FOGG interview with Chase Jowell and Brandon Hoffman
Attention Sabbath worshippers, if you have not heard of FOGG yet you are missing out! Not only do they pray at the altar of the riff, but while many bands attempt it, they sound more like early-70’s era Black Sabbath than almost anyone else out there in their song construction and vocal delivery while bringing a dose of LSD saturated heavy-psych and some of the gnarliest heavy, blown out and explosively fuzzy guitars to have graced these eardrums, in sometime to the table. Howling psychedelic numbers that build until they seem like they’re going to explode are littered through out FOGG’s debut album DEATH, like landmines laying in wait for unsuspecting listeners. The band may not have been very pleased with the way the album originally came out, rerecording all of the material on their own after a disappointing session in the studio, but the underthegun DEATH cassettes sold out almost instantly and people, myself included, have been anxiously awaiting the re-release of the album on vinyl, as well as a follow up to the fuzzed out masterpiece that is DEATH ever since. Dual lead lines shred and soar above a dystopian rhythm section like some sort of mythical thunder bird, the bass and drum tumble and collide with each other providing a comfortable blanket of chest rattling noise hammering away at the rhythm like damned souls in hell, while the twisted lord of the almighty riff watches over the proceedings with a sinister glowing pennant stare. There are some really cool breaks in the heaviness though, and I think that’s one of the major things about FOGG that sets them apart. Not only do they know how to get hard and heavy, but they know when to let up on the throttle just long enough to let some tension build before unleashing an even more devestating wave of stoney psychedelic metal on you! Guitarist and bassist, Chase and Brandon respectively, recently took part in one of my monster interviews and set aside plenty of time to fill all you lucky folks in on the gritty details of one of the sickest bands I’ve come across in a long ass time. Enough of this inane rambling though, the time for words is done. Listen to some music, the link’s below, and make sure to keep an eye on these guys ‘cause FOGG is going to blow people away!
Who is FOGG right now and what do they play? Has your lineup gone through any changes since you started at all?
Chase: FOGG right now is a fuzzy/heavy psych band consisting of Chase Jowell on guitar, Brandon Hoffman on bass, and Ethan Lyons on drums. The lineup has been solid since we started back in December of 2012.
Brandon: FOGG is three homies, worshipers of the riff. No lineup changes, we’re about continuity.
Are any of you in any other bands at this point or do you have any side projects going on right now? Have any of you released anything in the past with anyone else, and if so can you tell us about that?
Brandon: Nothing else serious going on at the moment. Chase and I have this on and off thing called Toad that’s just super sludgy stoner stuff. He plays bass and I play drums in it but we only have a few songs. It’s wild though, he uses my bass rig and his guitar stuff and splits ‘em with an A/B box. It’s evil. Ethan and I used to have this band called Jesus Furs. It was a high school thing. Nothing like FOGG though, it was more noise pop/twee. Lately, been writing some songs with a David Crosby vibe.
How old are you and where are you originally from?
Chase: I’m nineteen years old. I was born in Anaheim, California but grew up in Fort Worth with Brandon and Ethan.
Brandon: I’m twenty-one. Born and raised in Fort Worth. Ethan’s twenty-two.
What was the local scene like where you grew up? Do you feel like the local scene there played a large or important role in shaping your musical tastes or the way that you perform at this point?
Chase: When I was fifteen/sixteen the hardcore post-metal shit was huge and I used to go to those shows just for something to do. It didn’t have a huge impact on me, besides making me appreciate the fun of actually going to see live music
Brandon: I didn’t really become aware of the local scene until a few years ago. I had always known about local heavyweights Fungi Girls, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I had always heard about 1919 Hemphill, which is the all ages spot in town, but never was around or involved in anything. We’re still fairly isolated from the local scene, geographically speaking, I guess. I never got into that post-metal shit.
What about your house when you were a kid? Were either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely interested/involved in music?
Chase: My grandma taught piano lessons briefly when I was like seven years old, but besides that, nothing. I just kinda found music when I was twelve and learned everything I know on my own. My dad is really into like, Korn and post-grunge and my mom likes weird atmospheric stuff like Enya, ha-ha.
