What I Learned at Bandcamp: Dead Fame
Dead Fame blends post punk with synth pop to form a danceable sound that’s all its own. The five piece released its sophomore album, Vicious Design, in April and the full album is available for purchase and streaming on Bandcamp.
Below, read The Spec‘s interview with the Virginia-based band…
How long have you been making music?
Sadie Powers, bass: Individually we’ve been playing music in different bands for varying lengths of time. We played our first gig as Dead Fame in 2011.
Who/what are your influences?
Michael Means, vocals: Morrissey, Freddie Mercury, Dave Gahan.
KC Byrnes, guitar: ESG, Sade, The Clash.
Eric Klemen, drums: My interests have evolved since forming Dead Fame. Prior to the band, my influences were more indie rock, math rock, and post hardcore. Those influences remain, but I’ve shifted toward the electronic spectrum: White Lies, These New Puritans, White Rose Movement, We Have Band, The Shoes. I love hearing what these bands do with electronic percussion samples.
Powers: I’m not really interested in other bassists, per se, but am intrigued by rhythm in general and how it can propel the musical narrative forward. With that in mind: Steve Reich, Bauhaus, Suicide, Einstürzende Neubauten, Swans. I also get a lot of influence from visual mediums, so I have to include Francis Bacon, Joel-Peter Witkin, David Lynch, Derek Jarman, Kenneth Anger.
What is your favorite song on the new album and why?
Means: “Joan Crawford,” because it’s a bit campy and fun, which gives the album the right touch of playfulness it needs and reflects a bit more of the stuff we are currently working on for future releases.
Klemen: “Girl Undone.” This song is very story-like: transformative from beginning to end, with emotion, intrigue and catchiness. It’s also very fun to play live.
Powers: “Girl Undone.” I love the subtleties in the forward momentum, the slow build, and the feeling that the music in itself is its own story.
Byrnes: “Girl Undone.” Love to play it live, love the new romantic feel.
Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
Means: More recording in the fall, and hopefully we will be playing a good deal of shows–we really want as many people as possible to experience Dead Fame live. We’d love to do a tour of Europe.
If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
Means: I am working on my PhD. in Media, Art, and Text, so maybe teaching and writing.
Powers: If I could no longer play music in any capacity, I would probably kill myself, so I wouldn’t need a job. But if for some reason I didn’t, I used to work as a scenic artist in the movie industry, and I would probably try to get back into that.
What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Means: Really, any band with longevity, and those who haven’t been afraid to experiment a bit: again, Morrissey, Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, even U2. (I want that level of notoriety.)
Klemen: I don’t pay attention to individuals much. Perhaps I should, but look up to the bands that I’m influenced by. Maybe I look up to my band mates, who impress me with what they are capable of doing creatively.
Powers: People who push themselves to the limit of what is emotionally and physically possible: Charles Mingus, Xiu Xiu, Nina Simone, Joan Jeanrenaud, Penderecki, The Birthday Party, again with the nod to Neubauten and suicide.
Why do you make music?
Means: It just comes out; I’ll be singing even when my voice is shit. It’s a mode of self-expression and being that I don’t take for granted.
Klemen: For the artistic expression. It’s very satisfying creating music, sharing it with your fans and seeing them enjoying it.
Powers: I’ve been playing music since I was a kid, so it’s not really a choice at this point. Music is, very literally, essential to my ability to cope with the world.
Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
Means: I once lived in Japan, and want to return desperately, so if we have any fans over there (Konnichiwa, Tokyo!), make your voices heard. I also love IPA beers.
Powers: One of my dreams is to perform in drag to “Never Let Me Down Again.” One day…