i, fanblades
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i, fanblades

Newark, Delaware, United States | SELF

Newark, Delaware, United States | SELF
Band Metal Avant-garde

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"Band Bio: i, fanblades"

Genre: Droned-out, sludgy, experimental, blues-tinged heavy rock.

Hometown: Newark, Newport and Philly suburbs

Who's who: Matt McDonald, vocals and guitar; Nigel Baum, vocals and guitar; J.W., percussion; Chris Fanny, drummin'.

Behind the name: "Matt and I met at the Arts Alliance in Newark years ago, and a favorite post-poetry reading activity was going out for drinks afterward and writing collaborative poems called 'Exquisite Corpses.' So, 'I, Fanblades,' is ripped straight from an Exquisite Corpse that Matt and I wrote many years ago." -Nigel

My Space: www.myspace.com/ifanblades

Currently working on: "In June, we're heading into Range Recording in Ardmore, Pa., to make some noise. Expect a full-length to follow, tentatively titled 'Damnatio Memoriae.'"

What can we expect at a show? "Loudness and heaviness, accompanied by the occasional airborne piece of destructed percussion equipment. Also, about half the crowd will be rocking out, and the other half will be blinking in confusion."

What's the one song we should listen to if we've got a minute or two to check out your MySpace page? "'Joan D'Arc' and 'Nighttide' are both excellent choices, representing different phases of the band's evolution. 'Nighttide' is a demo for the upcoming album, while 'Joan' was recorded live at a basement show in Philly."

What's your poison on stage: "Chris and I don't drink by choice, so primarily something neon, like Red Bull. Matt likes Yuengling. J.W. likes whatever beer costs the least." - Metromix/Spark Magazine


"Vents Interview: i, fanblades"

What's the meaning behind the band's name?
What if all the little humble dirty machines became conscious? Mark Twain captured the menace of it: “It’s like a blight, a paralysis, in which a mighty machine has slipped its belt, and is still running and accomplishing nothing.” Of course, sentient machinery, the idea of a revolution of the machines against the machinists has always fascinated us. What would they do? Would they merely fail to produce? The more populist answer is that the name was taken from an exquisite corpse (a type of poem) that the many founders of the band wrote.

How the band started??
We started originally as a collective, writing experimental exquisite corpse poetry. The band developed out of the need to HEAR and RECORD the poetry, juxtaposed with appropriate (or grossly inappropriate) soundscapes. Slowly, over the years, we have evolved into whatever the fuck we are now.

What's the message you guys want to transmit with your music??
We actually take a very different tack depending on the song. Often I think we're examining something personal, not to figure out what it means but it figure out what it IS. As for our listeners, we also want to leave the interpretations up to them, and it tends to always mean something different to each and every person. However, the general consensus is that there is some kind of general malaise usually accompanying our songs. For instance, a particular listener of ours mentioned that he wasn't able to finish a certain song from our 2010 sampler CD in a single sitting due to the melancholy it brought him. But he also left the CD in his car's player for two months straight and would listen to it nearly every day for as much as he could stand.

What's your method at the time of writing a song??
This also, depends on the song. Some songs, we write entirely individually and then bring to the band. For some others, we write just a piece and bring to the band to collaborate. For still others, we write based on an initial idea or concept and do round-table brainstorming and bounce ideas off of each other. And as a final method, we will often just improvise together for a while until we find something we like, choose to keep it, and build upon it.

Which are your music influences??
We all listen to a huge variety of music, and we all have a different kind of input into the band because of that. As a whole, we draw most of what we do from bands that are either inherently pensive or thoughtful, or from bands who inexorably break the rules and push boundaries of music as we know it. Ideally, a little of both. Through the absorption of music we listen to, we've even begun to focus (unknowingly) on certain purposes and principals like melody and emotion.

What plans do you guys have for the future??
Well, we just finished up a brand new EP and our first regional tour. For now, our plan is to write more new music and continue to evolve in the best (and only) ways we can, and then take the show back on the road in the Spring. Hopefully before long we'll have a pretty new full-length for you all to sink your face in to.

