A More Feminine Take On Noise [2012-01-05]Chicago based Fatale are one of the few female fronted noise projects in today’s worldwide scene. The project started in mid 2010 by classically trained Violinists & vocalist Elizabeth Floersch, and she remains the only member. Fatale’s sound is an often emotional & harmonic tinged collision between harsh noise & HNW. Elizabeth kindly agreed to give M[m] an interview via email.
m[m] I believe you’re a classical trained musician, so what first got you interested in noise & is there any particular album or track that made you decide to start making your own noise?
Elizabeth When I was first exposed to noise in general, I immediately felt, 'Hey, I can do this.' I saw it as an opportunity to think outside of the box as a musician, so to speak. No one piece or album really lead me to choose my efforts in noise, but I cannot deny that I appreciated initially the sounds of harsh noise artists such as Bryan Tholl (formally the artist from Chicago, Is.) Mr Tholl's work with the Is project was abrupt, to the point, harsh, difficult to listen to while complex & well-designed.
m[m] Tell us a bit about how & when the Fatale project came about & is this your first noise project?
Elizabeth The Fatale project was a result of much encouragement & effort to work with my idea that I could make sound using instruments, microphones & pedals "in a way they were not meant to be used."
I struggled at first with the idea that noise should be free-form, as I am more accustomed to notes on a staff dictating the sounds I create. I felt that I could approach noise in a way of composition; that being almost like a scientific approach: if I could create sounds & then recreate them again & again, thus fulfilling the scientific theory, so to speak, then I could allow myself to record & perform as a noise artist. Of course, this idea eventually changed for me as any musician becomes more comfortable with their instrument; I finally felt the ability to create noise free-style (in terms of a live collab, etc). I do, however, tend to stick to the composition method for recording & live performance; reason being I truly believe that I should be of the ability to recreate my sound. For example, I rehearse every live set many times prior to actually performing. The Fatale project is certainly my first noise project & I can definitively say it will be my only noise project. I do foresee a lengthy working with the Fatale project; hopefully within that time I will continue to grow, learn & stretch my own boundaries.
m[m] Tell us a bit about what equipment you use to make your noise & how often do you create noise?
Elizabeth I have been enjoying the use of my voice, my own magnetic energy & even my violin lately. I find that I have an almost unlimited way in which to use these "sound sources." I began the Fatale project by strictly using contact mics as a sound source, but only within the last year have I been comfortable with using instruments & my voice. I tend to practice noise when the moment strikes me; & I more often rehearse when I have an impending show or release that requires my attention to composition & re-creation.
m[m] A lot of your album & track titles utilize French words for example your most recent release is called “Pour Vous”, which means “for you” in English, what attracts you to use of the French language?
Elizabeth I grew up being taught to speak French; but find very little use for it in Chicago unless I am introduced to another French-speaking person. I find the language to be pure but sensual, lovely & of rare use in the noise genre. The common use of French in my work, I believe, adds a slight bit of uniqueness to the Fatale project. Fatale, itself, is a play on a French term that English-speakers have adopted.
m[m] Still on the subject of your most recent release “Pour Vous”- can you tell us a bit about the concept behind these releases?
Elizabeth Pour Vous was a release that I made in effort of giving something back, thus the title of, For You. I wanted to pay homage to the encouragement, love & life experience I had been granted by an individual. The release more or less a personal expression made public.
m[m] As you’re a classical trained musician do you find it difficult to create noise with out letting your formal training come in? What instruments are you trained on?
Elizabeth I was trained from a young age as a vocalist & to play the violin. I later branched out to pick up the piano & dabbled in brass. As explained, do tend to "stick to my guns" in terms of my training, meaning I feel far more comfortable knowing that I can reproduce my noise efforts the same way a violinist studies to create a particular string sound.
m[m] One of my favourite moments on Pour Vous is the track “Finale” which saw you mix noise textures with your beautiful singing. Do you hope to do more work in the future with your voice?
Elizabeth I just performed in Chicago in October & used my voice live, with no distortion, for the first time. Prior to that I had only performed with my voice live over tracks & my mic through a pedal to distort my voice. I have been enjoying the use of my voice & I appreciate that you find it to be beautiful; it is VERY hard for me to deviate from my vocalist training when singing (for example: I would never make it as a pop artist, but rather a singer of operettas!)
m[m] How difficult do you find it trying to make noise in a mainly male dominated scene? And why do you think the noise scene is so male dominated?
Elizabeth Any scene, anywhere, is going to have its surplus of individuals of a certain kind. I believe that the noise scene is just that - people, just people, who happen to enjoy a certain type of sound art. I enjoy the fact that I can utilize my very own perspective & want of noise with my Fatale project. The Fatale project, in my mind, efforts to embody the beauty I find in harsh noise. I, as an artist & performer, attempt to express this beauty with themes, visual extras, dress & difference.
m[m] I know you’ve played live a few times now, for those who have not seen you perform live could you tell us a bit about what your live sets consist of?
Elizabeth I have happily performed live over 15 times & counting. I began the project with a focus on HN & fun visual & sonic aspects. I occasionally & characteristically sampled a song while playing live with the Fatale project. I have more recently branched out to focus more on the use of my voice & instruments. My upcoming shows I am planning to perform something different, each time; more or less a "surprise." I felt that I reached a point with the Fatale project that hit a plateau. To remedy this, I am breaking my own boundaries & working towards what I feel will be new for the Fatale project.
m[m] What have you got lined up next & have you started working on any new releases?
Elizabeth I am excited to be returning to Denver, Colorado for the third annual Denver Noise Fest in April of 2012. I am beginning work on a violin-themed noir release that I hope to see released in its entirety come early Spring. I decidedly scrapped a release titled, There Is No Place Like Home, for personal & lack-of-material (and time!) reasons. Maybe it will resurface, but not anytime in the near future.
m[m] Can you tell us a bit more about your Violin themed noir release & is it still going to be noise based?
Elizabeth The violin-based release I am considering "noir" for a reason, and that is to pay final homage to a person who is no longer in my life. The whole release will be on a more sombre side; however I have been enjoying the composition aspect of it. I certainly plan on using noise textures within the release, as well as field recordings coupled with my voice & the violin. Maybe more!
m[m] Name you top favourite records & why they are?
Elizabeth I have a very diverse taste in music & the sound genre as a whole... almost too many records to choose from! If I had to choose my "top favourite" records (or albums that I would happily be stuck on a desert island with) I would choose: Air - Moon Safari; Elliott Smith - Either/Or; Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand; & anything by The Ramones or The Rolling Stones.
Thanks to Elizabeth for her time and efforts with the interview answers, and for supplying the pictures used through-out this interview. Fatale’s blog can be found here where you can sample some of the projects workRoger Batty