Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fuck The Facts interview with Guitarist: Topon Das. May 1, 2010.



Vista: I know you have an extensive History, but can you give us a brief overview of Fuck The Facts? Year started, initial thoughts of the band & current members and who does what?
 
Topon : Fuck The Facts started as a recording project around the late 90’s. I played in many bands at the time, but needed an outlet to do all the things I wasn’t able to do with them. Recordings and releases were few and far between and it wasn’t until 1999/2000 that I started taking the project more seriously. In 2001 the first incarnation of FTF as a full band began, I’m the only one left from that era, but our singer Mel has been there since 2002, our drummer Vil since 2005 & our bassist Marc since 2008. The general philosophy is the same as when it started, we just make music that we enjoy without thinking about it too much. 

Vista: You have a new 7inch out. Tell us some details? Where was it recorded? How many pressed & talk a little about the artwork. Who did it, etc.? O that note...Your artwork is very interesting. Do you use just one person or have different artists come in with different releases?
 
Topon: It’s called the ‘Unnamed EP’ and everything except for the drums we recorded ourselves at our little home studio. We recorded the drums at a local studio here in Ottawa called Raven Street with our friend Dave Sarazin. We got our other good friend Craig Boychuk (who did our entire Disgorge Mexico album, as well as tons of other mixing and mastering for us in the past) to mix it and then sent it off to Alan Douches for the mastering. The 7” was entirely self released and we only pressed 500 copies (100 clear & 400 black), but also included and made it available as a digital download. Our singer Mel did all the artwork, and that’s usually the case. We really like having the artwork done by a member of that band, and since Mel has a very interesting and distinct style, I think it works very well for us. So many bands have artwork that all looks the same because there’s a small hand full of artists that people seem to want to go to. In the 90’s every death metal band went to Dan Seagrave, now everyone gets that dude from Baroness, even Relapse have a couple of in house guys that do the artwork for a lot of the label’s roster. It’s cool and these people are very talented, but personally I find it a bit unimaginative how so many metal album covers look almost identical. It’s not to say we haven’t used different people in the past or never will, especially when it comes to split releases, there needs to be a compromise. But in general we like it when the artwork comes from in the band. 

Vista: I saw on your myspace site that Fuck The Facts won't play shows in, Ottawa Canada...Yet, you are from Ottawa, Canada. Why don't you play there?
 
Topon: We just put up a note saying we don’t book/promote/organize shows in Ottawa, and a link to a place that might be more helpful for bands looking to play here. We just don’t have the time or resources to do that here and we don’t want people to waste their time writing us for this. We definitely don’t play our hometown very often anymore, maybe once a year, but it’s nothing personal. Almost every time we play here, it’s awesome. It’s just the way it’s worked out. We love to tour and much rather be on the road than play our home town once a month. 

Vista: Who are direct influences to you, as a musician, for Fuck The Facts? Also, as far as the other band members...Where & who are thy influenced by?
 
Topon: I’m hugely influenced by bands and artists with long careers that have a wide range of releases and haven’t been afraid to try different things, even if it doesn’t always work. I guess off the top of my head, bands like The Melvin, Mr. Bungle and Brutal Truth are some bands that I really respect even if I don’t love every album they put out. I also find a very independent and DIY work ethic very important. I hear too many bands whine and complain that they can’t do anything because they’re not signed or don’t have a booking agent. Meanwhile I see many awesome bands that have been independent for years and are working hard to put out records and tour. Musically, I listen to a huge variety of things. Everything is on my iPod, even if I don’t care for something much, I can usually find something in it that gets me thinking. My background is more in early 90’s death metal and grindcore. I started loving Metallica as a kid and now my favorite thing to listen to today is The Black Heart Procession. So I’ve gone through a lot of different music phases. Mel comes from more of a punk background, Vil grew up on Metallica like everyone else but then got into crazy prog shit like Symphony X and straight up grind like Dahmer. Marc’s favorite band is Propagandhi and he’s always saying he wants stuff to sound more like shit… so he’s the one I have the most in common with. 

Vista: Tell us a little bit about the hardcore/grindcore scene in Canada? Is there a strong scene? Also, where do you generally play shows in Canada...Clubs, Legion Halls, living rooms...All of the above?! Ha! Along those lines, where is the strangest place Fuck The Facts has played a show?
 