Brandon: My parents really have no interest in music from what I can tell. I mean, they’re fans of music, but I think it’s more of a thing to listen to while you’re driving than something that holds great significance or can influence the way you live, think, etcetera. I listened to classic rock radio while driving around with my dad, but he’s not into the heavy stuff. When he was in high school, he was wary of the Zeppelin fans ’cause they smoked weed and had long hair. He’s a “Dust in the Wind” kinda dude.
What do you consider to be your first real exposure to music?
Chase: When I was like eleven years I got really into Free, James Gang and Saxon and bands like that, 70’s rock stuff. Really simple songs, but it made me appreciate stuff that wasn’t on the radio.
Brandon: The first rock band I got super into was Queen. I was probably eight, then AC/DC. I’d say Angus Young made me want to play guitar. I remember learning “Hell’s Bells” at like ten years old, probably freaking my family out. I always listened to music, like in first grade I was jamming Backstreet Boys and third grade I got real into Linkin Park and Staind and that kind of stuff. But, Queen and AC/DC were the first sounds that made me like “whoa there’s some magic to this rock & roll thing”.
If you were to pick a single defining moment of music, a moment that changed everything for you or opened the door to the infinites possibilities that it presents, what would it be?
Chase: It’s a pretty corny thing to say, but going to see AC/DC live really blew my mind. They were so fucking loud. It was the first real concert I ever went to and I felt like my ears were gonna melt, but I loved it. That was when I knew that you could really elicit something more than just a “hell yeah” from an audience, like the people there were so into it, it was unreal. It really kicked me into gear musically.
Brandon: Oh, wow. That’s impossible for me to answer. Everything has sort of melted together and just added to this dream of mine. Rock music is like a religion. I think it’s sacred. You have the ability to convey emotion through sound and vibrations; these really powerful things that can be physically felt if loud enough. I realized that music can transport people to other places; make you forget about bad times, whatever. There are universal emotions and music, at least for me, makes me feel less alone. I can listen to a Neil Young and know exactly what he’s feeling. It becomes personal and there’s a connection. I think it’s kind of essential. That’s how I realized the possibilities of music. The reward is feeling and catharsis.
When and why did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?
Chase: I wrote bluesy stuff for a long time, but I never played any shows before I joined FOGG. It was really fun to be able to do whatever you want in a song, no boundaries or anything. That’s still my favorite part about writing and performing. You can just do whatever you want and if you love it, somebody out there is bound to love it too.
Brandon: I guess, it was just a gradual thing. I’ve been recording and writing songs since I was like fifteen, but have only recently become comfortable sharing them and like, owning it. Creating these sounds keeps me busy and serves as a release for any tensions or stresses I have. Playing live is even more therapeutic. Seeing people get down to our songs is a gift.
What was your first instrument? When and how did you get that?
Brandon: I’ve been playing guitar for maybe twelve years now.
Chase: I decided to learn how to play guitar when I was eleven and I finally got one when I was twelve. It was a really shitty Les Paul knockoff that I got from an orchestra supply place, but I bought it with all the money I had at the time.
How and when did you all originally meet?
Chase: I met Brandon during a period where we were both jamming with one of my neighbors that played drums. They wrote and recorded stuff, but I just kinda showed up every now and then to mess around. I met Ethan in high school, but he was like three years older than me so we never really hung out, but I ended up working at a Whataburger with him and we became friends.
Brandon: I forgot Chase used to jam with us. I didn’t like him being around because he only played AC/DC, or something. Sorry. But, I’ve known Ethan since fifth grade and I’ve known Chase for a while. We used to ride the same school bus and he’s always been good friends with my sister. I knew we shared a lot of musical interests, or at least the rudimentary stuff like Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.
What led to the formation of FOGG and when would that have been?
Chase: I was on Facebook one day and I saw that Brandon asked me to come jam and possibly join a band, and I had heard some demos he recorded that were fucking great, so I said yeah. I was really nervous/hesitant in the beginning for some reason, but after a couple jams I really connected musically with them a lot better than anybody else I had played with. It was when I was seventeen, in December of 2012.
