Ty Fury – guitar
Mike, “Fred” Schneider – drums
Mike Krening – bass
Chad Armstrong – vocals
If you’ve never heard the term “herding cats”, you have now. Visualize this, if you will – a person darting from one cat to the other in a nearly impossible feat of getting them all to go in one direction. That would accurately describe my interview with Fomofuiab. In a little Whiskey bar across the street from their practice place, I got more neck exercise than I would watching a U.S. Open Tournament that passed out crack pipes to their athletes prior to the match.
Each of the four members had something to say, most of it relative, some of it relating to inside jokes and the wonders of self-pleasure, or “bate”. I never really knew that my ability to eavesdrop and conduct a conversation at the same time would come in so handy.
The conversation started with Chad Armstrong, the lead vocalist for the group, explained that they are all from a little village in Argentina called Popauppilfipinxs. Uh huh. As silly and rampant as these guys are, when they hit the stage, they’re as tight as a drum and as serious as a heart attack, performing sophisticated guitar licks, peculating bass lines, and a full throttle groove of rock fury.
In addition to Chad, the group consists of Ty Fury on guitar, Mike, “Fred”, Schneider on drums (who goes by Fred to lower the confusion between him and their bassist), and Mike Krening on bass, They’re now getting ready to release their first full-length, self-titled CD on Hapi Skratch, with a headlining show at the Ogden this Friday, January 10, along with Typecast, Synthetic Delusion, and Feature 981.
Fred, the linguist in the group, created their band name as the acronym Fomofuiab to describe the band without getting pigeonholed into any Metal mold – they’re just Four Mother Fuckers In A Band. “You don’t know where to put that really, Fomofuiab, because you don’t know what it means,” Ty explains.
Although their style does follow a Metal path, that desire to stray from any expected formula works for guys who have diverse musical backgrounds that come into play at variable moments – ranging from funk and heavy rock, and jazz to bossanova. Utilizing each of their musical interests gives them freedom to be unpredictable, “We can release songs on a CD that are funky, something that’s totally different. And if we recognize that early on in our career, it will be taken in easier by the fans,” thus avoiding the adverse affect bands often experience when they progress their musical style significantly.
To raise his guitar skills to new levels and expand his horizons, Ty took classical jazz guitar and improv classes, “where I learned different aspects of playing guitar. I always had pushed away from that type of music when I was growing up.”
Chad jumps in, “When I met Ty, he was into Metallica solos and that was it.”
“Then I met these two nut heads and they taught me how to groove,” Ty says, pointing at Chad and Fred. “All the time I was going through my classes, after about five or six years of playing guitar, it opened my mind to different aspects. It gave me a better focus on the neato,” which I would learned was one of Ty’s favorite words to describe something very, very good. I knew what it meant, I just hadn’t heard it used with such enthusiasm since my last family reunion back in ’78. “It definitely had an impact on my songwriting, getting into funky stuff, finger styles and different chord progressions. Every chord is just amazingly emotional. There are so many fucking notes on that guitar that I’ll never know.”
Going back a year or so ago, their original plan consisted of a different configuration. Ty had planned to play drums, but after meeting and hearing Fred he threw them away, “I had drums and I would have Chad play bass in my band, which was going to be called Neato Serano.” After they met up with Mike, they also knew they had to have him play bass.
So that left Chad in the lead singer position, one he had not previously held. “Chad came in and sang for us and strained over some of our tunes we had, singing all night. He started sweating and took his shirt off, and he was just rot-ical,” Ty explains.
Now let me explain – during the course of the interview, I had to hone my skills at English as a second language, ’cause these guys have one of their own. But I picked it up quickly and it allowed for a more interesting conversation. For the record, rot-ical is not a good thing.
For about a month he had to continuously return to the band’s practice place to prove himself, “He couldn’t really sing at the time. They told him to never come back. But he kept coming back,” Ty says.
Chad adds, “Mike didn’t like me.”
“No I didn’t. And he had the most problem with me,” Mike interjects, “It was a work ethic. All three of us work our asses off to get where we’re at. But overtime, his work ethic proved to me that he had that persistence that the rest of us have. Music and getting your shit out to people – you need that persistence. That’s pretty much made us as a whole now. It makes the music that we create on our instruments work and come alive.” Mike points to their practice studio across the street, “That’s our second house right there. But if we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t do it.”
“And now I have a place to live and a full-time job,” Chad says proudly, flashing a wide smile that beams below his dreds, which perk up at times, looking like they could pick up a radio station in Tokyo.
So this former bass player from Louisiana got accepted into the group as it’s singer, and in the past year has progressed from just screaming, to fluctuations of serenading melodies and guttural rage. This is also essential to Fomofuiab’s ability to stand apart from the hardcore style of indecipherable lyrics belted out in a continuous and rampant yell, and what caught my attention right off the bat when I first saw them months ago at an Indy Nation show.
