A Gathering of Tribes

May 27th, 2009

momfestival09

Summer is almost upon us and so is the summer concert season.  Every year band’s hit the road to play clubs, outdoor sheds, arenas, stadiums, and now more than ever music festivals.  The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, MerleFest and Coachella have already kicked the festival season off, but others like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, All Points West and the granddaddy of them all the Newport Folk Festival pack them in throughout the summer.  Whether you want to hang with hair metal bands at Rocklohoma or feast on punk at the Warped Tour, there’s something for everyone on the festival circuit, so we decided to focus on two of the newest festivals to enter the fray.

In this first installment, we’ll focus on the brand new Merchants of Metal Festival that kicks off it’s inaugural year on June 6, 2009 in Chicago.  While Ozzfest takes a summer off, The Merchants of Metal Festival (with the curious accronym of MOM) brings together some of the hardest metal acts in the U.S. and abroad.  The one-day festival will have a main stage and a secondary “Pit” stage that features acts ranging from prog-metal stalwarts Zeroth to doom metal act Crimson Eye and Thrash Metal upstarts Forgest.  It also features the stateside concert debuts of Japanese death metal kings Minagoroshi and the German black metal act Dark Brotherhood.

zeroth-fibonacci-epoch

Chicago is not only the site for the inaugural Merchants of Metal Festival, it is also the home for the label which organized the event and backs a number of the participating bands, Long Bong Records.

longbongrecords

Figment News journeyed to the Windy City to gain some insight into the genesis of the festival and got a lot more than we bargained for in the process.  In an extended interview, which ranged across topics both mundane and arcane, the shadowy figure behind Long Bong Records [aka “LBR”], known only as “The Infernal Archon”, alternately enlightened, amused and, frankly, frightened our reporter.

******************************************************

From the outside, the offices of Long Bong Records appear like any number of professional buildings in architecture-rich Chicago; the structure is an early 20th century tower in the style of Louis Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright.  Inside however, things are a bit more…esoteric.

Following a disturbingly thorough security check, we were ushered into the office of the head of Long Bong Records, an individual known only as The Infernal Archon – simply “The Archon” within LBR.  The dominant and most immediately striking feature of the office of The Archon, is the copy of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden Of Earthly Delights triptych, visible prominently behind the massive desk.  After a moment, a door to the side opened and a young spectacled man entered, introducing himself as Mr. Styx, assistant to The Archon.  He immediately proceeded to lower the lights, commenting that The Archon is very sensitive to lighting.  When asked when the Archon would be available, he replied, “He’s already here.”  Startlingly, a shadowy figure was seated behind the broad desk, apparently entering the room unnoticed, and positioned to be completely in silhouette [see the photo below, where apparently a digital glitch blurred the image of the influential label head].  So, begins our interview….

archon1

Figment News: Thank you for taking the time to meet us today.  We’re very excited about the upcoming Merchants of Metal Festival.

[Mr. Styx leans back into the shadow, The Archon mutters something and he leans back forward.  This was the sequence for every question and will not be noted in each case].

Styx: I will be speaking today on behalf of The Archon.  He says we’re pleased to have you here and welcomes the opportunity to discuss the Festival and other matters with the Figment News.

Figment News:  That’s an excellent copy of The Garden of Earthly Delights, if I may say so.

Styx: [pauses] Copy…ah, yes, thank you.  It’s The Archon’s favorite work of art.  It’s a very inspirational piece, don’t you think?

Figment News:  Well, I thought it was supposed to be more or less a warning against lustful excess?  No?

Styx:  [sighs] I suppose that’s the case with all great art…things are open to interpretation.

Figment News:  Ah, hm, interesting.  Well, I will dive right in here.  What prompted Long Bong Records to form the Merchants of Metal Festival?

Styx:  As with all great endeavors, there were many reasons.  Some were commercial, some artistic, others…let’s say…sociological.

Figment News:  Sociological?  How do you mean?

Styx:  In the way music creates a connection between the performer and the listener.  It is a very powerful relationship, wouldn’t you agree?  It can be a channel for all sorts of things….

Figment News:  Ah, I see, sure.  Why the 2 stages?  Is “The Pit” 2nd Stage for up and coming acts?

Styx:  “The Pit”…Interesting that “pit” implies some sort of lower echelon.  It could be possible that The Pit is the prime venue, with the greater significance, no?

Figment News:  I suppose that’s true…

Styx:  In this case though, you are correct.  The Pit is the second stage for less-established bands.The schedule was arranged so the second stage, or “Pit” if you prefer, performances are completed before the final two bands on the main stage [LBR artists Crimson Eye and Zeroth].

Figment News:  You’ve managed to put together a lineup of bands that really covers the full gamut of metal from death metal to doom metal to hair metal.  How well do you think it will all mesh on stage?

Styx:  We anticipate nothing but the finest coming-together of metal bands ever to occur.  All other metal festivals will pale in comparison with the Merchants of Metal lineup.

Figment News:  That’s quite a claim, given some of the metal festivals out there: Ozzfest, Cruefest, Warped Tour, etc.

Styx:  Those are all very worthwhile festivals, but I guarantee you, we will have something they do not.

Figment News:  Which would be what?

Styx:  All will become clear in time….  Back to your question though, I grant you, the hair metal band was a bit of a stretch, but 80’s metal seems to be coming back, so…[shrugs].