Brandon: I’ve been recording music on my own since high school, but a newfound love for Black Sabbath inspired me to get this heavy psych thing going for real. I recorded an album a while back and it was more like weirdo fuzz rock, like an outsider kind of vibe that set the foundation for FOGG, but I think Chase heard it and got interested in maybe jamming sometime. Ethan and I have been playing together since junior year of high school, so it was just a matter of finding that final piece. I originally played guitar at the first FOGG practice, but then moved to bass as soon as I heard chase play.
What does FOGG mean or refer to? I can only assume that the extra ‘G’ has some sort of meaning or something behind it… Who came up with the name and how did you go about choosing it?
Chase: A couple of people have come up with things like ‘far out good guys’ or ‘fucking outrageous guitar gods’ but it doesn’t really stand for anything, ha-ha!
Brandon: The second ‘G’ is inexplicable, honestly. I thought of it a while back, maybe even when I was still in high school. Then, I found out about one of Tony Iommi’s old bands called Velvett Fogg and it just seemed like we were destined to use it. I mean, we like to think the music has very “stoney” qualities, so the idea of fog or smoke adds to the mystic nature of it all.
Is there any sort of code, creed, ideal or mantra that the band shares or lives by?
Chase: Be cool to everyone you meet
Brandon: That. Just groove. No fakeness. Wear your hair as long as you like.
Where’s the band located at this point?
Chase: Panther City, Texas.
How would you describe the local music scene there right now?
Chase: It’s mostly garage and punk stuff right now, but a lot of really good doomy/heavy bands have been coming up lately, like Mountain of Smoke and Crypt Trip. We’re kind of outsiders in our hometown, not that many bands mesh well with us
Brandon: The local scene is flourishing, I think. Like Chase said, we’re kind of isolated from all of it. We’re pretty tight with a lot of the local bands, though. The whole garage rock thing is still going on here, but it’s cool because all those bands accept us. Pop punk is big here too. We’ve been on way too many bills with pop punk bands. There’s a lot of metal here, too, but we don’t fall in with them either. It’s overtly masculine. We’re too goofy for the metalheads and too heavy for the weirdoes. That being said, house shows in Fort Worth are wild; always the best shows.
Do you feel like you’re very involved in the local scene, do you book or attend a lot of local shows?
Chase: We play a fuckload of shows, but we don’t really set up that many and we’re not very involved. We play pretty much anything someone asks us to play, but we’re not very good at setting up shows. At the one and only show I ever set up a party band called High Velocity got stoned and basically just disbanded onstage, so I kinda took that as a sign, ha-ha
Brandon: I don’t book or go to anything. I should get more involved.
Are you involved in recording or releasing any local music? If so, can you tell us about that here briefly?
Chase: I do a little bit of work with Jeff from Eagle Audio Studios in Fort Worth. He taught me pretty much everything I know about recording, but lately I’ve been focusing on the band.
Has the local scene played a large or important role in the history, sound or evolution of FOGG as a band? Do you feel like it’s played an integral role in any of those areas, or do you think you all would be doing what you are and sound like you do regardless of your location or surroundings?
Chase: I honestly think we would be doing this anywhere. Location is kind of irrelevant to us; we just wanna make the best music that we can, at least the best music to us.
Brandon: I think our sound is very much us. There aren’t really any bands around here with the same groove as us and that’s one of the exciting things about playing this kind of music in Fort Worth. I think the local scene definitely shaped our sound but in an unusual way; I was very conscious of the garage/punk/metal scenes in Fort Worth and didn’t want to really fit into any of them, so I guess our style is more reactionary than anything.
While we’re talking so much about the history of the band let’s talk a little bit about the kind of “genetics” of the band, so to speak. You all have some seriously heavy worship going on in your music that should be plenty obvious to anyone listening and in the know. Beyond those bold influences though I can hear a lot of other stuff going on and I’m curious to hear who you’d cite as some of your major musical influences? What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?
Chase: I’m deeply obsessed with Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer and always will be, but I really like a lot of proto metal stuff like Population II by Randy Holden and most of Iron Claw’s stuff. Cream’s probably my biggest influence playing wise; I learned a ton of what I do from listening to all the old Clapton solos on their live records. As a band, we’ve been listening to a lot of acid jazz like Miles Davis and Alice Coltrane and a lot of The Grateful Dead. Just trying to listen to everything we can, basically.
