Fuck Buttons - Biography
A standout group in the neon ranks of post-Black Dice ecstatic noise surfers, Bristol’s Fuck Buttons meld scorching homemade drones, twisted circuit bent ambience and techno’s propulsive groove and get some seriously hypnotic results in the process. Receiving much critical acclaim right from the start, the duo have navigated a clear path over the course of two full-lengths while evolving their sound to include greater influences from dance music’s vanguard.
The duo of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power formed Fuck Buttons in Bristol in the first half of 2004. Meeting at art school the two found mutual ground in a shared appreciation of art-techno like Aphex Twin and the genre crossbreeding of post-rock bands like Mogwai. Initially formed to create the soundtrack to a film Hung had made, Fuck Buttons began to perform live as much as they could. The constant shows paid off as the band soon gained a large cult following with press describing Fuck Button’s live sound as “towering, pristine noise.” The ATP Recordings label signed the duo on the strength of its live show, releasing a limited edition 7” in 2007 featuring two songs titled “Bright Tomorrow” and “Little Bloody Shoulder.”
The band closed 2007 by performing at several major UK festivals. The shows were widely hailed and set the stage for the group’s debut full-length in ’08. Street Horrrsing was produced by a hero of the band, Mogwai’s John Cummings. The album boasts a huge, clear sound that captures all of the acidic nuances of Fuck Buttons’ layered noise, throbbing synths, glowing drones, warped vocals and primitive electronic rhythms. For noise music Street Horrrsing is pretty accessible. Featuring playful, at times ethereal melodies and rave style build-ups these songs stick in your mind long after the album ends.
Following the release of the debut the band issued a single for the album track “Colours Move.” The B-side features a remix of “Sweet Love For Planet Earth” by legendary techno producer Andrew Weatherall (Two Lone Swordsmen, Sabres Of Paradise). This collaboration was a hint at the new direction Fuck Buttons would take on its second full-length.
The band closed out ’08 as support on tours of the UK, USA and Canada with Mogwai. The two groups released a tour only split single featuring a Mogwai remix of “Colours Move” and Fuck Buttons covering “Mogwai Fear Satan.”
Maintaining a heavy touring schedule into 2009, the band found time to record and release the stunning Tarot Sport in October of that year. The album was produced by Andrew Weatherall and finds Fuck Buttons exploring influences well beyond the noise genre. The most obvious change in the group’s sound is the focus on big, carved out grooves that reference the hypnotic repetition of minimal techno. The song structures are more fleshed out as well, featuring distinct sections that recall the epic post-rockisms of Mogwai but filtered through Fuck Buttons’ uniquely electronic approach. The group’s penchant for melody exhibited on its debut has evolved into a thoughtful take on dynamics and structure in these new songs. There is also a smoothing out of sonic palette at work here; the acidic guitars and feedback-drenched vocals are gone in favor of pulsating synths and warm beats. That said the band has lost none of its intensity through this stylistic shift.
Building on the foundations of underground noise Fuck Buttons have developed its own style by folding in influences from indie rock, post-rock and techno. Showing a stronger love for melody than most of its noise-rock peers on its early records the band has developed into an innovative unit with a keen ear for epic structure and sweeping cinematic ambience that takes nothing away from its well-known intensity.