Fonetiks
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Fonetiks

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative EDM

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Remember when wannabe pre-teen comics used to raise fits of giggles with these corking gags? 'Why did they make Dyslexia so difficult to spell?', 'Why does Phonetics start with a Ph?', hehe hoho..NO! As you can clearly see neither joke is funny. For starters Dyslexia isn't THAT hard to spell, and in fact its minimal complexity allows it to double up as a catching agent for those it afflicts - winner! As for the second gag, well it quite obviously shows a distinct lack of understanding of not only the breadth of linguistic science, but also the multifarious nuances that lie there in - these eight year old humorists are idiots I tell you!! If however you're determined to spell life out just as it sounds, then you're in luck because the Found Of Confusion has the very band for you.

They go by the name of FONETIKS, a trio from the city of Liverpool whose studies into the subtleties of sound formation are starting to pay handsome dividends. Armed with guitars, drums and a hard drive jammed full of effects, these occasional remixers and goodtime gig promoters, have concocted a clutch of their own tracks that fly in the face of what the world has come to expect to hear emanating from Merseyside’s music circles; shuffling, sixties tinged, psychedelia, has been shunned in favour of the type of racket that’s more likely to find acceptance back along the East Lancs Road in the parish of Manchester. There's no clearer example of their sonic direction than on the six minute slice of brooding indie electro that is 'Sounds Like'; a pulsing base beat, perpetual hi-hat, and reverberating guitar line, feed off each other to create the same brand of menacing grooves that inhabited the debut LP from The Longcut. Nor is it a one off; 'Viscious Sirens' follows the form to a tee, all be it in ever so slightly lighter tones, its high voltage visage recalling the better moments of Sumner and Marr's Electronic, or even the short window of time when U2 took a sabatical from s***ness and dropped in at the Discotheque. With a third track 'Antelope' taking its lead from the chaoitc clammer of Three Trapped Tigers, and a recent suppot slot to Found Of Confusion alumni Discopolis to boast about, it's clear that Fonetiks have talent and taste - normally I advise that you keep an eye on a band, but on this occasion there should be no need to spell it out. - The Found Of Confusion


Over on the Blade Factory main stage, three-piece Fonetiks drew almost as big a crowd as Lyra, (though there were noticeably less cameras - presumably clothed men offering less of a visual touch), with a set full of energy and electric wizardry. Relaxed and with a supercharged atmosphere, the pulsating drumming a highlight of a fine set. - GetIntoThis


Pixels are swiftly followed by Fonetiks, an outfit gathering plenty of momentum in Liverpool right now.
They're a band who make their presence felt as much as heard - a huge projection billows out across the stage, blending the euphoria of every chord into every percussive crunch, while discordant bleeps and siren wails are enveloped into a mesmeric shaft of noise.
They're a little bit like a nineties club scene in a coming-of-age drama, that strobe-lit moment when the heroine escapes the dreariness of her kitchen-sink reality - with maybe a spoonful of something more recent, like Akron/Family, or M83, on the side. - GetIntoThis


Next is for me, the act of the night. Witnessing Fonetiks was like watching the birth of the Prodigy or a guitar-infused Chemical Brothers. They go at it like a burning man bursting through a glass door to douse his flames in a swimming pool outside. Their sound surrounds me as their hypnotic dance-fuelled rhythms create an almost voodoo doll effect on my body's ability to keep still. Everything about this band is right. The vocals are great, and certainly the strongest here tonight. Fonetiks appear to be older than the rest of the acts, and maybe their experience shows. The other bands are certainly taking note. - ropewalksliverpool.com


