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! available via Hefty Dafty Records.
Enorme! is not short on meaty riffs, head-bobbing, balls out rock and a tight rhythm section that has become Fat Goth’s signature sound. However, the boys have turned their backs on the tongue-in-cheek themes conveyed in their last three albums, where they explored the feeling of being the outsiders, the awkward unfashionable don’t-give-a-shit outcasts that were expert at delivering huge, heavy music with sinister humour.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Fat Goth about influences, the newest project, streaming music and more.
Full Q&A along with links and streams below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
Hello! My name is Fraser and I play guitar and sing in Fat Goth. Speaking as both an artist and a fan of creative expression in general, I’ve always found myself gravitating towards the darker, weirder end of the taste spectrum, and that certainly rings true as far as my preference in music is concerned. I listen to and enjoy a wide variety, but I particularly love underground hardcore punk, heavy metal and abrasive rock music, all of which heavily influence Fat Goth’s sound. Like countless others, I’ve grown up feeling the mainstream equivalent of ‘good’ is usually nothing more than uninspired, generic, disposable garbage. Listening to music of a rebellious, uncompromising nature and playing in a band like ours means I’m afforded the luxury of venting some of that life-long frustration, while simultaneously feeling a degree of validation in attempting to counteract the banality I see around me. It’s also just tremendous fun playing with friends at deafening volumes in both basement practice spaces and venues alike.
What led you into this journey with music? And further, what drives you to push it out to the public?
The catalyst for me was hearing Nirvana in my mid teens and almost immediately feeling the desire to create music myself. It marked the start of a musical exploration trajectory I’ve enthusiastically followed and maintained ever since! My pursuit of music has helped me grow immeasurably as a person and has become an intrinsic part of who I am, and having subscribed to a punk ethos where being yourself is most certainly encouraged, I always feel our band is justified in writing, recording and performing it’s music even if we’re the only people who think it’s any good. The fact is the vast majority of people won’t enjoy what we do, but it’s not our responsibility to tune in the ears of the listener. My responsibility as an artist is to write the kind of music I would enjoy hearing as a listener, perform it to the best of my abilities, let people know it exists and continue to do so as long as I believe in it. People will say they don’t like what we do and it’s unfortunate, but it’s not our problem.
Who or what influences your creativity? Have your tastes in music changed over time?
The bands and artists I’ve been listening to for years and years are continual sources of influence and inspiration, although I try to keep up the younger generations and it’s always encouraging whenever I come across something current that resonates just as much. A great example is the Bostonian band, Pile who write phenomenal guitar-driven indie rock and I heavily recommend those who enjoy that kind of thing to check them out!
As far as our new album is concerned, I was inspired a great deal by the musical complexity and lyrical sharpness of NoMeansNo, the wonderfully ugly, super-charged blues rock of Harvey Milk’s ‘The Pleaser’ and the snide, damning attitude of Sex Pistols’ ‘Nevermind The Bollocks’. There really isn’t that much of a difference when I compare that stuff to what I was listening 10/15 years ago, so I guess I’m just a miserable curmudgeon who knows what he prefers and is unlikely to develop an enthusiasm for uplifting German Techno at this late stage in the game.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
I had no desire to talk about myself directly when it came to writing the lyrics for ‘Enorme!’. I feel as though I discussed myself extensively in Fat Goth’s previous efforts, so I was keen to try something new and adopt a more existential approach. Again, NoMeansNo were of notable influence in that regard and I deeply admire the poetic quality of Rob Wright’s engaging and thought-provoking work. The sign of great lyrics is when they stand on their own merits without their musical accompaniment, which is certainly the case for most of their stuff.
Aside from that it was more or less a case of us continuing to jam together and refine the sound we’ve established for ourselves over the last 7 years. We made a conscience decision to be more direct with ‘Enorme!’ and focused on arranging tight, hard-hitting pieces of music that complemented the scathing and sarcastic nature of the songs themselves. Thematically, it’s pretty bleak stuff and very much reflects both the social and political climates we find ourselves in, but then again it’s worth remembering those who act upon their creative impulses have a duty to question the social norms they object to and disagree with. Ideas and opinions are spread through artistic expression and I have no reservations in attempting to do so with Fat Goth.
What was the last song you listened to?
‘Waiting On My Horrible Warning’ by Pissed Jeans. I’ve only recently discovered this band’s music despite the fact they’ve been around for years and this is the opening track from their wonderful new record, ‘Why Love Now’. I’m at a stage in my life where I’m beginning to contemplate some of the concerns highlighted in this somewhat unsettling tune, and I absolutely adore Matt Korvette’s hideously rank vocal delivery. Stuff like that always catches my interest and appeals to my sense of humour.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
MP3’s are convenient as hell but sound less than great, CDs sound good but no one buys them anymore and while vinyl possesses the collectability and ritualistic factors, they’re expensive and take up loads of room if you happen own a lot of it. They all have their pros and cons, so I’m just going to cop out and say I prefer all 3.
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
Bandcamp is an amazing site and one that undoubtedly gets my seal of approval! The reason is because they don’t take the piss by ripping anyone off and appear to genuinely care about providing artists with a decent online platform to showcase their work. Viva la Bandcamp!
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what is the biggest challenge you face when trying to connect with or find new fans?
Trying to convince people to attend local shows and support the scenes that reply upon their participation! It’s extremely worrying and depressing to see so many great venues all over closing their doors due to increases in running costs, the lack of paying customers, and local councils favouring proposed housing developments instead of defending and assisting established businesses that local scenes depend upon.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more music?
Our drummer, Mark does a fine job of managing Fat Goth’s online presence and keeps our audience updated via our Facebook and Twitter pages. Our last 2 records are available on most streaming sites, but the entire Fat Goth back catalogue is available for free from our bandcamp page. We also have a YouTube channel with a few music videos and lots of poorly recorded live stuff.
Anything else you’d like to add before signing off?
We’re a part-time entity operating on a shoestring budget, so it stands to reason most folk will never hear our music or be aware of our band. Therefore, it’s always massively appreciated whenever anyone shows an interest in us and what we’re doing. We’d just like express our sincere gratitude to Middle Tennessee Music for this opportunity and we hope everyone enjoys our noise!