Figment News:  What are some of the bands you are most looking forward to seeing play the show?

Styx:  All of them, of course.  Every band was carefully selected by The Archon for both the quality of their work and their live prowess.  We do not like to pick favorites among them, but we are obviously very happy that LBR bands are so well-represented, and are expecting great things from the headliner, Zeroth.

Figment News:  What kind of things?

Styx:  We expect a transcendent experience.

minagoroshi1

Figment News:  I see….  You also have some firsts in the form of Japan’s legendary kings of death metal Minagoroshi and the live debut of SupercrusherDo you think that will help ticket sales and what do you think fans can expect from these two acts?

supercrusherlp1

Styx:  Ah, yes, we were very pleased when Minagoroshi approached us to participate in the festival.  It shows the truly international appeal of metal music, don’t you think?  We expect the American audience to embrace them warmly, and also have seen some Japanese fans planning on following the band to the festival.  Supercrusher was never really conceived as a live band, but we were able to convince Mr. Young and Mr. Gibbons to create a live incarnation for the festival.  Ticket sales had been strong for the festival given the number of top-notch bands already participating, but I’m sure these two firsts only increased the demand.

As to what we expect from these two bands, we expect both to live up to their names.  [Minagoroshi’s being “kill everyone”/”wholesale slaughter”] [Laughs] Not literally, of course….

Figment News:  Mmhm.  Um, what do the band’s riders look like at a Festival like this?  Any ridiculous demands?

Styx:Food, drink, hordes of virgins, farm animals, various implements and other arcane, ah…items…nothing that we can’t handle…

Figment News:  Um…

Styx: [smiling] No, I am kidding.  Everyone was very reasonable in their requests.  We have planned an extensive backstage area, with all sorts of “amusements”, for the performers to enjoy throughout the show.  When everyone heard what we had in-store, any requests they might normally have had basically became moot.

Figment News:  Wow, sounds, er, great.  ‘Merchants of Metal’ is an interesting name – are you literally selling Metal to the audience?

Styx:  Only in the most superficial sense.  We are selling what metal represents: freedom.  Freedom from the conventional mores of society.  Freedom from choices between good and evil.  For there is truly no evil, as there is truly no good.  There only is…

Figment News:  Uh, okay….  What act was the hardest to sign on to the Festival?

Styx:  We were able to get every band we wanted.  Let’s just say…that once these bands heard what we had to propose…they all jumped at the chance.  [Styx leans back again, murmurs ensue]  Supercrusher did take a bit of effort – The Archon had to personally involve himself to close that deal.  But as with the others, everything worked out.  As the expression goes; he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse….

Figment News:  Right…. Zeroth is headlining the main stage at 10 pm.  What do you think we can expect from the masters of prog metal?

Styx: [becoming increasingly animated] A confluence of dimensions, the end of civilization, the dawn of an age of darkness over the surface of the earth, the coming of… [There is a sudden shifting of The Archon, stopping Styx mid-statement.  He collects himself and continues.]  Apologies, I am a big fan of Zeroth….  Perhaps just some outstanding music and showmanship.

Figment News:  Uh, huh….  Uh, any plans to record the shows?

Styx:  Of course.  This will be a landmark event – for music and for society.  The implications of this event run far beyond mere music.  All will become clear in time….

Figment News:  Ok, um, uh, I think that’s all we have.

Styx:  Thank you for coming.  We will see you at the Festival, no?

Figment News:  Uh, yeah, sure, I suppose so….

Styx:  Excellent.  You certainly do not want to miss something this unique.

[At some point in the last few moments, The Archon has left the room, as silently and suddenly as he entered.]

Figment News:  Um, well, I see The Archon has left.Uh, please give him our thanks.

Styx:  It will be my pleasure.See you at the show.

*******************************************

Stay tuned for our next installment when we go “Under the Big Top” with Zandergriff Miggs.

eccentric-arcade1

In music there always seems to be a “next big thing.”  Most of them fizzle within a year or so and fade from sight, but every now and then one comes along that shows all the signs of becoming a band that’s here for the long haul.  Eccentric Arcade is one such band.   With a debut album that has sold well, a third place finish in the Figment Album Cover Design Contest and a new album that’s already racking up sales, Eccentric Arcade are a band on the rise.  We sat down with them to see what makes them the real “next big thing.”

Figment News:  How did you guys form and what’s the story behind your band’s name? I mean what exactly is an Eccentric Arcade?

Riki: We formed kind of by pure chance really. We were all playing Rock Band one day and we started talking about how we all wished we could just be a real band.

Marcus: A few of us had dabbled in some short lived projects in the past, but we decided that there wasn’t anything holding us back from really doing it.

Riki: And the name Eccentric Arcade was actually something that was randomly generated by Rock Band, but we loved it so much that we stuck with it. It’s a suiting name for what we do, I think.

ea-self-titled-debut

Figment News:  Your self-titled debut was a hit album and even placed third in the Figment Album Cover Design contest. What does it feel like to have so much success so quickly?

Riki: It’s mind blowing, to say the least. We took a risk just being the kind of band that we are, playing the kind of music we do because we know it’s not going to appeal to everybody. But we put out an album that we wholeheartedly believed in and we got such an amazing response from it. We can’t thank people enough for backing us up and believing in us.

