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Did your read our latest newsletter?  If you did, you know that we were set  to launch a new feature on Figment real soon.  Well, soon…is now!  We just launched our new Figment Merch Store! If you’ve ever wanted to take your fake band to the next level, now you can by creating a custom tour shirt for them!

A big part of the fun of creating a fake band is being able to share your band with friends and strangers alike.  What’s one of the best ways to do this?  Merch baby Merch!  There’s nothing better than wearing a t-shirt with your fake band on it and having a complete stranger stop you to ask where you saw the band.  Now that’s bringing your band to life!

It’s that ability to make your fake band come alive that led us to create a store where you could create custom apparel and do it on a one-off basis.  To do this we teamed with Spreadshirt to create our new Figment Merch Store where you can create a custom tour shirt for any of the bands or albums you’ve created.  Spreadshirt’s Designer let’s you personalize over 100 different articles of clothing with images (either the ones we have permanently added to our store or whatever design you’d like to upload) and/or text to create your band merch!

For those band’s who we think create images that a lot of people will be interested in wearing we’ll be awarding a special merch icon and lucre reward in return for placing their design in the shop.  We’ve already awarded this honor to Darkling, The Bleatles and a few other bands.  So be on the lookout for those bands that win this special award!

In order to create the best shirt possible  we suggest you read Spreadshirt’s info on how to best use their Designer.  Once you have, we hope you’ll take the time to create some merch for your band!

We can’t wait to see people walking down the street wearing your band’s merch – so make it work!

GothZilla Go Gold!

March 25th, 2009

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GothZilla’s debut album “50 Stories of Sadness” is the first album on Figment to go gold!  The band received their golden horn certification this weekend for reaching the 100 albums sold mark with “50 Stories of Sadness”.  Reached for comment the band has this to say about their achievement, “That ole thing?  Really?  Shi….”  When asked why they thought the album resonated so well with fans, they responded “We have no idea.  Honestly we’ve moved on and are working on a new album.  It’s kind of a Perry Como inspired lounge kinda thing with marked Polka influences.”

For those of you who are not familiar with our horn certifications, Figment awards those bands whose albums reach certain sales marks with horn certifications.  These certifications include an icon that’s placed on the album’s page as well as special lucre rewards, which we refer to as “filthy lucre”.  To give you a better understanding of the various horn certifications – here are the icons and corresponding “filthy lucre” rewards for each:

Gold Horn Certification = 100 sales of an album

Filthy Lucre Award – 500 pieces of Lucre

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Platinum Horn Certification = 250 sales of an album

Filthy Lucre Award – 1,000 pieces of Lucre

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Diamond Horn Certification = 500 sales of an album

Filthy Lucre Award – 5,000 pieces of Lucre

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So congratulations GothZilla on being the first to reach gold!

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With our Figment Album Cover Design Contest in full swing, we’ve been spending a lot of time at Figment talking about our favorite album cover designers, and one in particular really stands out to us – Barney Bubbles (BB).  Barney, aka Colin Fulcher, was an influential designer, video director and artist who created album covers for such bands as Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Nick Lowe, The Damned, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Hawkwind, Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Billy Bragg, Graham Parker, and Generation X among others.  In addition, Barney directed videos for bands like Squeeze and The Specials.

I recently picked up a great book on Barney, “Reasons To Be Cheerful:  The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles”, by Paul Gorman (we’re giving away a copy of it to the winner of our album cover design contest).  Paul is a well known English journalist, author, pop historian and owner of the fashion label The Look Presents, and his genuine love and admiration for Barney led him to research and write a book that is the first definitive investigation of Bubbles’ life and work.  I found the book fascinating, and it’s only increased my desire to know more about BB.  So I sought out Paul and he graciously agreed to talk with us about BB’s life, work and the fact that even Barney created imaginary bands!

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Figment:  What inspired you to write a book about Colin Fulcher aka Barney Bubbles?

Paul:  I’m interested in people who fast-track cutting edge ideas into the mainstream, and BB is a fine example and one whose achievements across the broad range of media needed to be recognized.

I’d been aware of his work since the early to mid 70s, when he was fully credited as part of the Hawkwind scene.

I’d go and see them and the Pink Fairies etc at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London; I was brought up a couple of miles away and for £1.25 it was a place where a 14-year-old could have an entire Sunday afternoon of mayhem  with several bands playing.

