On June 14th, 2012 we conducted an interview with NJ band FIGHT AMP. I bet we don’t need to introduce these guys for lots of you. Known as FIGHT AMPUTATION until 2008, the band shortened its name to FIGHT AMP and soon after that released a split with BLACK TUSK to make their new name even bigger. Now they are putting the final touches on their highly anticipated third studio album entitled “Birth Control”. Scroll down to check out more news, great stories from the band and their view on European economic crisis.
Hey, thanks for taking this interview. What’s up guys?
Not much. Thanks for doing this.
You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure doing business with you. [smiles]
So you are putting the final touches on you brand new album “Birth Control”. Can you reveal some details about the recording process for the release? Who did you work with?
We’re completely finished recording and mastering now and we’re just waiting to start premiering tracks and artwork, etc. This is the first full length we recorded at a local studio in NJ called Gradwell that we generally use to record shorter releases. We recorded with Steve Poponi, who also engineered our splits with BLACK TUSK, KOWLOON WALLED CITY, LADDER DEVILS and BURNING LOVE. We also recorded all of the music to 2″ tape this time as well and we’re really excited about the sound we were able to capture. It definitely has a large sound and grit similar to our live sound that we’ve always wanted to capture on an album.
How is it different from “Manners And Praise”? Can we expect the good old dirt and your stoner/post hardcore crossover soundings that we love so much?
I’d say the main difference between Birth Control and Manners And Praise is the flow of the album itself. We put Manners together to intentionally have a fast pace and just move from song to song very quickly. This time we decided to slow it down some and give the album more peaks and valleys, slow to fast, with less similarity moving from song to song. I think we also managed to get more “single” worthy songs onto this record than Manners had as well. Of course we still have our sound that both Hungry For Nothing and Manners and Praise have, so fans of either of those records will be into Birth Control for sure. There are fast/hard-hitting songs and slow grooves and everything in between. Another big difference is in the vocals. We took a lot more time dialing in our vocal sounds this time and getting the best possible takes we could. It’s hard to explain, but once you hear it the difference will be obvious.
Talking about the songwriting process, previously you focused on the band’s happenings, your personal circumstances, etc. How has it been this time around?
This is another big difference between this album and our past albums. We based the content of Birth Control on a character we created based on different parts of our lives and experiences and people we’ve known and rubbed elbows with. The album starts during his youth, moves to him settling down and searching for the American Dream, and then society and his whole world collapse and his values and actions are all proven to be wrong and nothing but a waste of time and thought. It basically showcases this person from youth, to adulthood, through the end of the world as we know it until his eventual death in the last song. I wouldn’t call it a strict concept album since a lot of the content we took from our own experiences and thoughts and ideas and injected them into the narrative, but it’s definitely way different than the individual song layouts we’ve done in the past.
So what’s the true meaning of the album title? What do you have in mind?
Well, Birth Control has a lot of meanings obviously. The main one we focused on was the fact that the type of people that the narrative of the record is based on can be seen as birth control themselves. When you go to the mall, or some backwater flea market, and you see the same awful droning faces that don’t seem to be getting any kind true enjoyment from life, you can look at them and say “those people are birth control for anyone in their right mind”. They’re basically a deterrent for anyone thinking about pumping more people into this planet. By the same token, we always say some conservative do-gooder type people might look at people like us, wasting our lives away in a van without real careers or futures and say the same thing…so we’re technically birth control to those people as well. You don’t want your kids to end up like us, right?
Is the September release date possible?
The album comes out September 25th. We haven’t officially announced that yet, but we will be within the next couple of weeks along with cover art and a track listing.
Do you plan any special promotion of the album? How do you compare your experience spreading the word about the band now with the times you were just starting out?
Translation Loss is definitely planning a good amount of press and promotion for this one. All I can say is stay tuned, since we have so much time between now and the release in September it’ll all come out bits and pieces at a time. As far as the difference between now and when we first started, it’s like apples and oranges. Everything was 100% DIY for our first few years, so any hope of real advertising or press releases was out the window. We have a lot of people helping us and supporting us now, so it helps get our music out there a lot. We still try to use the same DIY ethic we’ve always had combined with the support from labels and press. That diy mentality is what got us this far, so we’ll never abandon that. The days of skateboarding around some town on tour passing out flyers for a show booked that day may be in the past, but we’re always down to do our parts and work hard at what we love.
So when we can expect some new music from the album? Would you like to tease us a little?
We’ll be premiering two or three singles up until the release date, one at a time, and then sometime just before the release the album will be streaming on select few blogs and websites. I would say the first single will be premiered in early July.
Both labels have been awesome and done so much for us. This time Translation Loss is releasing both the CD and vinyl. This will be the first time our vinyl will be going through a major distributor so we’re really excited for that. Both labels have always made it a point to work closely with us and we’ve developed good relationships with them.
