In an effort to give more of you a chance to participate we have decided to extend the True Norwegian Black Metal Contest by 2 weeks and open it up to Figment users outside of the U.S.  You will now have until October 17th to submit your Black Metal band photo and we’ll be awarding the winner a copy of Peter Beste’s new book of black metal photographs “True Norwegian Black Metal” to the winner on Halloween!  Is there any better day to award a book on black metal than October 31st?  I think not.

So if you’re trying to decide what to wear for Halloween here is your opportunity to kill two birds with one stone…figuratively speaking not literally.  And if taking the time to dress up in black metal gear is too hard or intimidating a proposition – then let your creativity flow and take a picture that you feel best sums up black metal to you.  If you take a look at Peter’s photos you’ll see that nature plays a big role in the ethos of Black Metal.  Often a cool shot of a gnarled tree can evoke more than some yutz in full metal regalia, so use your imagination and create something you think evokes Black Metal.  To view the rules visit our previous Figment News post on the contest and don’t forget that you have to post a comment with the name of the band your submitting for entry in order to qualify!

Fait Accompli…The Interview

September 22nd, 2008

The first time I heard the forceful opening riff of “Festering Admiration” by Fait Accompli I was hooked.  So all puns aside it was indeed a Fait Accompli that I would track them down and insist on an interview.  It took me a while, but I finally caught up with the band in Montreal on a rare off day from their “Cleansed With Fire” North American tour.  Having been on the road since September 1 in support of their most recent (and in my opinion best thus far) album “Deliverance”, the band was tired from the previous evening’s gig, but excited about the opportunity to talk about everything from the fate of goth music to where they see their band in 10 years time.

Figment:  Fait Accompli has clearly conquered Europe, but why has it taken so long to build an audience stateside?

Fait Accompli:  The music scene in Europe is vastly more diverse than in the states. Hip Hop does not have the choke hold on the European market the way it does in here. You are working with a much tighter knit community in Europe. It is easier to develop a following with performing live in Europe because transportation is easier and venues tend to be a bit closer together. We have seen fans at a show in Amsterdam one night and at the next show in Hamburg 2 days later. They just hop the train for a few hours and boom…there you have it. Not like here where you have to drive forever or God help you buy a plane ticket to get from one show to the next.

Figment:  Is Goth dead?

Fait Accompli:  No Mr. Nietzsche and shame on you for saying that…oh you said GOTH! Ha ha. Really, Goth has just evolved into a term for a band that no one can classify. Artists that were the impetus for the term Goth like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy and the like have led the “We’re not ‘Goff’ ” charge for years. It’s just terminology that just so happens to help you identify with a particular part of the culture. So to answer your question, no…it’s not dead, it’s just shapeshifting.

Figment:  Your first big hit single was “Burn the Dreamhouse Down”.  What inspired that song?

Fait Accompli:  When Isabella and I decided we wanted to take the music thing seriously, we had to give up a lot of what we had gotten used to and we were really smacked with the reality of it all. I think we all have this image in our minds of how things will be whether it’s in love or creature comforts or our lives in general. When you start to realize “hey…this is not how I thought it would be” people can react one of 2 ways. They either let the disappointment eat them alive or they can adapt to what is going on. We had both just gone through some really hellish stuff  Isabella with her family and myself romantically and I thougth to myself “it’s like watching your dreamhouse burn to the ground”. The rest just rolled out of the pen.

Figment:  Your latest album “Deliverance” has received strong positive reviews.  How hard was it to follow up the success of your first album and avoid the sophomore slump that plagues so many young bands?

Fait Accompli:  That was always in the back of our minds, but it was not the driving force behind the album. We went into this to make a second album, not a follow up “hit” and we all made that commitment before we even sat down and put pen to paper. So many bands try so hard to avoid the slump that they get mired down in “this has to be better than the last or we are through”. We want our band to gently climb to whatever the top may be for us, not to jump to that high point and fall off just as quickly. We want to enjoy the view on the way.