It wasn’t such a hop skip and jump to go see the Flamin Groovies, Patti Smith and The Ramones there a couple of years later.

By that time I was buying singles weekly from Manzi’s Records in Finchley Road (though I had been given the first Stiff single – Nick Lowe’s So it Goes/Heart Of The City – by a chap I bought records off in Soho). The best sleeves were by BB, and I was a major gig-goer and followed artists he worked with; The Damned, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Nick Lowe. I also  adored the oddballs: Humphrey Ocean, Johnny Moped, etc.

Three years ago my wife – who is a graphic designer, Australian and younger than me – became much enamoured by the BB sleeves, old NMEs and posters I showed her, and asked if there was a book about BB. A light-bulb popped. She saw that this was a representative sample of a body of work which demanded to be collated for broad dissemination.

He was also made a bit of a pet secret in the 90s, with the odd article in rarified design magazines and a couple of mentions in a book or exhibition. I have no time for such elitism and nor, in fact, did BB as far as I can gather from those who knew him well.

BB worked at the commercial sharp-end all of his professional career, as have I for 31 years now, so I was determined to blow the gaff and gain for him the widest possible appreciation.

One critic wrote that my attempts to engage with the broader audience are doomed, because they are “less-demanding [and] less design-aware”.  What a cheerless worldview. I credit people with much more intelligence and know they will be as delighted and intrigued with his work as my wife was. They will also, like me, be allowed an entry point into a world of art and design via his references.

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I must admit that until your book was published I knew very little about Barney Bubbles, but clearly I knew his work because I own a lot of the albums whose covers he designed.  Do you think that is the case with most people?  And if so, why do you think his work flew under the radar for so many years while other designers, like Hipgnosis, became better known?

Because Roger Dean, Hipgnosis and the rest were the visual equivalent of prog-rock, dealing in grandiose concepts to match the overblown music they packaged. So their (to me pretty unattractive) designs steam-roller you, whereas Bubbles was much more subtle and trained to engage the consumer by not blowing his own trumpet.

This wasn’t a period when designers were particularly celebrated; in terms of the popular music scene, after the performers it was the rock critics and music press writers who might receive attention. Still, sufficient numbers of rock fans knew and recognised the work of, say, Duffy, Neon Park, Guy Peellaert, Andy Warhol or Cal Schenkel.

It’s a convenient misconception that Barney Bubbles was a totally hidden figure in this era, created by those who have come late to the party either because they weren’t sufficiently into the music to recognise him as part of the package then, or were simply not there and retrospectively prefer the romantic view.

Sure he avoided credit from the mid-70s on, and was a determinedly background figure in an industry of attention-seekers, but the fact is that Barney Bubbles’ name was broadcast loud and clear to those who wanted to hear it (and fully credited by bands such as Hawkwind) up until the mid-70s, just 9 years before his death.

Even when he was avoiding credit through the frenetic post-punk period, Bubbles was mentioned in reviews of releases on the Stiff, Radar and F-Beat imprints and also in terms of his contribution to the NME (which takes us up to 1978).

Then there was the interview in The Face in 1981- a pretty influential and widely disseminated publication by that time – which gave a sound career overview and an insight into his “extra curricular” activities.

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How did Barney begin working with musicians?

He was part of the British art school boom of the late 50s/early 60s, which gave rise to The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, the Pretty Things, dammit, nearly every great band of the era.

Some of his friends characterize him as a frustrated pop star, and, in a way, designing for groups enabled him to at least share in the communication of music to a mass audience. Of course he made his own record, the somewhat alarming and experimental Ersatz as The Imperial Pompadours in 1982.

As a student he played a mean 12-string and was a blues and jazz enthusiast. He was also an enthusiastic and life-long dancer, a sign of someone who really connects with music.

His college was in Twickenham, the crucible of the beat and R&B explosion with a few of the crucial venues. So it was a natural step to design posters for gigs by The Stones and (Small Face) Ian McLagan’s first band The Muleskinners.

In the mid-60s he and his pals produced posters and t-shirts for imaginary bands such as the Image and The Erections and in many ways the launch of the Barney Bubbles psychedelic light show in 1967 gave him an entree to being part of the performance at underground clubs such as UFO and The Arts Lab.