Figment News:  You’ve described your music as “Amalgam”. I must admit that’s a new musical genre to me. How would you describe it?

Riki: Well, “amalgam” means a mixture, and that’s exactly what we are. Nothing sounds the same twice.

Ferny: We all draw from our own influences and it creates a kind of musical melting pot.

Riki: Our motto is “don’t get comfortable” because you never know what genre we’re gonna tap next.

judgement-single

Figment News:  You’ve released 2 EPs containing singles from your first album, remixes and live recordings. Do you find that your fans are receptive to such an ambitious release schedule?

Riki: I’ve always been the type of fan that when a band I like comes out with something, I’m gonna buy it no matter what. And I always like collecting the singles that come out from my favorite bands because there’s usually something you can’t get anywhere else on there. So I wanted to make sure our fans had the same options. They’re not always everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re buying ’em and you enjoy ’em, that’s all that matters to me.

mouthful-of-blood-single

Figment News:  Speaking of new releases, you just released a new LP “Machines Again” on May 12th. What was the inspiration behind the new album?

Riki: We wanted to go somewhere different on this album. We wanted to keep people guessing and to turn them on their ear with something a bit more aggressive and more experimental.

Marcus: We really wanted to step our game up not only musically but lyrically as well. We down tuned alot of the instruments and played alot more complex rhythms and stuff on this album.

Riki: Chris [Vrenna] produced the album and he used to play for Nine Inch Nails, so he definitely brought that vibe to the record. Alot of the tracks have a more raw and industrial feel to them, which really helps shape the tone of the album.

ea-machines-again

Figment News:  In the liner notes of the new album you call the new album a “soundtrack for a steampunk utopia.” I’ve been hearing a lot about the steampunk design movement. Would you call it a movement and how exactly did it influence this new record?

Riki: It does seem to be an increasingly popular idea. I think stuff like the video game BioShock has really helped bring the steampunk style to light. It’s not something that we’re excessively involved in or anything, it was just a really cool concept that we started exploring as the album came together. Alot of the songs have that kind of “rise and fall” theme, both lyrically and musically. And when we decided on the cover art for the album, which is this sort of steampunk typewriter, it just sort of all came together. (It’s not totally obvious, but if you look at the keys on the typewriter they spell out “Eccentric Arcade”.)

Figment News:  The first single from the new album is “Rust and Mildew” which features a guest vocal from Aaron O’Blivion. How did you come to work with Aaron? Are you fans of Fait Accompli or his solo work?

Riki: I’m a huge Fait Accompli fan, and I love Aaron’s solo work as well. When we were putting the album together and writing and recording I knew that he would fit perfectly. I got in touch with him just to see if he would even be interested in doing it, or if he even knew who we were *laughs*. And it turned out that he actually liked our first album alot and was really interested in working with us. So we brought him into the studio and I showed him a song I’d been working on, “Rust and Mildew”, and he was into it right away. We did some minor tweaking, he wrote his verses, and we laid it down that same day. I love that song and I’m so psyched that we got to work with Aaron.

Figment News:  What was it like recording with Aaron? Any plans to have him or Fait Accompli join you on the tour to support this record?

Riki: Working with Aaron was great. We got along from the get go. I was nervous meeting him because I’m such a fan of his work and Fait Accompli has so many albums under their belt and we’re these up-and-coming guys working on our second album. But he was awesome, one of the coolest people to work with. I was nervous about singing with him on the track, but once we started recording and we found how well we meshed on the track, all that went away.  We’d love to tour with Aaron or Fait, but nothing’s been discussed as of yet. Cross your fingers!

Figment News:  Speaking of touring, what are you tour plans for the new record?

Riki: The plans for the tour are still being ironed out at the moment. Our management is still putting it together and figuring out who we’ll be touring with. Maybe it’ll be Fait, who knows? That would be great, performing “Rust and Mildew” on stage with Aaron.

Figment News:  What do you guys do when you’re not recording or touring?

Riki: We’re still those guys that started out playing Rock Band *laughs* So we all play video games, me and Marcus especially are big Halo freaks. Ferny’s really into hockey, so he hits up a game any time he can. Brian teaches drum classes, which is where he is at the moment. And we all like to spend our alone time, of course. I’m usually spending time with my wife and our cats and dogs, going to movies, out to dinner, the usual. I’m always writing and we’re always working but we still find time to do our own things. We’ve already got some ideas for the next album, so watch out…

amishmilitiabrfh

When you go to meet with musicians, particularly metal bands, you have to be prepared for the unexpected and, quite often, the bizarre.  In one of our most unusual interviews, Figment News journeyed to a barn on the edge of Amish country – Lancaster County, PA – to meet with the members of doom metal sensation Amish Militia.

Four unassuming young men, clean cut, in denim coveralls make up the Militia: Jan Lapp on vocals and guitar, David Fisher on guitar, John Fisher on bass, and Gustav Koch on drums.  As they say though, still waters run deep.  Despite their calm outward demeanor, these Amish lads unleashed a torrent of metal riffs and powerful imagery on their debut disc: Barn Raising From Hell and the recent “Beezelbub’s Buggy” EP.  As they relaxed and our interview went on, we found out the band not only has metal chops to spare but also a wicked sense of humor.

Figment News:  How does a band form in the Pennsylvania Dutch…oops excuse me Deutsch community?  Do you have a band raising?