Topon: Canada’s a huge country and the scene can change drastically from city to city. There are tons of great bands here and we always have a blast touring Canada, so from my point of view I would say the scene is strong. We have played everything from a kitchen to a thousand capacity venue, we’re not picky, but in most cases the smaller and more intimate the better. I honestly can’t remember the strangest place we’ve ever played; we’re getting close to 600 shows, so it takes a lot to surprise us now. 
Vista: Lyrically, what are some topics you touch on?
 
Topon: If it was just me every song would probably be about how much work sucks and ‘fuck off Nazi punks’ style shit. . I like that straight up anti-system crust grind kind of stuff… so we have some of that. But Mel does most of the lyrics, and makes a huge effort to find very different subjects for each song. She doesn’t like repeating herself and we write a lot of music, so sometimes it can take a long time for the lyrics to start coming together. We don’t really do fiction or gore style stuff; everything is usually personal or related to something that has happened in world history. 

Vista: I see that Fuck The Facts is always on tour. Where are some of your favorite places to play...States or countries? Also, where haven't you played, that you'd like to play?
 
Topon: I really hope to go everywhere possible at some point in time with this band, we finally got Norway, Sweden, Denmark & Slovakia checked off on this last tour, but we’ve still never been to the UK, Finland, Russia and tons of other places. I’m really hoping we can get to Japan sometime soon as well as Australia would be another big one we’d love to do. In general, Canada & Europe have been the best places for us to tour. We enjoy the states, but sometimes it can be pretty rough. Anyway, we just love being on the road and visiting new places. We don’t tour with any sort of expectations. Every time it’s just like a vacation for us, so even if the show sucks we have fun as a band hanging out together, seeing our friends in different cities and eating at various Mexican restaurants in the south. 

Vista: You don't have a manager! You don't have a booking agent! How do you survive!??? Ha! I'm kidding...But, this is a true rarity in the scene these days. You are obviously a "hands-on" type of band...You clearly aren't from this generation! Ha! My question is...Tell us the benefits of this approach?
 
Topon: Basically, we don’t have a choice but to be independent. We definitely have gotten help from labels and booking agent, but at the end of the day everything goes through us and we’re working hard to make sure shit is happening like how we think it should. Like I said in a previous answer, I always hear bands whine about not ‘getting a break’ and shit talking other bands that ‘have it better’. It’s all bullshit. If you want something, shut the fuck up and get it done or quit playing music and make some room for the bands that are willing to bust there asses to go on tour and lose money. Over the years I’ve come to expect less and less from people outside my band. Running a label or booking agency or a management company is a business and doing any of those things for Fuck The Facts is not good business sense. We do this because we love it. We work hard and are proud of what we do, so we want to get it out there. That’s all that matters for us, and it’s hard to find someone outside of the band that’s willing to invest the time and money we do just because they like you. So Fuck The Facts is a DIY band, we always will be and I don’t think it should be any other way. 

Vista: What was your introduction to the hardcore/punk scene? What year was that & what bands turned you onto the idea of actually wanting to play an instrument & form a band?
 
Topon: My older brother played in many punk and then metal bands, so when I was 15 (that’s1991) he started to show me how to play bass. I realized I was never going to be a goalie in the NHL, so music became my passion. I loved Metallica and that’s what made me what to play in a band. I didn’t really get into punk or hardcore till I was in my 20’s. Pretty much music has been my life for more than half of it, and I don’t know what else I would be doing if I wasn’t playing. 



Vista: Fuck The Facts is, "Mullet-core"? Ha! Where did that come from? Speaking of where names come from...Where did the name, Fuck The Facts come from? What does the name represent to you, if anything?
 
Topon: I honestly don’t remember ever coining the term ‘Mullet-core’, but it’s possible I said it somewhere. I’ve said a lot of stupid shit over the years. Our 2001 album was called ‘Mullet Fever’, so I’m guessing that’s where that came from. The name Fuck The Facts came from a Naked City song. I totally picked it as the band name because it represented what I wanted to do with this project, which is to not be constrained by any rules or limits. 

Vista: I hear people called your bands style as grindcore. That's fair, but I'd also say that Fuck The Facts area hardcore band as well. Is that a fair statement? Either way, I am wondering...In your opinion...What is fucking up or looking back...What has fucked up the hardcore scene? Or, is it wonderful? I mean, I am older but I don't think it's because I am a jaded a-hole. It seems like there are just so many fake assed bands out there? I know no matter what era of hardcore you look at, this is true. But, here we are, in 2010...Is the music scene thriving or dying?
 
