truth, and ultimately it’s a satirical bit of fun, so it would take a particularly unkind publication to hit the small guy for having some fun!
> Does the review from the Tokyo Journal make sense?
Yes, it’s actually the ‘review’ from The Music (an Australian mag) pasted into Google translate.
> Why two stars from Hotpress?
Mainly for the pure fun of it! Writing shitty stuff about yourself is a lot more fun that purely positive stuff. I wanted to make the reviews convincing and if they’d all been glowing five star reviews, people would have smelled a rat. Most of them have good points but some negative points too and really they are all aspects of how I feel about the album, but magnified. But the Hot Press one was just pure naughtiness really – a worst case scenario.
> Are you worried you’re now the boy who cried wolf, and no one will believe you anymore?
Some have questioned the validity of the TodayFM piece! But for me, at the end of the day, it’s about trying to get people to hear the album, everything else is just entertaining wrapping!
> Any more stunts up your sleeve?
That would be telling, eh? I’m taking each stage as it comes – it’s been a fun journey.
Some back story from Adrian on his album release below…
AF – “To put the ‘reviews’ in context, here are some links to show you what else I’ve done to try to make the album happen.
I did a Fundit campaign to get it off the ground and this is the film I made to plead for money. It’s a parody of those ‘Classic Album’ docs where they interview the members of the band who have fallen out since the making of the record. I play all four members of the band, hence the title The Band That Wasn’t There.”
“The characters were so popular I decided to make a music video featuring them, though the ‘real’ me seemed a bit boring so I turned him into a cross-dressing cardinal fox – of course! (a reference to Peter Gabriel’s fox in a red dress character from the early 70s)”
“I then created a social media campaign – a game in which you have to guess the famous album covers when the bands have been removed.
Finally, if you want to hear the album in two minutes, the cover design comes alive in this video.”