Blogging to you from the comfort of my new place.
What if our hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won’t take me there?
Oh, I wish for once, we could stay gold
What if to love and be loved’s not enough?
What if I fall and can’t bear to get up?
Oh, I wish for once, we could stay gold
These are the lyrics that started the waterworks at tonight’s show, y’all.
Can’t sleep because I can’t stop over-analyzing.
Been listening to Jeff soundcheck new material for the past hour or so. Have I mentioned I love my job?
9:30 INTERVIEW: Benjamin John Power, Fuck Buttons
Madelyn [9:30]: Are you getting excited for the upcoming U.S. tour?
Benjamin John Power [Fuck Buttons]: Yeah, we are, actually. These things creep up on you a little bit, don’t they? It’s only a week until we leave for it now. We love playing out there, so yeah, we can’t wait.
Awesome! Are you guys approaching this tour at all differently than previous ones?
This will be the first time that we have our full visual show - the visual aspects - along with us in the States. We’ve been doing it in Europe and the rest of the world and festivals now, but it’ll be the first time we’ve brought it to America, so we’re looking forward to that.
Are you guys very involved with creating the visual component of your show? And what inspires it?
It’s an idea that we came up with. Obviously, we had to get somebody else to facilitate it, but it was our idea and we were very conscious of the fact we didn’t want it to just be some irrelevant kind of visuals we put in place as a separate focus from what’s going on onstage. We wanted to make sure that it was a little more interactive between Andy and my setup and what you’re actually seeing on the screen. So I think opposed to a separate focus, it’s way more involved in what’s already happening on stage and what’s been happening on stage since we started out, essentially.
Musically, do you guys improvise at all during shows? Or do you mostly stick to what’s on the album?
I mean, you ask any electronic artist and they’ll say the same to you. They’ll say they improvise within a certain framework. We do have set parts, but because the tracks are written in such a live way anyway, there is room for error. We do improvise to a certain degree, as well. We do have parts that we stick to, and it’s not completely free for all, but it is possible to mess up, and possible add and subtract as you wish to a certain degree, but not one-hundred percent.
What, for you, makes a show memorable?
As long as something hasn’t gone drastically wrong, then it’s all memorable. I know I can speak for my bandmate when I say that one thing that really makes him feel like a show is memorable is to see a crowd surfer [laughs]. And I would say the same, obviously. You know, electronic music - it’s very unusual for that to happen. Some of the shows we play, some of the festivals we play - it quite often gets treated more like a rock thing, which is quite nice because there’s definitely a live aspect to it. Seeing a crowd surfer always does stand out for us, but other than that, you can tell if people are having a good time, and if you’ve had a good time - it always sticks in your memory.
Yeah! So, I know that you’re a vegan, and I’m wondering whether that makes touring hard? Or how difficult it is to be vegan and a touring musician?
Depends what country you’re in. Now, I absolutely love France - we were just in France, we played in Paris and Lyon this weekend just gone - and the shows were fantastic, and the people were absolutely fantastic, but from a solely selfish dietary standpoint, I was fucked. But America, it’s always really good. UK is always really good. And a lot of Europe is great. It just means you have to actually plan things a little bit better before you go out or before you arrive somewhere. Before I was a vegan, I would just settle for anything. I would eat anything on tour. But now I have to actually put a little bit more thought into what I’m going to eat and where I’m going to eat, or otherwise I’ll get ill. So it actually adds to the touring experience. It means I get to see the cities a little bit more, if I have time, because I have to travel a little bit to get somewhere where I can eat. It’s added a whole new dimension.
Well, D.C. is a pretty vegan-friendly city, so hopefully you’ll have time to go check out some cool restaurants. So, what are some tour essentials? For example, are your Garfield hat and slippers something you take with you? Or what are some other memorabilia you take with you on tour?
