One of the things I love about metal is that it’s never really lost it’s outsider status.  Sure it went mainstream for a while in the 80’s, but at it’s core metal never lost touch with long van rides and small clubs.  The question is how do you create a Figment of a band that captures that DIY spirit and make it feel real?  I mean so real you can smell the sweaty club, visualize the band shredding on a ridiculously small stage, and feel the thud of their thunderous riffs as they rattle your ribcage.  Well, look no further than the work of Infacticide.  She creates fake metal bands that aren’t just knock offs, but have a genuine aesthetic.  A lot of time clearly goes into them, and yet they seem so natural and effortless.  So who is she and how does she create these incredibly real metal figments?  We decided to find out…

Figment News:  Tell us a little about yourself.

Infacticide:  In character, I’m a foul-mouthed, dirty, slightly mad roadie. In reality, I’m pretty much the same thing only I get insults yelled at me from car windows a lot more.  I’m in love with music, and will pretty much listen to anything as long as it has soul to it. I’m a musician wanna-be, and a writer wanna-be, and playing Figment actually helps inspire me in both those pursuits. Other than that I spend my time camping in the forests of Nova Scotia, Canada, setting fires and drinking wine with my male counterpart, reading a lot of horror novels, painting, writing and wandering around in a stoned daze. Hey, may as well be honest!

FN:  Are you really the bastard stepchild of Vincent Price and Nyarlathotep?

Infacticide:  Not exactly. While the Vincent Price side holds true, I recently found out that I am in fact one of the thousand young of Shub-Niggurath, The Black Goat of the Woods. Iä!

FN:  How did you find out about Figment and what about the site keeps you coming back?

Infacticide:  I was recommended Figment by my bud inflatable_twerp of The Chosen Rejects fame. He knew that I’d be into the inventiveness and music-geekiness of Figment, and so I gave it a shot. When I found the metal scene of fake bands here I knew I’d found something worth doing for sure.

FN:  Have you ever created a fake band before playing Figment and if so, what led you to do so?

Infacticide:  Actually, yes! When I was younger I’d make up band names and draw little cartoony band members like there was no tomorrow. I’d often think about writing a story about them but those never really came through. Later on I’d try to form actual bands with my friends but they’d always end up as more of a bunch of ideas and ridiculous lyrics so I guess they could be considered fake bands too.

FN:  Based on the bands you’ve created on Figment you seem to be a big metal head.  Is metal primarily what you listen to or are you into other genres of music?

Infacticide:  Metal was my first and it will be my last, and it will be forever the closest to me. But that’s not to say I don’t like other styles. I enjoy folk and folk rock,because I grew up with it and because a lot of it speaks to me emotionally and politically as well. I love reggae, classic rock, punk, psychedelic, and chiptune, and I enjoy some old-school hip-hop, krautrock, and traditional Irish/Scottish/Scandinavian music as well. I just like writing from a metal perspective best, because that’s where my head’s at.

FN:  You also seem to like sub genres of metal – doom, drone, grindcore, etc.  Why do you prefer these off-shoots of metal?

Infacticide:  Stoner doom metal is definitely one of my more beloved genres. It pretty much encapsulates everything I love – weed, altered mental states, the occult, mysticism, brutality, Lovecraft, horror and totally slow, totally pulverizing heaviness. For someone whose favourite band is Black Sabbath, an entire offshoot of metal based solely around the ethos the Sab Four laid down has an inescapable draw. I create a lot of grindcore bands because they are just so damn fun to make, a lot of grindcore such as Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Anal Cunt have these hilarious nonsensical song titles which I like to draw upon. Plus a grindcore band which changes styles for each album?  And every album is based on a Nicolas Cage movie?  Why the hell not?!

FN:  What’s your band creation process like?  Are your bands influenced by real bands or do you simply decide on a genre and go from there?

