F(e)MA(le) Controversy

“My heavy-lidded gaze followed its path to the cockroach-infested carpet and it was only then that I realised with some force that Ellen was actually Alan.”
FMA Press Release

Damn, the story of love parted by time, age, distance and then sexuality has got to be a hot topic for song writing – and it is. The opening song on the debut offering, Acid Folk EP, from the magical collection of Bleeps and Beats that is Former Miss America is indeed the recollection of this painfully embarrassing time. But is the story really true?
Well it's not completely true – it's open to interpretation. I always feel sorry when I find out the true story behind a rumour; it loses its magic and mystery.

Oh go on, how much was true? Did she have a penis?
Aghhh…it's more about the girl liking her blokes to dress up as women – hence the line in the song “I'll be the girl tonight”

Ah…erm…right. Anyway after listening to the EP several times it's obviously electro but it has a reoccurring theme of creating dreamlike states. The second song in particular 'Diary of a Badman' has echoing vocals at the beginning of the song, like a film soundtrack in a dream scene. Was this intentional?
They are all reflective, personal songs and we did try to keep them sonically sweet so if that is how they have come across then great, but it wasn't a conscious effort. I mean most of the songs were written on a come down, the morning after with a fuzzy head so obviously my mental state has affected the songs.

The second half of the EP moves from a modern ambient loop into a regressive 80's vibe with vocoded vocals and an almost cheesy midi created touch to the songs. A personal observation that leads me to ask about influences?
I've got loads of influences for instance Kraftwerk, New Order and my all time favourite Joy Division so maybe a bit of the eighties has come out on some of the songs. The four tracks on the EP were chosen for their distinctiveness as we were trying to cover the whole spectrum of FMA's creativity with this CD.

The final track on the CD is called 'Mangez le Pomme' otherwise translated as 'Eat the Apple'. Interesting, another story?
Well again an ex-girlfriend and I were out only this time in some back alley café in Paris enjoying the remains of a bottle of wine and we were approached by this French bloke. He seemed alright but when we got up to leave he started shouting 'Mangez le Pomme' at us. The song is not about that situation – it's just generally about relationships and interaction between people – birds. All the songs I write are not about heroin addiction or 'Bar Tenders and Thieves', they are relevant to me.

So that's the Story of the EP Acid Folk. Out in October on Robot! Records.

FMA also have a number of high profile gigs looming soon. The first of which is at Urbis in Manchester on the 7th August. A gallery/conference centre that is strikingly modern and regularly holds visual exhibitions as well as the usual installations and all that gumf. So how come FMA are playing in an art gallery?
We have done the same kind of thing in the View Gallery in Liverpool and its something nice for us to do as we are not a typical rock n'roll band. Our music is more conceptual and doing things in spaces like Urbis and the View Gallery allows us to bring in the visual side of things as well, people are more accepting of us in these kinds of places. Visually we give the film people a theme and background information on the songs and they interpret it and create video footage to go with the songs.

Then on the 16th August you can catch FMA playing at the first Robot! Records showcase at the Barfly, Liverpool along with another recent Robot! signing 'Tuco' – who incidentally I got a demo off the other day. They are quite similar to FMA and the other Robot! artist Ambulance in that they are an electronica based ensemble; probably a fairly accurate representation of Robot's! philosophy on taking on leftfield acts. Do you have a good relationship with Robot!?
I have known Dave Pichilingi (owner of Robot!) for years and when my last band finished up (Knee High) I gave him some demos of basic songs which I had recorded in my bedroom with just guitars and vocals. He liked them and has given us the opportunity to develop the ideas behind FMA without rushing us for deadlines and what have you, allowing us to grow organically. Dave is as much a part of FMA as all the rest of us. There are no set members we just use whatever or whoever is needed for a particular song. Like it started out with just me, then my mate who was in my old band, Chris, joined; then Fred, who was recording us; then we needed a live drummer so Ged came on board. For instance Tord who is our sound guy and recorded the album with is part of FMA, as are the visual guys. If we get a song that doesn't need me in it then I just won't be in it. The band is song driven, not member driven.

You have also got a couple of international appearances lined up. The first is in Moscow on a boat for a festival on the 19th September and the other at the CMJ conference in the US in October. That's pretty decent. How did these come about?
Well we got the booking for Moscow after our debut London show. It was supposed to be a fairly quiet affair with just the people we wanted to be there coming, but word got out and loads of mad people ended up catching us -Including the promoter of this Russian festival. I'm not sure how well we are going to go down as the headliner of a festival to a bunch of mad Russian kids – we'll probably dance up the set a bit so as to not depress them too much. As for the US one I'm not really sure of the details, it's a showcase for Robot! Records I think to show their wares, i.e. us.

Have you played abroad before?
Yeah we did a month in Norway with Knee High. Actually that's how FMA started. I was getting sick of playing the music that we were pretty much told to play as that was what was expected of us and even though the Norway tour rocked and we lived like rock stars, once we got home I just felt empty. I wanted to write songs that meant something to me personally. So I did and FMA began.

Finally answer these genre breaking questions:
Favourite Colour? – Brown
Pepsi or Coke? – Pepsi
Liverpool or Everton? – Liverpool
Favourite band of the moment? – Dogs Die In Hot Cars
Favourite band of all time? – Joy Division

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