You probably won’t know Chris Farren’s name if you’re not a punk fan, but he’s got one of the more enviable resumes in the genre. The Fake Problems frontman has toured with artists such as Against Me! and the Gaslight Anthem, put out a collaborative album with Bomb The Music Industry! frontman Jeff Rosenstock and even briefly achieved Internet virality with his spoof of The Smiths t-shirts.
Now, just a few months after assembling a Christmas compilation, Farren is preparing a new 7″ EP — and he’ll release it on a new record label that he founded with his fiancée.
Recording the Where U Are EP’s bright, fuzzy title track, which premieres on TIME today, was a literal journey: Farren initially rushed to finish the EP’s three songs before embarking on tour with the Gaslight Anthem in Australia, but he ran out of time and was forced to finish the tracks wherever he could — hotel rooms, bathrooms, before and after shows.
The upside to recording on the road, however, is that you can recruit your friends to help out, which is exactly what Farren did to complete the song “Permanent For Me.” “Brian [Fallon, of the Gaslight Anthem] and I have been friends for a while and always get into these intense conversations about songwriting,” Farren tells TIME. “I played him what I was working on and asked him if he’d want to sing on one of the songs, and he said ‘yes.'”
Much like its continent-spanning recording process, releasing the EP on his own label also wasn’t part of Farren’s original plan, but it proved to be a welcome relief from the anxiety of having to pitch the project. “While we were recording this EP, I had in my mind a few labels I wanted to send it off to,” he says. “I was going through all of the gross, hyperbolic things I could say about myself in an attempt to convince someone to want to be involved. It got to a point where I was spending too much time worrying about how it would come out and not enough just working on and enjoying making the music.”
In response, Farren’s fiancée suggested they simply put the music out themselves, and so they named their endeavor Boyfriend Island for the unreachable state someone enters when they begin a new relationship. “We call it Boyfriend Island because the idea of the label is freedom in isolation, not really [being] bothered about what anyone outside of it might say or think. Just do it ’cause you like it.”
Where U Are is available April 7. Hear the title track below:
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