Interview & Song Stream: Fuck the Facts – “Amère”
Canadian grindcore unit Fuck the Facts, have never been one to stick to the script. Amer is another fascinating entry in the band's eclectic catalog and one that sees their sound expanding considerably, showing this unique band wholly avoiding the genre conventions of blast-blast-blast that come with most grind releases. Check out positively hopeful closing track "Amère," available for streaming below for the first time. Look for the EP tomorrow (6/18) via the band.
We cornered Topon Das of Fuck the Facts to ask them a few questions about the record, going DIY versus not, vocals in French versus English, and much more. The results of said discussion are below.
Though Fuck the Facts still works with Relapse Records at times, you increasingly function as a DIY unit, and you've self-released several of your recent recordings. Do you feel that the decision to move away from working with an outside label has paid off? How so?
We actually just finished up our contract with Relapse, but even when we still were on the label we had done other independent releases, like 2 separate EPs, a DVD and various other splits. It's not that we're opposed to working with other labels, I would say it's more that we're selective of who we work with. We did some releases through certain labels and we really felt like not enough was done to not only properly promote the release, but we even had a hard time getting copies of our own record. When we would manage to get copies we were paying an inflated wholesale price. We got to a point that we just felt, that at least for certain releases, we were better off doing it ourselves. Has it paid off? It's really not something I can answer with a "yes" or a "no". I think in some ways it's better because we're dealing directly with all the people that are into our band. We have all the records, we're packaging them and sending them out, we're the ones talking with the media to set up interviews and get the record reviewed, etc... So we really see all the results and if something isn't getting done there's no finger pointing, because it's all on us. Obviously, when Relapse released our albums it got much more attention than when we self-release something, but even with the Relapse releases we were in the trenches getting to work and doing all we could to promote those records. We've never been a band to sit back and complain. If we thought something wasn't getting done, we got in there and did it ourselves. The main thing is that we don't want to hand over our music that we've put so much work into, to someone that's not willing to make a similar effort. We have a lot of music that we want to get out there and for now the right way to do it seems to be independently.
What is the most challenging part of self-releasing a piece of music? What do you find rewarding about it?
It's a lot of work... like seriously, a shit ton of work. It's become a full time job that we have to fit around our actual jobs and other real life responsibilities. Besides the normal band stuff of writing, practicing and touring, we're dealing with everything from the recording, pressing, promotion, merch and on top of all that we do our own booking. The hardest thing is just managing your time and trying to stay on top of everything. Seeing all the orders come in and messages from people that really enjoy what we do, does help keep us motivated. I've talked to a few people that have been inspired to start their own band, release their own records, etc... because they see bands like us doing it. I started all this by looking at other bands that inspired me to even start Fuck The Facts, so to hear that we're motivating and inspiring other young bands now is probably the most rewarding part.
Your new effort's name is Amer, which translated to English means "Bitter or miserable". After 15 years of recording and touring, does this describe your current mindset towards the industry?
Haha... that's an interesting observation, but no. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely been some low points, but I've never blamed anyone else for our hard times. People buy the music they like, go to the shows they want to go to and support bands they enjoy. If no one's at your shows and no one's buying your music, it's because they don't want to. It is the responsibility of the band and label, to get the word out and do the best to make the public know about what they're doing, but that can only go so far. We create music we enjoy and work hard on all aspects of being a band, but after that it's out of our hands. If people are into it, great! If not, it's our call to either stop or keep going because we truly believe in what we're doing. I don't want to force anyone to like what we do. Obviously we like it, and at the end of the day that's all that really matters.
Why another EP and not a new LP? What are plans for your next LP?
All the music is recorded for our next full length and we plan on recording the vocals when we return from our European tour at the end of July. Often with us, the music is written and even recorded a decent amount of time before the vocals are put together or even the lyrics written. We have this sort of assembly line when it comes to releases. Right now we have one recording that's all done and just needs to be mixed, the full length album that we need to record vocals for, and another new recording that we'll be starting next week. It's not a traditional way of working on things, but it allows us to all work at our own pace and never feel like we're being held back or rushed to do anything.
You are a multi-lingual band, and some songs are written in French and others in English. What determines which song you write in which tongue?
It's completely Mel's decision. French is her first language, and she's made a conscious effort to have a French song on each release, but for Amer she decided to go all out and do the whole EP in French. There is one English song on the EP, just because it was an instrumental until pretty much the last minute when our English bass player penned some lyrics and vocals for it. Both Marc and I give Mel some lyrics to check out and go through as she's working on a new release, but it's really been up to her as to what's going on lyrically and vocally. Personally, I wouldn't mind if all the songs were in French. I've mentioned this to Mel, but she has told me that does also enjoy writing in English. It's kind of cool because the mix is pretty much how the band is. We have two French members, two English members and I'm basically in the middle.
Other members of FTF are involved in notable projects like Pick Your Side and you have additional projects like Lauderdale as well. Are there any additional projects on the horizon that you or your members are involved in?
We have an ambient noise/doom project called Merdarahta. On “Die Miserable” there’s a hidden track called “October 26th” and that’s basically the blueprint for what would become this project. Even the name itself is taken from a ambient noise FTF track from 2003. In Merdarahta; the music we make is based mainly on improvisation sessions that we record. Nothing is perfect, but it really captures the moments when everything starts to come together. There's no going back and trying it again, what you hear is the idea being played as it was coming out. We end up with something that I don't think we ever would have if we had sat down to try and write it. It's an unbroken flow of ideas and sense of simply being submerged in the moment. So far there have been 2 Merdarahta releases. The first one was the "Snake Charmer / Towers" recording that was released as the B side of the Fuck The Facts "Die Miserable" cassette, and the 2nd release "Fault Of Air / Breathe" was simply released digitally. You can check them both out at Bandcamp.