The Fuck Buttons

fuck

Get lost with the Fuck Buttons.

In this experimental electronic duo, children’s keyboards and Fisher Price karaoke machines play a greater importance than the DJ’s all holy laptop. Clearly an art school start is at foot here. Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power are the masterminds behind the profane yet playful Fuck Buttons, and they’ve been going at it for close to a decade now. Art school brought them together, and as they worked on a soundtrack for a student film they immediately realized they were doing something different and wasted no time seeking out venues to host their eclectic brand of electronica. Their relentless live gigs gained them a cult-like following in the UK and the industry buzz began. Signed in 2007 by ATP Recordings, they relied solely on label (and even friend) sponsored festivals for promotion. At one point early on in their career, friend and fellow ATP-er Alexander Tucker supported their tour of larger UK venues. People really believe in them. And the critics? Well it seems that they do too. Time Out Magazine described their music as an “adrenaline pumping, ear purging slab of towering, pristine noise…”The Observer called them, “a joyous racket of swirling atmospherics and percussive gunfire” in the same article that they called them the “new wave of intelligent, literate British pop music.” It must be funny to gain a title like that — one that so openly slams your predecessors as implied illiterate boobs. That’s right, the Fuck Buttons are not only cool, but they do their homework too.

A swirl of mystifying sound; a rhythmic apocalypse. They combine layer upon layer of blistering noise with clouds of bass and synth, creating tracks that radiate an intense, cathartic and sometimes unsettling beauty. The music is unintentionally trance-like. Actually, if you ask Hung and Power, it’s all kind of unintentional. They claim to have no direction — as in they aren’t focused on any sort of evolution, they just exist in this genre isolated from most other musicians, where they are happy to create psychedelic, noise filled tracks. Within the industry they are occasionally referred to as part of the pop music genre, but with the distorted vocals and buzzing drones it’s quite difficult to accept. That may just be what’s captured and captivated the attention of both the fans and the industry — the fact that our dear Buttons exist outside the realm of marketing labels and PR pigeon holes. Power explains in an interview with Music OMH, “We do have these different kinds of elements involved within our sounds, it’s not a kind of purest noise, and obviously it’s not what a lot would consider pop music. But I guess the fact that we do have lots of different elements with parts that could fit with other genres gives us an advantage. I think it opens up potential audience.”

By the time they began working on their second record, Tarot Sport, they found themselves working with John Cummings, the guitar player of Power’s greatest influence Mogwai. Cummings liked them so much he packed them up and brought them on tour, introducing Canada and the USA to their unique sound. Critical chatter for the second album was quite positive, with many noting their strong continuity. Both in their debut 2007 album Street Horrrsing as well as in Tarot Sport, they were able to create a sound that washes over you while pounding on your skull, something so loud you can’t help but pay attention…until eventually the noise subsides and it all just makes sense. Hung explains, “Our music is really loud and encompassing, and the initial reaction would be to be pushed away, but I’ve found more and more that you sort of forget you’re in this loud sound, and you end up in another space, because you’re not able to communicate with other people.” Like a cocoon of tribal beats and static, the listener is brought to a quiet place by means of baffling surges of energetic noise.

check the mic

Their tours are slowly growing larger — first the three country bout with Mogwai, and then more recently they joined the Pixies’ on their 2010 Doolittle Tour — which poses a serious threat to their instruments. As mentioned earlier, the laptop comes second in this two man show, making their musical children’s toys entirely invaluable. The threat of typical tour wear and tear becomes rather serious when your instruments are collector’s editions. The relationship of the instruments to the music is exactly the same as the intention of the name — it’s meant to be “playful yet aggressive.” I bet Fisher Price never considered just how hard their plastic instruments could rock. It’s unfortunate that some sort of endorsement deal could never be reached — that name as memorable as it is might come to be something of an impediment. As they continue to climb the ranks of popularity that name may stand in the way a bit. More and more BBC radio stations are looking to play their tracks, but have to first come up with less offensive monikers. Hope the boys like being called ‘The F Buttons.’

Andrew Hung & Benjamin John Power

album art for their 2nd studio album TAROT SPORT

2009 performance in Madrid


Cannot explain the love we have for this collab with Fever Ray

2010 single OLYMPIANS released in limited edition 12" vinyl


Olympians – Tarot Sport

band practice


Flight of the Feathered Serpent – Tarot Sport


Bright Tomorrow – Street Horrrsing [their first ever single, released in '07 on limited edition 7" vinyl]

F/B


Surf Solar – Tarot Sport

Bristol 2009 performance


Colours Move – Street Horrrsing

killer art for LITTLE BLOODY SHOULDER

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