Brandon: The Sabbath influence is obvious. Sabbath has been the soundtrack of the past year and a half. It’s more than riffs and songs to us. I have a really great love for early 70’s Japanese rock, Flower Travellin’ Band, Blues Creation, Far Out, etcetera. Sir Lord Baltimore, Deep Purple, Speed Glue and Shinki too. When we jam and improvise live, I try to channel Can or a light version of Soft Machine. We’re also looking to incorporate weirder sounds and ideas into songs. I guess we’re trying to uh, like, transcend this doom label. I hardly listen to any heavy metal.
Whenever I do these interviews I invariably have to describe how a band sounds to a large group of people who’ve likely never heard them before and doing a good job in that department has become a sort of obsession, or neurosis for me. I’ll sit up until three or four in the morning sometimes looking for the perfect words to describe the way that I hear the sounds coming out of my speakers, but I always feel like I’m putting way too much of my own thoughts and perceptions about things in there; mucking it all up. Rather than feeding my neurosis, ha-ha! How would you describe FOGG’s sound to our readers who might not have heard you before in your own words?
Chase: Mystically psychedelic, fuzzed-out, weirdo-rock.
Brandon: We usually tell people we sound like Sabbath, but that’s just because it’s easy. It’s hard to really describe. It sounds corny, but I perceive our music as a vibe or a feeling. There’s proto-metal, there’s early 70’s hard rock, late 60’s psych. All those sounds jumbled up. Don’t mistake it for a fetishization of the past. When I write riffs and songs, I don’t consciously write things that sound forty years old. I’ve just been exposed to these bands and sounds for so long, that it’s more of my nature to write in that style. I see it as a continuation of something. FOGG is just super fuzzed out heavy psych like Chase said. A true power trio. We groove.
What’s the songwriting process for FOGG like? Is there someone who usually comes in with a riff or a more finished idea for a song or do you all just get together and kind of kick ideas back and forth until you work something out?
Chase: Brandon usually comes up with the structure of a song and we’ll mess around with riffs and breaks and stuff, and then Ethan comes up with most of the drum stuff. The finished product is always just all of us jamming on something until we like it.
Brandon: In the past it was pretty much me doing all the writing, or at least providing the skeleton. I was a control freak, I suppose. I noticed things becoming stale, every new riff or song seemed like a weird mutation of a previous song, and there was no progression. Chase and I write riffs together now. I’m always sending him phone recordings of whatever new sounds I have in my head. We’ll take each others’ riffs and put our own little touch on them, because Chase and I play guitar very differently.
What about recording? I’m a musician myself, and I think that at least most of us can appreciate the end result of all the time, hard work and effort that goes into making a recording when you’re holding that album in your hands. Getting to that point though, getting everything recorded and sounding the way that you want it to can be stressful to say the very least. What’s it like recording for FOGG?
Chase: Aside from the “Flaming Ship” single, it’s all been at Brandon’s house in the jam room. We set up very basic mics into an 8-track mixer and usually record bass/drums at the same time and then overdub the guitars and vocals.
Brandon: We can never make things sound the way we want. Chase and I are always talking about production. I think Outsideinside is one of the greatest sounding records and that’s what I try to emulate when we’re recording on our own, but it’s unattainable. Recording is stressful, but fun, because you can get weird.
Do you all spend a lot of time working out every single part of a song before you head in to record, or do you all get a good skeletal idea of what a song’s going to sound like and give it some room to breathe and evolve during the recording process? How much of a role does improvisation play in the songwriting and performance angles of FOGG? I seriously dig the long jammed out versions of “Sludgemother” and “New Hair Temple” on your Bandcamp page!
Chase: We definitely just let the song do what it wants to when we record. All of the guitar parts I do aside from the main chords/riffs of the song are improvised and that’s how it is with everything when we play live too. Everything’s different every time we play.
Brandon: Improvisation is very important, especially live. We don’t go overboard with it, but if we’re into it, then we’ll ride a groove for a while. I feel moving forward, we’ll be more attentive to the smaller details of a song.
In 2013 you released the FOGG DEMOS cassette on Cool Tapes. Can you tell me about the recording of the material for that first release? Was that a fun, pleasant experience for you? When and where was that material recorded? Who recorded it? What kind of equipment was used? As far as I can tell that tape’s still in print from Cool Tapes at this point, is that a limited release at all; and if so, do you know how many copies it’s limited to?
