Big Poppa Is On A Mission!

July 31st, 2009

As you know, Big Poppa is hard at work putting together his first annual Fiestaval.  So if you want your band to be a part of the Fiestaval make sure you fan Big Poppa and give him a shout letting him know your band’s name!  If you and enough of your fans become Big Poppa fans you might just make the cut and receive a free Fiestaval tour shirt with your band’s name on the back!

Wanna see how hard Big Poppa’s working to make this happen – check out this video of him searching for an appropriate site to hold the show!

BigPoppaTshirtlarge

Here at Figment News we’ve interviewed a lot of artists who are…shall we say idiosyncratic (Fustercluck), dark and mysterious (The Infernal Archon – Merchants of Metal Festival), and downright surly (Can of Wupazz).  In short, we thought we’d seen it all…that is until we sat down to interview the self-described originator of the latest metal movement “Dad Metal”, Big Poppa.  To say Mr. Poppa (aka Hugh Weber) is “his own person” is an understatement.  A musician who doesn’t court the mainstream nor ignore it, he has carved out a niche of his own, even if that niche is a dark and rather messy place.  In an interview that was at times rambling, chaotic and downright strange we talked to Big Poppa about the history of the band, the imminent release of his first album of recorded music “Learning to Share”, and his plans for the future.  Whether you think he’s an innovator or a madman, one thing’s for sure this ain’t your dad’s metal.

Figment News:  Big Poppa has had a rather tumultuous past.  In fact, despite being the so-called originator of the “Dad Metal” genre, you actually almost broke the band up following your first rehearsal and then spent 12 years deciding whether or not you wanted to go ahead with the project.  What made you decide to push on?

BP:  Whereas most musical hacks and people lacking true vision would say something hokey like “it’s the music” or “I love the fans”, I reject that. It’s the shady hotels, green room food and the love of the road that kept me going. Shiz.

Figment News:  Your band mates Mike Billeter and Andrew Bryjulson, have since left the band.  After 13 years of waiting for you to work with them, why did they decide to leave now?

BP:  Moments after my progeny emerged from the womb covered in the slime of love and passion, those boys … and I do mean boy…decided they no longer had the stomach to sacrifice for the dream. Posers. EEEEEEEE-ow!

[editor’s note: This final exclamation was screamed and seemed to be completely involuntary. It would become a regular occurrence in our interview.]

Figment News:  You recently held a press conference to squelch rumors of a reunion tour only to have someone, that looked suspiciously like you, call a 2nd press conference to say that there may indeed be a reunion tour.  What’s the deal?  Any chance Billeter and Bryjulson will return to the band now that you’ve released your first recording “Mother’s Milk”?

[editor’s note: At this point in our interview, the ceiling collapsed. Brynjulson and Billeter fell from above wearing black spandex and carrying rope and proceeded to run from the room screaming “WE’RE NEVER COMING BACK, WE’RE NEVER COMING BAAAACK!!!”]

BP:  “Um…your guess it as good as mine, but I’d take that as a no…”

Mother's Milk

Figment News:  Speaking of “Mother’s Milk”, tell us about the EP.  It contains no music and is actually a commentary on the album you are currently working on.  Why would your first release in your 13-year career be devoid of music?

BP:  Big Poppa fans expect and deserve more. Any hack can create music, but it takes a certain kind of genius to point out the genius genius behind the genius. Geeeeeeeen-ius!

Figment News:  Anything you can tell us about your new album?  After all it is your first LP of recorded music?

learningtoshare

BP:  “Learning to Share” is our way of giving back to all of the bands we’ve influenced. Except the band “Forcept Extraction.” For legal reasons, we can’t explain why.

Figment News:  Rumor has it that you are planning a music festival, but have yet to invite any bands to join the bill.  How do you plan to have a music festival if there is no one playing on it but you?  Isn’t that just a concert?

BP:  Thank you for the opportunity to explain the Fiestaval. We will be inviting up to 5 bands to suckle at the teat of rock stardom. The venue is yet to be determined, but it will be awesome.

Those bands which help us reach our goal of being the biggest band in Figment history will be included in the line-up and also receive their own “Fiestaval VIP Shirt.”

fiestavaltshirts

All they need to do is encourage their fans to become Big Poppa fans and give a shout-out for their band.  The five bands that receive the most shout-outs or send the most fans will be included.

For example, we would love to include Eccentric Arcade.  If they could encourage people to fan Big Poppa and give a shout-out for EA, they are IN. Additionally, five lucky fans will be randomly selected to get a t-shirt and some love from BP.

Figment News:  So in essence you’re challenging bands to mobilize their fan bases to not only come see them play live but you as well?

BP:  Yeah…I mean I guess so… what kind of question is that? NEXT QUESTION! NEXT! NEXT!

Figment News:  What do you think the fans of these other bands will think of your live show?  Is this a Fiestaval that will have something for everyone?

BP:  No. Absolutely not for everyone. This is a Fiestaval that will have something for intelligent, thoughtful metal fans. Slackers and losers need not attend.

Figment News:  I don’t usually ambush people with questions, but you are a known abuser of hypo-allergenic baby formula and breast milk.  In fact, Jeff Hanneman of Slayer has a restraining order out against you for harassing him at concerts.  Are you high on formula and breast milk right now?

JeffHanneman of Slayer

BP: Hanneman is a…

[editor’s note: this section was removed due to inappropriate suggestions of uses for house pets and baby strollers.]

AND, Its been months since I’ve tasted the sweet nectar of the gods.

Figment News:  Clearly you are an influence for a lot of bands out there today, because…well your press materials say that, but truly how are you an influence – you have no music?

BP:  I never said I was a role model. In the immortal words of my personal hero Natalie Portman in her classic hit, “Natalie’s Rap”: “All the kids looking up to me can [expletives redacted]” I think you get the point.

Figment News:  So what you’re saying is that you truly are the living embodiment of a Figment band?

BP:  Big Poppa serves a critical civic function, which is to inspire people of all ages to strive for and achieve their goals and dreams.

If you reach for the moon and fall short, you’ll still be among the stars. I think Flavor Flav said that once. Or maybe it was Mother Theresa. Who cares, I think it makes sense.

[Editor’s Note: At this point, Hugh pulled a microphone out of his pocket, threw it on the floor, and shouted:]

Big Poppa, Out!

Covering the World

July 17th, 2009

world_world_logo

Larry passed this great feature from the Word Magazine’s website along to me the other day and I haven’t stopped playing around with it since.  It’s a map of locations where album covers were taken.  You can click on an album title on the right or just hit the random generator and it will provide you with the location of the cover shoot and other interesting tidbits on the album.  For instance, did you know that the rear cover of AC/DC’s classic album “Highway to Hell” was shot on a piece of closed highway in Staten Island?  Staten Island standing in for hell?  Go figure.

I think it’s a great source of inspiration and a great way to peer behind the curtain to see how some of these now legendary images were created.   So give it a try and if you’ve got the info add one of your favorites!  And if you get a chance check out Word Magazine’s website – it’s a great read too!

Minagoroshi

In this day and age, the U.S. seems to import everything.  Cars, electronics, steel and even agricultural products by the ton.  So why not death metal?  Fear not, we’re importing that too!  Minagoroshi is a Japanese death metal band from Osaka that has reached near legendary status around the globe despite having broken up in 2004 following an on-stage “mishap”.  Luckily for death metal fans, the band re-formed in 2009 and has since been on a recording rampage.  Following the re-recording of their debut EP “Death in Details”, a LP of all new material “Tokyo Harumageddon”, and their first stateside gig on the main stage at the Merchants of Metal Festival, the band is in high demand.  So despite their demanding schedule and obvious language differences we managed to wrangle an interview with the band in Tokyo between recording sessions for their latest record.

We met with the band in a lounge of the recording studio run by their label AfterHours Records in Tokyo.  The band, Kazuya Akuma – Vocals, DIEsuke – lead guitar, Kaonashi – rhythm guitar, Genji Suzuki – bass guitar, Kaneichi Harada – drums, were all dressed in black suits with black ties and black dress shirts and gave off an imposing but not menacing air.  In fact, the only color the group wore is a wild assortment of dyed hair, from Kazuya’s bright, glowing red, to DIEsuke’s white spikes, to Harada’s long mane of green, straight hair.  As we spoke, Michael Yamazaki, the band’s manager interpreted for the band.

Figment News:  According to your press materials, your band’s name means “kill everyone”, “wholesale slaughter.”  Any worries that a name like this will effect your ability to stock your album in Wal-Mart?

