Chain D.L.K.: So how did Fektion Fekler begin and from what ideas did it arise?
Robert: Fektion Fekler begin in the late 80′s, I’ve always been into music, even at a young age. I was eight when I purchased my first instrument, a drum set. But didn’t seriously start pursuing music until I was in my teens. Right away I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Fektion Fekler was started as an outlet for myself and friends musically. The ideas that arise from it are to be creative and relate to other people in a musical sense. I just bought a house recently and right now I have my studio in the garage. My brother and I have been building this studio for over ten years so it takes up just about the whole garage. I was initially concerned about my new neighbors complaining about the loud music. Well, turns out they were more curious than angry. I would have my garage door open and they would stop in front of my house and ask if I was in a band? The next thirty minutes we would have this discussion about music and so on. And I’m not talking about just one neighbor, I’m talking about several people stopping and asking questions. I find that amazing. Fektion Fekler is about that, connecting with other people, finding common ground. Music has the power to do that.
Chain D.L.K.: What was the inspiration behind the unique name Fektion Fekler?
Robert: I used to send out tapes to labels under the moniker Infection 88. After I got no response I decided to change the name. I liked Infection but thought it was kind of cliche to have the numbers, so I shortened infection to Fection and a friend of mine came up with Fekler. Alex Kane from General-Purpose cassettes suggested I change the spelling to Fektion, hence Fektion Fekler. I thought it sounded original so I’ve kept it ever since. Fekler, I own that word.
Chain D.L.K.: What and who are some of your influences in music.
Robert: I listen to all types of music. The last five CDs I’ve bought have been: Andrew W.K, Ben Kweller, Jude, Ben Folds and Tomita (a 1974 LP full of vintage moog sounds). My CD collection is so varied I guarantee there’s something in there for every mood. I listen to all types of music.
Chain D.L.K.: How would you contrast from Here to Heaven and Kling Klang Bedlam?
Robert: From Here to Heaven was compiled over years and years of recording. When we got signed it was just a matter of going through our catalog and choosing the best tracks. With Bedlam all the material was written after From Here to Heaven came out. Bedlam took us two years to write and record, and that was pretty much none stop. At the same time we were dealing with our labels here in the states and over seas, doing interviews and appearing on compilations, our workload was pretty heavy. We put so much of ourselves into Kling Klang it just drained me emotionally and physically.
Chain D.L.K.: Kling Klang Bedlam seems to have a very highly emotional edge to it. What was the mood behind Kling Klang Bedlam?
Robert: I was trying the make Pink Floyd’s The Wall album in my little studio. Keyboard style. And in some sense I think I achieved my goal. You either love that album or hate it; there are no in-betweens. I’m very proud of that project and the effort John and my friends and I put into it. Emotionally it’s a great album with a lot of melody, but what I learned from that experience is to just have fun with the music. In short, let the music take control of you, not vise versa.
Chain D.L.K.: How has your friendship with Mentallo & The Fixer influenced the direction of your music, both professionally and musically?
Robert: Gary has always been a good friend of mine. I was just at his last show here in Austin around a week ago. My brother was helping with the fog machine and I was trying to pump up Dwayne’s new band Reign of Roses singer to put on a great show. I had a blast. That’s our relationship in a nutshell. Helping each other any way we can. I turned Gary on to Artoffact Records who released his side project Shimri. Gary told me I should send a demo to Pendragon Records. It’s always been like that. If one of us makes it we all make it.
Chain D.L.K.: With the buyout of Pendragon by Metropolis, is there fear "Pendragon sound" may fade away in the face of the futurepop on-slaught? A lot of the bands on there seemed to have disappeared (i.e., Individual Totem and La Floa Maldita)!