[chuckles all around]

Jan: Thanks for pointing that out.  It does drive everyone crazy that no one gets it right; we are of GERMAN descent, not Dutch.

David:  Of course, no one will ever complain about it.  Pacifism, you know….

Jan:  But, no, there is no band raising.  We’re not even supposed to play instruments at all.  Having a band would surely be grounds for shunning.

John:  We are probably the first band of any kind to come out of Amish country.  When you consider we all have to be up at dawn to start our farm chores, maybe that’s not a surprise.

Figment News:  Where you originally in a band called the Mennonite Militia?

Jan:  Uh, no, come on….

David:  I think that was a chamber orchestra back in the 1700s.

Jan:  Those guys had no sense of humor at all.  Not like we do these days. [rolls eyes]

John:  Yes, growing up Amish is a laugh-a-minute.

Figment News:  Is it hard being in a metal band when your religion rejects electricity?

Gustav: It hasn’t bothered me much at all.

Jan:  For the rest of us though….

John:  We started out imagining gain and feedback.  Our first couple “rehearsals” were pretty silly.  We’ve made a lot of progress since then.

David: We’ve rigged up our amps to run on propane.  Gas is allowed.  This does cause some fire concerns though. Remember when Jan took that lead during “Wool” and we almost burned down the barn? [laughs]

Jan:  [laughing] That was almost the end of the Militia right there.

David:  Might have made a great cover photo though, if we were actually allowed to have a camera.

Figment News:  Why doom metal?  Was black metal too evil or just too monochromatic given your choice in clothing?

David:  It was the color thing.  We were afraid someone might confuse it with a buggy.  You know; ‘Live tonight: Amish black metal’, “What, like a blacksmith demonstration?”

Jan:  And, as you can see, most of what we are wearing is navy anyway.  We could have done “navy metal”, but that doesn’t sound so great.

John:  Again, would probably send the wrong message – like it was a Navy recruiting drive or something.  Which, of course, we obviously could not be associated with – pacifism and all.

Jan:  Doom metal is fine, the Navy is not.  [laughs]

amishmilitiabb

Figment News:  Is it hard touring when you have to go everywhere in a buggy?

Jan:  We came up with a solution.

Gustav:  We painted a buggy on the side of our van.  So, we are still inside a buggy.

David:  The horses do get tired pulling the van though.

Figment News:  Have you ever shunned any members of the band?

Jan:  Not so far, but if Gustav doesn’t stop giving Dutch ovens in the back of the van after gigs, we may….

Figment News:  Don’t you mean ‘Deutsch ovens’?

Gustav:  The Dutch deserve all the credit for that one….

Jan:  So do you, Gustav, so do you.

Figment News:  Your debut album “Barn Raising From Hell” is, pardon the pun, one hell of a debut record.  Any pushback from Amish elders on the “hell” connotations?

Jan:  Um, the elders don’t know anything about our record….

David:  And we need to keep it that way.

Jan:  So, don’t say anything about this, or we’ll have to shun you viciously from this point forward.
8.  Do you think “Barn Raising from Hell” will rival “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC in the hell oeuvre?

[confused looks]

Jan:  Who?

Figment News:  You do know of AC/DC, don’t you?  Australian hard rock band?  Angus and Malcom Young….?

David:  Not ringing any bells….

[laughter]

John:  Ok, we’re kidding.  Sure, we know AC/DC.  Even being mentioned in the same sentence with them is something we never could have expected.

David:  We think it’s amazing how people have responded to our album.  If were allowed to be estatic, we’d be that.

Figment News:  Any truth to the rumor that you’ll be composing the soundtrack to the movie “Witness 2:  The Shunning”?

David:  We haven’t been asked, but we’d be interested.

Jan:  As long as we could record it within buggy-van range.

Figment News:  Is it true Lukas Haas is your biggest fan?

[Nods and disbelieving looks all around]

Gustav:  Everywhere we play, there he is.  It’s a bit creepy.

Jan:  [directed at Lukas] Move on, man.  That movie was almost 25 years ago!

Gustav:  Seriously, get a life….

David:  Yeah, coming from us, that’s saying something.

Figment News:  What are Amish groupies like?

David:  Freeeeeeaks!

Jan:  You’d be surprised what happens in Lancaster County when the sun goes down.  That’s all I will say….

[knowing looks all around]

Figment News:  I know “plainness” is the common theme in Amish clothing, but any chance we’ll see you in assless leather chaps with flames down the side?

John:  Good thing we don’t have a camera, or you might have already seen that…. [looks at Gustav]

Gustav: [fidgeting nervously] Next question, please!

Figment News:  What’s next for Amish Militia?

Jan:  Today, Lancaster County.  Tomorrow, Eastern Pennsylvania….

David:  Total world domination.  But, in a non-violent and pacifistic manner.

Jan:  With buggies.

Gustav:  And electricity, for the other guys.

The Fustercluck Interview

April 8th, 2009

We were thrilled when Dusty Souffle and Friski Bouffet of Fustercluck agreed to sit down with us for an interview. We were even more thrilled when they said they wanted to do a video interview!!! A Figment News first might I add! Unfortunately, on the day of the interview Friski had to bow out of the interview because he was undergoing a voluntary cranial replacement, but Dusty refused to postpone the interview and ably fielded our questions himself. If you’ve never checked out Fustercluck (a side project of The Frozen Cement Explosion) then you’re in for a treat, so sit back and enjoy!

