F’tang have been playing shows in Sydney for almost a year. There’s an element of Nepotism Corner happening here as a couple of my buddies from Ghosts Of Television are in this group and I’ve known Tom Houlahan for many fine years. If this bothers you, find a website that’s not based in cronyism and get back to me.
They’ve just released a new video for Claus Behn, recorded live at Hot Potato Studios in March. I spoke to their drummer Tom last night.
Nick Hollins: How long have you guys been playing live in Sydney now? And what are a couple of the better shows you’ve done.
Tom Houlahan: Our first show was September 2011, so it’s been around 8/9 months now. Although that also included a lean spell where a guitarist went overseas and we didn’t play shows for a couple of months while we re-worked the set as a 4-piece. Our favourite show has probably been the Intentions 7″ launch where we also shared the bill with Mere Women and 1/2 of Gallucci. All of the bands ruled, and I was really chuffed at how many people came out to Blackwire for it. Whilst our performance may have been somewhat marred by excessive St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, I’d still safely say it’s been the most fun I’ve had playing a F’tang show.
NH: I’m not a music journalist or nothing like that, so I’m going to lazily say you have a bit of a post-rock kind of sound going … but how would you better articulate some of your influences and inspirations in creating your music?
TH: It seems most people are pretty quick to categorize any instrumental rock band as being “post-rock” these days but I like to think we steer clear of a lot of the typical cliches of the genre. For the most part we’re not even really that fond of a lot of what’s going around in those circles and prefer to stick to a more structured, melodic approach to songwriting, rather than your moody dynamic build-ups and what-not.
NH: Yes that’s true actually, should I apologise? You’re not “post-rock” in the way some bands aspire to be Explosions in the Sky or lazy Mogwai or something, but it is a rolling, instrumental kind of melodic music.
TH: No need to apologize, for all I know I could be talking out of my arse and we might indeed sound like a dozen “post-rock” bands that have come before us. We’re definitely working on creating music that doesn’t fall into those stereotypes though if we can.
NH: Have you guys got any plans to record again soon? You’ve got an EP so far, yes?
TH: There’s a really old EP from a few years back that’s not of too much relevance now, but we did record a few tracks back in March which will hopefully be released as some form of EP before the end of the year.
NH: Ah excellent, good to know. What’s the writing process like with you guys now? Because it essentially began as your project and the band was built around that … is that accurate to say?
TH: It’s very much a communal process now. Everyone’s brought their own songs to the band and for the most part they all get fleshed out in the rehearsal room. We’ve all been creatively involved in bands in the past so it’s a luxury to be able to draw on a variety of songwriting sources.
NH: According to Wookieepedia, The Star Wars Wiki, F’tang was the eighth planet orbiting the star C’rel in the N’zoth system. Located in the Koornacht Cluster of the Core Worlds, it was a frozen rock. Did you know this? And if not, does it now seem apt to describe your sound as ‘frozen rock’?
TH: Haha, I did actually know that but only after shamelessly googling my own band name in recent months. For the time being we’re still easily being outdone by obscure Star Wars and Monty Python references. As for frozen rock? I’m always up for inventing new outlandish genres. Sign me up.
NH: What are your next couple of gigs?
TH: We’re playing at Blackwire on Friday July 20th with Tiny Spiders from QLD + Raw Prawn and Lowlife. We’re also putting on a yet-to-be-announced (but-pretty-sure-it’s-finalised) show at the Petersham Bowlo on Friday August 3rd with Further and Skullsquadron.
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