Feature: The Ingredients of Dining Alone with Fake Laugh

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Photo by Holly Whitaker

A few months ago, Fake Laugh, the project of Kamran Khan, shared his latest LP Dining Alone, which was released via The state51 Conspiracy. His sincere and engaging offering reflects on navigating life and everything in between across the course of ten memorable tracks. The album was made in London and Berlin alongside close friend Louis Milburn. Khan took some time out to explore the various settings and places that influenced him during the process of making Dining Alone.

Regal Close House, London
Between the years of 2012 and 2015, I lived at a house in Whitechapel known as ‘Regal’. Friends of ours had lived there before and the house was occupied by a revolving selection of overlapping friendship groups for 4 years. Fake Laugh was born in this house and a couple of the songs on Dining Alone were written towards the end of my time here. The picture below was taken around Christmas 2014 I believe.

Ristorante Padre e Figlio, Berlin
Padre e Figlio was the name of the restaurant run by my older brother Jay and my father between the years of 2013 and 2018, they are pictured below around the time of its opening. When I moved back to Berlin after spending most of 2015 touring in a friend’s band, I spent a lot of time here. I worked on the bar and ate here every day. My father had bought a guitar, which was at the restaurant when I returned. The track ‘Plätze’ from Dining Alone was written sitting in the restaurant with my parents before it opened one afternoon.

Bedroom at Papa’s house, Genthiner Straße, Berlin 
My father’s apartment in Schöneberg is in the same building as the one I spent my early years in. 2016 was a strange year in a lot of ways looking back, but there were some lovely moments amongst the mess and I made some good friends. I also wrote a lot of music, including most of the primary song ideas for Dining Alone. Below is a picture taken in my bedroom at Papa’s house which I used for press for my EP, Ice

Swords Studios, London
Here’s a blurry picture of Louis Milburn, who co-produced and mixed the album. He can be seen here measuring out some distances for a drum take. His bedroom studio in Leyton was the scene for the realisation of the tracks that would end up coming together to make Dining Alone. Louis and I have been pals for years and he’s a joy to work with, we had a lot of fun working on these songs and weren’t necessarily expecting to end up with an album.

The final geographical ingredient in the mix for making this record is the seaside town of Margate. This picture from May 2018 shows my first experience of the place — we played with Girl Ray and Teleman at Moshi Moshi Records’ festival. We missed the train back and ended up staying at Stephen from the label’s house. It was a bizarre night, much like the rest of the nights I’ve had there since. Stephen has a studio called PRAH, located near the house. Some of the wonkier moments from Dining Alone, including key parts of 'Ever Imagine' and 'The Empty Party' were recorded there. Bon Appetite! 

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