Fucked Up is NOT just another punk band. They are a universally acclaimed mess of people who aren’t affraid to dubb themselves our current state of being. And just because front man Mr. Damian’s vocal chords endure more then a sweet and soulful singer’s would, doesn’t mean they’re an angsty and pseudo rebellious hardcore band either. They’re a lot smarter than that. They are conceptual story tellers, and with their SPIN’s Best Album of 2011 label and Polaris Music Prize under their bulging belts, I dare you to shy away from their name or call them “disrespectful”. With their recently acclaimed third album David Comes to Life, we took it upon ourselves to pick the brains of one of the masterminds behind this triumphal and surprisingly thought provoking album.
You were named Spin’s best album of 2011 for David Comes to Life, it’s also one of my personal favorites. You’ve said that it’s your “culmination”. How does it feel to have hit such a pivotal point in the bands life span? You’ve mentioned that it may be your last for that same reason, so how do you take the uproar of praise following this effort?
Mike: That kind of happens every time we put out a record, it’s some culmination of something…the last bunch of records we’ve done were the product of a lot of hard work, whether it’s been a full album or a 12″ – the single we have coming out next week took almost a year and a half to finish. None of us ever thought we’d be doing a band to this extent so everything that happens to us now feels like a reward.
David Comes to Life is an extremely well thought out album, both musically and conceptually. In the process of making it, did you focus on the music before the story, or was the concept a platform for the score? The idea of David has been around since 06, did some of the musical pieces come from earlier thoughts as well?
Mike: A few of the characters from the album have been with us for a while..david, octavio, nick. We did all the music in a really short burst over about a month of writing and then slotted plot stuff and the story into the way the music flowed as an album. Originally we recorded like 27 songs and tried to make that all one big release but then had to slot it into a bunch of seperate records. And ya a lot of the riffs and stuff are very old, like some of the song ideas were from like as early as 2004.
If you could produce David Comes to Life as a film, who would you cast as David?
Mike: Harry Potter.
You intentionally put together a band who do not get along, to concoct what is now Fucked Up. You aren’t all best friends. Do you think the friction between the conflicting members contributes positively to the music, or is it just something you’ve gotten used to?
Mike: I didn’t put together a band that way..it was just a bunch of people who didn’t really hang out a lot but I think that’s pretty natural for a band unless you are all living in the same dorm or something and start a band. The friction probably all bands have is pretty seperate from the creative process since we all get along in the studio when we’re actually working on music.
You’ve released 3 full length albums amidst a sea of 7 inch singles. Each album has received great acclaim from critics, specifically The Chemistry of Common Life (Polaris Music Prize) and David Comes to Life. Do you enjoy writing full lengths or singles more? How do you get into the mindset for writing them?
Mike: I like doing both. It’s fun to write a full set of music together but it’s also a bit less pressured to write and not feel like we have to write 60 minutes of music at once. But our singles are now longer than most band’s full albums (year of the tiger is 40 minutes long) so I guess really for us there is no difference between albums and singles.
Your live shows are notoriously destructive, and awesome. Being on a boat and what not, how do you plan to perform while on the Bruise Cruise?
Mike: We’re actually performing in the bahamas once we dock so I think it will be a pretty normal show for us.
What are you most looking forward to while on the cruise?
Mike: I’ve been on a cruise before and I thought it was really great so Im just looking forward to relaxing and taking a load off.
Don’t miss Fucked Up at the Bruise Cruise Kick-off party at The Stage on Thursday, 2/8