Chase: I think Brandon recorded everything himself except for “Downer” and one other track. It was really fun because it was the first time we recorded together, we just used like one mic run into a tape machine, I think. I was really stoked when we got the cool tape deal, but I’m honestly not sure if it’s in print or even being sold anymore.
Brandon: Most of the songs from the demos are just me playing everything. I really didn’t expect people to respond to them the way they did. I mean, they’re very sloppy but I enjoy the overall trippiness they have to them. Whether that was intentional, or a result of my limited understanding of the machine I was using, I can’t remember. “Tongue Melts”, “Reaper” and “The Wall” were recorded in late 2012, I believe… Before Chase was even part of the band. Then, “Worship the Family” and “Downer” were recorded to cassette a month after we started jamming, so early 2013. The Cool Tapes thing wasn’t an official thing, really. I think the dude made like twenty…
You also released the DEATH cassette on Under the Gun Records which has long since sold out unfortunately as I didn’t manage to snake a copy. Was the recording of the material for DEATH very different than the session(s) for earlier demo release? When was that recorded? Who recorded it? Where was that? What kind of equipment was used? Do you know how many copies that was limited to? I did a little looking but couldn’t find any concrete numbers anywhere…
Chase: We took the recording of DEATH way more seriously than the demos, but I’m not too stoked on how it came out anymore. Brandon and I recorded it in his house over like a four or five month period in 2013. We just used two mics run into an 8-track digital mixer. We had a peavey bass amp and a Marshall for the guitar. We got sent like 100 of the tapes, maybe? And I think 300 were made overall.
Brandon: Yeah, we were very stoked to see that it sold out so quickly, considering outside of Texas, I don’t think we‘re very well-known. We recorded the first version of DEATH at a studio here, but weren’t very happy with the way it sounded, so didn’t use it. We didn’t want to spend more cash on it, so we decided to record it at our practice space like we did with the demos. We recorded the album five or six times before we were happy enough to send it to Evert at Under the Gun. It wasn’t ideal, but we were just trying to get something out. I can’t listen to it now because I think it sounds really bad and isn’t a very good representation of us as a group. We don’t play any of those songs live anymore. Most of the parts were recorded separately too. I’m looking for redemption with the next record, Life after DEATH. People will finally be able to hear what we truly sound like.
You guys released two completely insane versions of your songs, “Sludgemother” and “New Hair Temple” which clock in at like thirty-one minutes combine! I happen to be a huge fan of balls to the walls instrumental metal and psych shredding, so those songs were like tailor-made for me. What was the recording of those songs like? Are there any plans to release those on a physical format at all? I’d love to pick up a copy!
Chase: Recording those jams was one of my favorite things we’ve done. We just hit record and started playing and it turned into the super long jams that are up on the site. We’re still working on releasing DEATH on vinyl eventually, but we’re already working on the second album so maybe we’ll release them as some 45s or something.
Brandon: I think that’s just a normal practice for us. We just happened to record it that day. Our songs are structured to allow for extended jams if we’re feeling it. We were actually going to record a live album at the all ages spot here in Fort Worth, but it fell through, so we just did it at my parents’ house. In this age of screens we live in, it’s very difficult to keep peoples’ attention, so we don’t do things like that when we play live, but I thought we’d record it, put it online and let people listen if they wanted. Put it on while you clean the house or read a book or something. No plans to release it. We only used one microphone ’cause our recorder kept crashing on us when there was more than one plugged into it.
Does FOGG have any music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a song on a compilation or a single that I might not know about?
Chase: We did a Sabbath cover for a compilation tape on underthegun that has still yet to see the light of day, and we also did a song for an instrumental comp for Cool Tapes called “Pig Moses” that nobody has heard, not really sure if either of those will ever get released, ha-ha.
With the release of DEATH sometime ago at this point, back in 2013, does FOGG have any releases planned or in the works at this point? I’d freakin’ love to see those insane versions of “Sludgemother” and “New Hair Temple” released on some sort of physical format!
Chase: we’re almost done writing the second album. So, as soon as we can get the recording set up we’re heading to Eagle Audio in Fort Worth to cut that one, and we wanna release some singles sooner than later.