[Michael Yamazaki’s (MY) translation of the question causes them to glance back and forth and lean in close, whispering in Japanese. Now and then “Waru… maruto?” can be heard. They give MY some puzzled questions back]

MY: Ah, I think the problem is Wal-Mart is not existing in Japan… Ano, let me try again…

[MY does some explaining, the band members suddenly all say “Ahh!” Harada snaps his fingers and adds, “Sou da, daiakugaisha (evil empire)!” and then the band members formulate a response.]

MY: Ok, they say they do no worrying, if what is rumored about American big chain stores is truth, the Wal-Mart should be happy to carry their music. Same philosophy.

Figment News:  Your band broke up in 2004 following a stage mishap.  What exactly was the mishap and how did the band decide to reform in 2009?

[MY relates the question, and while the band had been eager and congenial a moment ago… silence falls. Some of them fold arms and look angrily at Kazuya…]

MY: Ano, it’s a bit of a tricky topic…

[MY motions to the band, but Kazuya turns his nose up and huffs, others look away too.]

MY: Ok. I’ll fill in, I don’t think they want to do the discussion… Well in 2004 at Club Desu, popular spot in Osaka for Death Music, Kazuya-san stepped on the guitar’s chord of DIEsuke-san and pulled it from the guitar. Feedback rang out to make the crowd deaf, ruining the song in the middle. DIEsuke-san took off his guitar and threw it to the ground and started to yell at Kazuya-san. Kazuya-san shouted back, while holding the microphone. Everyone in Club Desu heard the angry words. Harada-san stood up and tried to be peacemaker. Kaonashi-san kept playing guitar. Genji-san took off bass and walked off stage. Then it became worse… Harada-san threw drumsticks at Kazuya-san and DIEsuke-san when they kept arguing. Then Kazuya-san’s girlfriend came on stage and punched DIEsuke-san in the face–

[Kazuya (KAZ) cuts in]

KAZ: Say, say say say! Not imporutant. Now, re-yunaito! Back together! Jya, once again besto furendo!

MY: The condition of the reunion decision are many… Genji-san had to give up playing Pachinko, DIEsuke-san had to quit membership in Rod Stewart cover band, Kazuya-san had to part with girlfriend–

[Kazuya starts in interrupt again, all the band members start talking, leaving MY to try and keep up]

MY: They say, at the heart, all felt empty. Their life had lost meaning and directions, and wanted to make more music as Minagoroshi, so apologies were made for the sake of the music, and they began to practice once again as the original band. All for the music, they say.

DeathInDetailsEP

Figment News:  What was it like re-recording your debut EP “Death in Details” earlier this year?

[Band members look a bit nostalgic and talk a bit more vigorously in formulating their answer]

MY: They say very good. Very, very good. It was old songs, but felt like brand new songs. It was something they knew from inside, and still felt like the first time expressing the notes. They knew they had done the right thing to be playing the music again. They all found the same page.

TokyoHarumageddon

Figment News: “Tokyo Harumageddon” was your first new recording in 10 years.  Was it hard to get back in the habit of writing new material for the band?  Who does most of the writing in the band?

[Again, the band animatedly discusses things, MY tries to keep up.]

MY: Coming up with new songs was simple, they felt overflowing with ideas after retracking  old songs on first albums. The band music once more became an outlet for emotion. They all felt immense energy and vigorously “attacked” the new ideas that they discovered during the playing of older songs, yes, “attack, attack” and–

[Harada smacks Kazuya on the head and a several of them say “Yaro!”]

MY:  Kazuya was taking credit for all the music writing, but the band disagrees. I know them to each write their own parts. So eechi member contributes to the process of creation of the songs. I mean each.

Figment News:  You recently played your first gig ever in the United States when you played the main stage at the Merchants of Metal FestivalWhat was that like and why do you think it took so long for you to reach the U.S. market?

[There is a lot of thinking, but Kaonashi answers first.]