In 1969 Bubbles started allowing his friends in the Notting Hill street-band Quintessence rehearsal time in the basement of his Portobello Road house. Since he’d become disillusioned with “straight” design work, it was a natural step for him to contribute a die-cut booklet to their debut album In Blissful Company and he was off.

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Was there one group in particular for which his work is best known?

There are a few because he stuck at things, working with Hawkwind in various incarnations from 1971 to 1978, and with Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe from 1977 to 1983.

I believe BB worked best when he appreciated the musicians personally: Nik Turner of Hawkwind because they share spiritual and metaphysical concerns, Ian Dury because of his art-school background, Elvis Costello because they both understood suburban alienation and Nick Lowe because they had a magpie tendency to gather together influences and make them their own.

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Barney used a lot of aliases and his work was credited to a variety of pseudonyms.  Why did he do this and how did the name Barney Bubbles stick?

One person says in the book that there is a thin line between arrogance and humility. Barney was shy but uncompromising and sure of his skill-set. So maybe if you didn’t get that it was a Barney Bubbles then you weren’t hip. His explanation was that you don’t see the name of the designer of the Heinz baked beans label on the can so why should you see his on a Nick Lowe album? I’m not sure, but think there were a number of reasons, one of which was avoidance of the taxman. Overall this was a truly alternative artist, a radical thinker who did not, or could not, conform to even the staple artistic stance of signature and recognition.

The name came about because he had chosen the nickname Barney – or sometimes Barnstaple – in the mid -60s as part of his art gang A1 Good Guyz. When he started heating up oils, coloured ink and water to create a bubbling effect via a projector in underground clubs that became the Barney Bubbles Light Show.

I think he did have issues of identity and his early notes and letters talk constantly of escaping humdrum suburbia so believe the name-change was a necessary part of his reinvention.

I also understand he thought his name was ugly so maybe it’s as simple as that.

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Designer Peter Saville was quoted in your book as saying “Barney Bubbles is the missing link between pop and culture.”  Do you agree, and if so why?

Peter has cleverly encapsulated in a few words what he discusses in his essay in my book, which is: in grey mid-70s Britain BB communicated aspects of “culture” – Art Deco, Constructivism, concrete poetry, Expressionism, Modernism, whatever – via the mass medium of the record sleeve.

Barney Bubbles designed more than just album covers, can you tell us a little about some of other design and visual art projects he created over the years?

[Takes deep breath…]

BB constantly chafed against his chosen professional course so often ventured into other media such as laying-out, art-directing or redesigning magazines (Nova, Town, Frendz, Oz, Let It Rock and the NME); designing books including Brian Griffin’s Copyright 1978 and Power, The Ian Dury Songbook and the John Cooper Clarke Directory; providing the catalogue and poster for the important group exhibition Lives at the Hayward gallery in 1979; and over the years dozens of logos, idents and letterheads from HP Bulmer’s Strongbow cider and Justin de Blank Provisions to Stiff, Radar, F-Beat and Go! Discs Records.

BB also designed hundreds of music press adverts and came up with stage sets for many Hawkwind gigs, plays by Robert Calvert and the Hawklords 25 Years On Tour.

He directed around a dozen promo videos – including Ghost Town by The Specials – and designed one-off pieces of furniture and rugs as commissioned by his music business friends.

In later years he painted privately, mainly in oils and mixed-media. These were not exhibited, but given away to friends.

Barney designed light shows for a variety of bands, including Pink Floyd, at legendary venues like The Roundhouse in London and the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.  How did he get involved in creating light shows and how do you think he was able to bridge the gap between the counter-culture bands of the 70s and the punk/new wave scene of the late 70s and early 80s??

The scene in London in 1966 and 1967 was abuzz with new groups, clubs, venues, underground papers and boutiques so I think he showed a natural urge to be part of where it was at. This is another key element to understanding BB; he rode the Zeitgeist with ease and would be at the centre of things: Eel Pie Island in 1963, Haight-Ashbury in 1968, Portobello Road in 1970, and punk-rock central (Stiff)  in 1977. He time-slipped but many of his pre-77 compadres just fell by the wayside.

In as much as they were experimental, free-form and multi-media (30s movies would be mixed in with the slide projections) the light show was typically BB. And here’s the key: yet again he was providing contemporary music with a visual identity

Is there one album design that you think best sums up Barney’s design style?