Brandon: We’re about to start recording the next record. This will be an actual studio thing, straight to two-inch tape. The batch of songs we have now are very special to us. It’ll be very different from DEATH. It will help that we’re all much better at our instruments now.
With the completely insane shipping rates that just don’t seem to be letting up over the last few years I try and provide our readers with as many possible options for picking up stuff as I can. Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up your stuff?
Chase: Right now the best place is on our Bandcamp page, the whole album is up for $4.20 and our Demos and the Deadhead Jams are free. (*Editor’s Note: The Deadhead Jams are actually $1.00 US or more)
With the completely insane international postage rates, what about our international and overseas readers?
Chase: Bandcamp as well.
Are there any major plans or goals that FOGG is looking to accomplish in the rest of 2014?
Chase: Pretty much just cutting the second record and getting a solid tour set up for 2015.
Do you all spend a lot of time out on the road touring? Do you enjoy being out on the road? What’s life like touring for FOGG?
Chase: We haven’t really done a full tour, but we go down south to Austin and San Antonio occasionally. It’s really easy. We’re all pretty laid back, so no problems as far as actually being on the road. And it’s always great playing cities you don’t usually get to visit.
Who are some of your personal favorite acts that you’ve had a chance to play with over the past few years?
Chase: Dead Meadow, Mountain of Smoke, Burnt Skull, Fungi Girls, Windhand, the list goes on. We’re really lucky to be able to play as many shows as we do. We might be overloading people, but we don’t care.
Brandon: Playing with Acid Mothers Temple was a dream come true and Windhand was tight.
Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?
Chase: Back to the story from earlier… Our friend came to one of our shows in Dallas with Mountain of Smoke with some weed and smoked out this cover/party/dad band called High Velocity. The whole time they were like, “Man, this is nothing! We do this all the time”. But they got on stage and totally lost it… None of them could keep up with the other’s playing or rhythm and the drummer kept yelling, “Who likes tequila? Who likes vodka?” It was beautiful.
Brandon: When we play house shows, there’s invariably a dude out of his mind talking to me about chemtrails. We met a homeless fire-breather at a party we played… The High Velocity night is pretty infamous. They were smoked owwwt. They played the same Van Halen song twice. We played a 420 party for one our very first shows and we were walking around Denton going to our buddy Harry’s place afterwards, and we walked up on this dude digging in the dumpster. He pulled a knife on us and was mumbling some shit, but we were cool ‘bout it.
In your dreams, who are you on tour with?
Chase: Fuzz/Harsh Toke/1970-era Sabbath/Hawkwind.
Brandon: Yeah, 1970 Sabbath, Soft Machine, and The Grateful Dead.
What, if anything, do you all have planned as far as touring goes for 2014?
Chase: We had a west coast tour planned that fell through, so besides that we’re just playing locally and maybe a couple shows in Austin until we get some time to go on the road.
Do you all put a lot of thought into the visual aspects that represent the band to a lot a large extent like posters, flyers, shirt designs, covers and other artwork? Is there any kind of meaning or message that you’re trying to convey with your artwork? Do you have anyone that you usually turn to when it comes to your times of need for that kind of thing? If so, who is that and how did you originally get hooked up them?
Brandon: We let our good bud Harrison do the art for us. He blows me away with these things he makes for us. He did the artwork for DEATH and the demos. I’ve known Harry since high school. I dated a friend of his and we’ve been buds since. He’s a dude out of Denton, kind of like a fourth member, honestly. Honorary Foggboy. I usually don’t even tell him what we’re going for visually ’cause we’re on the same wave. He hasn’t failed us yet. We’re definitely consciously avoiding the typical doom shit like pentagrams, and the ram’s head, and whatever. Those visuals are too played out and they will just keep getting more boring if every slightly evil sounding band keeps regurgitating them up. But hit up Harrison Jacobs if you need dope art. I’ve heard his plans for the second record and I’m hyped about it.
With all of the various mediums of release that are available to artists today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various methods that they do. Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music? What about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music?
Chase: Tapes and vinyl are always great, digital downloads seem to be the best way to get it around to everybody that wants it. I always like to have physical forms of the music that I listen to, but if I can’t get a record or CD for whatever reason, I usually just listen to them on the internet.
