Fuck the Facts
Sometimes a career breakthrough turns into a career breakdown. After releasing their highest-profile album to date, their first on influential independent metal label Relapse Records, Fuck the Facts hit the road harder than ever, touring almost ceaselessly behind their 2006 album Stigmata High-Five. After learning so much on the road, and eager to capitalize on their career momentum, the Ottawa-based grindcore outfit hit upon what seemed to be a brilliant concept — translate all that hard road work into their Relapse follow-up.
"The idea for this album was to write it on the road in our van,” says vocalist and lyricist Mel Mongeon. "We travelled for 14 days from Canada to the Mexican border; that wound up being 15 songs. A lot of it had to do with how much time we spent on the road for Stigmata — you adapt to life in a van, and we wanted to bring that concept to [the new album]. The idea was to be influenced by everything we saw on that trip. Anyone that’s travelled knows there are so many experiences to pick up on.”For his part, founder and guitarist Topon Das had his own, more sonically-oriented goals for their next effort. Having recorded Stigmata in a high-end, professional studio, he wanted to move away from that album’s crisp sheen and professional polish in favour of a sound that reflected the band’s tight live performances. He insisted on recording back home in Ottawa, and recruited a novice producer, ex-Head Hits Concrete drummer Craig Boychuck, to man the boards.
It was all going according to plan. They jumped right into the studio when they returned from the trek. But after 11 days of recording, according to Das, "everyone was burnt out.” Instead of hitting an anticipated high, Fuck the Facts basically crashed. "It wasn’t fun, like going to work,” Das continues. "We didn’t even get to vocals. It kind of sucked because we had a half-finished album, [but] we were like ‘we’re just gonna stop.’” Boychuck returned to his Winnipeg hometown, taking the unfinished recordings with him. Das, Mongeon and drummer/bassist Mathieu Vilandré retreated to lick their wounds. After more than ten years, 13 members, 14 official releases and a bunch more home-recorded tapes and CD-Rs, one of Canada’s great aggressive bands looked done, just when things were really starting to take off.
It was 1997 when Topon Das began putting his enthusiasm for grindcore to tape. Squired away in his dad’s basement, inspired by underground extremists like Agents of Satan and Spazz and armed with a guitar, drum machine and a four-track recorder, Das sought to "replicate it in my own DIY way. I did tape trading — back when people still released tapes. There weren’t CD-Rs back then.” It was two years of work before he even came up with his (to some, controversial) band name, and two more years before anyone joined him in his efforts.
"In 2001, I asked a friend [Matt Connell] that I was in another band with to play drums on my next recording. That’s when Fuck the Facts turned into a band with members. The band we were in, we weren’t playing shows often, touring or recording, but with FTF we’d play anywhere we could, like basements or tiny clubs.” Das moved to bass when guitarist Tim Audette and vocalist Brent Christoff joined shortly after, and Fuck the Facts were finally a bona fide band. Continuing to record and release both "official” albums and an onslaught of home recordings, now on CD-R, Fuck the Facts developed a reputation within the aggressive underground as a unique progressive grindcore band.Progressive and grindcore aren’t words that many people associate together. The genre has its roots in the most extreme aspects of metal — hyperactive musicianship pushed to the limits of excess and speed, overly distorted guitars bolstered by vocals alternating between guttural, almost tectonic growls and shrieking, banshee-esque wailing about subject matter including murder, gore and the evils of humanity.
But after two decades, the grindcore subgenre has stagnated. Once considered an avant-garde innovation to the straightforward hammering guitars and double-time beats of metal, it fell victim to its own genre entrenchment. Although it continues to flourish in many ways, and is adored by many a ’banger, the scene has become predictable."When I started the project, dirty grindcore was a huge motivation,” Das says. "We’re not a straight-up grindcore band anymore and a lot of people probably argue that we’re not grindcore at all, but we try not to worry about that. I’ve heard a gazillion bands and with all the people involved over the years, things have changed. Fuck the Facts is my outlet to do what I want to do, because when I started, I couldn’t find a band that I was able to do it in. It’s a natural progression. That’s always been the way with Fuck the Facts.”
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