To be honest, no. Although there are qualities which are constant – precision, use of reference, typographic clarity, excellent use of colour, wit, surprising juxtapositions, geometry, cryptography – his work was largely unstylised. This enabled him to problem solve for his variety of clients.

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My current favourite is Get Happy!! By Elvis Costello & The Attractions, but last week it was Gracious! by Gracious and next week it will be King Rocker by Generation X because I had a nice chat about Barney with Tony James the other day. The week after that it will be Labour Of Lust by Nick Lowe because I’ve just learnt I’m going to DJ for Nick at the Royal Albert Hall in May!

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Barney suffered from bouts of depression and unfortunately committed suicide in November of 1983.  Where do you think his work would have gone had he lived longer?  Would he have continued to design album covers or do you think he would have moved into other forms of design?

He was certainly becoming frustrated with the grind of single/album/music press advert/tour poster and, in his final year, work was rejected as substandard which indicates a distinct lack of interest.

To me it seems his excursions into painting hadn’t been sufficiently satisfying and that his video direction was too way-out to get any more commissions. If successful, his contemporaries were by this time firmly ensconced in advertising and design companies but he was somewhat out on a limb having worked for harum-scarum indie record labels for so long.

It’s extraordinary to consider the timing to his death. In 1983 the CD had really started to kick in. Even though this was an unsatisfactory size for a designer used to the 12″ or 7″ canvas I’m sure that, since he liked to work with scale, the packaging possibilities would have appealed.

1983 also witnessed the first publicly noted redesign of The Face which brought Neville Brody – a BB admirer – to everyone’s attention. 1983 saw the beginning of the lionisation of pop culture designers in the UK.

Peter Saville came up with the seemingly abstruse quote to Fantin-Latour on the cover of New Order’s Power Corruption and Lies, which also featured a colour code to indicate the band names. These have a direct line to Barney’s use of the David Shepherd parody on the cover of Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces and the inclusion of the proof colour code on the front of Costello’s This Year’s Model.

That same year Malcolm Garrett, who worked for Barney at Radar Records, came through to the mainstream as the in-house designer of Duran Duran. All three of these heralded an era of star designers, and were part of the new generation overshadowing his achievements as the decade got underway. But what did BB expect, having refused to sign his work in the first place?

It should also be remembered that the music scene was pretty dire – all high-gloss production, endless 12″ remixes and that awful drum sound – so BB must have seemed as out-of-sync as Ian Dury, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, who all released career-low records around that time.

I’m told that he shied away from new technologies such as video-edit suites, preferring to oversee manual edits of his promos, so who’s to know what he’d have made of the Apple Mac which was launched, of course, in 1983.

You’ve got a blog “Reasons to be Cheerful” that further expands on the book and Barney’s career.  What do you hope to accomplish with the blog that haven’t already done with the book?

I see the book as the bedrock on which we can base a range of BB-related and music design activity, starting online. The book is out in the US in the autumn, so the second edition is looking like a reality. That will be even better with added info and images.

We had at least 150 images we couldn’t get into the first edition because it would have become unwieldy so the prospect of getting tucked into these – which range from sketches and notes to albums posters and magazines from 1960 to 1983 – was too tempting to resist.

Also I have interviewed more people who have come out of the woodwork and been given a great deal more archive material. Where it is not personal and speaks to the work, all of this will be made public over time.

If you had a fake band what would its name be?

Highly Flammable Boots

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I have always loved album covers.  The artwork, the liner notes, everything about it was magical to me and although many dismissed it as just packaging, to me it was a visual extension of the recorded music that it held.  In fact, in some cases it enhanced the music.  On Figment, album cover art is equally if not more important, because there is NO recorded music involved.  In fact, many might say that the artwork is everything.  I would contest that because I feel the band’s back story and song titles are also important, but I can’t fight the fact that the artwork is the first thing that grabs you when you see a fake band on Figment.

A lot of Figment users seem to feel the same way and have clearly poured a lot of time into creating covers that not only grab your attention, but really communicate what they envision is the “sound” of their fake band.  To me, that’s the true test of great cover art, does it communicate with one look what a listener might hear on the vinyl or CD inside?  It’s with that in mind that we’ve decided to launch an annual Figment Album Cover Contest.

As you may know, we’ve had several theme-related contests (i.e.  Holiday Album Contest) where album cover art was considered in the voting, but in this case the artwork will be the primary focus of the contest and it will not be limited to any one theme.  In short, we’re asking you to pull out all the stops and really flex your design chops with this one.

