Fear Of Pop is Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five) and Caleb Southern. Produced by Ben Folds and Caleb Southern, both of whom are from Chapel Hill, NC.
So on the heels of a critically acclaimed, platinum-selling, culture-affecting Ben Folds Five album, what would spur pianist/composer Ben Folds and producer Caleb Southern to embark on a solo project entitled Fear Of Pop? Boredom? Greed? Unrestrained prolific musical talent? Fear of the unknown? All of the above? Yeah, all of the above. Full of songs that were different than what gets created with Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds and Caleb Southern set out to destruct and rebuild, cajole and swindle, refine and regenerate that simple form of music simply called "pop". No sub-genres or image filled classifications--just a concerted effort to return us to yesteryear's yearnings of delightful, hummable pop songs. Fear Of Pop is the band, Volume I is the album.
Produced over the course of six months in Indiana and North Carolina, Fear Of Pop Volume I is quite simply: An album of instrumental and spoken word music by Ben Folds. Darting between warped, melancholic, dreamy pop and subtle jocularity, Volume I is an in-joke everyone knows the directions to, easy to digest self-indulgence for all who are even mildly daring. The Ben Folds melodies, post-slacker musings and odes to song styles past are all present. Enhancing the show are the raucous ("I Paid My Money"), the underground ("Kops"), the mesmerizing ("Avery M. Powers Memorial Beltway) and the delectable ("In Love"). Featuring William Shatner (yes, Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, The Transformed Man), "In Love" may be the gem of all gems--a grooving, half-sane, half-baked rant of relationship gone crooked. Forget about the collectible angle, listen to it for the universal appeal. And then attach that to the rest of the Fear Of Pop listening experience.
Fear of Pop is the name and Volume I is the collection of music recorded over the past year in various locations, in any spare time I could manage during my touring with Ben Folds Five. Sometimes I regard it as an excuse to play drums, guitar, electronic noises or hammer dulcimer. Often it was a vehicle to work with rock legends such as William Shatner, Caleb Southern and John Painter. Also, it gave me another reason not to sleep. But primarily, it helped satisfy my need to express some things musically - textures, orchestration, rhythms - things that don't always naturally fall into the standard three minute singer/song format. I love to paint sounds in an abstract was, discovering their effect after it's all put together. Once you’ve sold a million records, you've earned the right to experiment self-indulgently at the expense of your record company... I guess I haven't earned that right yet... But they let me do it anyway and we all actually agree now that it wasn't a total waste of time. And if my opinion counts for anything, I think it's pretty good. It's a record I wanted to hear and I felt like I had to make it so that I could. Everyone tells me that it's really good...