Topon: If anything I personally think FTF sounds more like a metal band. Like, if I was to listen to our stuff as an outsider, I would just think it was metal. Grind is definitely a big influence and maybe hardcore is in there as well, but we try to not think about it too much when we write. It’s only over the past couple of years that the other guys have been writing more in the band, so maybe things will change more. I can’t help but write death metal riffs and then play them shitty, so it sounds like grindcore. As for the music scene thriving or dying; I have a life philosophy and that’s ‘It is what it is.’ I think there have always been fake ass bands; but there was no internet 20 years ago, at least not like today. You used to have to work really hard to tour and get your music out there. But now, if you’re willing to spend enough time at your computer, people will hear about your music. So we’re dealing with serious over saturation of the scene. People aren’t willing to listen to something for more then 30 seconds before deciding if they like it. So even if it’s easier to get people to know about your band, it’s harder to get people to give a fuck. But like I said, it is what it is. We just do what we do and don’t think about it too much. I don’t plan to ever stop playing music, so whatever happens we just roll with it. 

Vista: Fuck The Facts have been around since 1997. Did you ever imagine the band would be not only around for well over a decade, but as active, touring & recording as much as you've done? What are some stand out memories of the beginning of the band? Also, after all these years...What was the biggest hurdle of obstacle the band has faced?
 
Topon: I knew I would be doing this for a long time (or at least I hoped), but I never dreamed that I would accomplish all the things we did with this band. It all started on my bed room floor with a 4-track, mic, bass & drum machine and now I’ve been to Europe twice and toured North America numerous times. One of my favorite memories would be signing with Relapse and actually releasing 2 albums through them. That label was always my favorite, and I listened to everything that ever came out on Relapse when I was younger. We made the cover of Exclaim! (The national music paper here in Canada) which is pretty crazy for a band called Fuck The Facts playing extreme grind/metal. We’ve been really fortunate and it makes me feel like all the hard work gets noticed, which is a nice feeling. 

Vista: Outside of music...What are your interests and hobbies? Also, are you able to at least cover your basic bills while out on tour?
 
Topon: Music is really my passion even when I’m not tour or playing, I like to record other bands or read about guitars and shit like that. If not, I’m just having a beer watching a movie or BBQing in my yard.  
Vista:  Coming from Canada, what are your thoughts on America? Is it a common thought that Americans are dumb-asses?
 
Topon: People that have never travelled probably have lots of stupid stereotypical views of other places and people. I have a lot of American friends and none of them are dumb asses. Canadains really likes to think that we’re very different or better then the US. I’m sure if you come up here, you’ll find a lot of dumb-ass Canadians as well. 
 
Vista: What are your top 5 favorite albums of all time? It doesn't have to be any specific genre...Just your personal top 5?
 
Topon: This is tough and I’m sure this list will change at some point, but for now:
Mr. Bungle – Disco Volante
Brutal Truth – Need To Control
The Black Heart Procession - Six
Pile Driver – Heavy Electricity
Metallica - …And Justice For All


Vista: Have anyone in the band been in any other previous bands, prior to Fuck The Facts?
 
Topon: We’ve all been in tons, but probably none that anyone has ever heard of. Mel was just in a bunch of local Montreal hardcore punk band. Vil was in a grind band called Bad Trippe and before that Rot In Pieces, both bands released some split CDs and 7”’s. Marc was in a band called Tugnut that toured like crazy and released a couple CDs, that’s actually how we met him. We were really close with those guys, and Marc still has a project called Greber going with the drummer. I played in a death metal band from here called Deamon which is still around and doing pretty well. 

Vista: Thanks so much for taking time to do this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say? Also, what's the best way to get in touch with Fuck The Facts!?
 
Topn: Thanks to you! We actually have a DVD called ‘Disgorge Mexico: The DVD’ coming out on May 11th. It’s got our entire CD release show from the album of the same name as well as a cracked out movie based on the album. Once again it’s an independent release, limited to 500 copies. Check out our web-site for details: www.fuckthefacts.com You can contact us through any of our various sites, because we run pretty much all of them. Or just e-mail us at discocore@yahoo.com

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