So who will be judging this contest?  The initial round of judging will be done by the Figment staff who will pick the Top 10 covers that they think merit being considered by our special guest judge.  Who is our guest judge?  Well, we’re thrilled to say it’s well known album cover designer, John Coulthart.  John has designed album covers for such bands as Cradle of Filth and Hawkwind as well as cover design and illustrations for a host of horror and sci-fi related books and graphic novels.

So what do you get for winning?  Well, beyond just bragging rights, we thought we’d arm the winner with everything they would need to be a top album cover designer.

The first thing would be a copy of the premier 3D graphic design software on the market.  So the winner will receive a copy of  Adobe Photoshop CS4-Extended courtesy of Adobe.  That alone is a prize worth $1,000 USD, but it doesn’t end there!

A good designer also needs inspiration, and a strong understanding of the groundbreaking designers that preceded him or her in order to develop their own design esthetic.  What better resource for that then a copy of the book “Reasons to be Cheerful:  The Life and Works of Barney Bubble” by Paul Gorman with a foreward written by Paul Saville.  After all, if you want to be an album designer and you don’t know anything about Barney Bubbles then you need this enlightening read!

And lastly, all the best designers are paid for their work, so why should you be any different?  So we will pay the winner 1,000 pieces of Lucre for his/her winning piece of cover art!!!

So now that you know what’s at stake, what do you need to do to enter?  Here are the basic rules of the contest:

1. You must be a registered Figment user to participate.  If you don’t currently have a Figment account please click here to create one.  This contest is open to Figment users worldwide.

2.  Create a fake band on Figment and release an album with cover art.  You may also release an album by an existing band that you created.  To be considered an album must contain song titles.  Even thought they won’t be the focus of our judging, an album that is released without any song titles it will be disqualified. Once you have released the album or album(s) you want to submit as an entry please post the band and album name as a comment to this post, so that we and other users can check it out.  If you don’t post the band/album name as a comment to this post or your album cover entry won’t be considered.

3.  Any artwork used in the creation of your album cover should either be original or at least one at which you have the permission of the copyright owner to use.  If you do use someone else’s work you need to make it your own by at the very least adding text or something that makes it your own.  Any album designs that are judged as being a copy of an existing work will be disqualified.  We will also disqualify any album cover that is offensive in nature – sexist, racist or hate-based.

4.  The contest will run from Friday, March 6th until Friday, April 3, 2009.  All submissions must be posted by no later than 11:59 pm ET on Friday, April 3rd.

5.  By no later than, Friday, April 10th Figment will select the Top 10 album covers and send them to John Coulthart for his review.  John will look the Top 10 covers over and select the Top 5 – a winner and four runners up.  The winner and runners up will be announced on Friday, April 17, 2009.  The winner will receive a copy of Adobe Photoshop CS4-Extended courtesy of Adobe, a copy of Paul Gorman’s book “Reason to be Cheerful:  The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles and 1,000 pieces of Lucre.  The four runners up will win lucre rewards based on their placement in the Top 5.

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

JOHN COULTHART’s first illustration work was for the Hawkwind album Church of Hawkwind in 1982. Since then his designs and illustrations have appeared on record sleeves, CD and DVD packages for Cradle of Filth, Alan Moore & Tim Perkins, Steven Severin, Fourth World music pioneer Jon Hassell and many others. John is a contributor to Arthur Magazine.

As a comic artist John produced the Lord Horror series ‘Reverbstorm‘ with David Britton for Savoy Books, and received the dubious accolade of having an earlier Savoy title, ‘Hard Core Horror‘ 5, declared obscene in a British court of law. A new graphic work, ‘The Soul‘, is being planned with Alan Moore (From Hell, V for Vendetta). His collection of HP Lovecraft adaptations and illustrations, The Haunter of the Dark and Other Grotesque Visions, was republished in 2006 by Creation Oneiros.

As a book designer and illustrator John continues to work for Savoy Books, and in 2003 designed the acclaimed Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts.

John’s work has been showcased in Rapid Eye, Critical Vision, Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror, EsoTerra, CNN.com and the Channel 4 television series Banned in the UK. He lives and works in Manchester, England.