Do people still ask you about your previous name, FIGHT AMPUTATION? [smiles] Or anyone even remembers the fact you were called that way? Do you see a lot of new faces in the audience at your gigs these days?
People ask about the FIGHT AMP/FIGHT AMPUTATION difference all the time. Really, we never officially changed our name, we just always called ourselves “Fight Amp” for short and just thought it was appropriate to start putting that on record covers and t-shirts. It just so happens we made that decision at the time our first full length was released and we gained more of a national and international audience, so to anyone researching our backstory it looked like a name change. We always say one of these days we’ll just put Fight Amputation on a record cover one day just to confuse people further…hah. We do see a lot of new faces at shows every time we play in a city we’ve played a bunch. I think doing package tours with bands like KYLESA and WEEDEATER got a lot more fans interested in us.
We’re hungry for tour dates, man. What are you readying for your live audience? When can we expect some new tour dates to be announced? What bands are you teaming up with this time?
We’re hungry for tour dates too. We literally settled on an album release date maybe two weeks before doing this interview, so we just now started seriously trying to put something together. Ideally we can be on the road right as the album is released. We’re hoping to hop onto a package tour with some awesome bands, but if that doesn’t pan out we’ll be booking something that goes cross country with a different band on each leg of the trip.
What’s the farthest you ever traveled with the band? What were the biggest differences between people gathered at your shows?
We’ve done the entire US multiple times and played across Canada a couple times. We’re from the northeast US, and the stereotypes here tend to hold true; people are often aggressive and in a hurry, so we’re used to that attitude and lifestyle. When we go to places like Montreal, California, the Northwest or most southern cities and experience a totally laid-back demeanor and hospitality, it tends to throw us off at first, but it’s always a welcome change. I remember back in our early days of touring, we stayed with some total strangers in Oklahoma who left us there while they went to work and emphasized not worrying about locking your doors. That type of trust of total strangers isn’t something that exists much in the northeast.
Can we expect a European trek some time soon?
Nothing definite, but I think it’s about time we made it across the pond. Our plans in 2013 are basically to tour as much as we can to promote Birth Control, so hopefully Europe falls in line with those plans. We’ve had offers here and there and just never been able to put it together. I’d say this is one of our main goals for the future of FIGHT AMP.
As far as you’re concerned, how’s the West Deptford, NJ scene, musically speaking? Would you like to recommend a band, a zine or anything you dig these days? Any undiscovered talents or decent people you’d like to draw attention to?
West Deptford, NJ is actually just a suburb outside of Philadelphia that we all grew up in, none of us actually live there currently. There’s nothing specific to speak of there, but sometimes New Jersey as a whole will have some houses doing shows, and small clubs in New Brunswick and Atlantic City will pop up sometimes and help touring bands out. Generally speaking we’re part of the Philadelphia scene, and shows there are hometown shows for us. Any chance I get I love to recommend some bands that we’re close with and love both personally and musically and who I believe deserve more attention; LADDER DEVILS, WHORES, KOWLOON WALLED CITY, BARDUS, MULTICULT and LADY PISS. Of course there are a ton more, but I’d fill the page listing them.
Besides music, what are you into right now?
Nothing too out of the ordinary at the moment. We all have our side interests and hobbies and they all generally lean towards different types of art and media. Dan, our new drummer, is an artist and actually did the album art for Birth Control. Jon and I have both dabbled in electrical work and still occasionally use what we know to wire this or that. Other than that, just working and getting the most out of life when we’re not on the road and spending time with friends and family.
Since we’re based in Warsaw, Poland, we’re very interested in the American point of view on things. Do people in your neighborhood care about what’s going on in Europe? What’s the link between local “news” stories from http://www.nj.com/ and European happenings? Do you see people around you following the Euro 2012 Championship news? Do people care about the European crisis?
Good question. I wouldn’t say Philadelphia or the towns we’ve live in NJ are anymore interested or apathetic towards world issues than in other places in America. A lot of people care for different reasons, some of them selfish and some of them not. On the flip side, a lot of people don’t care as well. We come from a blue-collar part of the country, so I think most people are swept up in their day-to-day issues and living paycheck to paycheck and can’t see outside of their own world so easily. As far as local news goes…it’s hard to get any unbias news from sources like that. Most are slanted in either a conservative or liberal direction. Honestly, a lot of people that want real news in this country turn to UK news sources to cross reference with local or national media here. As far as the Euro 2012 championship goes, that hasn’t quite caught on here in this part of the world as much as others. We live in a very sports-minded area, but it’s mostly baseball and American football more than anything else.
Thanks so much! Anything you’d like to add?
Once again, thank you for your support and interest. We’ve been doing this for a long time and we appreciate people like you that take time out of their lives for FIGHT AMP.
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