MY: K-san is sure the band’s reach is slow in America because American interest is in China, and no longer about Japan and Japanese culture. Americans think all Japanese watch anime and love J-pop, so misconceptions hold back real Japanese culture understanding in America. As for playing in America–

[The band begins to talk with lots of gestures, some imitating the cheering crowd, some pantomiming playing their instrument, then alternating back to the crowd, then back to air-guitaring or air-drumming even faster, then back to being the crowd and flailing their arms]

MY:  Ano, they said it was a dream. They had never before played music for so many people, all who seemed so energetic and crazy. It made them play harder to please the audience. They are all very grateful to have such an experience here in America and got to be as crazy for them in return. Energy builds on energy, the crazy American crowd made their show better. Japan shows are small venue only for Death music.

Figment News:  Your single “Soul Burnt to Black” is getting extensive airplay on radio stations across the globe.  What’s it like to hear your music becoming so universal?

[The band explodes in excited Japanese, going on and on loudly, each one competing and explaining verbosely.]

MY: It is “cool.”

Figment News:  What’s the Japanese death metal scene like?

[Band turn a little grim, mentioning “muzukashi”,  which means difficult, prominently in their descriptions]

MY: It’s very hard. Japan is full of old people right now who think Death music is bad noise. You have to be extreme to get noticed, you have to keep doing newer and more extreme things to keep attention.  Competition is thick, only TV game shows let Death music performers on air time. Genji-san broke his leg on “Converyor Belt Super Challenge!!” show and had to perform from wheelchair for months. All band members have part-time jobs.

Shinjuku Death Moon

Figment News:  Your latest record is a note for note re-recording of your original LP “Shinjuku Death Moon”Why did you decide to re-record another one of your albums?

MY: They wanted to understand where they had been in past times when fans loved them. There has been lots of criticism at reformation, “MG is now different band!” and things. After so long not playing as Minagoroshi, influence had changed, individual sounds and styles of play had gone in many directions. “Shinjuku” album redo was band re-sync.

KAZ: We wanted to give fansu old taipu style, nyuu skillzu! Raito now, we are still the same band as all time! Soremo, fansu say lots, “Old recaado sound like hard to listen to,” so… Eto… fixsu! Tadaa! Now, nyuu sound!

Figment News:  Who are your band’s influences?

[The question brings a lot of head or chin scratching.]

KAZ: Eto, Nyuu Yoruku Death, we all like very muchi. America-style Death… “Kirru! Kirru!” kind of thingu. “Sukinu erodingu eksuposu za sukereton…” All very–

DIEsuke: Ai raiku Rodo Tsuwarudo ando Roi Orbaasan… [(Rod Stewart and Roy Orbison)]

[Silence falls. Obaa-san is Japanese for Grandma.]

Figment News:  Any plans to introduce some American bands, like say Zeroth, to Japanese audiences?

[Whole band goes on a little tirade in Japanese, MY waits for them to calm down a bit]

MY: Well, they say there is no need, Japanese fan base listen to more foreign music than domestic Japanese. Unless it is J-pop. However, they take new their new friends’ from crazy shows’ music back to Nihon with them. But they are sad, Zeroth probably outsells Minagoroshi on Osaka charts. Japanese audience has no loyalty to Japanese Death music.

Figment News:  What’s next for Minagoroshi?

MY: One more re-recorded album is to be released within following month of July, controversial “I Am Death Alive.” For the special release event, they have recorded an American-only release EP in AfterHours studio America. After that–

KAZ: Nyuu taipu Emu-Gee Album create! Huuuuu~!! Tsugi, Amerika e kaiete kuru yo~!! [(After that, we’re come back to America!)] BEWARE! Dangerousu! Emu-Gee to return for showtime ATTAKKU!

[As Kazuya poses, the other band members all stand up and bow.]

BAND: Arigatou Gozaimasu.

Leaking Arcade!

July 9th, 2009

EA Leaked Album

In this age of file sharing it’s no surprise that band’s often find their work circulating on the web long before it’s official release date.  Overzealous fans, unscrupulous studio personnel and radio stations looking for a jump on the competition have leaked tracks or whole albums from bands like The White Stripes, Gnarls Barkley, Arcade Fire and Spoon.

To combat leaks, bands like the Raconteurs have even gone to the trouble of announcing the release date of a new album with very little advance notice.  Too bad that plan failed when iTunes leaked it early.   In U2’s case, their new album “No Line On The Horizon” wasn’t leaked by fans or radio stations, but by their very own label who botched things up by accidently leaking the album to the internet prior to it’s global release date.  Oops!

