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Monday, December 18, 2006
Band interview: Fair To Midland

It's not often that one comes across bands that are truly original, poetic, progressive, artsy and memorable, compounded by a killer live performance."

To System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian, Fair To Midland stood out from the thousands of bands today trying to "reinvent" every imaginable sub-genre of rock music. It is no wonder FTM was handpicked by the Serjical Strike owner to join the label's roster; the band's flair for combining progged-out virtuosity with lead-heavy riffs, impassioned vocals, and dynamic tidal waves are showcased on their "Drawn and Quartered" EP. We find out more about the band as well as their plans for the coming year.

1. To be on Serjical Strike records - that's pretty impressive. Did the record deal come as a surprise to you? Was there any pressure afterwards?

It most definitely came as a surprise. And as far as pressure goes, there was and still is a great deal of pressure on us. This will be our first national/international release. I think we've made the best possible record we can for the time being, and all we can do is hope it finds its place. Being in this limbo-esque state is nerve-racking to say the least.

2. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your work before?

Well, I'm not the best salesman and even worse at knowing how to describe our sound. There's always someone whose said it better, so I'll offer up one of my favorite descriptions of our sound:

"It was though I was listening to the mutant offspring of Rush, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, The Mars Volta, Gary Numan, and Pantera; grown up and having run off to start their own volcano - worshipping doomsday cult in the desert" - Rob Gary

3. Tell us more about the artwork of "Drawn and Quartered" EP. What significance does it hold?

I was familiar with the term draw-and-quarter, which was a means of extremely harsh punishment practiced up to the early 19th century where the body was divided into four parts. The ""Drawn and Quartered" EP is four previously tracks off of our independently released full-length album 'inter.funda.stifle', hence the title. It was also a title that easily conjured up imagery to aid us in coming up with artwork for the EP.

4. Which do you prefer - performing in big venues for 50,000 people or clubs/bars with 50 screaming kids, and why?

Most definitely in the clubs/bars. I prefer the smaller stages and just the overall environment in the smaller clubs/bars, both as a musician and concertgoer. You just get a closer look and better idea as to the musicianship and performance of the given artist, as opposed to just the bright lights and terrible view that can often come with an arena show.

5. When you'e feeling down, do you go for the cheesy-blues songs or the blow-my-head-off songs to cheer yourselves up? Any guilty pleasure bands?

What's cheesy about the blues? As far as guilty pleasures, maybe some TOTO.

6. Complete this sentence: One thing I don't get about the music industry today is _____

How artist development has become a thing of the past. Only in rare cases do you hear of an act getting a second chance if a release doesn't do as well as expected. There is no telling how many artists (whom might have gone on to be the next Floyd, Zeppelin, or the Who) have fallen through the cracks.

7. You guys are going on tour with Jap rockers Dir En Grey pretty soon. Have you guys met them before? What do you look forward to on this tour?

We haven't gotten to meet any of Dir En Grey yet, but they seem to be doing very well and we were honored to be asked to tour with them. More than anything, we're just excited to get back out on the road and travel.

8. Finally, what are your New Year resolutions, and what can fans expect from FTM in 2007?

I can't speak on behalf of all the guys, but my New Years resolution is pretty generic - quit smoking. And we will be releasing our first national/international album, slated for a release in April '07.

interview by Indiependentmusic

Much thanks goes out to vocalist Darroh Sudderth for taking time off to do this interview, and Matt from Total Assault for making this possible.