We stripped down touring essentials, even for what we’re using on stage, because otherwise it just becomes very confusing. We don’t really have, like you say, anything that we necessarily bring, like anything totemistic. I know I don’t. A hard drive with some good films on, for sure. I know Andy brings his iPad, and I’ll bring a small hard drive with plenty of films on to watch - especially in the States, the drives are quite long. But other than that, we don’t have anything strange, like you said, Garfield slippers. That hasn’t really happened so much [laughs].
Do you know what movies you plan to put to your hard drive this tour?
I’ve not seen Beyond the Black Rainbow yet. I’m gonna watch that; I hear that’s pretty good. I’ve actually been watching Battlestar Galactica. My wife joins me halfway through on this tour, and I’ll get shot if I watch any of it without her, so I have to wait. So that for sure. We’re coming close to the end of the second season.
Does having your wife on tour make a big difference in terms of homesickness and your morale?
She’s only coming out because we actually have a week when Andy has to come back [to the UK] for a wedding halfway through, and I’m going to stay out there, and my wife is going to join me in L.A. for a week. So, she’s not really going to be on tour with us. But I mean, she’s joined on a couple dates before on tour. It’s fine, yeah. She’s good to have around; she keeps me in check.
Do you think attending art school influenced your music?
We’re both very visually minded when it comes to the aesthetic, and I guess that probably is a product of being at art school. Art’s what we both studied, and we like to keep the whole visual aesthetic side of Fuck Buttons - we like to do that all in-house. Andy makes the videos and I do all the artwork, and merchandise, and stuff, so I guess it has probably made a very big impact on our operation and such. We’ve managed to keep it quite tight, to a certain degree, as opposed to adding somebody else into the mix when it comes to the visual side of things or moving image side of things. So yeah, I mean, I’m sure it has. It’s cut out another head, essentially. It would be very hard for us to hand something like that over because we both know that we’re capable of doing so, you know?
Right. Did you guys celebrate your ten-year anniversary of making music together?
We haven’t sat down and celebrated it properly yet, but I think that’s a very nice idea. I think we will at some point, for sure. Maybe wait ‘til we’re on tour [laughs].
It’s a big milestone - ten years.
It is, it’s crazy. Yeah, it’s very crazy. It is a long time.
What can we expect from Fuck Buttons after this upcoming tour? Is there a new album in the wings? Or taking a break?
Andy and I are very, very good friends - we’re best friends - and we still really enjoy making music together. So yeah, of course there’s going to be a new album. We’ve been pretty busy playing shows and stuff since Slow Focus came out, so nothing has been written as of yet, but it’s something that we will do. There’s no date set for it, but yeah, you can definitely expect more from us. For sure.
Okay! So, last question. You’ve said that Mr. Ed the Talking Horse would play you in your biopic. If you were an actor in an alternate universe, in whose biopic would you like to star?
You know, as soon as I answered that question, I realized it was a fucking ridiculous contradiction.
You can amend your answer, if you’d rather.
No, it’s fine. I think it was just more me being a bit silly, but I clearly don’t agree with animals in entertainment. I guess that’s why I mentioned he would be calling the shots and have complete creative control. But still, yeah, animals in entertainment is something that I don’t necessarily agree with. Whose biopic would I like to star in? [Pauses.] Maybe Andy’s.
That’d make for an interesting movie!
[Laughs.] Maybe I could have Andy play me, and I could play Andy. I think it’d probably be quite convincing as well, as we know each other very well. Yeah, that could work. How ‘bout that? That’s my answer.
That’s a great answer, and I think that film should be made. [Ben laughs.] Well, thank you so much - we’ll see you at U Street Music Hall! Thanks again!
Thank you, Madelyn!
Fuck Buttons will perform at U Street Music Hall this Friday, June 13.
Not pictured: my work schedule, my internship schedule, and my moving date (the 15th). It’s going to be quite a week, y’all.
Only The Good Die Young
Fed Up With Hunger
"I think I sell myself short sometimes. I’m afraid to ask for what I want, because a part of me is afraid I don’t deserve it."