Infacticide:  My bands aren’t really based on specific bands in reality. I either come up with a genre I want to work with, or I have a band name or some song titles that I think would work for a certain type of band, and start building off of that. Sometimes they’re completely off the cuff, but usually they’re thought out.

 

FN:  What are some of the real and/or fake bands that have influenced your fake bands?

Infacticide: Calavera Electrica is inspired by doom bands like Electric Wizard, Acid King, The Lamp of Thoth, and Reverend Bizarre…and formerwageslave’s Vorpal Queen has also been inspirational, being the biggest stoner doom band on Figment. The Ben and Jerry Murders are both my homage to Anal Cunt and my way of mocking a really, REALLY shitty band from my hometown. The Devil’s Dandy Dogs are inspired by old school stoner rock like Pentagram. Shroomurai is inspired by Death and other technical death metal bands, but with their own twist. My bands aren’t really based off other bands,more so they play in the styles of certain bands with their own twists and concepts.

FN:  Are the band members in your fake bands completely made up or are they based on real people?

Infacticide:  Most of my band members are made up, some of them I have very vivid visions of what they look and sound like in my head, while some of them are just names.  However, Marmalade from Calavera Electrica is based somewhat off my real life boyfriend, and Vern Hymen is just an actual musician version of me.

FN:  Is there a member of one of your bands that you think most reflects you as a person?

Infacticide:  As I’ve said, definitely Vern Hymen. I’m about as filthy, angry and ridiculous as her, though with less talent. She (and Calavera Electrica as a whole) is the creation I can most easily channel myself through, because they’re pretty much my dream band, what with the whole “getting stoned and thoughtful and jamming sludgy doom metal” thang.

FN:  What do you think the key is to having a successful band on Figment?

Infacticide:  I think it’s really all about showing care and genuine feeling for the bands you create. I personally love a band with a storyline or history, and when the folks behind their bands speak as their band, which is why I love such players as formerwageslave, inflatable_twerp, FuriousGrace and theHoseman. They really bring their bands to life and make them interesting to read about and keep track of, and that I feel is one of the most important things about Figment, making your bands and albums believable and interesting.  And that’s what I try to do too. I’m not too concerned about being successful though, I just think it’s all good fuckin’ fun!

FN:  Your bands all have great names – Mescaline Kimono, Shroomurai, Calavera Electrica, The Honest Somnambulists, Nicolas Rage, The Devil’s Dandy Dogs – how do you come up with them?

Infacticide:  My band names tend to come from cool things I’ve read in books or on the internet, and thinking “Hey, that would be a great band name!” Calavera Electrica means “Electric Skull” in Spanish, and I found that when I was researching voodoo for a story I was writing. The Honest Somnambulist was actually going to be my label name originally, but then I decided it would be better suited for a band. I think my only problem is sometimes my band names are difficult to remember or spell, but I like ’em, so they stay.

FN:  What is the band and/or album you’ve formed/released that you are the most proud of?

Infacticide:  I’m really proud of Calavera Electrica’s (CE) latest release, “Up Yer Dosage”. It’s been in the works for months, and I’m damn pleased with how it turned out. I was also really proud of CE’s concept EP “Pedal”, and Mescaline Kimono’s “Prairie Fire”.

FN:  What tools do you use to create your album cover and band images?

Infacticide:  Just Microsoft Paint and a lot of luck. I’ve been making ridiculous MS Paint collages for years, so I put that practice to use for albums like Shroomurai’s Detritivore. I’m planning on doing some hand-drawn cover art/band art in the future…

FN:  Your covers all have a very indie feel to them. Where do your cover design ideas come from and what’s your design process?

Infacticide:  I continue to not go too upscale with my art because I kinda like the sketchy feel that MS Paint brings to the process…however, there’s some wicked album art I’ve seen using other programs, so I may give that a shot sometime.  As for ideas, I usually base covers around a central theme for each band – Shroomurai has a psychedelic Asian aesthetic, CE has a druggy, old-school aesthetic, etcetera. I go on internet expeditions for wicked fonts and public domain images.