In an era when digital recording, editing and mixing has made music making vastly easier, thankfully there are always those who want to push the new technology as far as it can go. Fonetiks are one such band, utilizing every available bit of technology they can lay their hands on, whilst keeping one foot firmly rooted in the need to play live. Along with their stunning visuals, the three-piece stand as positive proof that innovation amongst Liverpool bands is alive and well. Nerve met up with them for an interview.
Deriving their name from the phonetic pronunciation of the word ‘phonetics’ itself, the band formed following the dissolution of their previous groups in early 2010. Consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist Jamie, electronics guru Liam and drummer/programmer Wardy, after eighteen months of intense rehearsals and a dozen or so live performances, the trio now feel they are hitting their stride. “We’ve been playing together for about a year and a bit, the first six months were just a Windows Error Message” Jamie grimaces about the technical difficulties the group ran into seemingly every practice session. “We almost, without realizing it, make life very difficult for ourselves. Because we use computers to make all the sounds, we have to sync-up all the visuals, meaning we have to decide what visuals we want to use and write a song at the same time.”

Bridging the divide between dance music and rock is an exercise that has been going for several decades now, dance-rock situationist prankster-geniuses The KLF and venerable electro-veterans OMD flying the flag for Merseyside in that field. Yet whereas the latter avoided rock music influences, preferring pop, the members of Fo’netiks grew up as avid rock fans. Gradually drawn towards dance music and DJ culture, dubstep/house musician Burial, electro-garage act Mode Selector, the indie-funk of Battles, plus the defiantly electronic, alternately brutal and tender techno of Aphex Twin win their approval. Two American bands however, dance-rock doyens LCD Soundsystem and the critically lauded TV on the Radio best underline what the band are aiming to achieve in their melding of dance music’s thudding electro beats with the raw excitement of rock music. Given a limitless amount of opportunity (and cash), David Sitik, lynchpin of TV On the Radio is instantly mentioned as the figure the band would most want to work with.

Crucially, both LCD Soundsystem and TV On the Radio are capable of reproducing their genre-blurring sound live, a challenging task given the amount of preparation needed for each performance. Similarly, Fo’netiks avoid the trap of walking onstage of “phoning in” performances via multiple pre-sequenced backing tracks and loops. When the band do resort to this however, all of what you hear at their gigs is rendered live, including the FX and samples that frequently crop up in the band’s songs. “I read something James Murphy out of LCD Soundsystem was saying,” Jamie states, “Where he said when they started out what they wanted to do was dance music without computers, to just completely move away from that, so obviously you need nine or ten people to be able to do it. I don’t think I know nine or ten people we could use!” he laughs.

This lack of extra hands onstage ironically, might have led the group to discover their own sound. Without resorting to backing tracks or having extra musicians troop on and offstage, the trio have had to painstakingly work out live arrangements they can handle in-house. “The current song we’ve got at the moment, there was an initial stage of composition that Jamie did on the computer, he built this dance track that sounded brilliant, there were layers and layers of it, then we were saying, ‘Can we do this live?’” Liam says. “We don’t wanna get onstage and press ‘Play’ on a backing track. There’s just no point, we were like, “Can we play every part of this live?” We’ve had to strip it back a bit, but that’s the thing, it’s easy to get carried away, sticking more sounds on when you’re doing it on a sequencer.” “We won’t compromise and it takes us forever, the first thing we do when we sit down and write a song is say ‘Can we actually do this?’” Jamie concurs. “‘Can we play this song the way we want it to sound, using the tools that we have?’ I think the thing is not to be afraid of using the technology that’s there. You look at the way that film is now compared to ten or twenty years ago, reality is barely distinguishable from CGI,” he continues. “I think people are missing a trick with music, there’s this weird sort of separation between electronic music and rock music.”

Full-on live performances also means that the band are freer to experiment without being slavishly tied to loops and sequencers. “If we feel like taking the song away from what it’s doing, from the written version of it, we can do,” Jamie says. “It’s not a rigid structure where we’re saying, ‘Right in four bars, we will to change to this’, - Nerve Magazine


Tipping the balance more towards rock and dance as opposed to post-punk and electronica are Fo’netiks. Fired up by the possibilities of blending the thud of the dancefloor with the intensity of the moshpit, the group have emerged from the practice room armed to the teeth with their sonic artillery. United by a love of LCD Soundsystem, Holy Fuck and the ground-breaking TV on the Radio, the trio meld electronic beats, snarling guitar riffs and ambient soundbaths.

