Heavy and heady LA Doomgazers
Alright, another brilliant Toilet Ov Hell interview with up-and-comers Ari (they/them) and Jenna (she/they) from “fairy doom” band Faetooth, fresh off an original EP and coming up on their first record. So, would you introduce yourselves? How’d you get together and how’d you start this off?
Jenna: So, the history of Faetooth goes back several years. We’ve all been friends, all on the west side of Los Angeles, doing various endeavors, playing music or making art, basically, some of us in school or high school with each other, and then one day in like 2019, outside of a show, we were like “Hey, let’s do it. Let’s do a jam.”
Ari: For real this time!
Ah, I know, just the whole process of wrangling everyone into position for it.
J: Yeah, one of those moments where everyone’s like “Okay, yeah, let’s do it,” and then it branched from there. It was kind of like, you know, you’re either just fucking around and jamming or you actually end up starting the band, and we just decided “I guess we’re gonna keep doing this.”
I’ve gotten a chance to listen to that first record, and the EP that’s already out, and it’s entrancing me, I gotta say, in the same way that seasonal depression usually does. It kinda takes me back to when I was first listening to like Windhand or Russian Circles, but it’s hitting a wonderful balance between the two. In some of your other interviews, it strikes me that everyone in the band talked before about only getting into the sludgy, heavy stuff shortly before starting Faetooth. So, as you grow more into this and head towards your first record, how are you settling into it, and what’s evolving about your style?
A: Well, I had a–
A: You good, Jenna? I feel you, don’t worry, allergies, seasonal change.
Oh my God, right?
A: It’s the worst. I’m like having an allergy to every bug bite ever.
Dude, I got this fluffy cat, and he drags that shit all over the house with him. Like, anytime he’s scoping around the couch or my bed, he just brings it right back up with him, it’s awful.
A: Awww, evil. They know what they’re doing. But essentially, Jenna and I were the ones that mainly listened to, I don’t know, harder music, heavier music for a longer period of time. Everyone else’s style, like Ash, our other guitarist, and our drummer, Rah, are pretty dynamic within their styles. They’re not really set on one sort of approach. I mean, we aren’t either! We’re sort of eclectic, regardless, but I know that their affinity is more for other types of genres.
It definitely shows in the tunes themselves, they’re very dynamic. Not in the sense of snapping from here to there, all over the place, but they evolve over time. You’ve got a very iterative structure to them that really draws you in.
A: I think that’s why when people find us and listen to us online, they’re always like, it’s really dynamic and all over the place, and really touches on different genres. I think that’s why people who strictly listen to shoegaze or low-fi noise are into us as well.
You got something for everyone. Like how Nintendo doesn’t hire people who just do game design, or they’ll just repeat what other people are already doing. They wants folks who do everything else. One of my gripes with doom as a whole genre is it’s so calcified. They want the big fuzz, they want the pentatonic riffs, and they all kinda blend together. It’s really fucking cool to have a band who can hit the same tone, but not just do the same recipe over and over.
J: We definitely recognize that and we have an affinity for those kinds of riffs. We still go hard! We still like those kind of things, but there’s just so much more to expand on with what we do. So, I kind of feel like we’re trying to be a little subversive.
A: I think there’s no need to limit ourselves in our songwriting like that.
You got this first single that’s been out for a while, “Echolalia”, why don’t you tell us a bit about that? I believe, if I recall correctly, you said it’s a little based on the Tower Of Babel story? What’s that got to do with it?
A: Uh, well, our lyricist for that is not here right now. [laughs]
Well, scrap it. Nevermind. Fuck it! Do it over.
A: I did initially write the bass riffs and we expanded on that, Jenna and I together, for the structure to that song. But yeah, our lyricist, Ash–
J: From my knowledge–
A: Yeah, you expand on that.
J: She is a woman of many hats, and a scholar, so she was in an art history class when she got struck with inspiration for the lore of the Tower Of Babel. That’s how a lot of our songs are started up, there’s some sort of theme we’re fixated on, and we just go “Yeah, I relate to this”. [laughs]
Ash brought us the lyrics, a while ago. This was maybe the fifth song we’d written as a band. Given our history as a band, we didn’t have much time to work on it because the pandemic happened, and we suddenly got a lot more time to expand on that song, until the iteration that it is today, that you’re hearing. It kinda started, coming up with lyrics in 2019 and then instrumentation from Ari and I, and boom, we recorded it last year.
A: This time last year, like exactly. Long time coming!
J: Yeah, a whole long time coming for that song.
