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Sara Fay of Ian Fays

A Sister Act

Less than two years removed from their former home base in isolated Humboldt County, the Ian Fays haven't wasted any time making their name known around the Bay Area. After setting up shop in San Francisco the band, comprised of siblings Sara, Lizz and Lena Fay and brother-from-another-mother (and father) Bradley Fay, have graced marquees throughout the city. The Ian Fays, and their dreamy indie pop songs, also have a following in Europe thanks to a deal with Italian label Homesleep Music, which released the LP Dylanís Lost Days in April. The band performs at the Rock-It Room on May 21st and at The Uptown (Oakland) June 20th. Sara Fay spoke with SF Station.

SF Station (SFS): When did you decide to start writing music with your sister Lizz?

Sara Fay: We went home one summer when we were going to Humboldt State and we found three old Casio keyboards that my dad had stowed away in the closet. We started playing with them and we made a little EP that we gave to our friend as a birthday present. After that, we just kept playing songs.

SFS: Is your dad a musical person?

Sara Fay: Yes, he is. When we were kids, we had a family band that played in retirement homes and at weddings. Heís into CCR and Boston, so we grew up playing that kind of stuff.

SFS: You donít want to bring him into the mix now?

Sara Fay: Heís not an indie pop fan at all. I think he likes what we do, but he teases us endlessly.

SFS: What does he tease you about?

Sara Fay: Anything of the emo persuasion or lyrical content. He is just pulling our chain, but I think it is pretty easy to poke fun at.

SFS: Does he think you are emo?

Sara Fay: I donít think he knows what "emo" means. If it is not John Fogerty, he canít relate.

SFS: How did you manage to already pull off a European tour?

Sara Fay: We had a show at the Eureka Veterans Hall about three years ago and we were opening for another band that was affiliated with an Italian record label. We swapped CDs and they signed us to their label about six months later. Thatís why we tour in Europe and donít really tour here.

SFS: Did Pete Doherty offer you any illicit treats when you performed on the same bill with Babyshambles?

Sara Fay: He was actually about five hours late and there were all these little kids in Italy that dressed just like him. It was only Lizz and I on that tour and we were thrown to the wolves. They pushed back our set time and when we went on stage we were met with boos because all these frustrated kids had waited four or five hours. The show went well after we started playing, but it was probably one of the most stressful moments of my life having to assure all these kids that Pete was there when he really wasnít there. I guess his rock-star faÁade is not a persona.

SFS: How has San Francisco treated you?

Sara Fay: We love it. We kind of blindly moved here and we ended up in a really bad part of Daly City. It was a roach-infested moldy place, so our first six months were kind of horrible. We got out of there and now we live in a little beach house in the Sunset. Itís kind of like Arcata, actually.

SFS: Your sister Lena is a latecomer to the band. When did she get involved?

Sara Fay: We wanted her to come with us on our first tour, which was about four years ago. We bought here a rainbow kids xylophone and a pink triangle and told her to make stuff up. It kind of stuck and now she is a pretty essential member. She never learned to play an instrument but she has accumulated more cute toys, and itís fun.

The Ian Fays perform at The Rock-It Room on May 21st. Tickets are $7 and the show starts at 9pm. Tickets for the show at The Uptown on June 20th are $8 and the show starts at 9pm.