A band who seemingly revel in making life difficult for themselves, their music is synched to their projections and back drops, all created in-house and painstaking arranged to be fully incorporated into their live set. Eschewing the practice of acts who stand with brows furrowed over various pieces of musical equipment, desperately attempting to convince the audience they are playing live, despite the fact most aren’t, the band are at pains to render all of their material in real time.

With all of the sounds, textures and effects generated or triggered live by samplers, the group stick to the tried, tested and never bettered method of live drums, vocals and guitars, which crucially retains the raw excitement of live a rock band.

Their sets, honed to a point after many hours of rehearsal room time thunder out of venue PAs as their genre-straddling, multi-media shows explode into life. Like New Order, who were similarly driven to tears by labouring for weeks, even months over the latest piece of kit they had bought to create new sounds from, Fo’netiks have taken up this boundary-stalking mission with relish.

The dynamism of ‘Sounds Like’, the abrasive ‘Vicious Sirens’ and the stunning ‘Antelope’ show the band’s persistence with obstinate computer programs and repeated ‘Error’ messages has been hugely rewarding for both them and the listener. - Bearded Magazine


A double hit of superior acts at Parr St. Studio 2 were showcased as Manchester based band Patterns and event curators Fonetiks made up the bill for Live & Electronic.

Juxtaposing the same cloudy ambient beauty of Music Has the Rights to Children era Boards of Canada, with peak-period Animal Collective, Patterns are currently receiving much praise from Huw Stevens and that music publication with the initials in the title.

Wrong Two Words, beginning with a refracted electronic revolved around mantric feedback and slow vocal incantation easily demonstrated how far the group are from stock ‘Manchester Sound’ clichés of recent times.

Elsewhere, Broken Trains built around percussion loops demonstrate their ability to build cogent songs without the use of guitar riffs.

Concluding with stunning debut single Induction, a woozy slice of Radio Dept esque dream-pop, Sophia Coppola would be well advised to include the track in her next film.

Similarly, Patterns would be well advised to return to Liverpool soon, as their set doubtless won new converts to their cause.

Event curators Fonetiks took to the stage prior to Patterns and fired up the opening electronic riff of Vicious Sirens.

Prior to beginning the song’s ascent, the band seemingly took a deep breath before launching into the track, as their sonic assault tumbled out of the speakers.

Vastly more powerful than on record, led off by Jamie’s buzzsaw guitar, the almost symphonic axe break mid way through built in intensity before segueing into Grief, played next.

Specialising in songs that build slowly increasing in velocity before reaching a melodic plateau, the trio then ensure the track lodges itself in the listener’s brain.

Drumsticks flailed, vocals were hollered, guitars were battered with gritted-teeth conviction, despite categorisation as electro by some, Fonetiks also put simply, rock.

Electronics guru Liam appeared to be playing a game of speed chess against himself on the table top with myriad sequencers and keyboards on it while Wardy on drums mercilessly battered his kit.

Racing through four songs en suite, they paused to gasp for breath again, before setting off again towards the finishing line.

Concluding with possibly their finest tune Antelope, the coda was turned into an all-out apocalypse before ebbing away on the same gentle electronic motif it entered on.

Proving that innovation, melody and stage presence needn’t be mutually exclusive elements, the present act have all of the above in spades. A blast.
- Purple Revolver


Discography

Vicious Sirens: Played on BBC 6 Music Introducing with Tom Robinson, featured on the BBC Introducing podcast

Antelope: Played on BBC Radio Merseyside, Dave Monks

Photos

Bio

Fired up by the possibilities of blending the thud of the dancefloor with moshpit intensity, Foneitks are armed to the teeth with sonic artillery.

In an era when digital recording, editing and mixing has made music making vastly easier, thankfully there are always those who want to push the technology as far as it can go. Fonetiks are one such band, utilizing every available bit of technology they can lay their hands on, whilst keeping one foot firmly rooted in the need to play live. Along with their stunning visuals, the three-piece stand as positive proof that innovation amongst Liverpool bands is alive and well.