Go stream Echolaliahttps://t.co/ecHsYRX1Xi pic.twitter.com/iN0u2Gl6fl
— 🕯 Faetooth 🕯 (@faetooth) September 5, 2022
Very cool, very cool. In terms of songwriting period, you’ve been baking these for the last 2 years. Do you write them in the same order that they appear on the album? Because it feels like they really flow with each other well in terms of tension and release from one another.
J: Pretty much! It is pretty much the order of the album. Those first three tracks together on the album are the earliest cuts. I think the very first two, the second one is about to come out, I wrote those lyrics when we first started the band.
Which one’s your favorite? Which one do you get the biggest kick out of?
A: I already know mine.
J: Like, my favorite?
My favorite was, uh, forgive me, I don’t have much of an accent. I took German when I was in high school. I really liked “La Sorciere”. From the start it aims in one direction and carves away all blockage. It’s a more directed kinda track.
J: You definitely pronounced it way better than I ever will.
It’s a Spanish phrase, it means “Master Of Sauces”.
A: My mom actually calls me that cuz I love making tomato sauce and white sauce and stuff.
J: I think I have an attachment to that one. I think like we said, we kinda talked about how “Echolalia” had so much history in the making. So “La Sorciere” is kind of my baby, in a way, is that song. Kinda stewed a long time on different riffs for that song, and the lyrics…
What were your goals with that song, in the lyrics and whatnot? What were you trying to express?
J: So, the song itself, those lyrics, they derive directly from the film “Belladonna Of Sadness”, which is a film from the 70s, it’s animated, it’s Japanese, and I kind of wrote them as I watched the film for the first time, just kind of a stream of thought sort of thing. My reactions while watching the film. Then I shaved them down into verse, or whatever. That song, there’s no “real” real structure at times.
There’s definitely some post-rock kind of looseness in there.
J: Yeah, it’s kind of all over the place. That was definitely not the intention, and also not not the intention. Like, “Oh fuck, this song is all over the place? Oh cool, it’s all over the place!”
A: I think I remember, cuz we started when we were writing that song together, we actually switched places. Jenna would use my guitar and I would use her bass. So, I think we didn’t intentionally be like “We want the verse like this and the chorus completely different”, I think we just knew we wanted to do multiple kind of riffs in one. We just didn’t know how far we were gonna initially take it.
Tell me a bit more about that, you saying like “doing two riffs in one”. When you’re working and writing together, how are you keeping your guitars cooperative when you’re doing stuff like that?
A: I think, when we initally start out writing, we tend to cut a couple notes just to make it more simplified, and when we’re united and working in the same room, because we got used to, over the pandemic, sending each other little snippets, “This is what I want, this is what needs to be here”, sending them off.
Yeah, the tape swap.
A: The classic tape swap, “what do you think of this?” But I think when we were together we didn’t have to take out certain notes that were missing, and we worked on certain instrumental fills together. In the end of La Sorc I do this really weird octave fill that I initially wrote for bass, that’s what it started out as. I don’t know if you hear it, it’s sort of like… [scats]
I was about to ask you to just sing it.
A: That was initially made to be on bass. I do play bass, but that was the first song I felt like I expanded on root notes, and it changed the way I was writing the rest of the album. Because Jenna mentioned that those two came one right after another. I think it flowed really well when we were able to be in the same room again after the pandemic, and not just simplify anymore.
Our mighty return…
pix by sam katz pic.twitter.com/NEpdP21xcs
— 🕯 Faetooth 🕯 (@faetooth) April 3, 2022
That direct freedom, having the space to improvise and whatnot. It sounds very freeing. Y’all also have a launch concert coming up, then a hiatus to gear up for a longer tour. I feel like there’s a good amount of hype going into that, how are y’all adjusting to that? You’ve kind of grown into a tiny bit of an indy doom darling.
A: I love that name.
I could see it. I could forecast it.
A: It is kind of, I don’t mean it in a bad way, it’s just odd, because I’m so used to tweeting out just random things and expecting nobody to see it or agree. It’s just odd to see people want to start a conversation. It’s fun to find people who have similar interests and appreciate who we are as artists. It’s just an adjustment.
Who are you gonna be playing with at that launch concert? You got some buds who are gonna be helping you out?
J: Yeah, so at our album release show, which is here in LA, on the 29th, we’re gonna be playing with our friends Well Hell, which we’ve been wanting to play with them for super long. I’ve been friends with Elisa from that band for a while, one of the few other “doomgaze” bands in the area. We struck a chord with that, obviously, and we haven’t played together yet. So we’re really excited to have them. They’ll be ending their mini-tour that they’re doing. We’re also having our friends Agriculture, who are black metal, but I wouldn’t even say they’re just black metal, they’re so much more than that.
