MIKE HALIECHUK: FUCKED UP
Mike Haliechuk is a pretty busy dude. Besides playing guitar in Toronto's Fucked Up, he also runs the indie label One Big Silence with Carey Kurtin. That label has been responsible for releasing noteworthy early 12" singles for the likes of Austra and Diamond Rings, and more recently for fast-rising Toronto bands such as Moon King, Rituals, and Absolutely Free.
One of the perks of being the lead guitarist in a band as successful as Fucked Up is that part of your "day job" includes such excursions as traveling to Chicago, Illinois to record in Steve Albini's legendary Electrical Audio studio, where the band have spent the first-half of 2013 working on their yet-to-be-titled fourth album.
More recently, however, Fucked Up's Haliechuk shed some light for us on the process of writing and recording the band's fourth LP, as well as the decision to opt for Electrical Audio as the studio of choice in which to record the album.
I gather that the band has been actively recording LP 4 in Chicago at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio. What about Electrical Audio and Albini's approach to production appeals to you guys, and how has the recording process for this album differed from the experiences associated with the recording of previous Fucked Up albums?
Mike Haliechuk: I had been there earlier in the year working on the Austra record - we did a day there to use the piano and mellotron they have there. We're not actually working with Steve, but with Bill Skibbe of Key Club Studio, who engineered the Electrical session. We wanted to get out of Toronto for the first bit of recording to be able to focus more. Most of "David Comes to Life" was done in NY, but there is too much distraction there so that wasn't an option either.
Chicago is a nice neutral city. The studio itself is great - a great sounding live room, a huge range of gear and equipment, and not least-important, a very spacious control room, which in a lot of studios is overlooked. You definitely want a control room with lots of space, since that's where a handful of people are gonna be spending a lot of time cooped up together. So far, doing this record has been pretty similar to the last few - spread over a long amount of time and a bunch of different studios and engineers.
David Comes to Life was is many ways the ultimate culmination of a fully-realized and fleshed-out Fucked Up concept record, along with all of the associated 7" singles and the David's Town tribute compilation album. Has the band exhausted concept records at this point, or does the forthcoming LP continue in any way to build upon the themes and ideas established on David Comes to Life?
MH: I dont really know if we've exhausted anything, but this record isn't really a concept record if that's what your asking. It will be "about" things, but it isn't gonna be a narrative and its not gonna touch the David stuff at all.
The Epics in Minutes and Couple Tracks compilations have been great documents of the evolution of Fucked Up's sound and musical ambitions from the band's earliest days up until Chemistry of Common Life. Are there any plans in the works to release a compilation of all the Zodiac series 12" singles, or any of the b-sides associated with the David Comes to Life LP?
MH: I want to try and do all 12 zodiac signs before we worry about compiling them. That's a tall order, since just being a band for 12 years is almost a miracle these days. We just recorded Hare and Dragon, so those should be out at some point in the future. It's my main goal with the band however to release a box set of all 12" zodiac records. As for the David stuff - i think the b-sides and other shit will end up being compiled in some form ya.
Earlier this year you guys released "21st Century Cling-Ons" as a split 12" with the Melvins. How did the opportunity to participate in this split 12" series with the Melvins come about, and are there any other split releases with other bands planned on the horizon in the second half of 2013 or 2014?
MH: They just asked us to do it, I guess they did a whole series where each track from their album was paired on a split with someone as a 12". It was pretty nuts to do, the first punk records I ever bought were Houdini and the first Sex Pistols, on cassette on the same day. We really try to not do split records unless its with bands we have looked up to for a long time, or friends. Unless Poison Idea comes at us this year, I wouldn't look for anymore splits for a while.
Fucked Up have always championed the Toronto music scene both locally and abroad, whether through guest spots on your albums or the Long Winter concert series earlier this year. Which local acts are you guys listening to these days, and are there any guest appearances to look out for on the upcoming LP?
MH: We haven't sorted any guests since we haven't really started working on vox yet. The bands I dig from around here lately are: Absolutely Free, Moon King, Elsa, Rituals, Fa Bonx, Warm Myth and S.H.I.T.