Report to the Community 2013 - Page 25

MELBOURNE FESTIVAL WEBSITE ASSORTED PUBLICITY Sunday Age, Melbourne 222999      SSSeeeppp      222000111333,,,      bbbyyy      JJJooohhhnnn      BBBaaaiiillleeeyyy FILM Ron Howard’s F1 flick FASHION Princess Mary gets it right again melbourne inside out out MMMeeelllbbbooouuurrrnnneee      MMMaaagggaaazzziiinnneee,,,      pppaaagggeee      111      -­-­-      222,,,666333333...111444      cccmmm²² !aaapppiiitttaaalll      !iiitttyyy      DDDaaaiiilllyyy      -­-­-      ccciiirrrcccuuulllaaatttiiiooonnn      111777888,,,111444111      (((-­-­--­-­--­-­--­-­--­-­--­-­-SSS))) Wild things !ooopppyyyrrriiiggghhhttt      AAAgggeeennncccyyy      llliiiccceeennnssseeeddd      cccooopppyyy (((wwwwwwwww...cccooopppyyyrrriiiggghhhttt...cccooommm...aaauuu))) Local indie theatre explores new frontiers in this year’s Melbourne Festival NATAGE G001 ID 222111555666333333222333444 BRIEF MMMEEELLLFFFEEESSSTTT INDEX 111 PAGE 111      ooofff      555 FILM Ron Howard’s F1 flick FASHION Princess Mary gets it right again FUCK BUTTONS By Lachlan Kanoniuk Garnering a swell of critical adoration in the space of two full-length albums, UK electronica duo Fuck Buttons have followed up the acerbic debut Street Horrrsing and the grandiosity of Tarot Sport with third LP Slow Focus – an album that finds a stylistic middle ground between the two that came before, yet also takes things to a whole other level. Speaking in the week following the album’s release, Andrew Hung tells us about the long gestation method that defines Fuck Buttons’ workflow. “It feels really good actually,” Hung says, nerve-free, on the album’s eventual release. “We’ve been working on it for a while now, so it’s nice to have something to focus on because in the writing process you have all these things surrounding it, but now it’s all systems go. It’s really good.” Despite the first and second albums receiving tremendous critical acclaim, Andrew, and his bandmate Benjamin Power, weren’t feeling any pressure in regards to maintaining a winning streak with Slow Focus. “I think it’s really hard to anticipate what the reaction will be. It’s been very positive, so it’s pleasing to see. The feedback’s been fantastic, actually.” On its debut week, Slow Focus managed to make a showing on the UK charts, especially in terms of physical (as opposed to digital) stock. “It’s the first time we’ve ever charted, so that was really exciting. We got into the official album charts last week. It doesn’t really signify anything. It signifies our work is paying off, I guess that’s it,” he reasons. “It’s good to see that fruition.” Slow Focus arrived around four years after the release of Tarot Sport, with the writing process for Slow Focus spread across the majority of that timeframe. “It was 2011 when we started. When you start writing, that’s when it starts happening. With the last two albums, we didn’t really anticipate releasing anything on a larger scale. So they were written as we went. There were tracks that were written before Street Horrrsing came out that got onto Tarot Sport. But this time around, we started completely afresh. We started writing as soon as we came off tour and carried on writing.” As the writing process went on, the frequency of Fuck Buttons’ live shows became increasingly rare, with a select few dates being performed in 2011 and 2012. The restorative balance between onstage and in-studio work is more an organic one, rather than meticulously planned out. “I think it naturally occurs. We’ve got into a stride now where we have a cycle of activity in Fuck Buttons. We write the album, then record it, then go on tour supporting it. The touring lasts for about two years or so. After that period, because we haven’t been writing on the road or anything, the music will change. Or I think that’s what happens, anyway. We do take the stance that we don’t want to repeat anything we’ve done in the pa st. Generally, we don’t need to enforce Wild things Local indie theatre explores new frontiers in this year’s Melbourne Festival NATAGE G001 BEAT MAGAZINE PAGE 22 that because it happens anyway,” Hung states. Brainfreeze, the opening track on Slow Focus, starts with a salvo of fairly menacing live drums, whereas previous Fuck Buttons material has utilised predominantly electronic percussion. If it is a bold opening statement, it’s not an intentional one. “We feel our way through these songs. For that particular track, it felt like