Needless to say, John is a Figment Industry Heavyweight and I trust you are as excited as I am to have him take a look at your album covers.  So really pull out all the stops and try to create an album cover design that you think really captures your fake band’s esthetic and “sound.”  We look forward to your submissions.

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

llwc

There are a lot of bands on Figment, but some just plain stand out.  Lips Laced With Cyanide (LLWC) is one such band.

From the moment LLWC released their first EP “Haunt” they have slowly but surely developed a devoted and rabid following.  Respected by fellow bands, Fait Accompli recently expressed disbelief when told that they had narrowly beaten them out for the coveted “Best Developed Band” Figgie award, LLWC has released a series of EPs and LPs that not only point to a young band on the rise, but one blessed with remarkable maturity.  Despite being thrust into the spotlight the band has continued to deliver on their original promise, and with the release of their newest LP due this week the band seems poised for a bright future.

We sat down with Lili, the band’s lead singer, to find out how they’re coping with their sudden popularity and to see what she thinks the future holds for LLWC.

Figment:  Let’s get right to it…what’s behind your band’s name?

Lili:  There is a quote, um, I think it might be part of a poem, but I’m not sure.  But it’s basically where we got the name from.

The quote is:

It was true when they said love is the slowest form of suicide, because his lips are laced with cyanide, and I’m addicted to his kiss.


It just…seemed to fit in so right with every thing.  I fall, too hard and too fast for guys, and I can’t get back up.  Then, I get so…addicted to these men and can’t get my thoughts away from them.  And it hurts me very bad when I know they don’t feel the same way.  It kills me. The quote just brings a sort of explanation of my emotions and I felt it was perfect for the band.


I don’t want to make it sound like I’m the owner or most important person, however, in the band.  But most of the lyrics are written either by me or about me.  The others are perfectly content with it, so long as they get in themselves too sometimes.

Figment:  Your band formed in high school and continued to play together in college.  Now that you’re no longer a struggling band of students, what’s it like navigating the treacherous waters of the music business?

Lili:  Well, the music business is very unruly and dangerous.  You can’t really trust anybody, except for those who share a common goal, such as my band mates, who just want to get our music out to the world.  Most record companies are greedy and ruthless and they use and destroy many good bands in the process of getting the money. Now, I understand they have kids to feed and lives to maintain, I’m just voicing my thoughts here.

Also, the press is uncaring of personal lives.  As soon as we got famous, they were barging in everywhere and we felt like we had nothing personal left.  They even dredged up pictures from Corey’s wild party days in Romania.  So, we have to learn to protect ourselves and family from that.


Another thing is, competing bands. Some bands just want to be famous and don’t care what it takes to get there. They will fight tooth-and-nail for the most insane things that don’t seem to matter.  We have learned to distance ourselves from other bands precisely for this reason but hope to begin making friends now that we are relatively safe in our position.

Figment:  You narrowly missed winning two Figgie’s this year for Best Developed Band and Best Band Name.  Are awards important to you or are they just a distraction from making music?

Lili:  Awards are important to me, but not the only thing that we strive for.  Awards are like, icing on a cake.  What’s important is definitely the music and the message that we want to give out.

Awards are a way of getting more attention from the world and getting more fans.  But sometimes, if the band is too popular, it becomes “uncool” to like them.  In our music genre, most fans pride themselves on being different and non-conformist, so liking a huge band with lots of awards is less likely to happen.


We just hope to keep that balance between garage band and mega-famous, to the extent of getting the wrong fans who want superficial songs.

Figment:  You’ve released 2 full length LPs and 3 EPs.  How do you decide when to release your music?  Are the EPs more spur of the moment type recordings or just ideas that don’t fit on your LPs?

Lili:  We release music for a few different reasons.  Once or twice, releasing EPs has been just spur of the moment. But usually it takes a few months to write the music and lyrics and do the artwork.  Then we just release it when it’s done, no special waiting tradition.  Only the Our Dark Minds and The Republicans Revolt EPs were spur of the moment. The other EPs are just songs that we wrote after an LP had just come out and we couldn’t fit it onto our next LP.

We don’t like to release records repeatedly either.  Then we would just over-use everything and eventually become boring and lame.

Figment:  Your first LP “A Kiss in Fate” sold very well for a brand new band.  Why do you think that album resonated so much with fans?