FN:  Do you think design skills are necessary to be a top band on Figment?  How do you think a player who doesn’t have incredible design skills can compete with players who do?

Infacticide:  I don’t believe that at all! I think if yer band has wicked songs and a cool vision then people will get into you regardless.  Design skill helps, to help be more eye-catching, but even subdued bands that are more minimalistic can still do well.  Hell, the first CE full-length I accidentally released without cover art, but people still checked out the album. We’re all still developing, because our bands are always developing, which is of course what makes Figment fun. Design is just another aspect that develops with the band.

FN:  You sprinkle your album descriptions with consistent mentions of your label, Good Horse Records, your in-house engineer Verchronica “The Inedible Moshbot” Bandicoot, and your recording studio, Ghost Pepper Studios.  Do you do this to create authenticity to your bands?  I certainly think it does.

Infacticide:  Well, thanks! I mostly put in references to the studio engineers, techs, roadies and so forth because I feel like the techs don’t get their due often enough. Recording and doing live sound and stage work is a rough job, but it’s fun as hell and those people are the ones who really help bring music to life in reality, so I feel they should be represented in Figment too! I respect numerous musicians, but when I’m at shows it’s often the roadies on stage hauling around amps that I wish I could be talking to.

FN:  If you could make one of your fake bands real and then join the band, what band would it be and what instrument would you play in the band?

Infacticide:  Without a doubt, Calavera Electrica. I would be the bassist and vocalist (though my singing skills are up for debate), and my boyfriend would fill the role of Marmalade on guitar. Interestingly, we’ve been thinking of starting a stoner doom band…so if I get back to practicing my bass, and we find ourselves a Dr. Sadism drummer…maybe CE will become more than just words on a website…perhaps…

FN:  If you had to pick one Figment player whose work you admire who would it be?

Infacticide:  Definitely formerwageslave. Everything that fellow creates is golden. Vorpal Queen, Lucifer and his boys, Janissary…solid fucking gold. He’s got brilliant ideas and writes his bands in such a way that I feel like I actually could listen to them or hang out and jam with them, and that’s damn inspiring.

FN:  If someone asked you why should I play Figment what would you tell them?

Infacticide:  I’d tell ’em “Because if you’re a music geek in whatever genre you desire, and you don’t have enough time on your hands to form an actual band, it’s a lot of freakin’ fun, man!” But seriously, even if you are a musician or a writer or a producer or what have you, Figment is still a brilliant place to boost your creativity and really just have a good time with these other rad folks who are just as in love with music and music creation as you are. And that’s a mafuckin’ fact.

The bookmarks have been piling up, so it’s time to clean em’ out!  Here we go!

Band names have their genesis in many forms, but this band’s name is literally a joke!

frizbee liked this so much he sent it to us not once, but twice!  Way to be thorough friz!

Frizbee also sent us this link to great album covers on Abduzeedo.

Toadmaster sent us this great NPR post on “The Best Album Covers of 2010”.

When Dave Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, died late last year we lost a true musical explorer and eccentric sage.  Thankfully he left his fellow musicians with some great advice, so heed the Captain!

The harcore punk band Fucked Up recently released their long awaited “punk opera” album “David Comes To Life”, but prior to the album’s release on June 7th they also released a compilation album of songs from all of the fake bands from the fake town in which the fake story is set.  Got all that?  Good now go check out the cool site they created for the album.

Musicians are always finding new ways to make music, behold the music of EXE files!

How iconic is a musician’s hair?  Comb over this infographic to find out!

The ultimate mood music station!

Jamie McKelvie, the comic book artist who we first introduced you to in our interview with Kieron Gillen, recently designed the artwork for the new Art Brut album.  Check it out!

Every year we lose more record stores, a sad fact that is the subject of this Buzzfeed pictorial post.

