First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about both of you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, what instruments you can play, and where you live would be pretty standard?
I'm Dräcos von Strecker and I write and record the music for FGFC820. As far as instruments, I've played guitar, bass, and keyboards live onstage in various bands over the years since the 90's. Rexx Arkana is the lead vocalist for FGFC820 and he writes all of the lyrics. We both live in Queens, NY.
What drew you to the original hard dance and industrial sounds that find so prevalent throughout your music?
I stayed with a family in Spain for a few weeks when I was 15, and my host brother would take me out to the clubs where I heard techno music for the first time. Before that I had been listening to metal like Slayer and Testament. So I thought it would be interesting to mix the aggression of metal with the cold electronics of techno. Then I found there were already bands doing this electro-industrial style of music which I started getting more and more into, and the more bands I checked out, the more I was developing my own sounds over the years.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant industrial community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
I enjoy living in NYC, and yeah, there's a good-sized industrial community here. It's not as big as it was fifteen years ago, but there are still a fair number of club nights and live events with industrial bands from all over the world playing shows here. I wouldn't say the local scene really influences my creativity, though. There are a few similar bands here in the New York and New Jersey area, and even though we all used to be signed to the same label, I think each of our projects has its own unique sound/vibe.
Industrial and Attitude seem to go hand in hand. With global war, civil unrest, injustice, and political revolution being primary musical themes that dominate your music, how do you feel nowadays about the current state of world affairs?
About as good as I did when we released our last album. And I think it's about to get a whole lot worse before it gets better, which means Rexx shouldn't have any problem as far as finding subject matter for the lyrics.
When it comes to finding a unified sound choice within the songs you present through FGFC820, was there ever any difficulty in finding even ground? Would you say your creative process with Rexx is marred by productive creative friction, or do you have more of a flowly/easy going based approach? Or would you say that is it somewhere in between?
Haha, creative friction! That's one way of putting it! Rexx and my musical tastes are pretty different from one another, so sometimes the songwriting process slows down quite a bit with us trying to find a compromise. For the last album I wrote a ton of new music, and then Rexx and I would go through it all trying to find something we both agreed on that could be developed into an FGFC820 song. And if we couldn't agree on anything, then I'd go and write a ton of more new music, and again we'd try to agree on some ideas. But the positive side of that is that there was a lot of leftover original music that I've been able to use in other ways, like for remixes or my solo projects.
Obviously you guys started listening to and making music in an era where hardware was more common for making electronic music then digital. But then it went to a flip to the other-side, with digital becoming more common then hardware. We are slowly starting to see a re-balancing act where people are making their setups a fusion between the two. Where do you stand when it comes to digital versus analog? And what sort of software and hardware would you consider essential to your setup?
I've actually been in the process of selling off a lot of my hardware and synths and going completely digital. After I finish up some of the projects I'm currently working on, I want to revamp my entire studio since I've been using the same Cakewalk DAW for the past twenty years. So I don't know what I would consider essential since I plan on upgrading everything later this year. I'll probably hold onto my XioSynth which I use for our live shows, but even that might get replaced by this V-Machine that I just got my hands on.
You guys have had a lot of opportunities to tour and remix some pretty big name industrial artists. What are some of your most memorable experiences? Who would you want to work with again? And if you could work with anyone who you haven't worked with yet, who would it be?
One time Rexx and myself, along with Daniel Myer (Haujobb), Andy LaPlegua (Combichrist), JD (Grendel), Pete Crane (Shiv-r), and Eric Gottesman (Everything Goes Cold) decided to perform some Scooter covers at the Kinetik Festival in Montreal just for fun. That got quite the reaction from the crowd, except for this one goth guy who was in the middle near the front. He looked so miserable that we would dare perform Scooter at an industrial festival. And also, working with everyone on the last Bruderschaft album was satisfying, albeit very time-consuming. But I don't know if I could name just one person I'd like to work with, since random opportunities come out of nowhere sometimes. Like a band I had never heard of, Season of Ghosts, reached out to me at the end of last year about having me do a remix for them, and I really like the way that track ended up sounding.
If you could tour anywhere in the world where you haven't toured yet, where would it be, and why?
We've only performed at a festival in Peru before, so I think playing an entire tour of South America would be fun seeing as how we got a really nice response in Lima.
Other than what you currently produce, what other sorts of genres, instruments, and sounds would you like to use in the future?
I listen to a lot of hardstyle/hardcore and hardtechno/schranz which I've tried to incorporate some of those elements into some of our past mixes. But I'm not sure if I'll continue with that in the future since some of the new material I've written is too slow for those styles. I've also been considering trying to use a performance controller for composing once I get the new studio set up to see if I can shake up my writing process with some new ideas and a new approach.
When it comes to non-musical media, what sort of things (other politics) inspire you?
We still include spoken samples in our songs, whether they're from a movie or some political speech on YouTube or whatever. And sometimes I might hear a random pattern in the environmental noise of the city here in New York that might spark an idea. But the majority of ideas come from just playing around on the keyboard or guitar and improvising, as well as listening to a lot of other music in a lot of other styles.
With health factors being a huge focus right now in FGFC820, things have been in a bit of a limbo. Have you been continuing you write music on your own, while you wait for your partners recovery? Or have you been taking some time for yourself during this stressful time?
I've mainly been working on a forty-track collection of FGFC820 remixes that I want to release later this year in a special format. Some of it will be unreleased mixes, some of the mixes will be re-edited versions, and all of it will be remastered. I've also been composing new material for the next FGFC820 album as well as working on some solo projects that I'd like to release in the future, too.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interviews. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
I'd just like to mention that if anyone would like to donate to Rexx Arkana's recovery from cancer surgery, they can do so at: www.gofundme.com/srzrhp6c
Follow FGFC820 on Facebook:
Download their releases on their official Bandcamp: