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Faye Treacy: The Problem With…

By | Published on Friday 3 August 2018

Faye Treacy is both a musician and a comedian, and in ‘The Problem With Faye Treacy’ she brings both of them together. For while it’s a storytelling show at heart, she also plays and loops her trombone throughout.

The concept itself caught our eye, and there’s a very interesting story behind this show too. With all that in mind, I threw some questions in Faye’s direction, about her concurrent careers in music and comedy, and what we can expect from this year’s show.

CC: Hello there, good to meet you! Let’s start at the start. How did you come to be combining the trombone and stand-up? How does it work?
FT: I’m a trombonist professionally, and it felt right to bring up the thing I had experience performing with when I first started out doing comedy. I’m storytelling in this show, it’s a whole narrative, so I’ve got a loop pedal and I’m looping up my trombone throughout, so I can do stand-up over the top.

CC: Let’s quickly talk through your music career. When did you discover your passion for music making? And why the trombone?
FT: My dad used to play a lot of old punk records in the house and I heard the trombone first on the b-sides, because there were lots of ska and two-tone bands in there. I started on the cornet at nine and then moved on to trombone, because they said I had the ‘personality for it’. I also played piano throughout school.

I’m really dyslexic – I failed my year two sats – but I worked out how to read music and it just stuck and so I practiced. I then won a place to study at the Royal Academy Of Music, because the only way to rebel against my punk dad was to study classical music! Since then I’ve been working on the session scene from orchestral work to pop/rock and reggae bands.

Now that I am doing comedy too, I feel very grateful I’ve got to straddle two creative careers.

CC: Yes, the comedy! How did that come about?
FT: In 2014 I started doing a kind of clown routine in London, which didn’t stick. But then I started doing the stand-up in 2015 and went on to win Best Newcomer at the Musical Comedy Awards, so I decided to keep at it.

CC: What can we expect from ‘The Problem With Faye Treacy’? What themes will you cover? What stories will you tell?
FT: As I said, it’s a storytelling show, underscored with a trombone and a loop pedal. There’s stand-up, some sincere moments, some tunes. The theme is family. My mum’s a foster mum and it’s about my relationship with one particular foster sister. It’s a heart-warming tale about my family life whilst I was growing up, but then in the summer of 2002 something happened that changed everything.

CC: This is your first full-hour comedy show. How have you found preparing for it? 
FT: I’ve really enjoyed writing it and the process has been fun, but also a learning curve. I’ve liked doing the longer narrative. It feels very real in places, and I’m proud of where it’s got to and some of the jokes in it.

CC: As you mentioned, you had quite a bit of formal education in music. Does any of that prepare you for performing comedy too?
FT: I guess I kind of feel like I’m preparing for my final music college recital with this show. They’re the same length, so I’ve had experience of having to focus and memorise a performance this long before.

But the thing with comedy is, you can’t really practice it in a practice room, so it’s a far more terrifying art form in that respect. And if the audience don’t like it, I also can’t blame the composer! Plus my final recital was just performed just the once. So this is going to be a fun slog.

CC: What attracts you to the Edinburgh Fringe?
FT: It’s an amazing atmosphere and it’s really good to hone your craft, and hopefully it’s the place to push yourself up a level.

CC: Other than performing your show, what else are you hoping to do while in Edinburgh?
FT: I’ll do some bouldering at the new rock climbing centre, plus plenty of chilling out and eating and drinking with mates.

CC: Are there any other Fringe shows that you think might be improved by the inclusion of a trombone?
FT: Haha! Stewart Lee, if he were here.

CC: Who are you music and comedy heroes?
FT: Oh so many! But comics, I guess Mitch Hedberg, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Kendall and Bill Bailey. And today’s music selection is Frank Zappa, Janis Joplin, Stravinsky and Quincy Jones.

CC: And finally, what have you got planned for after the Festival?
FT: Sleep. But then I want to take the show to other festivals. Hopefully Australia next year!

‘The Problem With Faye Treacy’ was performed at Just The Tonic at the Mash House at Edinburgh Festival 2018.