Originally taking shape in the late 90’s as the solo project of guitarist Topon Das, Canada’s own Fuck The Facts has evolved over the years into one of the underground’s most formidable grind/noise outfits. With countless split releases and EP’s, with the likes of Hewhocorrupts, Leng Tch’e and many others, as well as eight devastating full-length records, the band has most definitely made their own violent mark in the history book of extreme music. With the release of their new EP, Amer, and a colossal European tour on the horizon, the Ottawa-based quintet is apparently gearing up to destroy everything that moves. Forbidden Magazine caught up with Topon to discuss the creation of Amer, the perks of a DIY approach, and more!
For those not so familiar with the origins of Fuck The Facts, can you shed a little light on how the band came to be, how it morphed over time from a solo project to the outfit it is today?
I started FTF as a recording project in the late 90’s. I mainly got tired of being in the bands I was involved in and wanted to do a lot more with music. 2001 is when the first incarnation of the band came together, and we recorded the album Mullet Fever with that line-up. Our current vocalist, Mel, joined in 2002. We did the album Backstabber Etiquette and then went through a few more line-up changes before meeting up with our current drummer, Vil, in 2005, and recording the albums Stigmata High-Five and Disgorge Mexico. In 2008, we got our bass player and other guitarist, Marc and Johnny.
As the band has had a largely DIY approach to things over the years, what do you view as the pros and cons of that way of getting the job done, as opposed to working with a label?
We just find it works well for us. Having support from a good label is definitely great and I’m not anti-label by any means. I just don’t think you can wait around and expect others to do things for you. We spent seven years on Relapse and it was a really great experience. They helped us a lot and opened many doors for us, but we were always there pushing ourselves through those doors once they were open. We knew we weren’t a priority for the label, so we made sure to take full advantage of every opportunity that came up. Over the years we’ve learned a lot, and it just felt like a good idea to start doing our own independent releases on top of putting out full lengths with Relapse, and I think it really worked well. We managed to tour Europe four times now and North America numerous times, and most of these tours have been self-booked. Now that we’re free from any contracts, we still have to see exactly what the next step will be. We just self-released a new EP and we have a new full-length album that’s coming together, so we have some things to figure out.
How do you feel the band’s bilingual vocal approach contributes to the Fuck The Facts sound?
Sound-wise, I don’t think there’s a real difference. Most of the vocals are screams and yells, so I would be surprised if most people could tell the difference between the songs that are in French and the ones that are in English just by listening to them. For us, it just makes sense. Our vocalist’s first language is French, and since she writes most of the lyrics it only seems to make sense that some of them be in her main language. I’ve told her that if she wanted to write all the songs in French that would be fine with me as well, so it’s really up to her.
What are your thoughts on the creative process behind Amer? How does it compare to that of the band’s previous efforts?
It’s pretty similar to how we always do it. We all write a bunch of songs and record them. Everyone is involved in the writing of the music, but who has written more or less can vary from release to release. Amer is fairly split between the four of us musically, but even then we all have our own input into all the songs. I’ve always said that the FTF sound is really a collection of all the members in the band, and that’s really important to me. I don’t want it to be my solo project, and I don’t want any members that are just coasting in the band. We all work really hard together to create the best possible release every time.
For those unaware, the French “amer” translates to “bitter” or “miserable.” That being said, what themes and subject matter are explored on the new EP?
Mel draws a lot of inspiration from our everyday experiences. Some of the lyrics are even influenced by touring experiences. My involvement in the lyrics is pretty limited, so I’m probably not the best to ask about this, but I know she is always researching new ideas and themes for the songs. She doesn’t like to repeat herself and always want to keep it fresh and interesting. I’ve never seen a vocalist put as much work into writing lyrics as she does.
Would you say that the sounds on Amer are a glimpse of what’s to come from the band, or are listeners in for any surprises?
The new music for our next album is already recorded, so I know what it’s going to sound like. I’ve actually been comparing it more to our album, Disgorge Mexico, but it’s hard to know because I’m so close to it. I do think there are a few tracks on the new record that are pretty different from anything else we ever did. It’s always exciting to have something new and I’m definitely getting stoked to share this new album with people.
What non-musical aspects of life do you find yourself drawing the most inspiration from, in the creation of your music?
I don’t really have any hobbies outside of music and even the jobs I do to make a living involve music, but I do see the importance of relaxing and taking a break from being submerged in music all the time. I like to spend my free time with my daughter, barbequing, watching movies and just hanging out with my friends. This time away from music helps me take a step back from whatever it is I’m working on and get back to it with fresh ears and a renewed interest.
As a contributor to the grindcore/noise scene, how would you say the genre has transformed over the years, for better or worse?
I’m not gonna be the jaded old guy that goes on about how it was better back in the day. It’s definitely changed a lot since I started tape trading and sending flyers all over the world back in the 90’s, but there’s a lot of great things that have come out of this day and age of using computers to communicate and get music out there. I mainly think that there just needs to be a balance between both worlds. If you get caught up in the world of just sitting at your computer all day and only dealing with social media, you’re really missing out on a big part of playing music and being in a band. I always try to make sure I’m spending more time with a guitar in my hands or working on music than sitting at my computer dealing with the other stuff, but it can be really difficult especially when you are a DIY band. My only advice for young bands is to forget about all those numbers on the Internet. The people that are actually coming to your shows, and listening to your music…that’s what really matters. Spend more time making awesome music and getting better at what you do, than trying to get people to visit your web pages. I truly believe that if you do something good, people will discover it without you having to harass them.
Aside from the new material from Fuck The Facts, do you, or any other FTF members, have any other projects in the works?
We have an ambient noise/doom project called Merdarahta. It’s very different from FTF, in the way that all the music is created during improvisation sessions and is much more experimental. All the recordings are the ideas as they are actually coming together, so there is no going back and doing it again, and we don’t pre-prod songs like we do for FTF. The project actually started in 2010 when we did Die Miserable. We had a recording like this that we were really happy with and wanted to use, but we felt it didn’t really fit with FTF, so we put it as the B-side of the Die Miserable cassette under the name Merdarahta. A few months later we did a second release, and I’m currently putting the finishing touches on our next Merdarahta release. All member of FTF are involved and we also get different friends to collaborate, so it’s really fun to get to work with people on this as well. You can check out more on the project here: http://merdarahta.bandcamp.com
Aside from the upcoming European tour, what else does Fuck The Facts have on deck for the near future? Any tour plans involving the U.S.? I’d love to catch a show again!
We’re going to be hitting eastern Canada in September and we have a couple of shows lined-up in Ontario for August, but that’s pretty much all we have planned for the moment. I think we’ll try and do some weekend dates in North Eastern US sometime in the fall, but nothing is booked yet. We just did a 5 week US tour back in Feb/March, so it’ll probably be a while before we head back down into the US for a longer stretch.
Thanks so much, Topon! That should just about do it for now! Any last words for the masses?
Just thanks to everyone that has been supporting us, especially with this recent DIY release. There can be a lot of ups and downs in what we do, but the support we’ve seen from people all over the world has really kept us motivated. Cheers!