Fuck Buttons on their wildly visual live show, the writing process, and bringing "fuck" to the world stage

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Fuck Buttons hit The Independent Fri/27.

“I think I’ve heard of them before,” is the kind of spineless response you’ll never hear if you ask someone about Fuck Buttons.  If you’ve heard them, you’ll most definitely will remember.  With music that elicits feelings of wonder and rebellion, intense live shows, and of course an, err -- catchy name, Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung leave a lasting impression.

If you didn’t catch them when they played at The Independent last October, chances are you heard Fuck Buttons in 2012 when the band received arguably the most widespread kind of exposure -- their tracks “Surf Solar” and “Olympians” were featured separately during the London Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Their self-produced third effort, Soft Focus, has earned the band a multitude of accolades, including an 8.7 and Best New Music honor from persnickety Pitchfork, as well as the #3 Dance Album Of The Year 2013 from Rolling Stone.

I got the opportunity to chat with Fuck Button Benjamin John Power about the process behind the band’s unique live performance set-up, as well as the AV show they’re bringing to the US for the first time.  The English experimental-electro duo are currently in the middle of a monthlong tour, coming back to The Independent this Fri/27.

San Francisco Bay Guardian So you just played North By Northeast. Taking some time off on the West Coast right now?

Benjamin John Power Yeah, that's right.  Andy had to go home to a wedding so there is a slight break in the tour, but it's cool.

SFBG I’m sure the time off to before the shows next week is welcomed.

BJP I get a week off in LA and my wife is coming out to join me for the time off. It’s nice to take a breather.

SFBG NXNE has such a diverse lineup, between all the acts and comedians.

BJP NXNE was great. Quick turnaround, but a really amazing crowd. I didn't get a chance to see anyone else on the lineup, but I wish I could have seen Tim Hecker.

SFBG It’s funny you mention him. You’re familiar with Steve Hauschildt, yes?

BJP Yep, from Emeralds? I’m a fan.

SFBG I liken his and Tim Hecker’s music to your solo project, Blanck Mass. They form a genre I refer to as “lunar planning music.”

BJP Oh yeah? That’s a nice term.

SFBG I mean that in the best way possible.

BJP It is welcomed -- fear not.

SFBG You recently played a show with Mount Kimbie that involved some some special visuals.  Can the stateside crowd expect anything like that?

BJP Yes, 100 percent. We have brought our full AV show with us this time -- for the first time in the USA -- so that's totally in the cards. We wanted to make sure that the visual aspect wasn't just a bunch of video loops, as a separate focus.  The visuals are interactive and in real time, so it's a more interesting show and it’s working out really well.

SFBG Sounds great. I saw you last year at Primavera Sound, and your music translates really well on stage.

BJP Thank you. The live show and the recorded output go hand in hand, so when we write, we write in exactly the same way that we do when we play live -- across the table from each other, with all the gadgets in front of us -- so it translates easily into the live performance.

SFBG You also produced the last album (Soft Focus) yourselves -- have other people been contacting you regarding production work?

BJP Yeah, a few people have.  We like to keep ourselves busy, and I think from working on the last record primarily by ourselves we have picked up some pretty helpful production tricks.

SFBG Last question -- do you feel the word “fuck” is losing its potency?

BJP I don't really think too much about the word fuck losing its potency. If anything, it probably makes my life easier, haha.

SFBG I can see that.  Being featured in the Olympics, you guys are like ambassadors of “fuck.”  Bringing “fuck” to the world stage.

BJP Yeah! Well, in those instances, everybody just seems to go with “F Buttons.” It's really fine. What's in a name anyway?

FUCK BUTTONS
With Total Life
6/27, 9pm, $20
The Independent
628 Divisadero, SF
www.theindependentsf.com

 

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