Lyrical contribution for the new CD also fell under Chad’s wings, where he takes a brazen look at everything from the way society pressures to be, think, and act a certain way on “Trained World”, to their dislike of men and women who carry stinking badges on “Anus Bacon”. When discussing this particular song, Ty sums up it’s poetic identity, “Anus is to bacon what asshole is to cops. Print that.”
Chad goes deeper into their songwriting methods, “We basically got to concentrate on what each of us do. Mike concentrated on bass, Ty concentrated on guitar, and we all contributed our own part and collaborated that way.”
Going into the studio, they were still rewriting songs, allowing their musical muscles and inspiration to stretch in an improvisational way. At the end of “Discosure”, Ty threw in some sporadic rhythm changes, “You did that after I’d already recorded my bass part,” Mike says, “Then I had to go back in afterwards and learn it so that now when we do it live, I’ve changed my part.”
“But that’s how we right songs,” Ty answers, “I don’t come in here with a song written and say, ‘Here, do it.’ I’ll come in with something cool and Fred will add his thing to it, and so will Mike.”
“But not in the studio,” Mike adds, “because that would get expensive.”
The night I met Ty to pick up their new CD, they were at the Hard Rock for it’s “Rock the Rockies” battle of the bands to win an opening slot for Papa Roach in Steamboat. They were invited by, the manager of the Hard Rock, who,”came into Guitar Center where I work, and needed a P.A.. He mentioned that he didn’t have enough bands for this contest. I was at home, and a friend of mine, a co-worker, called and asked me if I was down.” They obviously were, and brought in Typecast to compete as well.
They played two shows at the Hard Rock, one to qualify and another to win the Rocky Mountain Region slot. Even though they had to contend with a smaller stage size than what they were used to, they stated it was one of the best and most intense shows they’ve played at, “They were turning away people at the door. It was so fucking sick and so emotional, and people were chanting our name,” Ty says with fond reflection.
“People were getting rowdy. It was cool. The security people were freaking out though. Then they stopped the mosh pit, and you could feel the tension when you got on stage,” Mike adds. A lot of those chanting people were new to their music, which is huge if you’re a band working your ass off to get your name out. But the vibe that night had a lot to do with their fans spreading the word on this show and showing support, “Our fans help to build our fan base. Everybody’s got friends, and everybody’s friends have friends. Word of mouth is a pretty strong deal, especially with music.”
Although they didn’t win the opening slot for Papa Roach, the contest did get them some national exposure. That doesn’t mean they’ll be moving to the music hubs in Los Angeles or New York to progress the future of their band, “I personally feel that if your music means enough to you, it will stand out. People always know when a band is genuine, when they’re being themselves. That’s what people relate to. If they’re going to have a personal experience from it, it’s because you have already. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. Slipknot came out of Iowa,” Mike says.
“We feel like we’re going to be seen by someone at sometime. We’re not really worried about it. [Our music is] too important to us to even make that an issue. We would rather sit around and jam all night than play a twenty minute set on MTV, right?” Chad adds, looking at Ty for an answer.
Ty was on his side, but not all the way, “I’d play on MTV in a fucking pink tutu.”
As Mike and Chad fight over the last drop of beer from the pitcher (and Mike won by the way), our discussion moves to our struggles to quit smoking, adding sugar to beer, their bonding over dank (with the exception of Mike who does not partake), what eye you look at if the person you’re talking to has a lazy eye, and other intriguing topics. Then we decided it was time to head to their second home for a few tunes.
In the small room, their song names are scrawled on the wall, Flea flexes his muscles next to Britney Spears, and I’m handed earplugs to preserve what little hearing I have left. They break out into my favorite track from the new CD, “Empty Seed”, (or off the wall song list, M(p)T CD) which begins with an almost African tribal drum energy, inspired by one of Fred’s favorite bands, Sepultura. The guitars simmer slowly then charges ahead with a blasting fervor as Chad belts out, “Open this hole/So I can drown myself in you!” and Mike slaps his chunky bass chords with funk perfection.
The change ups Ty had mentioned earlier are really evident in this and other tracks, where they take the listener up and down, from melodic to massive and soulful to sadistic with complex intensity and instrumentation. A machine gun rhythm cranks on “Self Absorbed”, where “1%” starts with heavy drums that gurgle feverishly, showcasing a glimpse at one of Ty’s retro guitar solos before diving back into a charging flow that slowly washes to shore with glittering guitar strings. At times, like on the last track, “Lost Within”, Fred’s drumming skills run the gamut of that tribal style to an almost military tirade, complimenting Mike’s bass convulsions like a glove, while Ty’s jazz licks come into play. On the last track, “Circle”, Chad’s vocals have progressed to a level where you would think he’s been taking singing lessons from Maynard James Keenan of Tool.
While Mike was on a potty break, Ty and Fred broke into a bossanova duo for me, proving that they truly have other facets to their musical talent. Fomofuiab have only been together a year. Mere baby steps to the road they’re on and where they’ll be another year from now. I expect real neato things from these baters, I tell ya.
Fomofuiab’s self-titled CD will be available at their CD release party Friday, January 10 – Ogden (Denver) along with Typecast, Synthetic Delusion, and Feature 981.