Which has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
Javier from The Bad Lieutenants in Connecticut saved our asses when we had a show cancel on us. He put us up, fed us, and snagged us a couple of kick ass last minute shows. So anyway, for lack of blankets and pillows (our dumb asses didn't bring any), Matt decided to sleep in the car with a roll of paper towels as a pillow. Jav gets up crazy early because he does construction or something, and so at 5AM, wearing a ski-mask and brandishing a boxcutter or some shit, he pretended to break in to the car Matt was sleeping in, scaring the bejesus out of him.

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
Ok, here's what I'm thinkin': Chris is the youngest, and therefore the most able-bodied. So we'll send him for help. He'd probably make it back long before we had to eat anyone, but I think we'd have to eat JW. I can't really explain why. It's purely confidential.

Which country you guys would love to play?
Uzbekistan. Estonia. I don't know. We wanna rock the shit out of some bombed out eastern-bloc warehouse or something.

With which bands you guys would love to share stage??
Man, that's a good question. There are really only a few off the cuff that we would really jump at the chance to play with.. Um, Boris, Harvey Milk, Floor, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Orchid, Isis, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth... Oh, umm.. here's a weird one: The Slackers. Man, we'd ruin a Slackers show. Hahaha.

Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is going actually?
We are actually quite thrilled with the direction the music has taken, especially with Chris deciding to start playing keys from time to time. Also, we're only JUST NOW getting to the point where our new songs actually combine ALL of the previous directions of the band and are really hitting every mark we've hit in the past, simultaneously. And the momentum we've been building up is nothing short of exhilarating. As for future direction, we don't really know where we're pointed, and that's entirely awesome.

Check out more: http://www.myspace.com/ifanblades - Vents Magazine


"Seek And Ye Shall Find"

"This bluesy, grungy, power-drone quartet was originally formed in Newark, Delaware in 2003 by Nigel and Matt as an experimental spoken-word collective bent on multi-voiced, multi-channel poetry and has since (approx 2006) evolved into an impractical beast made up of two guitars (played through bass amps and bass effects) and two percussionists, Chris, who slams on a standard kit, and JW, who destroys his various found-percussion instruments.

From a fairly recent interview (mid-2008)…

What can we expect at a show? “Loudness and heaviness, accompanied by the occasional airborne piece of destructed percussion equipment. Also, about half the crowd will be rocking out, and the other half will be blinking in confusion.” ~ Last.FM

"We have found-percussion. We have drums. We have guitars heard with the chest. And we have words. Everything we are or have been may change and has changed, except...we will always be loud." ~ Myspace

"A completely cut-and-dry, organic, chronological mix of original material by i, fanblades. Is typically included with press kits and handed out to fans at shows for free. Three of the songs are entirely improvised on the spot during their recording. Three are rehearsed songs cut in some form of studio environment." ~ Bandcamp

Feel the Love - Sludge Swamp


"Square Pegs In A Round World"

Poetry, down-tuned guitars, and songs that aren’t what they seem. Enter the random world of i, fanblades.

The traditional thinking about metal is that it’s loud, it’s fast, and it’s evil. But metal, like other genres, has evolved to the point where it’s defined less by style and more by attitude. Today’s metal is about finding, and pushing, extreme sounds. If the Arcade Fire can make indie rock sound like a night at the symphony and Lady Gaga can make art out of pop, surely metal bands have room to grow, no?

i, fanblades is a local metal band that subscribes to this idea. Three of its members met at a poetry reading in Newark in 2003; they added a fourth and now practice at a rehearsal space in Delaware City. They like to think of themselves as what would happen if Sonic Youth grew up listening to Black Sabbath, and although the analogy lacks the desired juxtaposition, it’s accurate. “Our biggest influences, in terms of sound, are sludge bands like Sleep and Eyehategod—people who take blues and make it metal,” guitarist and vocalist Matt McDonald says. The band’s percussionist, who goes by J.W., likens McDonald’s discovery of the guitar to Forrest Gump learning to play ping pong. “I had no idea what I was doing,” McDonald says. “I bought a guitar on eBay and plugged it in. I didn’t know any chords. I’ve never played in standard tuning. I don’t even know what standard tuning is.”

McDonald instead plays in dropped tuning, where the strings are still in tune “but it sounds darker.” Standard tuning makes chords bright. “Playing those chords on a drop-tuned guitar sounds menacing and heavy,” he says.

McDonald’s experiments are illustrative of the band’s aesthetic, which might be better thought of as a non-aesthetic. McDonald and the band’s other guitarist, Nigel Baum, worked out noisy, droning soundscapes for a while before adding J.W., a found-sound provider who “plays with my hands, not my feet.” They added a traditional drummer, Chris Fanny, who has backgrounds in jazz and punk. (They don’t have a bassist.) Lyrics are pulled from members’ poetry, which vocalists McDonald and Baum, for lack of a better word, perform. (McDonald is an accomplished slam poet, although he prefers to scream and growl his lyrics.) They are four square pegs who wouldn’t fit anywhere else, except in this, their round little world.

Despite some barriers—songs that motor on for upwards of 10 and 15 minutes; song titles (“Throw Away These Little Teeth, for They Are Not Your Pretty Smile,” from the band’s new EP, In Retrospect) that feel just as long—i, fanblades isn’t as purpose-driven, or inaccessible, as it first appears. The band’s name comes from sessions of Exquisite Corpse poetry, where poems are randomly constructed out of words written on pieces of paper that get passed around to members of the group. And “Little Teeth,” McDonald explains, is really just about being sentimental. “I was thinking about my brother, who just turned 22. He’s really growing up. It’s a metaphor for baby teeth, how you can lose seemingly important parts of yourself but you’re still you. All the things you like about yourself are still there.”

That was the idea floating around McDonald’s head, anyway, before the other members got a hold of it, chopping it up, rearranging it, and making a home for it in their big, warm blanket of sludge. - Out & About Magazine


Discography

Your Fucked Face is Sharp and Crhome - [Experimental spoken word concept album. (2003/2004)]

Sunset Manifesto - [Experimental noise Single/EP (2004)]

Live and Underground: Philadelphia - 04.22.06 - [Live album, self-recorded. Early stages of musical development (2006)]

Trireme - [Experimental/concept music EP (2007)]

Damnatio Memoriae - [First in-studio album. (2008)]

Mid-2010 Sampler - [An arrangement of songs, some studio, some home recorded or demo versions. Free to everyone. (2010)]

In Retrospect - [2-song EP. Best 2 songs you will ever hear that will truely give you a taste of all aspects of this band. (09/10/2010)]

ALL RELEASED SONGS CAN BE STREAMED FOR FREE @ http://ifanblades.bandcamp.com/

Photos

Bio

i, fanblades (all lowercase or caps) is a polyrhythmic sludge beast, defined by the maniacal pulsations of drummer and blacksmith-like percussionist underpinning the combined thunderous heft of two downtuned guitarists who are just as likely to focus on dissonance as melody or riff. With no bassist, no pretense, no rules, and sometimes with no pre-written material, the audience is guaranteed never to see the same show twice.

Born in the Spring of 2003 as a DIY recording project of Nigel Baum, Matt McDonald, and the core group of punks, freaks, heads, and hangers-on (AKA “The Collective”) frequenting the Tuesday night poetry reading at a local Newark, Delaware art space, the mission at the time was to audibly document the multi-voiced Exquisite Corpse poems that the group was producing at breakneck speed, as well as develop complimentary sound-scapes for these works of seeming insanity. Recording in this fashion continued in fits and starts for the next two years while Nigel and Matt honed that soundscape craft. By 2005, the group had fragmented and Exquisite Corpse production had ceased, but Nigel and Matt had just completed work on the capstone project of the era: “Your Fucked Face Is Sharp and Crhome” (intentionally misspelled), a kind of psychotic magnum opus, generated and inspired by The Collective. Shortly thereafter, J.W., a poet, actor, and percussionist was officially added to the band, and the ‘blades went to work figuring out how to make their special noise in a live setting.

Fast forward to the present: a bricklaying, jazz-trained drummer with a hardcore heart by the name of Chris Fanny has been added to the roster, J.W.’s shifting line-up of toms, African drums, noise-makers, and found percussion has never been more brash and spectacular, Nigel and Matt are playing guitars with huge heavy strings into vintage bass amps to produce a myriad of meaty fuzz riding a plethora of the sweet heavies, but through it all they’ve never lost hold of their poetry and soundscape roots. Their shows have been known to feature songs with no predetermined structure, or scored songs that spontaneously sprout new parts onstage, and always include flashing lights, fog machines, props, flying destructed percussion equipment, and a discord-friendly brand of songwriting influenced as much by doom, drone, and sludge as by jazz, blues, and hardcore.