At Figment we’re devoted fans of rock posters, so we were excited to hear about the release of “American Artifact.” If you love documentaries on rock posters you should also check out our interview with Eileen Yaghoobian about her film “Died Young Stayed Pretty”.

Interested in the sometimes murky world of “fair use”?  Then you should be reading Waxy.org, a blog by tech entrepreneur Andy Baio.

Want to actually play air guitar?  You may soon be able to since this project just got funded on Kickstarter!

Now this is some great fake album artwork!

Do you like some album cover artwork so much you could eat it up?  Well now you can!

That’s it for now.  Until next time…

Oxycoheed

July 12th, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something in “The Back Story Hall of Fame”, but when this story crossed the interwebs I couldn’t help but anoint it with BSHoF certification!  I mean, we all know drugs are to rock stars what air is to us mere mortals, but when was the last time you heard of a rock star knocking off a pharmacy to get his fix, and then taking a cab to his gig?!  Well this one did!

I think you’ll agree this is the type of back story that would sound right at home on Figment!  So while we don’t find drug addiction or armed robbery funny and we hope Mr. Todd gets the help he so clearly needs, we trust that as he sits in a holding cell in Mansfield, MA he’ll find solace in knowing that at least he is now a member of the Figment Back Story Hall of Fame.

Sumo Paint

July 8th, 2011

I recently got an email from Figment player frizbee, who wanted me to know about a new “free” online image editor called Sumo Paint.  I checked it out and it’s fantastic.  It’s very similar to Photoshop and completely free to use unless you want to upgrade to their Pro version.   The basic version of Sumo Paint can only be used on your browser, but the Pro version allows you to download it to your computer for offline use.  You don’t have to install anything except Adobe Air, which is the platform on which the software was built.  You also don’t have to create an account if you don’t want to, just simply click on the Open Sumo Paint link at the top of the page.

It’s got 3D filters, blur and smudge tools, clone stamps, selection tools (magic wand), etc., and there are plenty of tutorials on their official YouTube channel.

There are other free open source image editing tools like GIMP and Paint.NET, but Sumo Paint is nice because you don’t have to download yet another program on to your computer.

So go check it out and when you get a chance take a minute to thank frizbee for bringing this to our attention by buying or listening to one of his band’s albums.

A Heavyweight Child

July 5th, 2011

When we look for Industry Heavyweights on Figment we’re looking for players who really embrace every aspect of the game.  From their design work and willingness to collaborate to their ability to create realistic back stories, news and albums, an Industry Heavyweight has to be a player who exemplifies how you “should play our game”.  ChildofAlma is such a player, and we’re proud to announce that he will be our latest player to be named an Industry Heavyweight.

ChildofAlma has been a Figment player since early 2009, and in that time he’s created a string of well known Figment bands including Whispers to the Fallen, DeathBreth, Sanguine Symphony, Wakizashi, Beijing Bling, Disfigura, Dollhouse In Black and Chainsaw Homicidal MonkeyMan Overdrive among others.

But those bands pale in comparison to what might very well be his Figment masterpiece, The Forgotten Falling.  Not only have TFF become one of the most successful bands on Figment, continually scoring top albums and tours, but they also have two of the best known fake musicians on Figment in Hayden Frasco and Miyako Rey.

ChildofAlma’s work extends far beyond his own bands however, as he’s one of the most collaborative players in the game.  His work includes creating album covers for bands like Werewolf Concerto, contributing to supergroups like Coffin Lords, side projects like Manta Rey, and allowing his musicians to work on albums like Eccentric Arcade’s Epic

What’s even better to see is that as his bands have grown in popularity the quality of his designs, writing, etc. has continued to improve.

His growth and fair play make ChildofAlma the perfect Industry Heavyweight.  So congratulations to him.  We’ll be depositing 15,000 pieces of Lucre in his Figment lucre account to reward him, and hopefully he’ll reward you with his ability to award more lucre as an Industry Heavyweight.