Figment News would like to send out a special thanks to Dusty Souffle for all his hard work in helping to make this interview possible! You can show him your gratitude by buying the latest release from The Frozen Cement Explosion, “Chawmpin'” on Figment.

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!

Who Doesn’t Love Pie?

November 10th, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I was sifting through the digital stacks of bands and albums on Figment and I happened across a band that really caught my attention, or should I say the cover of their album caught my attention.  “Extreme Croquet Club” by dance metal act The Cutie Pies has a cover that looks like it could have come out in 1987.  It reminds me of the Marietta, Georgia alternative jangle pop act Guadalcanal Diary’s album “2 x 4”.  But the similarities end there, because The Cutie Pies are anything but alternative jangle pop.  No, they are purveyors of a new form of metal – dance metal.  It’s a subgenre of metal that claims such bands as Slightly Metallic (the originators of the genre), Miss Bathory, The Lars Polka and The Rooftop Crusaders among its adherents.  The Cutie Pies though seem to be Les Enfants Terribles of the genre and we thought it was high time we caught up with them for a chat.  We sat down with lead singer Piper Lawrence to discuss what makes The Cutie Pies tick.

Figment:  Dance Metal seems to be expanding as a genre on Figment with bands like yours starting to take off.  What bands influenced you to take this route with your music?

Piper:  I listen to a mix of bands, from The Beatles, to As I Lay Dying. When I started this band, I really didn’t have a mind set on the genre. We just happened to be Dance Metal.

Figment:  As a dance metal band your first album, “Extreme Croquet Club”, is that perfect mix of aggro punk, metal and pop dance music that makes up the genre’s definitive sound.  Is there any significance to the title of the album and what was the concept behind it?

Piper:  Well, our drummer, Joshua Kain, was a part of the Extreme Croquet Club of ConnecticutBut, it was just something out of the blue, just like the titles for the songs. Some of them were quotes we said either playing video games, or us just being weird and random. Really, the titles have nothing to do with the actual songs.

Figment:  So Josh plays extreme croquet?  I didn’t realize it was actually a sport.  It’s kind of a subgenre of croquet in much the same way your music is a subgenre of metal huh?  Does it require special equipment?

Piper:  Yeah, I guess you could call it a subgenre.  Like I said before, Josh is a huge Extreme Croquet fanatic, and he actually taught the rest of us to play. It doesn’t mean we’re any good, But its something to pass the time. What Extreme Croquet really is, is pretty much the same thing as regular Croquet, except it is played in harsh terrains, like very woodsy areas. And the mallets, wickets, and balls are reinforced for “extra strength”.

Figment:  What do you like to do when not recording or touring?

Piper:  Well, we play croquet of course, video games, and when we’re in New Mexico we buy a butt load of firecrackers, and do stupid things. Pretty much we do whatever to keep ourselves entertained, even when it means our manager has to bail us out of jail.

Figment:  Piper, we know you’re the band’s lead singer, but we don’t know anything about the other members.  Can you introduce us to them and tell us a little about each one of them?

Piper:  Well, you know me, so I’m gonna move on. But there is my brother, Matt, who plays the electric bass guitar. He’s the lame older brother no one wants to hang out with.  Just kidding, he’s really the one who gets us sent to jail, most of the time. Anyways, Aaron Mason, plays the electric guitar. He’s our little nerd. You know Josh, the Extreme Croquet drummer. And Dominic Aston, who is awesome with the synth and is the craziest of us all.

Figment:  How did the band form?

Piper:  We all grew up together in the little town of Tucson, Arizona. Except for Josh, but, really, who cares about Josh, he’s just the drummer. Just kidding. We met him in college at the U of A, and we all became even closer, if that’s possible. and one boring day, I just said, “We should make a band, it’d be awesome.” And so we did. We went from my dorm room, to the road, to the studio, to the road again. So, we’ve seen a lot of the road.

Figment:  What bands are you a fan of?

Piper:  We really enjoy the music of House, and Miss Bathory, and The Pessimistic Romance. Among others that don’t come to mind right now.

Figment:  A lot of bands have bizarre backstage rider requests, like only green M&M’s or a specific paint color on the walls of the dressing room.  Do The Cutie Pies have any weird rider requests?

Piper:  We are a humble group, and we really try not to be a bother. So, if there’s something we need, like Matt’s gross wheat grass, we bring it ourselves. And if they insist, we ask for pie. Apple, and Pumpkin.

Figment:  What do you think of touring?  Any plans to do so in 2009?

Piper:  Touring…. Well, we’re trying to get together with, none other than, The Pessimistic Romance. But definitely we’re gonna do some gigs.

Figment:  I’m sorry, but I have to ask.  The Cutie Pies – ala mode, whipped cream or old school plain?

Piper:  Whipped cream, definitely. Plain is ok, but the best has to have whipped cream.

The Cutie Pies, a top selling band with a growing legion of fans, and well, whipped cream.  Isn’t that the cherry on top?!

[Editor’s Note:  Just prior to this article’s publication The Cutie Pies released their second album “Kalvin Klein and the Chipmunks” – so check it out.]

Chad, Chad, He’s Our Man!

November 4th, 2008

Given that it’s election day we’re all very busy here at Figment Election Headquarters and don’t have a lot of time to blog.  With that in mind, we’ve decided to re-publish an interview with Chad Masters that we originally posted back on July 23, 2008.  Chad is that rare form of political maverick, the kind that actually IS a maverick.  In short, you never know what the hell he’s going to do!  So if you’re undecided today when you enter the voting booth, write in Chad, because believe it or not you COULD do worse.

Barack Obama John McCainRalph NaderChad Masters

Barack Obama, John McCain, Ralph Nader, Chad Masters.  Chad Masters? Okay, so you know the first three candidates running for President in 2008, but Chad Masters?  Isn’t he the bassist for Pincher Nipple?  Didn’t he recently have a run in with the employee of a Quiki Mart and spend a few months in the county clink?  Can a convicted felon run for President? All these questions and more were answered when we sat down at Masters campaign headquarters to conduct a one-on-one interview with the man himself, and by the time we were done not a Chad was left hanging.

Figment News: First of all, let me say thanks for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview.  I know you are a very busy man these days.  And with that in mind, let me ask you, what’s up with you and Pincher Nipple?  With 2 solo albums out now and a new Pincher Nipple record how do you juggle it all?

Chad Masters: I have to clear the air first of all. I am not going to be leaving Pincher Nipple.  My solo project is something that my therapist asked me to try.  After my time in jail, I had a lot of issues to sort out with no outlet for them.  She suggested I try writing them down in hopes of coming to terms with them.  Johnson saw some of what I was writing and said it would make some great whiney ass emo shit.  Now, Pincher Nipple would never put anything like that out, so I released it as a side project.  It has been quite cathartic.

Figment News:  I know there’s been some finger pointing and claims by Rod Johnson [brother of Pincher Nipple’s lead singer, Johnson] that his new band Crotch Rocket is better than Pincher Nipple, but has there been any internal squabbles with the rest of the Nipple crew about your solo projects?

Chad:  Screw Rod and the rest of those Crotch Rocket punks.  That kid is ungrateful.  Johnson pulled a lot of strings to get him signed and all he does is talk shit about us.  I don’t even want to talk about him.  As far as the rest of Pincher Nipple is concerned, this side project is just an outlet like I said before.  As a band, we are stronger than ever.

Figment News: “Liquor in the Front, Poker in the Rear” is the latest from Pincher Nipple.  What is that album all about?  Is the band trying to promote drinking and gambling?

Liquor in the Front, Poker in the Rear Album Cover

Chad:  This album was our homage to Vegas.  We love that place.  In fact, Vegas is a lot like Pincher Nipple…  Bright lights and hot nights.  Are we trying to promote drinking and gambling?  Hell yeah, we are.  Life is all about drinking and gambling, that and chicks, and money, and you’d better throw in some legal representation.  Next question.

Figment News:  Will the band be touring to support the new record?

Chad:  It’s in the works.  We’ve had some problems with our opening acts as of late, so if anybody out there thinks they have what it takes to tour with the Nipple, give us a shout. [editor’s note:  you can leave a shout in the shout box on Pincher Nipple’s Figment band page if you’d like to be their support act].

Figment News:  Your work with Pincher Nipple is purely hard rock, but on your solo records you’ve mixed it up a bit.  Why?

Chad:  Have you heard anything I’ve said.  Seriously dude, your starting to piss me off.  My side project is just one avenue to work out some personal problems.  Do you really think Pincher Nipple would play this stuff.  How many ladies are gonna throw their panties on stage when they come to see the sexiest, sleaziest, biggest [Masters holds his fingers about a foot apart] band in the world and all they do is cry and whine on stage about how miserable life is.  We are cock rockers.  We play loud and hard.  My solo work is just an escape.  A chance step away from myself if you will.  Your next question better be good or I’m outta here.

Figment News:  Fair enough, but I have to ask you what was the single most important thing you learned from your most recent incarceration?

Chad:  I’ll give you some credit for that one.  I’ve learned that I need to control my temper.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I tend to get worked up quickly.  That deli jockey may have screwed up my order, but that was no reason to tear the place apart and kick his ass.  And when I was in the joint, maybe, just maybe, if I had kept my mouth shut….. well I don’t want to talk about that.  Movin’ along.

Figment News:  Clearly your stay in prison influenced your first solo record, but what is the inspiration behind your latest record “Punch My Ticket”?

Punch My Ticket Album Cover

Chad:  I watch a lot of T.V.  and the one thing I never see is some ordinary dude standing up and telling these so called “representatives of the people” they suck.  They could care less if their constituents live or die.  Granted, I’m not ordinary by any means, but I get up and go to work and come home.  I hate hearing how stupid our country is compared to other countries, I hate hearing about all the crime, how people can’t afford to see a doctor.  It pisses me off.  So why couldn’t I be president.  I sure as hell don’t have to kiss any lobbyist ass to afford a campaign.  I sure as hell don’t need a cigar to screw an intern.  I’ll do things in that office they don’t even have a name for.  Obviously, you don’t need any qualifications to be a president, so why not?  I decided to run for president and what better way to kick off my campaign that with an album which may or may not have a campaign button that comes with the album.  Not sure what is going on with the buttons yet, might have to pick them up separately.

Figment News:  So the rumors are true that you are gearing up for a presidential run?

Chad:  What is wrong with you?  I just said I was.

