Saturday, January 13, 2007

Near me too.

The Fussy Part are touring the East Coast and Ontario quite heavily these next few months supporting their debut EP Ben. The packaging on the album is one of the best I have seen by fellow New Brunswickers since Eric's Trip. It features beautiful artwork by local artist Meg Lanteigne.

Anyone who has seen or heard the band live can attest to the freshness of the band's sound. To me the album plays out like a story, centering around the middle track Near You. It is the only track to have vocals and is obviously the stand out track of the album. Nick's vocals are precious on this track and his other side projects should take note on his abilities as a lead vocalist, just sayin'. Near You, along with Unmanaged, are the two songs that most exemplify the sound i feel the band is trying to put out. I feel the strength and individuality of the band is in their electronic atmospherics. If the band wants to take it a step higher i feel they will need to turn up the keyboards and focus more on songwriting around them. Everyone loves the sounds they are putting out, but if they are going to maintain their status as an "experimental" band I would like to hear more experimenting.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to the boys from the band:

Awesome Until Proven Guilty - Okay, well first off The Fussy Part is kind of a weird name, where did you come up with it?

The Fussy Part - The Fussy Part has been sort of like a theme for the band before we ever got around to assigning it a name. Stephen has a pretty rad hair part, the music it sometimes pretty odd and complex (or "fussy") and the phrase "the fussy part" is pretty common in things like cookbooks, puzzles, etc.

How do you feel the band name represents your band?

The name doesn't say anything about our music and the obvious negative connotation says even less. However, I couldn't really care less. There are people who hate us and there are people who love us based on the name alone. We've had a steady flow of press, both good and bad, due to the name.
There are a million bands out there and a million good and bad band-names, at least ours sticks out a little.

Why is the EP Ben? There is no one in the band named Ben?

We thought it would be a nice theme to name each album like a child. The names "Walter" and "Suzanne" just didn't fit as much as "Ben".

What sets you apart from other artists from New Brunswick?

I guess the fact that we are (mostly) instrumental sets us apart. There aren't a lot of groups doing the instrumental thing, especially not in the "experimental" genre.

What do you think The Fussy Part has that has allowed such success so far?

I don't know how you classify "success" but I'd say we still have a long way to go in the Maritimes, let alone outside of this region. We're just going to keep doing what we do and hope that people respond to it positively. Maybe we'll eventually get to a point where we can make albums and tour without going into debt. That is success to me.

Don't you find it cocky to have so few songs without lyrics?

I never thought about instrumental music being "cocky" before. We all have outlets for lyrics in our other groups and this music doesn't really call for another layer. I hope that the songs stand out on their own as interesting. I've always been a fan of instrumental music and although it doesn't have wide-appeal i find it the most interesting and challenging type of music to play. Getting the everyday music fan to enjoy your creation, which may be different and a challenge to listen to is probably the greatest challenge in this band.
Maybe that is "cocky."

What do you feel the instrumental songs have that they can be carried without words?

I wish I could avoid the obvious cliché here, but i can't. The music is emotional and intense and that should speak something for itself.

What bands are you influenced by that are in your same experimental-rock type genre?

I just discovered Isis (who are on Mike Patton's label) and love them. They combine a perfect mix of building melodies and drones with (very tasteful) growling lyrics. Other bands (for me) would include: Mogwai, Godspeed, Tristeza, Jaga Jazzist, Explosions in the Sky, Battles, etc...

I know the band originally started with only Kyle and Bob, why did you find it necessary to add more members to the band?

When it was just Bob and I, we were layering all these different parts and found it very limiting to keep coming up with new ideas between the two of us. We also would have never been able to play live, which would have kept the Fussy Part strictly a basement operation and we'd probably never have released anything. Nick, Stephen and Dennis are what made the band what it is now.

How does your relationship with the other band members reflect in your performance?

We've all known one-another through the New Brunswick music scene for over 10 years and enjoy each other's company. We have a lot of fun together and we're all a little socially-awkward in our own way and have a similar sense of humour, which keeps things interesting.

Does everyone contribute in the song creation or are there "leaders" of the band?

Everyone contributes. While each member has their own songs in the band, some of the songs are collectively written and/or arranged and some are completely finished before they are even brought to the table.

I see you just got back from a show in Prince Edward Island, what does the band do to pass the time on such a long drive?

Long drives are always the most interesting because that's when cabin-fever sets in, van style. The past weekend's drive included lots of applause, a black eye, and group singalongs.

Having received such wide distribution, how do you feel the band will be received in the rest of the country?

The distribution is such a help to us. While we may not get a chance to play past Ontario at the moment, people might hear about us on campus radio or online. If they like what they hear and read, at least the option to order is there. We just had our first online purchase last week and it was from someone in BC, which is kind of strange, I didn't know we had fans out there. That's the power of the Intraweb.

What is coming up in the future for The Fussy Part?

Well, we are doing a Maritime release tour over the course of January and February and 4 dates through Ontario in March to pay off our album debt. I hope that by the end of March we'll have enough to start recording again. Being in the studio is where this project really shines and we're all really excited to begin recording a full-length. It would be really nice to play some new parts of the country at some point. For now, I just want to ship out the album to campus stations and music 'zines to see what happens.

The importance of this band in our local scene is to introduce artists with electronic sounds into the main college scene. In spite of New Brunswick's excellent electronica scene (A/V, The Trick, The Brad Perry Disaster, Paranerd), not enough people are aware or exposed to them. Since the members of The Fussy Part have obligations in eight other New Brunswick bands, they are sort of a "supergroup" amongst the university crowd. Hopefully this will allow more local exposure and interest in the genre. Kudos to the The Fussy Part.

[mp3] The Fussy Part - Near You

* Buy Ben EP on Amazon

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