Lili:  I believe that A Kiss In Fate connected with so many because it turned everyday feelings and thoughts into music that everyone could understand. Take for instance, “I’m A User.”  It blatantly speaks about the painful honesty that you know you are a user.  Of knowing you are someone who uses others just to get your own selfish wants.  No matter how good you are, you have used something in your lifetime.  And that song voices it all and has a catchy enough tune to sing along with.

Every song on there is something that hits deep in a person’s heart.  From drugs to homicidal suicide to lust, it gives a voice to the person’s innermost thoughts and emotion.

Figment:  Your last LP “For Once We’re the Powerful” was an album about self-empowerment.  As a band made up of equal parts women and men, what about that subject was appealing?  Was the album more of a statement by the women in the band?

Lili:  It was definitely more woman-centered.  Though we do have men in our band, it is generally the women who write the lyrics and sing the songs.  The men help with writing the music and playing it on their instruments. Obviously, I had a meeting about the album idea with the guys before presenting the idea to the record company. They liked the idea and said they would be glad to help.

The album was very important to me, as it was basically an outpouring of my thoughts and feelings about dating and men and general confusion, but getting past it all.  I was sick of letting them control me and this was a way to get that out.

Figment:  You have a new LP coming out, “Ménage à Trois”, which is a french term that is defined as “a relationship or domestic arrangement in which three people share a sexual relationship.”  Kind of a provocative title.  Care to elaborate on why you chose this title for your new record?

Lili:  We pride ourselves on being different and not afraid to get on more sensitive topics.

The band is pretty much centered on death and romance.  A very gothic-style, if you please.  And while trying to come up with a name for the newest album and possibly a concept to go with it, I got into sort of a love triangle with my drummer and a very close friend [whose name shall go unreleased.]  It just kind of…hit us, that Ménage à Trois was the perfect name for our newest album.  It hit, spot on, our feelings about each other and the world.  Like I said before, we are very into coming out and basically slapping people in the face about things other, wimpier, bands would hide from.

Figment:  Will you be touring on the new record?  Any idea who might open for you?

Lili:  Lips Laced With Cyanide will be touring in ’09.  But as for the other bands touring with us…we aren’t too sure yet.  Up to this point we have just been focusing on the music and getting fans and not necessarily paying much attention to other bands.

So, if there are any bands that would wish to tour, it would be happily accepted.

Figment:  You’ve been pretty outspoken in your political beliefs and have traded barbs with bands like The Warts and Revolting Republicans in the press.  Do you think politics have a place in music?

Lili:  Though I think politics should stay out of music, but it can’t and never will.  Music is about freeing your creativity and yourself.  And one of those things is the way you feel about your country and issues to go along with it.  If I have to, I would play a concert outside of an abortion clinic, if I thought it might change their minds a bit.

Figment:  What are you favorite bands on Figment?

Lili:  Though there are many great bands out there, there are a few that stand out…to us at least,

Amber Romance

Fait Accompli

bigPEBBLE

SinFul

Mind’s Eye

The Cityscape Burns

Darkling

Reign of Sin

Suicide By Papercut

Revolution

3 Seconds From Hell

A Night With The Past

AcuteChronic

Not For Real

Cosmic Catch

Roxy Valentine

DRAGONIER

Z.O.D.S.

CENTURION ANGEL

CHAOD

DEATH HAVEN

UNDEAD ALLIES

HELLRIGHT

CROSSBOW

NIGHTWITCH

Organized Kaos

Falling Up

When Chaos Fails

Deuce

Revolting Republicans

Lvl 4 Death

Darkurine

Anal Leakage

Vestige

Ice Age

Voodoo Chile

Abusement park

91 Arrests

Judas’ Daughters

The Pessimistic Romance

Pushmower

The Rude Awakening

Cutting Room

Figment:  What do you foresee in the future of Lips Laced With Cyanide?

Lili:  Hmm, that’s a hard question.

When we were in high school, LLWC started as just a little joke, a way to get all the pressures off of us for a little bit and just let go.  Certainly, I wanted a future in the music business, but I never imagined I would be where I am today.


So, it’s enough to say that I can’t really say I “foresee” anything.  But what I’m hoping for, and working toward, is just excelling in this.  Such as gaining more fans, going on a world tour, and having a platinum album.  And maybe, next year, Lips Laced With Cyanide will be up behind that podium, happily receiving our first Figgie.


With the way things are going for LLWC, something tell us that’s not out of their reach!