Figment News:  Okay, moving right along, do you think that the “family values” crowd will support someone who has so candidly discussed sex and violence in their songs?

Chad:  Those so called “family values” people are way worse than me.  I can’t count the times some morally up righteous group talked shit about me and after a show their women would be kneeling at my alter, if you know what I mean.  The moral majority is a minority in my opinion.  It’s time the average guy stood up and got counted.

Figment News:  Pincher Nipple seems to be a cottage industry what with you branching out into solo work and lead singer Johnson’s little brother Rod forming Crotch Rocket.  Who do you think is making the best music of the three and are any of the other member’s thinking of going solo?

Chad:  Pincher Nipple by far.  Nobody can compete with us.

Figment News:  Are you in any way related to the rodeo star of the same name?

Chad:  Do I look like I watch rodeo?  I like reverse cowgirl as much as the next guy, but that is about all I know about rodeo.

Figment News:  Well if you’re going to run for President you’re going to have to get used to debate questions.  So here we go.  Mr. Masters it’s time for final statements, in ten words or less sum up your hopes for America in the next 4 years.

Chad:  It’s time?  it’s time, is it?  Ten words or less… America, I’m a rock star.  Punch my ticket…Vote Masters!

And there you have it, the audacity of hope, delivered by a leader we can believe in, who would never be caught dead in a Corvair.  Chad, you have our endorsement!

We’ve all been there, that moment when the all the things your significant other does stop being cute and start flat out pissing you off.  You know the progression of feelings you go through – disappointment, frustration, annoyance, disdain.  It’s simple, you’re breaking up, and as Neil Sedaka taught us “breaking up is hard to do!” Despite the pain involved, break ups have long served as the grist for many a great song and/or album.  “Shoot Out the Lights” by Richard and Linda Thompson leaps to mind as does Bob Dylan’s classic album “Blood on the Tracks”, and Ben Fold’s “Song for the Dumped” says it all, but what if romantic disillusionment was the basis for a band itself?  What would that band sound like?  Angry?  Despondent?  Certainly those emotions would play a part, but maybe you’d also have a musical epiphany of sorts, a realization that romantic entanglements are not to be won or lost, but rather learning experiences that shape the way we approach future relationships.  If there is such a band it’s The Pessimistic Romance.  Led by Sadie Hawkins (no she’s not going to ask you to the dance), The Pessimistic Romance is really just Hawkins backed by a revolving set of musicians, but her take on the darker side of romance is an interesting one and it quickly became the focus of our recent conversation with her.

Figment:  Sadie, why the name “The Pessimistic Romance”?  Don’t you believe in romance?

Sadie:  [Laughs] Of course I do, but it dies. I’m cynical at times, and I chose “The Pessimistic Romance” because I guess sometimes my cynicism rules.

Figment:  Your new record “Love Doesn’t Last Forever” on Revenge Records seems to be a song cycle on what happens before a breakup.  Is this based on personal experience or is it based on a friend…wink, wink, nudge, nudge?

Sadie: [Smirking, amused] Well, it’s a little bit of both. I’ve been through only one break up, it was me breaking up with him. I’ve had friends that have been fighting with their significant other, and have just been a shoulder to cry on for them. It’s based mainly on their experiences.

Figment:  In most break ups you have a lot of “he said/she said”, but your work seems to be entirely from the “she said” perspective.  Do you think at any time that you might cover the same territory in a song or on an album, but this time from the point of view of the male?

Sadie: [Nods] Definitely. I have plenty of material for it, and I’m hoping it’ll be the next album.

Figment:  “Broken Plates and Broken Hearts” is the opening track to your new album.  Why start the album with such an aggressive and moving song?

Sadie: Well, I wanted to start from the beginning. My songs tell a story, and it’s best if they’re told from the beginning.

Figment:  So you start with broken plates…interesting.  Remind me not to buy you fine china when you do get married! [Hawkins issues a weak smile and looks at her manager who is seated across the room]  But anyway, how do you get over a break up?  Do you record?

Sadie: [Laughs] Like I said earlier, I’ve only been through one break up, one I initiated at that. I’ve never really been through one unless you count a couple of good friends “breaking up” with me.

Figment:  In that case, any chance your next album will be about butterflies and puppy love?

Sadie: [Laughs out loud] Wow, no. Sorry people. Not this coming album. Maybe my third album, God willing I am still recording.

Figment:  What’s your favorite song on the new album?

Sadie: Oh wow, that’s tough. They’re my babies y’know? Uh… I think the last song, “Don’t Look Back” is my favorite. Purely for the fact that it’s a fun song to sing. I had a blast recording it, and I wanted it to sound a little more upbeat. The whole purpose of the song was to tell people not to look back on past mistakes. Not just in relationships, but for everything. It’s true too, the more you dwell on the negative past doings, the longer they stick around and the harder it is to get over.

Figment:  How did you get into music?

Sadie: Wow, where do I start? My parents love music, and I grew up around it. They weren’t musicians by any measure, but they were avid fans. Listening to music my whole life, singing along with it made me want to do it forever. I always knew I wanted to get into music.

Figment:  Any tour plans?  If so, who would you like to go on tour with?

Sadie: I’m getting a tour ready, and I would love to tour with Not For Real, and Nigel Beth. I think it’d be fun.

Figment:  As far as your career is concerned – glass half full or half empty?

