By Daniel SylvesterAt the beginning of 2012, Black Moth Super Rainbow announced on their website, "We're back!" Leaving fans confused by the implication that the Pittsburgh, PA quintet ever left. After three quiet years that saw band members release solo LPs, head honcho Thomas Fec (aka Tobacco) scrapped Black Moth Super Rainbow's expected full-length before recording Cobra Juicy, sans band members, with the help of an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign. Now nearly three-and-a-half years after their last LP, the rather languid Eating Us, Black Moth Super Rainbow's fifth release may not be their most resourceful work to date, but it's undoubtedly their most sublime. Packaged on a USB stick jammed into the mouth of a menacing, wearable latex mask, or as lenticular 3D vinyl, Cobra Juicy keeps the band's yin/yang splendour intact. Everything on Cobra Juicy ends up filtered through bent-pitch optics, leaving the listener with gestalt-infused delicacies that come off exceptionally gooey on the inside, but obstinately crusty on the outside.
Where am I talking to you from, are you in Pittsburgh? Fec: Yeah, I'm actually at the post office.
You don't use Stamps.com like Marc Maron suggests? We did some Stamps.com and they won't let us do anymore; I don't know what's up so I had to go to the post office. We're in the middle of a Kickstarter thing where we're trying to get 2,000 orders out in, like, a week.
Has this stress taken away from the anticipation of releasing a new album? I usually find these times stressful; this time is the most stressful because I'm basically running a shipping centre right now. It's really, really intense and we have four people working on it and it's not even enough! I haven't really had time to sit back and get ready for this album to come out. And as soon as we're done shipping we have to go right out on tour, so it's difficult.
Can you talk a bit about the recording of Cobra Juicy? The main difference between this one and the last one [2009's Eating Us] is that I did this one completely on my own. I didn't go to the live band for any help. I also didn't use any kind of producer. We worked with [Dave] Fridmann last time. The last one was kind of an anomaly because that was the most collaborative I've ever been as a band and then we had Fridmann at the end polishing it. But this one was weird because I wrote a record [working title: Psychic Love Damage] and I thought it was going to come out, maybe end of last year or the beginning of this year, but it was way too Black Moth-y and I thought that was a bad thing.
Are you saying you wanted something more personal? I don't know; I think people have expectations now for what I do. I feel like I've created my own thing and I feel that people have expectations of what they want to hear. That album that I created was a total Black Moth Super Rainbow album and I didn't want that. So I threw it out and made this one instead; I rewrote a couple of the songs.
Do you think that this might have stemmed from the fact that your last solo album as Tobacco (2010's Maniac Meat) was a success? The fact that everything went right with that album? I don't feel like the Tobacco album did that great and I feel like a lot of people didn't get it because it was kind of a raw album. I mean, it was really fun to make and it was really fun to tour on.
I think that would qualify it as a success; you don't have to necessarily have to judge it on critical acclaim or record sales. Yeah, that was the record that really showed me that, like, "Fuck! It really doesn't matter what anyone says." Because at the end of the day, these shows that I'm having, everyone's having fun. Which was fine to me because I would get people on Facebook or Twitter that would say, "This album is too... da, da, da. I don't like this," but then they're at the show the next night having a great time. That's kind of all that matters and I took that way of thinking to the new Black Moth album. Because with Black Moth, I've always put a lot of pressure on myself to write songs that maybe won't turn people off as much. The fun that I had with Tobacco, that's the only way I'm going to be able to come back to Black Moth, because after 2009 when we were done touring, the band were essentially done. I really didn't have any plans to come back and make another Black Moth album. I was kind of a giant drag and it was all self-imposed, but I wanted to flip the script a little bit.