Q&A: Death In Vegas
By Andy Malt | Published on Wednesday 21 September 2011
It’s seven years since the release of the last Death In Vegas album, ‘Satan’s Claw’, in 2004. Various projects distracted founder Richard Fearless over those years, but in late 2009, now a solo project after the departure of Tim Holmes, he decided to being work on what would become the fifth Death In Vegas long player, ‘Trans-Love Energies’.
Recorded in Andrew Weatherall’s Rotters Golf Club studio in Shoreditch, East London, the album sees Fearless take on frontman, as well as production, duties, as he sings on almost all of its tracks. However, he stepped aside for two, first single ‘Your Loft’ and ‘Witch Dance’, to allow Austra vocalist Katie Stelmanis to add her own touch to the record.
‘Trans-Love Energies’ is due for release through Drone Records on 26 Sep, and there will be a special launch show at Fabric in London tomorrow night, ahead of a full UK tour in December. Ahead of all of that, CMU Editor Andy Malt sat down with Fearless to ask some questions.
AM: Your last album, ‘Satan’s Circus’, was released in 2004. What have you been up to since then?
RF: Well, I went to New York and studied photography for a while. During that time I started another band, Black Acid, and I got more into producing other bands too. Plus I did a bunch of mixes for people – Yoko Ono, Oasis, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Horrors – and some film work for the Rolling Stones.
AM: Did you consciously take a break from Death In Vegas?
RF: I had been working solid on DIV since college and needed a break, yes. In fact, I kinda felt like I needed a break from music in general.
AM: When did you begin work on ‘Trans-Love Energies’?
RF: About a year and a half ago, when I moved back to London. My friend Andrew Weatherall had a spare room at his studio. So I moved in there and started to crack on with the new record.
AM: How do you feel your sound has developed on this album?
RF: Loads, I feel like I’m finally finding my sound. There’s a confidence in my production now, I feel. I would say it’s a much sparser record, and you’ve got to be really sure of every little sound if you’re going to strip tracks down to their minimum components.
AM: With the reference to Detroit-based 60s radicals the Trans-Love Energies Unlimited collective in the album’s title, does this reflect a political theme in the new songs?
RF: No, not at all. This album is a journey into my head, and everything on it comes from my heart. It’s about escapism. The message is about love and sound. The name was more referring to the team of people that helped me on this, musicians, engineers, friends. But saying that, having spent so much time recording in Michigan over the last seven years, it is also a nod to the Anne Arbor scene.
AM: How did the collaboration with Austra’s Katie Stelmanis on the album’s first single, ‘Your Loft’, come about?
RF: I had heard one of her tracks and loved her voice. My manager emailed her, and it turns out she was a DIV fan, so that was perfect.
AM: What was she like to work with?
RF: She was cool to work with. It was supposed to be a day’s recording but it took us a few weeks to nail it. I was trying to get her to under sing, sing slightly more nonchalantly, which I think is quite hard for someone who trained as an opera singer. But yeah, it worked out fantastic and I can’t wait for her to join us for some of the shows live.
AM: Are there any artists you’d particularly like to work with who you haven’t as yet?
RF: Beyonce. ‘IWYLA’ [one of the bonus tracks on the limited edition version of ‘Trans-Love Energies’] was written for her…
AM: You’re playing a one-off show at Fabric on 22 Sep ahead of a UK tour in December. What can people expect from your new live show?
RF: Sonic annihilation!
AM: Which other artists do you think are particularly exciting at the moment?
RF: I saw a band called ToY the other night who I loved. I’m also listening to Indian Jewelry, The Black Angels, Matthew Dear, Horrors, and SCUM.
AM: What’s next for Death In Vegas?
RF: Erm… touring, and I just want to crack on with the next record asap, really. And something’s in the pipeline which could be fucking mental, but it’s a secret!