Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Gavin Brown Takes On Fat Goth | Interview Special

May 11, 2017

Michael Lambert

Back in 2013 we first featured Fat Goth on the site, fast forward 4 years and this trio are still going incredibly strong. As their passion has grown, so has the love for this dynamic act.

The band have one incredible back catalog and have just released their latest record. After exploding onto the scene four albums ago, Fat Goth’s fast paced Mike Patton style brand of wonky alt-rock made quite an impression, particularly with second album Stud (2013) and their third offering One Hundred Percent Suave (2014). Shortly after, the Scottish three-piece took a break from the heady heights of fame and (mis)fortune retiring from the Dundee ‘high life’ after the press storm to regroup. The result is their fourth album Enorme! which was released on May 5th 2017 via Hefty Dafty Records.

Our very own Gavin Brown spent some time with the Scottish three piece to delve deeper into the enigmatic world of Fat Goth. They talk more about inspiration, live dates, new record and more……

How did Fat Goth get together?

FRASER: Fat Goth was initially just a recording project between me, Mark and our pal, Allan. We all went to the same school here in Dundee and grew up playing together in numerous bands. We released our debut album in 2010, played our first show not long after and managed to record a couple of EPs with Allan before he immigrated to Australia in 2011. Asking Kevin to join us on bass duties was a no-brainer as we were big fans of his previous band, Laeto. He proved to be a fine fit and we’ve been playing together and creating an antisocial cacophony ever since.

Q- How did you come up with the bands name?

FRASER: I just wanted a stupid and ridiculous moniker that complimented the nature of the band’s music. Some folk are instantly turned off upon hearing our band name, but I can only assume those individuals don’t have much in the way of a sense of humour and probably put too much emphasis on superficial and inconsequential crap.

Q- Was there much of a music scene in your hometown of Dundee when you were growing up?

FRASER: Dundee is a small city and its scene is tiny in comparison to somewhere like Glasgow, but there’s always been a strong, prolific creative community based here and it certainly inspired us back when we first started getting involved in music. Bands like Laeto and Mercury Tilt Switch were very welcoming and encouraged us to pursue our musical ambitions, so it’s great to see that mentality continually reflected throughout the city’s entire creative hub and for Dundee to be increasingly recognised as an essential contributor to Scotland’s artistic voice.

Q- Who are some of the bands influences?

FRASER: Fat Goth’s music has always been heavily influenced by bands and artists like the Melvins, The Jesus Lizard and numerous Mike Patton-related projects. That still rings true, but I was particularly inspired by NoMeansNo, 70’s era ZZ-Top and Sex Pistols’ ‘Nevermind The Bollocks’ during the writing process for ‘Enorme!’. I really admire the direct and uncompromising quality associated with that stuff and wanted to try and incorporate it into my own contributions.

Q- Your new album Enorme is out soon and sounds absolutely massive! Did you want to capture your intense and chaotic live sound with this album?

FRASER: Thanks a bunch, although it’s Ross McGowan of Chime Studios’ engineering skills that are entirely deserving of such praise! He’s recorded practically everything we’ve released and we’re always delighted with the results. Ross shares a similar mind-set to us in that we prefer to go for authenticity in the studio and attempt to capture the sound of the band on a good night.

It’s very much a matter of taste, but we strongly believe in preserving the aggressive, visceral nature of the music we play in the recordings themselves. Digital manipulation is certainly useful and is more or less essential in the creation of certain genres like pop music, but I have little love and/or respect for rock/metal/punk bands that rely heavily upon elements like autotune, drum-triggered samples and generally go for highly polished production jobs. In my opinion these tools and attributes have a detrimental effect and do nothing other than neuter the very essence of a ‘rock’ sound.

There will be those who completely disagree, but that’s only because they are wrong.

Q- What are some of the songs on Enorme about?

FRASER: Fat Goth albums tend to be quite jolly affairs and we wanted to continue that vibe with ‘Enorme!’. Listeners can look forward to cheeky ditties about Parliamentary paedophile rings, the steady rise of racist and xenophobic attitudes within Western society, religious nutters, comments on the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum and the ferocious stupidity of society in general. Celebrate good times, come on!