No one who’s in a black metal band wants their band to be described as black metal. They’re just so above that.
J: They’re also from LA, they just had us for their benefit show and we’re having them for our album release. I think they’ll also be kicking off their tour with that.
Let’s see, what else is going on… y’all watching anything good lately?
A: I just finished The Bear.
The Bear, what’s that?
A: It’s about a chef that owns this sandwich shop that his brother, who overdosed, or, uh… I know you posted a meme about it, so I know you watched it.
J: I haven’t watched it, I’ve been meaning to watch it.
A: It’s very good, I guarantee it’ll make you cry a little bit. But it’s really chaotic, let me warn you, it’s really loud and chaotic.
J: Honestly, I’ve just been watching Gilmore Girls. It’s an autumnal mood.
Cracking open the vault, popping the cork and sniffing the fine 2004 vintage.
J: It’s nice and cozy, yeah.
Tight. Me and the husband, we’re mostly just watching Seinfeld. We tried getting into Castlevania again, but it lost the touch.
A: You can always tell, when you come back to something or something comes back, it kind of lost its charm.
You just realize, it was more just the place I was in at the time that made it much better.
A: Yeah, I get that.
I kinda did all my main questions already. I had been putting off this interview for a long time because I was really busy this month, moving and shit, and now I just decided to cram it in on this Wednesday to get a bunch of other shit done. This is the whirlwind life of an unpaid music reviewer. One day, you’ll graduate to interviewers who get paid for it, and hit the big time.
A: One day, one day.
Is there anything else y’all want to talk about or bring up to our literally dozens of listeners and readers?
A: Should I say the dates of everything going out, if I can remember? So, our second single, “La Sorciere”, comes out October 14th, which is actually next Friday. So, that is wild, it’s been a year in the making. I just can’t believe everything’s coming out all at once.
A: Yeah, it’s been brewing. And then our album, Remnants of the Vessel, will be out October 28th, another Friday. And then the following day we will be at NonPlus Ultra, a DIY venue in Los Angeles, for the release show, and that will be our last show for 2022, until the tour starts.
📸: jessloyalpaul pic.twitter.com/fgg0MYHSpP
— 🕯 Faetooth 🕯 (@faetooth) May 24, 2022
Fuckin’ A. Hey, can’t wait to see that shit. Get yourself a good concert cinematographer. Cuz I can’t be there, but I totally want to check it out.
A: I wish, I’m always so nervous that if I mess up, that’s forever now. It’s documented forever and ever.
It’s always forever. You’ll document it in your own brain, and you’ll never let go of it.
A: Touche, but this is online. That’s immortal.
J: We’ve had videos before, though.
A: Yeah, we have a chunk of our set that our friend (@jessloyalpaul on Instagram) recorded, that we’ve been waiting to post for the album to come out, because we played mostly new songs. But there will be concert footage coming out!
Bueno, bueno! In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to keep bumping this record on the dreariest of Olymipa days to really get the full measure of it.
A: I hope we can invoke some feelings like being in a music video, if you know what I mean. Like when you were a kid, sitting in the car and it was like raining, you know?
Yeah, this is the sound of like, not to diminish or anything, but it’s the sound of like being 14 and having my witch phase, being like “Ugh, someday I’m gonna bloom.”
A: I love that, I was the same way, completely.
What’s your old album that does that for you? Like “I’m 14 and the world doesn’t make enough sense but one day I’m gonna run it.” What is that?
A: I gotta check my Spotify but I’m sure Jenna would have an answer quicker than that.
Go for it, no shame.
J: Well, I’m 14 and brooding, basically?
To break the ice, mine is probably October Rust, by Type O Negative, so it can get pretty basic.
J: I mean, I am unabashedly a 15-year-long My Chemical Romance fan, like tattoos and everything, I’m wearing the hoodie right now.
A: I knew you were gonna say that.
Man, how did I not figure?
J: Next week, seeing them twice. So, I guess, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge?
I did share one of your singles with my husband, and literally halfway through he was like “I don’t know why, I’m just feeling bad that I can’t see MCR right now.” Subconsciously, psychically, he knew. He’s also some kind of fanatic about it and he’s bummed he can’t see them at Tacoma Dome because tickets are too damn much.
J: I think they just played Tacoma, yeah. I’ve already seen them before in the past, my first concert when I just turned 13, so I’ve been there done that. And I saw them at the reunion, at the Shrine in 2019, so I thought, twice is fine, I don’t gotta see them every single night. And then now, knowing that they’ll be here in the city for 5 nights, and I’ll only be here for 2 out of 5 of those. I’m like, “Fuck!”