Sadie: Hopefully it’s half full. [Chuckles] I have fans, so that’s a good sign.

When The Bleatles broke up a little over a year ago many a fan thought it was the first sign of the apocalypse.  After all, the Fab Flock was one of the most popular flock n’ roll bands in the world and John, Poll, George and Ramgoat were beloved by their loyal flock of fans.  Some blamed Yang, John’s girlfriend, for breaking up the group, while others were convinced that Poll was more interested in developing a solo career.  Whatever the reason the break was painful for everyone involved BUT the members of the band.  Although they had butted heads at times, the members were all willing to meet up again for one last interview to set the record straight on some of the seminal moments in the band’s fabled history as well as put to rest some of the rumors as to the reasons for their break up.  We met at Poll’s new manger in Knightsbridge and after some hay and water sat down to chew the cud.

Figment:  John and Poll, how did you two first meet?  And what led you to form such a successful songwriting team?

John:  Well, you know, as a kid I had a group called The Cardingmen.  We were playing at a veterinarian’s ball one spring when Poll came up and asked if he could join. We auditioned him…

Poll:  I played Eddie Cochram’s “Twenty Right Flock.”  I think what impressed them most was that I knew all of the words.

John:  And there’s no great secret to our songwriting.  I think sheep have a natural advantage there.  We stand around all day just chewing our cuds and thinking, so…  ”Ruminating” has more than one meaning, you know.

Figment:  Ramgoat, you’ve been called the “lovable” wool top – to what do you attribute your affable nature?

Ramgoat:  I guess I’ve always had a way with the ladies.  They think I’m really cute and sweet…

John:  Yeah, but he’s really a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

Figment:  Poll, any interest in commenting on the “Poll is bred” rumors?

Poll:  Hey, this isn’t virgin wool, if you know what I mean!

Figment:  Your album “Abbey Fold” was just re-released on Figment as part of a re-issue of your entire recorded catalog.  There has been a lot of speculation on the album cover since it’s original release and I wonder if any of you care to comment on whether the cover contains any symbolism?

Ramgoat:  Cymbals?  No, I don’t think so.  I might have had some drumsticks in my pocket, but…

George:  No, I think he means something like whether Poll’s bare hooves and being out of step with the rest of us means anything special.  Or that he’s holding a cigarette and the license plate number on the old car is “28 BAA”..

Poll:  Georgie Boy, I think you’re wrong.  He meant cymbals — you know high hats, that sort of thing.

John:  There weren’t any cymbals, just sticks

George:  Hmm.  I guess I’m always looking for meaning, even where there isn’t any…

Figment:  George, you have often been called the spiritual leader of the group.  Care to comment on the effect spiritualism has had on the group and was that spirituality effected after the rest of the band’s falling out with the Baaharishi?

George:  Well after that cymbals screw up, I’m kinda reluctant to talk about anything metaphysical!   But really, spiritualism has been a big part of what the Bleatles are all about since “She Said Sheep’s Head” and “Within Ewe, Without Ewe.”  I’ll definitely carry that with me into my solo career.  The whole thing with the Baaharishi Mahesh Yogurt was really unfortunate.  You look to your sheep dog for guidance, but he really let his flock down.

Figment:  John, why did you decide to leave The Bleatles?  Was Yang a part of that decision?

John:  I think that as we grow, we grow in different directions, so leaving was really inevitable.  I want to be more than just a flock ‘n’ roll singer, I want to change the world.  Yang has definitely encouraged that.  We’re both into social activism, you know: bale-ism and bed-ins for fleece, and all that.

Figment:  Do you think “Give Fleece A Chance” is more relevant now than ever?

John:  You bet!  You know what they say: “Make wool, not war.”

Figment:  Poll, any truth to the rumors that you’ll be releasing a solo album soon?

Poll:  Yeah, thanks for asking!  I’ll be releasing it in just a few weeks.  It’s called McCardigan.  Actually, I’ve already started working on the followup.  I was going to call it Ram, but now I’m leaning toward calling it Man.

Figment:  Speaking of solo albums, Ramgoat why did you choose to record an album of standards for your first solo release “Ruminental Journey”?

Ramgoat:  It was my parents’ idea.  My mum said, “Why don’t you do something me and your dad can dance to?”  My Uncle Billy said I was too scared to do an album of oldies, and he started flapping his hooves and making those chicken clucking sounds.  He kept daring me to do it, and when he got up to “double-dog dare,” I had to take the bait.  I know I’m no Benny Goatman, but I think it turned out all right.

Figment:  Any truth to the rumors that your manager has sex with humans?

Ramgoat:  Well, he does spend a lot of time in Arkansas.  I hear that kind of thing is popular down there.

Figment:  Is it true that Bobble-Head Dillon introduced you to marijuana?

John:  Well, yes and no…  He told us, “You shouldn’t just eat the grass, you should try smoking it.”  Turns out he was just talking about fescue.  Who knew?

Figment:  Which one of you is most likely to sell out, record bad songs with lame pop stars and generally come off as a tool in your later years?

Poll:  Not me!  I really hate it when singers pair up to do those cheesy songs.  I mean, can you imagine singing some schmaltzy duet with Michael Yak-Son?

George:  Hmm…if I become a tool, I’d want to be something cool like a rivet gun or maybe an adz.

Ramgoat:  Not me!  I’d be a pair of shears — Billy Shears.

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!