Hailing from the underground in Chicago, Fashion Bomb is one of the Mid-West’s best kept secrets, but not for much longer. The band is breathing new life into the metal scene and stands ready to take the nation by storm. Blending the dark visual aesthetics reminiscent of early Marilyn Manson with a healthy dose of Blade Runner, the band brings it’s sense of showmanship to life by backing it with a powerful musical prowess. Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently caught up with Fashion Bomb as they prepare to launch a global, no holds barred assault on the music scene. Val (vocals, programming) and Acid (guitar, backing vocals, programming, drums) were eager to discuss Fashion Bomb’s history, their recent signing to Full Effect Records, their powerful live performances, working with Fear Factory’s Raymond Herrera on their next album and what the future holds for this band on the rise.
Live-Metal.net: What inspired you to get into music and to go this route?
Acid: I have always been surrounded by music. Growing up, there was a lot of loud rock music going on in the house. So for me, it has always sorta been there and it is a natural thing and then as far as getting my hands on instruments, it clicked for me.
Val: Similarly to Acid, I always had creative family members and it has always been natural. It was something that I really started to gravitate towards. I really discovered music in late high school and going to college.
For those not familiar with Fashion Bomb, how did the project originally come about and how did you two meet up?
Val: Well, we had been playing out with some former members of the band and doing shows and Acid had been a part of the scene. Acid was a musician that we met in some common circles and when it came to to look for a new member, some new talent and infuse the band with the proper energy, he was a natural kind of progression. When you have like minded individuals that perform at a certain level, they tend to gravitate towards each other and that is what happened. We clicked right away.
Fashion Bomb launched “Era 2.0” earlier this year. How have those lineup changes effected you?
Val: Only for the better. As with any project, you really look to gather like minded people and those that have a common outlook on where the band should go and who you have chemistry. Basically, Era 2.0 is a phrase we came up with to show or demonstrate that this new incarnation of the band is something that we want to launch and showcase as the next step in the evolutionary process of the band, and that it is better than ever. Just like any type of computer system, you upgrade to a new version, you work out all the bugs, you maybe put a few new features into it and that is the sentiment that we wanted to invoke with that tag line.
You are also using the slogan, “Dead Techology”. Can you explain that concept to us a little bit?”
Val: It is really about going back to practices that may have been neglected in the past with things like attention to live performance, attention to all aspects of the music and being able to create music that is still tight and well performed and not overproduced. You can do a whole bunch of magic in the studio and make bad musicians sound good but we are thinking “How awesome would it be if we had great musicians that sounded amazing in the studio due to performance and not just editing?” That is where we are going with that.
Acid: I think it has a lot to do with “vibe” too. A lot of something that you used to see on older records is that they would have an overall vibe or feeling that you couldn’t really fake. I think if you reference that with things today that are more produced and that it squeezes a lot of the life out of it. I think that the feeling of those earlier albums is something that we are trying to bring back.
For people who haven?t had a chance to hear the band yet or to see you perform live, what does Fashion Bomb bring to the table?
Val: The trend for a long time has been “Tee Shirt and Jeans Metal”. The live performance would rarely sound like what the recording was just because of all those studio tricks that we eluded to before. We have had many reviews and many fans that have told us that we are better live than on our recording. They love your recording and they say “Wow, everything we expected from the CD is there live.” Plus, you get the visual show. We are exceptionally image conscious as far as what we are presenting. As far as the mood, that can be achieved with visuals on the stage. That is why you go to see a live performance, right? So many bands these days, it is almost you could just put on their CD. Why do that? You want to be able to incorporate visuals and share the energy with an audience. We accomplish that with our general love of doing it and performance on stage that we share with the audience. That is what we bring to the table.
Acid: Energy is a good word. There is a lot of energy that goes into it. I don’t feel like I have done my job personally unless I feel like I am getting ready to pass out at the end of a set. It is so hot up there and I am thrashing around like crazy, you connect with the audience and that energy goes back and forth.
You mentioned that image is very important to the band. Do you feel that there are any misconceptions about the band?
Val: I don’t know if there are some many misconceptions out there so much as they might feel that industrial music has to be repetitive, boring or something that you might see troubled people listening to at a dance club. Pioneers in industrial music have really influenced a great many genres. I mean, look at Al Jourgensen, how many people have cited him as an influence. That is as big of a compliment as you can get if you are taking an experience with the music or a style from another artist and making it your own and evolving it. I think the biggest misconception might be that industrial metal might be boring or simple. We are a metal band with industrial flavoring. When people see us, any misconception that they might have had will be alleviated. [laughs] We deliver exactly what we say, a kick ass show with great visuals. We are going to be spot on during live performances and hopefully it sounds even better than what you’re listening to on the CD. We are going to deliver the highest level of performance with the audience in mind.
Acid: Something that people say a lot about bands that have a high visual aspect is that the are using the image thing as a crutch. That is definitely not the case here. It is the music first and the image is just the icing on the cake.
Fashion Bomb has recently signed with Full Effect Records and will be re-releasing Devils to Some, Angels to Others, in September of 2008. How has you experience with the label been so far?