Robert: Colm’s label was pretty diverse. I think that’s a big reason why it got popular so fast. Colm was a master at P.R. and he understood labels need to release a wide range of music. To release only one style of music puts you at risk of repeating yourself. I think a lot of other labels need to realize that philosophy. To say Pendragon had a specific sound is false. They were the complete opposite; they had a wide range of bands. Metropolis is probably the only label right now releasing all types of music and that’s probably why it’s been so successful, it covers a wider range of genres.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us about the Moksha project and how it came about?
Robert: Yolk wrote me a letter asking if I would contribute a track on a compilation that he was putting together. I agreed and in addition mastered the album for him. After the CD came out he called a few months later and asked if I wanted to release a whole album of Moksha material. Any time a label contacts me and asks me to be a part of a project I’m going to jump at the chance. It’s not like we have labels beating down our doors begging us to appear on their CD’s. I have to take any type of work that comes my way. Moksha is tracks that I could never release under Fektion Fekler. They tend to be more pop oriented and Sean Whitehead does most of the vocals. It’s just a way for me to release songs that might not other wise see the light of day.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the direction of the next CD and is there any release date?
Robert: I’m putting the finishing touches on it now. I should have it all completed by Dec this year. So I would imagine it should be in the stores by March 2003. The tracks tend to have a lot of guitar and live percussion. John and I handle the vocals and we’re incorporating both midi and tape much more this time out. There aredefinitely some harder tracks on the album but also some acoustic ones as well. Recording this album has been a lot of fun; no pressure at all. I think people are either going to love it or hate it, again there are no in-betweens.
Chain D.L.K.: Fektion Fekler uses a blend of distorted vocals and normal singing. Which feels more comfortable to you?
Robert: Natural sounding for me, distorted for John. We balance each other out.
Chain D.L.K.: How do both fit into different moods of the songs?
Robert: It’s just a matter of what the song needs. We do all types of version to get to the final mix. It’s not uncommon for me to have 3 different singers come in and try to lay down a vocal on the same song. It all depends on the overall sound of the track. I tend to use John more because he tends to get the sound I’m looking for right away.
Chain D.L.K.: How do you feel about the short spirit of the TX industrial scene (Necrofix, Jihad. etc) a few years ago?
Robert: It was all hype. I guess you could say we had a scene. But the only bands still making music are Mentallo and myself. I guess it’s on our shoulders to put Texas industrial back on the map.
Chain D.L.K.: Explain some of the song titles on Kling Klang Bedlam, such as "The Dowser That Couldn’t Dowse"), if you could.
Robert: That title was inspired by a program my girlfriend and I were watching one night. I believe it was Nightline and they wanted to see if dowsing really worked. So they get this guy, maybe 65 years old, who had been dowsing all his life and tested his skills. They had buried containers of water a few feet under ground and had this guy use a Y shaped rod to locate them. Well, things didn’t turn out so well for him. Out of twenty containers he found none. My girlfriend and I felt so bad for him. Just the look on his face was disheartening. The Dowser That Couldn’t Dowse, it was fucking pathetic. The song it self has nothing to do with dowsing.
Chain D.L.K.: Where did the lyrics come from on your collaboration on Mentallo & the Fixer’s "Carbon Based"?
John: I wrote Carbon Based and about two more songs specifically for a project Gary and I were doing. He is very much into astrology and so I went with that in the way I perceived the subject. The actual lyrics mean exactly what they are. "We’re all stuck in space or perhaps an illusion"? It’s all in the person’s perspective.
Chain D.L.K.: Would you do music solely if the chance came up rather than working a day job on top of it?
Robert: In a drum machine beat!
Chain D.L.K.: What exactly was that conversation on the phone in "Anawanala"?
Robert: My label telling me "you write the music and I’ll take care of the rest. And stop drinking so much".
Chain D.L.K.: So what are the plans for Fektion Fekler and Moksha in the future?
Robert: To keep on releasing albums and having a hell of a time doing it.
Chain D.L.K.: Any Last comments before we go?
Robert: Thanks to everyone that’s written or called inquiring about our next album. I truly appreciate it. Adios.[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton]