Interview done in 2006.
With their new album, and first album for Relapse Records, Fuck the Facts claimed their place in the higher regions in the more crowded than ever metal-league. As Stigmate High Five is one of the more original albums in the genre we thought it was time to ask them some questions. Topon was kind enough to answer some of our questions while touring across the USA.
As mentioned earlier you are on tour now, where are you at the moment?
Topon: Right now I’m at the Otto Bar in Baltimore, MD. We just loaded in and it’s raining like fuck outside.
How is the tour going? Read in your blog that turnouts weren’t too great at every show. Did that improve?
Topon: At the beginning of the tour we had a 3 day stretch of shitty shows; Chicago, St. Louis and Lawrence, KS. Since then things have really improved. The next night in Denver was great and all around the shows have been really good. We just played Washington last night. The crowd was awesome and totally getting into it. This has been our best US experience so far.
Are you getting along with the other bands, and how are they? I’ve seen Unearthly Trance live last year, and they were pretty good, but what about the other bands.
Topon: We did most of the dates with Unearthly Trance and Facedowninshit. All the guys were cool, and I was really digging the UT live show. Their new album is great and it sounds perfect live. FDIS are just totally party dudes, and they do a good job of playing their stoner doom rock while getting everyone ready to party. Now we’re doing 3 shows with Hex Machine and Jucifer. Hex Machine is a new band with Dave Witte (Burnt by the Sun, Municipal Waste, Melt Banana etc.), I haven’t gotten to check them out a lot yet, but it seems to be pretty rocking tunes with a lot of weird chords and parts. Jucifer uses like gazillion amps and have a crazy light show.
Do you have any idea why those Relapse Contaminated Tours never hit Europe? They usually have great line-ups, but never come this way. And do you have any plans yourself to go to Europe any time soon?
Topon: I know we wanna play Europe and we’ve been looking into opportunities. If nothing happens we’ll make it out there ourselves, we really want to play Europe. It’s way over due. As for the Contamination tour, I don’t know. You’d have to ask Relapse.
What are you doing in between shows, besides driving there, how do you kill time? What do you watch/listen to for instance?
Topon: At the beginning of the tour we had a lot of really long drives, so I was in the van or in a venue most of the day. Now that we got a few shorter drives we get to chill out more and luckily we’ve had some really cool people let us stay at their houses. One thing I like to do is to copy DVDs on my laptop. I’ve gotten about 25 now, so we watch some of those on the road and the rest I’ll check out when I get home. Besides that I’ve been on the net a bunch working on booking shows for when we get back and our Canadian tour in November.
Your new album has been out for some weeks now, how are the initial responses to it, from press and fans?
Topon: The reviews seem to be really good from what I’ve seen. We’re definitely getting some new listeners with this album and our sales at shows have been really good as well. I’m sure there’s some people that prefer our older material, but that’s expected. Over all we’ve gotten a really good response to the new album. We’re really happy with the album and that’s all that really matters.
Are there any things that you would like to have done differently?
Topon: There are a few things that I might have liked to do a little different, but I don’t think I’ll ever do an album that I can look back and not want to change something. This is the album that I want to change things the least, I’m really happen with the way it turned out.
What’s a Stigmata High-Five? And is there a concept behind the lyrics?
Topon: I guess it would be two guys that are really happy about getting stigmata, so they high-five each other. The lyrics really aren’t related to this at all, we cover mainly our own personal experiences. The title of the album was just the working title, and we decided to keep it cause we liked the way it sounds.
I didn’t know you before Stigmata High-Five and was rather surprised to find out you had a female vocalist. How are the responses to that, and are more people, for instance in live situations, as surprised as I was? As it’s a mainly guy-dominated scene.
Topon: Ya, some people are surprised and I’m sure it gets us a few more listeners cause we have a girl singer, but at the same time some people will write us off for the same reason. It’s really a non-issue to us. The fact is that Mel is a great singer and that’s why she’s in the band.
As said before, this is the first album I hear from you, what are the differences, if any, with your previous material?
Topon: Our sound has changed drastically over the years, cause this is a band that started with no real vision except to create music we enjoy. Over the past couple of years we’re starting to develop more of a “sound” I guess, but we’ll still throw a curve ball once in a while, like the “Legacy Of Hopelessness” CDEP. We started out as more of a grind noise band in the early days, and developed more of metal touch over the years. I guess we’ve become a bit more technical over the years, but we try and never become a tech band. We just want to write good music, not instructional CDs.
The Canadian scene is really booming, from insanely technical bands like Ion Dissonance, Cryptopsy, bands like Neuraxis, Augury and you guys, but also bands like Buried Inside (one of my favourites) for instance. How is the rest of the scene, are there any undiscovered bands we should check out? And how is the contact between those bands?
Topon: We’ve played with all those bands, and we live in the same city as Buried Inside, so we all know each other I guess. We don’t really keep in touch with any of them on a regular basis, we just kind of end up on the same bill once in a while. There’s lots of over looked parts of Canada with great bands. I actually prefer Western Canada for bands over Quebec, there’s way more diverse and awesome bands out that way. Some Canadian bands you should check out are Mass Grave, probably the best crust band in all of Canada. Putrescence is a killer gore grind band from Winnipeg, and Tugnut are a wacky experimental jazz metal band from Ontario.
If I’m not mistaking you are from the French part of Canada as well as most of the aforementioned bands, why aren’t there many interesting bands (as far as I know) coming from the English parts? Something in the water/air?
Topon: We live on the border of Ontario and Quebec, half our band is French and the other half English. That’s bullshit about the most interesting bands being from the French parts. Like I said in the previous question there’s tons of awesome bands through out Canada that have just been over looked. Location wise it’s harder for these bands to tour and get out there, but I’m sure you’ll be hearing about them more as time passes. Canada in general is being scoped out more for talented bands and we have more then enough through out the country.
Something different now..as I am typing this George Bush is on tv with the 9/11 5 year memorial. Since you are touring through the US at this moment, do you notice a lot from it? Are people in other states of the States besides NY and Pennsylvania still interested in it, or is it mainly a big thing in the cities that were directly hit?
Topon: We played NY a couple of times now, and I never noticed anything about it. We’ll see “Support Our Troops” magnets on peoples cars, but not much else regarding the war. I haven’t heard one thing about 9/11 in the 5 weeks I’ve been in the US. Of course, I’m pretty isolated in a van or venue most of the time.
What’s your opinion about the entire ’there are no weapons of mass destruction nor is there a link between Iraq and Al – Qaeda’ situation? Did that come as a surprise for you?
Topon: It sucks that so many people had to die and get fucked over all this bullshit, but the world is heading towards a global meltdown. Things will get worse before they get better. The people that are in power now stay there by keeping everyone complacent and unmotivated. We believe what we’re told until we get told other wise, we don’t have a choice the media and everything we consume is out of our hands. All we can do is to try and stay as unattached to this existence as possible. The less you the play the game, the less they can do to keep you moving their wheel.
Back to the music..what are your future plans after this tour?
Topon: We’re meeting up with Misery Index for another small US tour in October, then we’ll be back home for a couple of weeks before we head out on tour through out Western Canada and Northern US. We’ll be taking the winter months easy and just playing weekend shows and working on new music, then we’ll be looking to do some more touring overseas and wherever we can. We’re also looking at possibly releasing an EP or something, before the next album. We’ll definitely be keeping busy no matter what.
That’s it, thanks for answering these questions, feel free to add something yourself. And good luck with the rest of the tour!
Thanx to you, cheers!