Brandon: I don’t really care how our music is released. If people hear it, then great, even if it’s on a CD or digitally, as long as it’s being heard, then I can’t complain about a format. Aesthetically, tape and vinyl are my favorites, but it’s not practical for everyone. I don’t really buy music anymore. I turn to YouTube. I will buy a copy of “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” if I see it at a record store, though. I have three or four of those now.
When I was growing up my dad always encouraged me to listen to anything that floated my boat. There has always been something magical about kicking back with an album, sticking on a set of headphones, reading the liner notes, staring at the cover and letting the whole thing just carry you off on a trip. There’s something about having a physical object to hold and experience along with the music has always made for a more complete listening experience for me. Do you have any such connection with physically released music?
Chase: I really feel the same way. I love records and sleeves, and gatefolds, and inserts, and reading the lyrics as they’re sung.
As much as I love my collection of music I do try and keep a digital backup of as much of my stuff as I can. Besides preventing me from loosing anything should something happen to my collection, it’s allowed me to really take my collection on the go with me for the first time. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, when you combine digital music with the internet that’s when you have something truly revolutionary. Together, they’ve exposed people to the entire world of music that they’ve been surrounded by obliviously for so long and allowed people an unparalleled amount of communication and access with the bands and music that interest them. On the other hand, while people may be exposed to more and more music, they’re not necessarily paying for it and a lot of people feel like music is quickly becoming a disposable commodity to be used and then forgotten and discarded afterwards. As an artist during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?
Chase: Bandcamp is a great thing because small bands like us won’t really get our music torrented, so charging a pretty small fee to get an entire album is great. We don’t have any digital distribution like Spotify or anything, although a couple of our songs are on YouTube. In a perfect world everybody would have tape decks and turntables, but I’m not an idealist.
Brandon: The internet is a gift, man. Without it, FOGG would not exist as it sounds today. I would say ninety-percent of my influences are from bands I found lurking the web. I love how music is so easily available to people. Bands like Dark, Truth & Janey, Buffalo, and Jerusalem could be lost in time forever if not for the internet and these people that congregate on forums or whatever, and keep ’em alive. It’s a beautiful thing. This easy access to other people, though, has taken the mystery out of rock and roll. If you weren’t good enough, then nobody heard you. But you can’t avoid the social media. You gotta put yourself out there. We aren’t very good at that, though. There are so many bands out there trying to climb the same mountain.
I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can, but there’s just not enough time in the day to keep up with even one percent of the amazing stuff out there. Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to I might not have heard of before?
Chase: Mountain of Smoke, Crypt Trip, Fungi Girls, and Terminator II.
Brandon: Word. Also Spacebeach, Sin Motivo, and The Sentenced.
What about nationally and internationally?
Chase: Blues Creation, Baby Grandmothers, Sun Ra, White Fence, Gary Higgins, Captain Beyond… So, so, so much good stuff out there.
Brandon: I don’t really listen to new rock music. Fuzz and Sacri Monti (Interview here) are both good, so it Harsh Toke. Only newer shit I listen to is rap. Super into Future and Drake.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, I know my interviews are anything but short but I seriously appreciate you taking the time to make it this far. Before we call it a day and sign off, is there anything that I might have possibly missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk to me or the readers about?
Chase: Thanks a ton for taking the time to ask us everything. We’re really passionate about our music and it’s always cool to get some praise and interest. For everybody out there that’s thinking about playing music just do it, it’s the only thing that we really care about.
Brandon: Much love and appreciation to you for doing this. To anyone reading… Be nice to people, love yourself, take it easy, listen to Skip Spence, bang, screw. Peeeeeace…
– Roman Rathert
(2013) FOGG – FOGG DEMOS – digital, Cassette Tape – Self-Released/Cool Tapes (Cassette limited to 20? copies)
(2013) FOGG – DEATH – digital, Cassette Tape – Self-Released/Under the Gun Records (Cassette limited to ? copies)
(2014) FOGG – “Sludgemoth” b/w “New Hair Temple” (Deadhead Jam Versions) – digital – Self-Released
(2014) FOGG – “Atomic Bombs Away” – digital – Self-Released (Blues Creation cover)