FAUS is probably unlike anything you’ve heard before — which is exactly how the band likes it. There can be lines drawn to some other greats in the mathcore/noise/etc. side of the pool, but the band just stands on a ledge all their own. Where others complain about music that doesn’t push the boundaries but just stick to internet commenting, the members of FAUS got out and did something about it — and now you’re reading about their work and can go listen to it via wherever you pick up music, so for now they’ve proven pretty successful.
Pushing The Boundaries — Seriously, Not Just A Cliche
Their spring 2018 release Apestate packs a mind boggling amount of furious chaos into its six tracks. To be clear, though, there’s an important sense of control on the Blackhouse Records release. The band knows what they’re doing.
“The message that we’re constantly inferring from the world around us is ‘dumb it down more; make it simple,'” FAUS vocalist Alex Chaffin explains. “We play abrasive loud heavy music, so we’ve already limited our market. But we still find it necessary to write music that pushes those boundaries even further. We prefer honing and evolving our proficiency, technicality and creativity. In the same light that our lyrical theme is inspired by a critique of the social constructions of civilization, so too is our music an essence of retaliation against the standards of what listenable, unique and interesting songs might hold. Our audience has to listen to the songs a few times not because they want to sing the chant or choreograph their two-step dance moves, but so one can understand what’s going on in the first place. There should always be more.”
The band isn’t messing around here. Even digging into the lyrics — without the music playing! — could leave fans dazed and confused in an exhilarating, let’s-get-on-that-roller-coaster-again kind of way. Chaffin doesn’t ever stick around on one idea for very long in his performances, preferring to match the band’s instrumentation with furiously erratic vocals and lyricism.
Again though, the band’s precision and careful intent persists.
Chaffin explains: “Honestly, we’re sick of the same (and rarely thought provoking) lyrics every band tries to write, so much so that it could ruin a band for us. And that sucks. Sure, it’s heavy music, and people love to be forlorn and contempt, but push it a little more. It’s as much a craft as guitar. So for us, it’s (again) about writing something you’d want to read (or hear).”
“One liners are cool — until they’re not,” he continues. “The themes certainly err on the side of despair, but it’s an overall critique on the attempt, struggle and defeat of existing in the modern world. We all know it. Apostate means to deny one’s creed, cause, religion etc. and APESTATE is a call to Ishmael, a book rooted in civilizations missteps. Just as our songs have to be listened to multiple times to be understood, the lyrics don’t shy from that model.”
Drawing From That Stream We’re All Drowning In
There’s a parallel to be drawn between the band’s presentation and, well, life itself.
At times, there’s no meaning in the chaos. The meaning is the utter chaos. Power rests with the songs’ abilities to knock you off your feet — metaphorically or literally — and then pick you up just to knock you back down again.
At every turn — including this one — the members of FAUS remains conscious of the implications of their work.
They’ve sought to turn their chaos around, though, into something intriguing. You can be like a metaphorical wizard lording over your unruly kingdom via turning on Apestate.
“While this release definitely wields a consistent tone, we took our time to make sure the songs were interesting throughout,” Chaffin explains. “As far as finishing touches or end goals, we just wanted the songs to capture that knee-scraping, teeth-clenching, gut-stirring, toe-stubbing, open-hand-back-slap rage that we all feel while tumbling through modern existence.”
There are some important practical aspects to FAUS’s work along these lines, including a further openness to more wild sounds in the future that Chaffin shares.
“As we’re all maturing in our weird walks of life, so are our musical preferences. We’re already putting more songs together. As I said earlier, this album has a consistent tone. I’d like to profess that this album is to serve as a sort of reemergence — getting back to the social aspect of being in a band. It’s short but thick. We would have liked to add more range in tone and dynamic on Apestate but we wanted to put something out and Blackhouse gave us a super sweet opportunity to press and blast it (shout out to BH fam). So in the future, we want to utilize more dynamics and take things from other genres that we admire. I think you can expect a lot of the same vibes from FAUS for the entirety of its lifespan, but we’re gonna try on some new threads.”
Dredging Ourselves Out Of The Muck
In the end, the band’s brand of chaos touches on something important — we’re all still people in the midst of this mess of a world. There’s a place for embracing the intrigue of the chaos that FAUS provides, and it rests on the band members themselves ending up thrilled via crafting it.
“For the most part, I think we’ve always played the music we wanted to hear and, luckily, there are people who really connect with it and that’s the bees mother effing knees, ya dig?” Chaffin quips. “We have often talked about trying to incorporate the preferences of a larger demographic while remaining our brand of nasty but, needless to say, it’s not our current focus.”
“Breaking ground on a song and things coming together is so exciting,” he continues. “When someone who composes finally has pieces come together to make a good song, it’s an accomplishment that I’d imagine is like discovering a cure for an ailment — not like a serious disease but like a cure for an itch on someone else who won’t stop complaining about it.”
Stop complaining and get cured — turn on Apestate below via Spotify, or pick it up on Bandcamp.
Photo via Alicia Hauff