Needless to say, protecting one’s recorded work becomes harder by the day and band’s on Figment are hardly immune to this problem.  On Wednesday, Eccentric Arcade saw tracks from their upcoming “Technicolor Yawn” album leaked to the internet by someone named Some Douche.   We contacted the band to see how they felt about the album’s leak and what they planned to do about it.

Figment News:  What’s the band’s reaction to your unfinished album being leaked to the public?

Riki: Well, we got a call from our management and they said they had some bad news regarding the album. And we started freaking out thinking that something got messed up during the pressing of the c-ds or something and we were gonna have to push back the release date. Then they told us that rough versions of the tracks had hit the internet and it was kind of a collective “oh, great”.

Ferny: At first we were kind of pissed off because these were tracks that we’ve worked really hard on for a while now. And seeing them spread across the internet before they were ready to be heard is like seeing the bride before the wedding.

Riki: But then we realized that rather than go all Lars Ulrich about it we would just let it be. I can’t say I never downloaded leaked music, so who am I to judge? The fans that were lucky enough to get an early copy should just consider it a collector’s item.

Figment News:  Do you know who leaked the album?

Riki: As of right now we have no idea. More than likely it was a random tech or maybe even one of the night clean up guys.

Figment News:  Any plans to bring legal action against anyone involved?

Riki: We don’t want this to turn into a big witch hunt. Honestly, whoever stole the c-d has nothing to gain from leaking it other than fan admiration. If people started selling copies of it then we would have a problem.

Marcus: If we see it pop up on eBay, it’s on!

Figment News:  How do you think this effects your release plans for the new album?

Riki: We talked about possibly moving the release date forward and getting the album out sooner, but we didn’t want to rush getting the c-ds pressed and shipped and risk any problems with it. And it leaked pretty close to our planned release date anyway, so we figured why rush it? The real deal, final version of the album will be out 9/14/09.

Was that a Figment?

July 7th, 2009

Noticed a new band on Figment today called XMortis, but when I clicked on it to check it out I found this:

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Xmortis

2nd Fridays of the month

Genre Goth Rock Band Created 7/7/2009 Fan Base 0 Total Sales 0

Xmortis
Five Year Anniversary Party!
Friday, July 10th 2009

Five years ago this July we launched Xmortis. It was a new monthly celebration of morbid mirth, in the long, dark tradition of Manray Nightclub. Since Manray’s closing we have kept that tradition going strong at T.T. the Bears. Come celebrate our 5th year anniversary with us!

We’re looking to dig out some great blasts from the depths of our spooky past. We’ll have prizes and giveaways to thank you all for the memories, with wishes for many more to come! Prizes include tickets to Depeche Mode and VNV Nation, as well as a limited number of special commemorative Xmortis V pins.

DJ Chris Ewen continues to spin the most memorable Goth and Industrial with DJ Mothra reprising his Manray co-residency. Terri the bartender keeps the spirits alive and flowing in the Lounge while the Wednesday Addams dancers torment Pugsley to get the evening (and heads) rolling!

18+ $10 ($5 before 10:30) 9pm – 2am
STRICT DRESS CODE: Goth, Industrial, Fetish, Creative Attire Encouraged. MINIMUM ALL BLACK.
T.T. the Bears 10 Brookline St. Cambridge, MA

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Needless to say this is a REAL event and NOT a fake band.  So to answer the title of this post…no Virginia this is not a Figment.

While we frown on this, because Figment is not a bulletin board for the posting of events, we do think it sounds like a pretty cool event that our users might very well be interested in attending.  So we’d like everyone to know that if you have a REAL event that our users might be interested in checking out please feel free to send us an email at [email protected]  If we think it has promise we’ll post something about it here on the blog where it belongs.

In the meantime, good luck LatexLily with XMortis – we hope you have a successful event!

Hot Albums Chart

July 3rd, 2009

Notice a change on our home page?  We’ve been planning to update our charts for some time and based on the feedback you’ve provided it was something you valued as well.  Well, we just updated the charts by getting rid of the Top Albums Chart and replacing it with the Hot Albums Chart which shows the albums with the most sales and listens in the last 30 days.  This way you’ll be looking at new albums that are rising up the charts as well as albums that have legs and continue to sell well.  So take a look and let us know what you think.   Larry worked really hard on this new chart, so take a moment and leave a comment or click on the User Voice feedback tab on the site to register your thoughts – we’d love to hear them.