Q- Do you write more from personal experience or from a more fictional point of view?

FRASER: I’ve written about myself extensively in Fat Goth’s previous work and used songwriting as a way to deal with all my insecurities and numerous other aspects of my horrendously flawed personality. I feel as though I’ve exhausted myself as a subject, so I thought it would be beneficial to try something new and take more of an existential approach to the lyrical content this time round. I have quite a misanthropic outlook and ‘Enorme!’ is riddled with my unrelenting contempt and hatred.

Q- Do you have a favourite song from the album yet?

FRASER: The songs I write are my children, and like all well-adjusted parental types, I love them all equally and have no favourites. That said, if I did ever have actual kids I probably would pitch them against each other in order to establish which one is dominant and worthy of my attention. I have no time for losers.

Q- What has the reaction to the album been like so far?

FRASER: Well, at the time of writing it’s a week until the album’s release date, so there currently isn’t any reaction to speak of. To be honest, I’m not expecting much in the way of favourable feedback. The fact is most people won’t enjoy what we do and/or understand what we’re all about. To many we’re nothing more than just another noisy, abrasive guitar rock band in an endless line of noisy, abrasive guitar rock bands struggling to gain a bit of attention in a horrifically over-saturated market.

That’s not to say we’re not worthy of such recognition and our music is no good – far from it! We genuinely believe in what we’re doing and although our audience is very small, it’s reassuring to know there are people out there with good taste and recognise the fact we’re a good band that makes good music. Ultimately, it is not our responsibility to tune the ears of the listener into what we’re doing. If the vast majority of people don’t see any value in our music then they only have themselves to blame for missing out.

Q- Is the album of a similar sound to your last album One Hundred Percent Suave?

FRASER: Musically ‘Enorme!’ is a natural continuation of the sound we’ve been pumping out for the last 6 years or so. Sharp riffs, gnarly bass tones, energetic drumming and less-than-conventional vocals are all very much present and correct, but we made a conscious decision to be more direct in terms of structure and arrangement this time. I reckon ‘Enorme!’ is probably Fat Goth’s most accessible offering to date, so if you’ve never heard us before and you don’t like the new album, rest assured you’ll fucking hate the rest of our stuff!

Q- It’s been three years since that album was released, what has changed for Fat Goth since then?

FRASER: Well, we’ve acquired more wrinkles, waistlines have increased in diameter and grey hairs are becoming more prominent upon both scalps and beards alike. On the plus side I quit smoking, Mark got a shiny new drumkit and both myself and Kevin have found new gainful employment. The latter is particularly good news as work commitments have always been problematic for Fat Goth and prevented us from being as active as we’d like. It’s worth noting we’re all in our mid 30’s now and have absolutely zero interest in pursuing Fat Goth as full-time career, but it would be great to have the option to go on short tours and things of that nature every so often. We’ll see how things pan out.

Q- You’ve covered the Sex Pistols No Feeling for a Make That A Take complication album. What made you cover that particular song?

FRASER: Because it’s great! ‘Nevermind The Bollocks’ was one of the key inspirations that kickstarted my creative drive for ‘Enorme!’ and I had a great time revisiting it. There’s nothing I can add to the endless and entirely justified praise it’s already received, so I won’t bother trying.

Q- What other songs would you love to give the Fat Goth treatment too in the future?

FRASER: We only recently came to the blindingly obvious realisation that starting live sets with a cover is a great way to kick things off – it’s not your tune so you’re not too precious over it, and it gives you the opportunity to warm up completely before performing your own material. It’s great fun playing covers and I predict ‘No Feelings’ will be the first of many to get an airing at a future Fat Goth show. I’m not going to say what they are because it’ll ruin the surprise, ken?

Q- Will you be going on tour in support of the album when it is released?

FRASER: We have some Scottish shows lined up in June that we’re very much looking forward to:

XpoNorth – Inverness (date TBC)
Friday June 23rd – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
Saturday June 24th – Dundee Conroy’s
Friday June 30th – Glasgow Hug & Pint
Sunday August 13th – Carnival 56 Festival (Dundee Camperdown Park)

We’ll need to wait and see how feasible it is to play further afield, but hopefully at some point in the not too distant future we’ll manage to make it south of the border for some live action.

