Black Moth Super Rainbow

An Interview with BMSR mastermind Tom Fec
by John Noyd
April 2013

As enigmatic in email as on record, Tom Fec, who is better known as Tobacco, prefers to let his music do the talking, but what it says can be hard to interpret. His current incarnation, Black Moth Super Rainbow, confounds conventions reassembling rock, pop and dance elements into a cybernetic confection roasted over a sprawling cauldron of chain-sawed hydraulics, glistening gear-shifting petitions and barb-wired rainbows. Whether vocoder Overlords slinging Delta blues slide-guitar or disco sludge caked in apocalyptic electronics and groove-fueled subterfuge where ever Tobacco takes you, the journey there will surely astonish. In preparation for their May 12th visit to Madison’s Majestic Theater promoting last year’s mind-bending, “Cobra Juicy,” MAXIMUM INK tried to pry a few guiding principles from BMSR’s mysterious maestro.

Maximum Ink: Where do BMSR songs begin? A title, an idea, a riff, a synth setting? How do you know when it’s all done?
Tom Fec: Haha, you answered it for me - all of those things. I don’t have a set way of doing things, so something could come from any of that. Sometimes I finish the whole thing in one sitting, and sometimes I work on something on and off for years. For me, it’s finished when it’s too late to change anything (in manufacturing).

MI: From the band name to your song titles, the disparate juxtaposition of ideas implies a surrealistic attitude. Is there a BMSR manifesto outlining your outlook?
TF: I just do what I do and try not to make too much of it. I’m only trying to entertain myself most of the time.

MI: There is a sense of demented play in your albums, an alien alternative of the primordial melted into the futuristic. Are there any artists, authors, or historical figures you consider creative kin?
TF: I can’t point to anyone in particular, but I like stuff that juxtaposes feelings and imagery, so I think that’s where the demented play comes from. And I really am, especially with my TOBACCO albums, having a lot of fun fucking around.

MI: There has been a metamorphosis of musical projects that culminated in the present BMSR, any hint as to what might come after BMSR? Any inkling what the band still wants to achieve?
TF: As far as the BMSR project goes, “Cobra Juicy,” was what I was always after. So if there’s another record, and I’m sure there will be eventually, it might be interesting to kind of come full circle to see what I could do with the ideas I had when I first started BMSR.

MI: It’s a different line-up since you first played in Madison, what changes do the new members bring?
TF: I’ve always tried to keep things almost anonymous in a way, so the personalities of the live band wouldn’t affect the music, because you know people are gonna move on. Our friend who goes by “Ponydiver” just joined and he brings a nice slutty touch to the band.

MI: How does the live BMSR experience differ from listening to their recordings?
TF: For the most part, with some exceptions, the recordings are just me or mostly me, so the band is the main difference. We use a lot of different sounds out of necessity, and since my recordings can be so production-heavy, I think that makes the live show a lot different.

MI: Ultimately, would you prefer leaving your audience in an exhausted state of physical delirium or a transcendent state of heightened euphoria?
TF: Anything’s fine by me as long as they feel like they got their money’s worth and had some type of good time.

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