Hi sorry we haven't been around in a while, we've been spending some time with Mr Ziploc over the holidays at his pool.
Here is the song "David Christmas" for everyone who doesn't have the 7".
What else is new? Not much. Here is a recent interview that should explain some things upcoming:
AU- Mind letting us in on what the band is up to right now in regards to touring/recording?
10,000Marbles- We're working on our next LP, called "The Chemistry of Common Life", which
was the title of a book on mushrooms from around the turn of the century. We're recording it in January and it will be released in some form I think in August. Also we're working on a split 12" with the Besnard Lakes, a cool psych band from Montreal, and starting the Year of the Rat 12". Year of the Pig is coming out on CD in the winter as well, with a bunch of bonus stuff with it. And we're releasing 2 Year of the Pig 7"s, not sure when they are going to be out. One for the UK and one for North America. As well as the 3rd volume of the mixtape series, which should come out just before the next LP. People are also doing some solo stuff as well - Beat just put out his "Mad Men" tape, Pink EYes has Millenial Reign going and I'm doing some solo guitar stuff called Corona.
We're doing 14 shows in the UK in February with Gallows, and then we're gonna do some
full touring in May and through the summer - EU/US/UK/Japan. I think thats it for right
now? Also working on some sort of DVD.
AU- with the Year of the Pig release the band embarked on a 18+ minute opus not unlike what we found on 2004's Looking for Gold which also featured a 17+ minute song featuring all things unconventional. Can you tell us a little about this process and how it all came together?
10KM- Those two tunes don't really share that much. We scripted Looking for Gold to be really long, made sure it had a lot of parts and gaps that you could separate. I also think LFG is a lot more in line with the rest of our catalogue in that its loud throughout and is based on a conventional instrument set up. We were able to shorten it easily into "Invisible Leader" as a result. Year of the Pig started just as a 4 note riff I used to play onstage when I was setting my gear up and it just became a long song because thats how much music we wanted there to be. It was the most fun song to work through we've done. We'd never worked closely with other musicians before, and it was great to work the song out in practice with Max, who played organ and keyboards. We wrote sort of a skeleton of the song in practice and then fleshed a lot of the parts out in the studio, like a lot of the timing and most of the guitar stuff thats on the song.
LOF was more of a statment than a song when we recorded it, and YOTP is more of just a song. LOF was supposed to outline our idealogy at the time and sort of shift our band from a punk band putting out a string of 7" singles to something a bit more complicated and involved, and sort of allowed us a bit more space I think to put out a record like Hidden World. You have to remember that when we released LOF things were a lot different for us. I mean the 12" was released right in between the split 7" with Haymaker, and the Generation 7", so the rest of our output at the time was a lot more conventional. Plus we only made 600 copies of it, and only played it 2 or 3 times. It's getting re-recorded for the next LP, and hopefully will be a bit different.
AU- controversy seems to follow the group wherever you go, be it for the blunt name, the limited and ultra rare 7” releases, the sporadic touring & the highly unorthodox artwork/inserts – Even with a departure; an actual full length release on Jade Tree, 2006's Hidden World which received critical acclaim from every corner of the industry the band managed to keep it's ultra unique sound in check, defying the mantra that is purported by most skeptics, how is this possible?
10KM- Well I mean all we can do is write songs and release records. I think in terms of hardcore, for the last 5 or 6 years most of the succesful hardcore bands have been so because they've been good at perfecting specific styles of hardcore - 82 style, straightedge style, whatever. I think we get a bit more leeway because we don't really lean on a specific part of the genre, so we're allowed a bit more flexibility. And to people who know us but aren't punks, it doesn't sound like anything they know anyhow. We also try to change our sound up with each record to stay a bit fresh, so hopefully we just keep souding like Fucked Up and thats it.
AU- care to elaborate on the allusions to mind control by the band over the years?
10KM- Well that was something we were interested in for a while 2 or 3 years ago I guess.
Part of it was just prank-style like we were interested in prenting that our records could control peoples minds, using sigils and deliberately repeating riffs in songs, but it was sort of just this cavalier attempt that we could have gone a lot further with, but always ran out of energy and time. I also think it's important for bands to hold a certain amount of contempt for your fans, and being into mind control is a fun way of playing around with that. On another level it was one of those "message" things - like when we put out those first few 7"s we felt this hard devotion-style following from some people and got like crazy press from zines and shit, and a lot of the mind control stuff was reaction to that, like appreciating the attention but also being really wierded out by it, there is a funny quote from Mustard where she's asking someone during an interview why anyone would like the band. So it was this joke thing we played around with for a while but at the same time it was us trying to say to people like watch out, keep your distance from us, or like anything, don't devote yourself to hard to anything or you could get burned. And then trying to do exactly that by putting out bullshit records and having people want to scratch off the tattoos they'd gotten 6 months ago.
AU- you seem to strive to keep the band at arms length, so to speak, to the general public. A recent step was releasing an 8-track tape, as well as extremely limited pressings, even mixtapes, any plans on releasing a Betamax/Laserdisc/Zipdisk etc in the future?
10KM- Well I mean all that stuff is circumstantial. It isnt like we're having meetings trying to figure out how to alienate people - someone will just approach you and be like "hey I can print out 100 8 tracks I have sitting in my basement" or something, and why not do it. The mixtapes are actual supposed to serve the exact opposite purpose, I put those together specifically to give the band a bit more transparency. When the first one came out we had all these serious records out so I tried to make it as silly and fun as I could. I do understand what you are saying though. To a certain extent none of us wants to admit that we're doing a band that is basically full time and takes up most of our free time, we all just want to say we're just in a band for kicks and are all super-detached. So its like we have these fake names and put up all these fronts and facades, its not only to keep the band at arms length from every one else, but also from each other.
AU- Can you tell us some of the musicians/people who have inspired you over the years?
10KM- Well I think only Beat would consider himself a musician. Gulag never even owned a
guitar until a year or two ago, and still has never used his own amp at a FU show. I was also influenced by stricly non-musicians, people who used bands, or other media, to get at something else, just using entertainment to drive home some other agenda. And thats one of the great things about punk, because that tendency is basically the governing force behind being a punk band - no one is really in a punk band to make music, it's all part of pushing forward the lifestyle. Its the whole immediate medium-is-the-message trip where these bands are becoming messages in real time. I mean initially thats where we took our influence from - the Sex Pistols, the Germs - these shitheads that wound up in bands because it was the easiest way to slink into the culture, not because they wanted great musical fame. That's another great thing about punk, it can be so anti-music, so while you're listening to a record it's almost this inside joke you are part of because obviously the music is often great, but there can be this whole other level to it.
AU- how personal are the lyrics to the band and how does the songwriting process come about?
10KM- The lyrics I write are never personal. That wouldnt be interesting. I can never understand lyricists who try to be so confessional and honest with their lyrics and try to have people to relate to them - I could never understand wanting someone to connect with me in that way. I like to write about ideas and imagery, and not so much emotions, but like base feelings, like I don't to write "the world makes me afraid", I want to use words to describe fear. It goes back to before - I don't want strangers who listen to my band to have access to me personally through lyrics or anything. The song writing process is always different - before I used to just basically create the whole record before presenting the song to the band - I would get the idea, write the whole song, the lyrics, ect and then we would move forward but now its a slower process where we just start with a fragment and all contribute to writing a full song.
AU- notorious for popping up where people may not expect you, most recently at MTV live Canada in which upwards of $2000 worth of damage was done, where are we going to find you next?
10KM- Haha. I'm trying to make forays into the dance music scene, because thats what I'm
into. Expect some really shitty remix 12"'s to pop up. It's hard to say. Those things all just happen spontaneously, we'll just get an email randomly. We don't regularly employ a publicist, we havent had a booking agent so things like that can never be premeditated. It's not so strange though - tv shows and ect need content, and we can give them compelling and original content, so it's not so much of a stretch.
AU – Another element which draws the listener’s attention are the musical interludes and subtle touches of violin, organ, whistling, etc. Are these parts conceptualized when the songs are written/rehearsed, or final touches in the studio to add flavor to the songs?
10KM - Yeah they are usually final touches, I think most of the interesting stuff that makes it onto a FU record is done on the spot in the studio. Even more so with Owen's violin parts. He came into the studio and recorded his parts after hearing the songs for the first time that minute. We told him we wanted him to write interludes that connected each song, and he quickly wrote some notes down in a book and then I guess made up these 7 part pieces in his brain right then and recorded them. We never try to add music bits for its own sake, they always have to make sense in the context of the song. The whistling, the organ, ect, we put them in because primarily we thought they would sound nice to listen to. Especially with Hidden World - who wants to listen to 70 minutes of straight distortion? Other than creeps.
AU- Was the song ‘Two Snakes’ inspired in any way by Conan The Barbarian? *adopts Arnie voice* “two snakes……..facing each other!”
10KM- Ha, no, I have never seen that movie. Its from the medical staff - the caduceus. THe song is just supposed to be about the entwinement of opposites, and snakes were just the coolest symbole we could think of - it could have been about the double-helix. While we were recording we had an article about this two headed snake that had just been born somewhere.
AU – The band seems to excel at keeping a raw, live sound on your recordings without losing any sense of musicianship or cohesiveness. What’s your opinion on the Pro Tools generation?
10KM – We have actually used pro-tools in every recording except "Police", where we recorded
onto 2-inch tape. I'm into technology, in our case it just makes things easier. We try to do whats practical. Year of the Pig used almost 70 tracks, and trying to mix that straight on a board would have been almost impossible on one hand, but also would have cost us hundreds of dollars in extra studio time. I mean these are all tools, it's just how you use them. For us in the studio it's mostly about setting up the right gear and pilling it on. For the two cover 7"s we did, we mixed in pro-tools and then put it through a super old 4 track to master it, then used that cassette to dump onto a dat. It's different everytime. I mean we just want things to sound loud. We fucked around with Hidden World on protools for hours and hours trying out different things. If you have sick speakers, there are definetely parts of that record that will hurt your head because the bass drum and extra drum tracks have been compressed so much its like the rest of the sound gets sucked into the drums. We aren't idealists in the studio, we just want to have fun and try lots of different things out.