there was room for a live drum sound on it,” Hung recalls. “There was no particular design to start the record off like that, it just felt right at the time.” Approaching the tenth anniversary of their musical partnership, Hung and Power have retained a conducive songwriting partnership. “It hasn’t changed that much, actually. Usually what happens is that we get in the same room and surround ourselves with everything we’ve accumulated instrument-wise and play around “WE DO TAKE THE STANCE THAT WE DON’T WANT TO REPEAT ANYTHING WE’VE DONE IN THE PAST. GENERALLY, WE DON’T NEED TO ENFORCE THAT BECAUSE IT HAPPENS ANYWAY,” with them until anything interesting happens. That’s always been the same for the past ten years or so.” The process of feeling out musical sounds with an often unfamiliar arsenal of soundmaking gear seems like an overly challenging way to create new music, but Hung and Power have harnessed the process in a way that manages to produce the goods. “If you’re playing around with something new, there’s automatically an excitement attached to that. But it’s not going to necessarily be something that works. There could be frustration. I can imagine there would be if you felt like you were good at using a certain instrument, but we don’t really get that feeling because we’re using new things all the time. It’s not really about a skillset, it’s DISCUSS WHAT? BEAT.COM.AU/DISCUSSION about an exploratory sensibility. That anticipatory factor makes it exciting,” Hung assesses. “Once we find something a bit dull, we just move on. We don’t really jam for hours on end, it’s usually around three hours or so. That’s really the limit of our writing for any set period.” Power started the solo project Blanck Mass a few years ago, while Hung started releasing solo material under the anagrammed moniker Dawn Hunger last year. These outlets, however, don’t have a necessarily direct impact on Fuck Buttons’ material. “I don’t think it effects or influences the aesthetics of Fuck Buttons. I don’t think Fuck Buttons can exist without the relationship that Ben and I have developed musically,” Hung says. “Speaking for myself, I think Dawn Hunger has given me confidence in my technical abilities. So that has an indirect influence, like anything that you do will influence what you do. Directly, it doesn’t really have any effect.” Even though Fuck Buttons primarily create electronic music, the band isn’t really aligned with any electronic trends. Though the folly of trend-alignment can be a temptation for some, Fuck Buttons manage to process what is happening in the current climate and generate something completely different. “We listen to music a lot. What I realised personally is that when you start making music afresh is that there are all sorts of connotations that come with anything you make because there is a lot of music out there. With Dawn Hunger, I consciously wanted to make something that didn’t sound like anything I knew. That’s difficult, because the more music you consume, the more you know. With Fuck Buttons, maybe it’s just because Ben listens to a lot of different music than I do, it doesn’t seem to make music that you can attach anything to, and that’s been the case for ten years. I think at the beginning, it did sound slightly derivative. But very soon after, when it started developing its own character, it built its own momentum. It’s like a screenwriter for a sitcom talking about their characters finding themselves. We really don’t need to put much effort into developing it. It sort of writes itself these days.” Last year, Fuck Buttons returned to Australia to perform a run of Harvest Festival dates. During which, the band previewed a small selection of Slow Focus material. With the album now out there in the world, and the Fuck Buttons touring cycle now returned to full effect, we can expect a greater selection of new album cuts in the live setting. “We like playing music live as soon as we’ve written it. Because the music comes out from a jamming process, we’re able to play the music instantly after we’ve written it. This time around there will be a lot of Slow Focus music.” FUCK BUTTONS perform as part of Melbourne Festival at the Foxtel Festival Hub on Friday October 25. They also perform at ATP’s Release The Bats, now taking place at The Palais and Prince Bandroom on Saturday October 26. Slow Focus is out now via ATP Recordings. Foxtel Festival Hub | Photo: Jim Lee melbourne inside out out 25