Figment:  I noticed that you are all listed as songwriters on the new album.  How do you all collaborate on a song?

Fait Accompli:  We have fragments that we all collect. I may have a phrase, Ted or Dex will have a riff or drumline that sticks around or what have you. So when we get together, we basically just bring it all to the table and see what can be created. sometimes one of us will an idea and play it out and we all start collaborating. There can be alot of disagreement on direction and sometimes things get pushed aside or thrown out, but when it clicks and you feel it come together…it is orgasmic.

Figment:  What is the song “(Worshipping) The Ashes” all about?

Fait Accompli:  Not being willing or having the ability to let go of something that is gone. It will mean alot of different things to different people, but mine came from the anger of  watching someone use fear created by a past event to maintain control and drive an agenda that is comepltely unrealated to the event.

[editor’s note:  Fait Accompli just released a Remix EP of “(Worshipping) The Ashes”.]

Figment:  How do you respond to critics who call your band’s name pretentious?

Fait Accompli:  We did not even get that when we decided on the name. We had struggled with what to call ourselves beause we did not want to walk out on stage with someting really hokey. We had gone back and forth with a few short list names and could not decide on one and Isabeela said “Why does this have to be so hard? Let’s just pick one and make it a done deal” and I said “like a fait accompli Mr. Bond”. then it was like “ooooo I like that” and we felt it was appropriate. So if they want to say pretentious let them…we really don’t care. It’s just a name.

Figment:  You’re currently touring to support “Deliverance” without a support act.  If you could choose an ideal support act who would it be?

Fait Accompli:  Yes we are touring through the end of October. Just us on our own. We would love to be on a bill with the Crusaders or Speed D I once they get things settled.

Figment:  Where do you see your band in 10 years time?

Fait Accompli:  Hopefully still creating music that is relevant…and not becoming aging dilitantes. I would love to see us be able to give new acts and artists the same chance that we have been given.

Figment:  Every band has skeleton in their closet that’s their “Behind the Music” moment…what’s yours?

Fait Accompli:  We almost had to cancel our second show in Amsterdam because one of the band members disappeared in the red light district the night before and did not resurface until they showed up late for the sound check. We are much more disciplined about things now. (wink wink).

The band will be touring through the end of October and will close out the tour in New York City on Halloween night.  Deliverance is available on Figment.  So buy it and listen to it today!

I’m Your Biggest Fan!!!

September 17th, 2008

You may have noticed a few changes to your Figment band and album pages.  From this point forward if want to become a fan of a band you can simply click on the “Become a Fan” button under the band’s picture on their band page.

In addition, we’ve removed the old “Add As A Favorite” link in the upper right hand corner of all the band pages and replaced it with the social bookmarking Add This “share” button that allows you to bookmark a page on any number of sites like del.icio.us, Digg!, MySpace, Facebook, etc.  We’ve also added the AddThis “share” button to all of the album pages. 

 So if you see a band you like, click the “Become A Fan” button and you’ll be alerted via email any time they release an album.  Then help spread the word by “sharing” that band with your friends through a bookmark on your MySpace, Facebook or any other social networking site profile page.  Not only will your favorite bands appreciate it, but they’ll likely return the favor!

Geezer Rock!

September 15th, 2008

Who says old people don’t know how to rock.  Let’s face it, the old people of today were the teenagers of the 50’s and 60’s when rock n’ roll was born, learned to walk, spread it’s wings to fly, and began immediately telling it’s parents to go f*@k themselves.  So as bands age and their fans do as well (in the interest of full disclosure this scribe must admit to being in the beginning phases of geezerdom) how does it reflect in their music?  Well, according to Slate the aging rock warhorses of the past are writing songs about…getting old.

I would like to see more bands like Baark, The Balding Engineers and The HoneySuckers on Figment.  After all, us geezers have grown up with rock as the soundtrack to our lives.  Why shouldn’t we continue to rock into our old age!

Image Available!

September 12th, 2008

Well, thanks to Patrick you can once again upload pictures for your bands and albums.  The bug has been fixed and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  For those people who released an album between this morning and Tuesday (9/9/08) and would like to add an image, please send us an email asking to upload a new image via the feedback link at the bottom of every Figment page.  We will ban your album temporarily which will place it back on your dashboard and allow you to edit it.  Once you’ve added the image you can ask for the ban to be removed by clicking on the ban removal request link on your dashboard.  We will remove the ban and your album (with image) will be accessible again.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  Now remember – image is everything!

Image Not Available

September 11th, 2008

You may have noticed that the site is not allowing you to upload images for your bands and albums on Figment lately. Normally you see a “Image Not Available” icon for bands or albums that have not uploaded an image.  Unfortunately, Figment currently has a bug that is keeping the images users have uploaded from connecting with the corresponding band/album page and as a result every band/album now has a “Image Not Available” icon showing up on their page.  I just wanted to let you know we are on the case.  The bug has been occurring since Tuesday, but we hope to have it fixed soon.

Although this is an issue that effects both bands and album, it’s less of a problem with the creation of a new band since band pages can be edited at any time.  So feel free to create your new band.  You can always add a band image later once we have the issue resolved.

As far as albums are concerned though, you should hold off on releasing any new albums for your bands until we have the problem fixed, because once you release an album there is no way to edit it.  For those people who have already released an album during this time period and would like to add an image, please wait until the problem is fixed (we will update this post when it is) and then send us an email asking to upload a new image via the feedback link at the bottom of every Figment page.  We will ban your album temporarily which will place it back on your dashboard and allow you to edit it.  Once you’ve added the image you can ask for the ban to be removed by clicking on the ban removal request link on your dashboard.  We will remove the ban and your album (with image) will be accessible again.

We’re really sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.  Please bear with us while we get the problem fixed.  Please check back here for updates.  We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the bug is fixed.

A couple of months ago I kept running across articles about a new book of photography from well known documentary photographer Peter Beste.   The book claimed to be the first book to really take you inside the Black Metal scene in Norway.  Needless to say I was intrigued and decided to look for the book online.  I found Peter’s website and checked out a bunch of the photographs included in the book.  The photos were incredible, shocking, revelatory and beautiful to say the least.  I was fascinated, so fascinated that I decided to contact Peter to see if he would be interested in lending his expertise to a new contest on Figment.  I’m pleased to say that he said yes.

So what is the contest?  Well, we’re going to give a copy of Peter’s book of photography “True Norwegian Black Metal” to the Figment user who takes the best black metal band photo!  That’s right it’s time to pull out the grease paint and your trusty point and shoot and capture you or your friends in full regalia!  We are asking you to submit real photos, not ones obtained from the internet or from real black metal bands.  Just you and/or your friends captured in a moment of pure metal bliss.  To enter your picture you’ll need to do the following:

1.  Create a fake black metal band on Figment and use the photo as your band image.  Once you have created the band w/ the photo please post the band’s name as a comment to this post on our Figment News Blog, so that we and other users can check it out.  Make sure you post the comment to this post on our blog or your band photo entry won’t be considered.

2.  Again, the photo must be an original photo and must not be of a real black metal band – we will disqualify any photo that we think is not real.  We will also disqualify any picture that features animal sacrifice/cruelty and/or depicts violence commited on a human being.

3.  The contest will run from Friday, September 5th until Friday, Oct. 17th.  All submissions must be posted by no later than 11:59 pm ET on Friday, October 17th.

4.  By no later than, Friday, October 24th Figment will select the Top 10 band photos and send them to Peter Beste.  Peter will look the photos over and select the winner who will receive a copy of his book.  The winner will be announced on Oct. 31st.  Three runners up will win a “True Norwegian Black Metal” promo poster.  The book and posters are courtesy of Peter and his publisher Vice Books.

Here is a little background on Peter Beste to give you an idea of who will be ultimately judging the 10 finalists:

Documentary photographer Peter Beste has spent the last seven years working in the Norwegian black metal scene. This scene, with its notorious events of murder, church arson and self-mythologization is absolutely sealed to outsiders. Beste’s access and insight into this world has been absolutely without precendent, resulting in an amazing photographic journey which was published as a large scale photography book entitled True Norwegian Black Metal (Vice Books 2008).  Beste has had solo exhibitions in London, New York, San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Osaka, Oslo, and Bergen. His work has appeared in London Observer, Spin,  VH1, MTV, American Photo, Modern Painters, British Journal of Photography,  Dazed and Confused, XXL, and many others.

Needless to say, Peter is a Figment Industry Heavyweight and I trust you are as excited as I am to have him take a look at your photography.  So really pull out all the stops and try to create an image that you think really captures the black metal esthetic.  We look forward to your submissions.

If you’d like to read the full contest rules you can access them at http://www.figment.cc/home/tnbm.fig

Every Picture Tells A Story

September 2nd, 2008

One of the most important things used to market bands are images.  Band photos and album covers are important ways to communicate to a potential listener what the band is all about and as a result, have become a form of artwork in their own right.  The importance of images on Figment is even more primary to a band’s success because there’s no music involved and it’s the first thing that a potential fan is going to see.  So my advice is to always give a lot of thought to your band page photo and your album covers. 

When deciding on an image, I always recommend using your own photos for a variety of reasons.  First of all you don’t have to worry about copyrights.  On Figment we try as much as possible to protect the rights of the copyright’s holder and will ban any copyrighted photos that you don’t have the rights to use.  Secondly, I think you can do more with an image that you’ve created and can look for just the right type of shot to match the look you’re trying to give your band. 

If you’re using found images try to pick the one that best captures the esthetic you’ve developed for your fake band, and again, steer clear of anything that contains a copyright symbol, is clearly the work of a professional photographer or contains other trademarked material (corporate logo’s, etc.).

When it comes to album covers it’s important that you try to make it look as much like a real album as possible.  After all, this is a game based around the marketing of fake albums and if it doesn’t look real where’s the fun in that?  I think the fun of Figment is clearly wrapped up in the creation of a musical figment of your imagination, so if you want people to buy into your idea then the artwork has to grab their attention and give them that “I get it” moment that makes them want to click on the Add To Your Collection link.  Don’t forget, when someone buys your album they also become your fan and that means more lucre!  So pull out the Photoshop or any simple photo editing app and add a title or your band’s name to the image you’ve selected.  It’ll make it look a lot more like a real album.  I know that not everyone has access to Photoshop, but there are a lot of simple web-based free image editing apps out there, so don’t let that stop you.

 So what are some great examples of band photos and album covers on Figment?   Well, here are some of my recent favorites.

Album Covers:

Body Harvest "The Apocalypse" EP

Body Harvest "The Apocalypse" EP

 

The Bleatles "Let It Baaa"

The Bleatles "Let It Baaa"

 

Ganja Elation Nation "Sea of Green"

Ganja Elation Nation "Sea of Green"

 

Fait Accompli "Deliverance"

Fait Accompli "Deliverance"

 

The Administration "DisInfotainment"

The Administration "DisInfotainment"

 

Coyote McGee "Lafftermath"

Coyote McGee "Lafftermath"

 

The Cosmic Stoners "Fresh Underwear"

The Cosmic Stoners "Fresh Underwear"

 

Hold the Bullet "Kiss The Ground"

Hold the Bullet "Kiss The Ground"

 

Pushmower "No tengo gusto de él aquí"

Pushmower "No tengo gusto de él aquí"

 

Band Photos:

A Thousand Miles Apart

A Thousand Miles Apart

 

Lazlo Fletcher

Lazlo Fletcher

 

The Administration

The Administration

 

Baark

Baark

 

Bear vs Woman

Bear vs Woman

 

Napalm Blitz

Napalm Blitz

 

The Acadmey of St. Roch of the Bulboes

The Academy of St. Roch of the Bulboes

 

The Four Horsemen of the Botox Lips

 

Write Side Up

Write Side Up

 

The Rooftop Crusaders

The Rooftop Crusaders