Q- Songs from Enorme like Thoroughbred and Not So Great Expectations will sound brilliant live, will you be playing a lot of the album when you next play live?

FRASER: We actually performed the new album in it’s entirety on a couple of occasions just before the recording sessions began. Playing new stuff at shows is a great way to tighten everything up and get completely familiar with the performance. Bands like Fugazi would write while on tour, performing the stuff every night and head straight into a studio once the tour was over. That’s why their recorded performances are so great.

We’ll definitely play all the new stuff, but we’re 4 albums into our ‘career’ and have a sizable back catalogue consisting of stuff we still enjoy playing. I imagine our sets will be 60% new, 40% old, but it really just depends on what we fancy playing that particular night.

Q- What have been some of the highlights from the road on your past years of touring?

FRASER: We’ve not done much in the way of touring, but we did play a few UK shows with Torche back in 2013 which were great! The other live-related thing I’m particularly grateful for was supporting NoMeansNo in Edinburgh of the same year, which sadly turned out to be their last Scottish performance as they called time on the band towards the end of 2016. Mind you, it’s understandable after a punk rock career spanning over 3 decades!!

Q- Where do you love playing live the most?

FRASER: This may sound factious, but genuinely anywhere with a decent PA and a receptive and enthusiastic audience!

Q- What do you miss most when you’re on the road?

FRASER: Again, we’re not too experienced in that regard, but I do vividly remember desperately missing my own bed along with the privacy, silence and offensive aroma-free atmosphere of my bedroom on the few, rare occasions I’ve been ‘out on the road’. We did a week-long tour around the release of ‘Stud’, and I wept like a big shit the second I finally made it home and closed the front door behind me.

Q- Who would love to tour with in the future?

FRASER: Adele.

Q- How would describe a Fat Goth live show?

FRASER: We practise a lot and aim to give tight performances executed with precision and disgrace.

Q- What’s the best gig you have ever seen?

FRASER: I’ve been fortunate enough to see a fair few, but I have to say the first time I saw the Melvins was a particularly righteous experience. It was at the Ten Years of ATP festival and the Big Business guys featured in the lineup. The dual drumkit setup sounded amazing, only for Melvins to end their set with the rear stage curtains opening up to reveal the two drummers from Modest Mouse, who then proceeded to join in the encore jam and pummel the audience into oblivion with the quadruple drumkit assault – awesome!

Q- If you could curate your own festival with bands from any era, which five bands you pick to play?

FRASER: Personally I’d choose the Melvins, The Jesus Lizard, NoMeansNo, Fugazi and a 24 hour-long Neil Hamburger standup set.

Q- What are your top three albums of all time?

FRASER: Things like that change constantly for me so there’s little point in me naming anything definitively. That said, I’m currently enjoying ‘Why Love Now’ by PIssed Jeans, ‘The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull’ by Earth and Anxiety’s self titled debut.

Q- What about bands to come about of Scotland, who are some of your all time favorites?

FRASER: There have been loads of bands from Scotland who have made some incredible music I hold dear to my heart, but to list every name I could think of would take an age. That said, Laeto, Macrocosmica, Lapsus Linguae and DeSalvo all had a significant impact upon shaping what would eventually become Fat Goth’s sound and I heavily recommend folk seek that stuff out!

Q- Can you recommend any new bands for us to check out?

FRASER: Yes, there are loads. However, I’m only going to list 3 off the top of my head because it’s getting late and I’ve got to get up early for work tomorrow morning: Pile – an amazing indie guitar rock band from Boston, Anxiety – highly abrasive and caustic anarcho punk from Glasgow and Edinburgh’s very own Britney, who sound like mental illness but in a good way.

Thanks very much Circuit Sweet for showing an interest in our music and our band! We’re always appreciative of such things and we hope those who chose to listen to our new album enjoy what they hear along with the rest of our stuff. Cheerybye!

Our pleasure! Thank you to Gavin for his time with Fat Goth- grab the new record now!

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