Born in Minneapolis, Fats’e is the child of a musically inclined father who moved him to Dallas when he was eight years old. The two used to jam together at home, while Fats’e would play keyboard and his dad would join in with bongos, creating an “indie-rock” sound.
By 11, Fats’e formed a band with a few of his friends, playing shows at small venues in McKinney. When he was a teenager, his musical stylings grew into a “deathcore” sound, and he joined a band called Regrets of Despair, selling out shows at The Door and Sons of Hermann Hall.
“I didn't really realize at the time how thriving the scene was [in Dallas] compared to other places,” Fats’e says. “I'm grateful that I grew up in that scene.”
In 2015, the artist traded the emo sound in favor of hip-hop as he joined a freestyling collective. It was then that Fats’e identity, which refers to his first name, Charlie, was born. During a freestyling session, he shouted the phrase “Big Fat C on the microphone.” The name immediately stuck, and like his sound, the spelling of his stage name evolved over time.
On his second full-length album, Staring at the Ceiling, Fats’e amalgamates all of his musical backgrounds into a hyperpop, punk-rock package wrapped in influences of hip-hop. Sonically, it sounds like of the lovechild Charli XCX and Lil Uzi Vert, but lyrically, Fats’e takes us on a cathartic journey.
Staring at the Ceiling opens with a track called “bad news,” on which Fats’e is “stuck in the past” as “the days go on and on and on.” Over the course of 13 tracks, many of which are under three minutes in length, he recalls losing lovers and severing ties with “backstabbing friends” from his time living in Los Angeles. By the end of the album, he feels “brand new,” as he assures us on the closing track “picking myself up again.”
“I definitely struggle with depression to some degree,” Fats’e says. “The way I cope with it is by isolating myself, writing music and making art. ... Like, if I'm really dwelling on something and I feel like I need to get it out, I'll usually just write a song about it, even if the song doesn't come out.”
Fats’e wrote and produced Staring at the Ceiling over the course of two years, using Guitar Rig software to create sounds, as well as SOPHIE and Travis Barker drum samples. He recorded his vocals in his closet and mixed and mastered the album himself over the course of six months.
“I definitely struggle with depression to some degree ... The way I cope with it is by isolating myself, writing music and making art." –Fats'e
He pored over the aural examination of the album, he says, by listening to it obsessively before its release, on his home speakers, his AirPods and in the car. He recalls mixing each song “about 50 to 60” times.
“I realized that the guitar sounded terrible,” Fats’e says, “because Guitar Rig is kind of crappy. At the time, I was living with [musician] 93feetofsmoke and he had an AXE-FX. I redid the guitars on pretty much the entire album using AXE-FX III and that really made the album pop.”
At the moment, Fats’e is on tour with Lil Lotus to promote the album. He is enjoying his time on the road, as he gets to meet fans and new friends and have “something to do every day.”
Overwhelmed by L.A., Fats’e recently moved to Austin, where he says he feels “more grounded.”
“I have two of my best friends I grew up with in Austin, and also, my mom and my sister,” Fats’e says. “I've only been here for a couple months, but I definitely love it so far.”