Monday, May 10, 2010

Fuck The Facts founder Topon Das pauses from preparing for the band’s next US tour - including their first Ithaca performance since 2003 – to discuss where they’ve been and where they’re going: new tour, their first DVD, a new 7” EP, and a new LP in the works.  Ithaca Underground’s Bubba Crumrine interviews. 

IU: Hey, congrats on releasing your first DVD!

Topon: Thanks! We’re excited for it. It’s a DVD for our last full length, “Disgorge Mexico” which came out in August of 2008. We filmed a live concert where we played the entire album from start to finish in our hometown.  A friend of ours, Dave Hall made a really cracked out movie to accompany the whole album as well.  Those two things have been in the works for a while, we finally got it done, and it was just released. We’re pretty stoked about it!

IU: Wow, I can only imagine the amount of time and effort that would have to go into pulling that off, especially in such a DIY manner.

Topon: Yeah, our friend Dave I mentioned runs a DIY film company.  He’s done work for us before, the Today Is the Day movie, and the Maryland Death Fest
film. The guy that filmed the live material and edited it owns his own film company in Hamilton, which releases a lot of B-horror movies and some other really awesome shit, called Nictophobic Films.  So, we are DIY but at the same time we worked a lot with other DIY people to accomplish it all.

IU: Awesome, and the DVD comes shortly on the tale of a 7” that was recently released as well, correct?

Topon: Correct, back in February we self released a 7” limited to 500 copies, which we also posted a digital download for people who don’t have turntables and to make sure the highest quality version is out there. That all turned out really well.  We began recording in November, worked really hard to do it all ourselves - once again with some help from our friends – and we’re really happy with how it all turned out.

 IU: You all have been relatively relentless with releases over the years - countless 7”, splits, more than a half dozen full lengths – how much of your life does this take up?

Topon: It’s pretty insane when I sit back and think about it sometimes.  If this band isn’t our whole life it’s at least a huge part of it and consumes the majority of our days, from when we wake up until we decide to go to bed at night. It’s crazy to think about because we do it so much but none of us are getting paid to do this, there’s no money to be made.  There’s just this thing inside us that is really proud of what we do and we want other people to enjoy it as well.

IU: Well keep doing it! There are a lot of us out there that are really enjoying what you all do. 

Topon: That’s good because I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! (Laughs) I hope we can keep doing this for as long as possible.  There’s no goal in this band besides make every album better than the last, get better live, and make shit that we’re really stoked on.  We have no goal of ever even making a living doing this; we just want to do it. We can’t fucking stop because it’s just too exciting. Whenever new shit comes together, it’s the most exciting feeling in the world. 

IU: So that’s what keeps you going for the last 10+ years?

Topon: Yeah, definitely. It’s hard to believe sometimes that 10 years has passed (laughs). 

IU: Over the years, Fuck The Facts has seen a lot of turnover and internal changes, starting as just you, eventually fleshing out to a full band, and taking off from there. How has the band’s writing process changed because of that? Are you still the main creative force or do other members contribute equally?

Topon: Recently it changed a fair amount, when we brought on our new bassist, Mark.  I want people to write as much as possible. Fuck The Facts is a band that is made up of all of our members and I feel it’s important that everyone in the band is as involved as possible because that’s what makes a band. If it’s just you writing songs and telling people what to play, then it’s basically just a solo project. I really encourage everyone to write as much as possible and luckily when our new bass player came on board, he was all about it.  He started coming up with all sorts of songs, a lot of which are going to be on our new album.  Our drummer, who started off as our other guitar player, is a really talented musician as well. He wrote the song “The Pile of Flesh You Carry” off “Disgorge Mexico” and half of the new EP.  He’s been writing a lot more so we’re all extremely involved in the writing process. I guess the only who isn’t as involved in the music is Mel, but she handles almost all the lyrics and definitely all the vocal patters and arrangements.

I think it’s really important.  I see a lot of bands where people are fighting for control and a lot of egos getting in the way. I find that’s a really fucking buzz killer when everyone is working together but fighting against each other at the same time.

IU: It seems like that is becoming more and more rare. We speak with many bands where one, maybe two of the members get together and write the bulk of the material and the others come in at a later stage to solidify it.

Topon: At the same time, shit has to get done so you can’t wait around for each individual to be involved every waking moment of their lives.  We can still work through it if one person isn’t having the most creative period.  That’s why we’re lucky that we have so many people who write in our band. There’s never a shortage of ideas. If anything, we have too many (laughs).

When we wrote “Disgorge” it was mainly me and our drummer.  Most of those songs came out through us just jamming at the jam space.  We still write a bit like that – “Wake” was written that way, the first track off the EP as well but we’ve started writing a lot more from home recently.  Our bassist lives about six hours away so we’ll do a lot of writing on our own and email ideas back and forth. 

IU: Cool, you mentioned the next record that is in the works, what’s the scoop on that?

Topon: We’re working on putting together our own home studio because we love recording and we can’t afford to spend $10,000 to record an album every time we want to.    So we basically spent the whole month of January putting a home studio together and tracking the basic tracks for the next album.  We’ve got that sitting there right now and then we got busy with the EP, then we went to Europe, now we have this tour and the DVD… we decided we needed to put the new LP to the side for a while. I think once we get back from the states we’ll bring it back out and put on the finishing touches.  I’m hoping it’s going to come out early next year in 2011. 

IU: That’s great! I had no idea it was that far along.  Will you be premiering any of the newest material for your tour of the states?

Topon: We’re not playing anything from the band new album that is in the works but we are playing the entire new “Unnamed” EP, a few tracks from the split with Leng T’che, a few from “Disgorge” and a few from “Stigmata Hi-Five”.  Right now that’s as far back as we go.  We have a pretty lengthy discography and we’re really happy with the albums and the music we’ve put out over the last few years so it’s getting harder and harder to make a set list that’s ridiculously long (laughs).  So, we limit it to the newer material, but wait to play any unreleased material until we really have it down. 

IU: Have you ever thought about doing multiple sets in a show?

Topon: We’ve definitely thought of that, the reason we haven’t is we want to make sure we’re playing as good as possible, which usually means practicing the same set all the time - which at the same time doesn’t mean we don’t change the set up here and there.  It can be a bit of a bummer, there might be some songs I’d like to play but it’s hard to balance it all out. One day we’ll go all Dream Theater and play a three hour set or something (laughs). 

IU: The three-hour grind show!

Topon: The most boring grind show ever! (Laughs)  Three hours, holy fuck..

IU: Well, we’re really stoked to have you coming through Ithaca on the 14th. The US tour is based around getting down to Maryland Death Fest, correct?

Topon: Yep, MDF is going to be peak of the tour for us.

IU: How many times have you played MDF?

Topon:  This will be our second time.  The first time we played was in 2007 and it’s probably still the biggest show we’ve ever played.  It was such an amazing vibe and one of the best times I’ve ever had. We were extremely surprised and incredibly stoked that they invited us back. 

IU: Which do you enjoy more, fests or regular shows?

Topon: I have to say there’s certain aspects of fests that make me hate playing them.  They’re a necessary evil. MDF was definitely one I enjoyed a great deal. They’re very cool in a lot of ways but for bands, we’re in a very uncomfortable environment. We’re playing a huge stage – which is very rare for us – we’re playing on all backline gear, our set up time is rushed… In general I hate playing fests for some reasons because I feel it’s hard to put forth our A-game at a fest but at the same time it’s an amazing experience. 

IU: Understandable. We just finished up our second Big Day In, which we try to keep more as an extended show rather than a traditional fest, keeping those types of things in mind from the band’s perspective.

Kind of an off topic question, one of the links you sent me for promo stuff had “Electrocutionerdz” in the URL – were you or Fuck The Facts involved with that project?

Topon: You know that project?

IU: Definitely! I have a handful of their releases.

Topon: Well, Electrocutionerdz is just one guy and that guy, Swiz, made our old website.  Recently I’ve been talking to him and he’s now working on our new website so soon we’ll have our real website back up.  I was never in Electrocutionerdz but I did some vocals on a few of his recordings.  Mel did some as well. When he did his first ever live performance her and I drove up and we did a couple of songs on stage. 

IU: Anything else we need to know before we catch Fuck The Facts on Friday?

Topon: That’s about it, see you in a few days!