Val: Outstanding! They are a like-minded label. In the past, we have worked with some other labels including really large labels. We are really happy to be with Full Effect because the label really has a mindset that harkens back to the old days of Wax Trax and being a Chicago band that is something that is deeply ingrained as a part of our history. Wax Trax was really artists running labels to help other artists and building a community of mutual assistance and support. Really when you are going into a meeting with the label, you know that they are artists and not just some guy in a suit who just has a balance sheet out. While certainly that is a big part of this business these days, when you are primarily looking at it as art rather than business, you are ultimately going to have more success as an artist and make more of a connection with your audience. So that is why we are really pleased with the label right now. It doesn’t hurt that they have major distribution and a good business plan as well! [laughs]
The re-release will feature a remix of ?Low? by DJ Asrock. How did that collaboration come about?
Val: DJ Asrock, one of the principals of the label, has a band called Final Cut. You may know “Take Me Away,” it was a huge club single in the 90’s. He has a lot of experience remixing. He has worked with all the great remixers: Ministry, Thrill Kill Kult and all those guys. So he decided that would throw a DJ Asrock mix together as a little bonus on the album for the re-release.
Are you currently working on a followup to Angels To Some, Devils To Others?
Acid: Definitely! We are spending the bulk of our time right now, while everything is gearing up for the re-release, working on that. We have been holed up in the studio just writing and writing and writing and banging out some new stuff.
What is the songwriting process like for you?
Acid: It comes together a lot of different ways. Different people work different ways and we are all pretty versatile. We may all come up with and idea or two and bring it to the rest of the band and see what happens or people can come in with almost full songs and they may be re-interpreted or improved upon. Sometimes things just come together just by jamming. It is one of the nice things about this lineup, we can just sit down with the instruments and if we play for long enough something really cool will come out.
Val: Absolutely, it is really a collaborative process. We all have such diverse influences that it is very rare if we get to a point where we get stuck on a certain part of a song. There is such a deep well of creativity to draw from Acid, Trace or myself that if we get to a spot were we are stuck we can dig deep and find something that is going to be really different and still totally cool for the song.
Acid: I think that where a lot of writers get hung up is that you write to a certain point, and to use Val’s analogy “the well runs dry.” In our situation there is always somebody there to pick up the fumble immediately, so switching analogies, the run down the field never gets interrupted. There is always somebody there with the next idea that you didn’t have.
Who and what were some of your influences that have helped shaped you as an artist?
Val: That could be a lengthy answer. [laughs] I have always been a big classical guy. I am a huge opera buff but more applicable to the music that we are doing now, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, White Zombie, Fear Factory. All of those guys were big influences.
Acid: For me, definitely all of the above. I have always been into Machine Head, especially their first record Burn My Eyes. I think that record is fantastic. I really dug that guitar and drum style. There is just a whole pile of artists after that. It’s a little lighter but I love Muse. They have a weirdness to them that I think is really cool. We try to incorporate a little bit of them.
Val: We can’t get away without paying homage to Tool.
When can we look forward to hearing some touring plans from you? Is that in the cards right now?
Val: It is. The focus is going to be on the new album. We are going to be heading out to Los Angeles in the next couple months and we will be delivering a new album to our label by the end of the year. We are going to be working with Raymond Herrera of Fear Factory out there to produce the new album. We are definitely going to be out there working hard on that. That is pretty much going to be our short term goal but after the new year we will definitely be touring around to a city near you. The tour should be fairly extensive.
It sounds like you are going to have a busy year!
Acid: That’s the way we like it!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given since embarking on your career as a musician?
Acid: The best piece of advice that I have heard is always the same one. Whenever you hear from somebody that has been successful, they seem to all share a common theme. I most recently heard Raymond (Herrera) say it, you have to go out there and embrace and say “I am doing this one way or another and nothing is going to stop me.”
Val: There are always nay-sayers out there who will say “Oh your doing music? Well, the music market is pretty bad right now and the environment in the industry isn’t conducive to getting anything done.” Well, why don’t you go be an accountant! [laughs] If this is what you are meant to do, then just go do it. It is also important to surround yourself with people who want to be successful. If you have a bunch of guys who want to be Weekend Warriors, and we have had that with some past band members, it can drag you down. If you are really dedicated to getting this thing done, then you can really tell. You want to be surrounded in that positive energy because that is really what is going to carry you through.
Acid: It definitely starts with that attitude, you have to be willing to put as much work in as you absolutely can to get to where you want to go.
Val: It seems to be working for us!
That?s all the questions I have for you. Is there anything else you want to add?
Val: I would just say for those who haven’t checked us out yet, please do. We are confident that you won’t be disappointed and we are looking forward to coming to a town near you. We really, really look forward to being out there in a wider circle so that we can share the experience and journey that we are taking with everyone. We are very appreciative of all the fans that support us as well. Without the fans and the audience, the show is really diminished because it is about the shared experience.
Acid: We have had a lot of support from a lot of really amazing kids and without that this would pretty much be impossible.
Val: Exactly! Every fan who has handed out a flyer or has been on Myspace and said “Hey check out this band!”, not only are they a part of the music community and the experience, they are really encouraging creativity and the advancement of new music, rather than just the same old thing everyday. It is really cool how you can work together to create that community.
Thanks for your time guys and best of luck with everything you have going on.
Val and Acid: Thank You!
www.fashionbomb.net – The Official Site of Fashion Bomb
www.myspace.com/xfashionxbombx – The Official Myspace Page of Fashion Bomb
www.myspace.com/adrianvalerie – The Official Myspace Page of Val
www.myspace.com/acidbomb – The Official Myspace Page of Acid
www.fulleffectrecords.com – The Official Site of Full Effect Records
www.myspace.com/fulleffectrecords – The Official Myspace Page of Full Effect Records
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.