A: “Only”, as if they aren’t so expensive!
J: Those pit tickets were way too expensive! So those nosebleeds are whatever we get, but I think I’ve retired from those kind of pits because Jesus, they are insufferable in there.
Insufferable like they don’t know how to do it?
J: When I was at the last show at the Shrine, it was just like “Man, I’m too old for this crowd now.” Not literally! But I’m getting squished and had no arm length, and this was cool to do when I was 15 but I need my personal space now! I don’t need people pushing me. I’ll be fine, as long as I’m not behind a giant pole or something.
My version of that was seeing Municipal Waste a couple months ago when they came through Seattle. I’ve seen those guys a million times because I’m from Virginia, and they’re always touring around there, this time I got in the pit for 5 seconds, I crunched my shoulder, and I was like “Welp, that’s it, that’s all I can do, I can’t do this. Ohhh God, my job is lifting heavy kegs all day, I can’t be fucking with this anymore.”
J: You know what, I tried, I told myself I’d get tickets for a 3rd day where I do the pit, but there was other circumstances outside of that where I had to let go of them. Because one, I know I’m going to be very uncomfortable the whole time, and two, I didn’t even know if I was gonna actually end up getting them. It was through one of those “We’ll see!” kind of websites where you don’t know for sure.
A: Maybe, you don’t know! Just maybe.
J: Yeah, I had to refund it.
Hang on, I don’t think we heard from Ari yet about your 14-year-old angst album. You’ve been ducking out of this.
A: The problem is, I used to be a really big indie fan. I was really young when I was getting into classic rock and stuff like that, but I would say to find an artist who hasn’t been ‘problematic’, I’ve had to limit my list a lot, because I don’t stan anyone who has done anything questionable.
Is it Morissey? You can say if it’s Morissey.
A: No, actually. I just heard some things on Reddit. Who knows if they’re true, but as soon as it’s anything, I duck out. It’s nothing classic, I want to support artists who are genuine and good people. But I think mine would be DSU by Alex G. I feel like it’s a classic, it’s a staple, I was probably 15 when it came out. I would say that’s the most that I have connected with. His new stuff I’m not crazy about.
No one ever is. They can never leave that period of your memory. They’re stuck there forever.
A: I feel like Bandcamp Alex G was prime. It think it was at the end of the Bandcamp artistry when he was getting picked up. That always made me feel depressed, in a good way, like I was feeling things listening to some of his jazz music and stuff.
You do realize you’re gonna be this exact kind of band for a lot of people, right? Like, I hope so.
A: That would be really cool, but I cannot compute that in my brain. I can’t digest that. I personally never saw myself becoming a musician let alone having a band outside of my teens. And now I just turned 23 and it’s like “Wow, I actually have a band that doesn’t feel juvenile and feels like this is my life.”
J: I think none of us expected to have a band outside our very small, tight-knit niche of our music scene. It’s cuz we spent so much time in that, where we were in bands just supporting it and being friends with people who played music, and now, here we are.
You give hope to all the rest of us schnooks.
A: That’s really nice to hear. We appreciate when people feel that way. It’s just so unfathomable, in my brain, that I would make someone feel that when I had other artists make me feel that way when I was young.
J: Your brain just shuts down, you can’t access that part of your brain.
A: When “Echolalia” came out, you were off your phone for 24 hours, I was like “Are you alive? Are you okay?”
Quality shit. Here, I think we should call it here on that happier note. This was a really cool interview, it’s been great to hang out with y’all. Anything to say, any last sign offs? I assume this album’s gonna be on Bandcamp at some point?
A: Yeah, it’s coming out on pretty much everything, except for like Pandora. I think one person asked for Pandora.
A: I don’t think we can submit to Pandora after it’s already been submitted, but it’s out on everything except that.
Is Pandora still alive? Hasn’t everything about them been kind of consumed? What are they doing now, they’re like Netscape!
A: I know one person who uses it now, but they’re a family member and they’re like, older.
J: My mom.
A: But yeah, it’ll be out on free stuff like Youtube and Bandcamp. And I’m gonna upload everything to Soundcloud eventually. I’ve already promised a bunch of people it’ll be out on Soundcloud.
J: Later down the line, vinyl and stuff.
A: Vinyl is promised, the delays are really bad.
This has been Ari and Jenna from Faetooth, really lovely to have you both of y’all.
A: Thank you so much for having us!
We’re not very busy, come back any time. Later!
You can find Faetooth’s debut, Remnants Of The Vessel, here on Bandcamp.