Even in the areas of Earth most thoroughly conquered by humans, where once open green land and lush forests have become mind-boggling networks of towering edifices overlooking miles of grey concrete, the natural world still lives alongside us. We see pigeons, squirrels, robins, bees and all manner of critters in the middle of buzzing cities, miles from any truly natural landscape, as shoots of green emerge from cracks in the street and cling to disused buildings. Usually we think nothing of these small bursts of nature. There’s never much cause to stop on the street to take something in – it’s merely there to be traversed. But deer are different. Seeing a deer always feels like a haunted blessing, like you’ve been honoured with seeing something you weren’t supposed to. The longer you go unnoticed, before the deer inevitably springs away back into secrecy, the more sacred the moment feels. Deer are a window into something less concrete, less specific than we’re used to in the modern world. You won’t see one grazing outside the busy supermarket in broad daylight, but you might catch a glimpse of one in the park, or encounter a herd near the edge of town. They inhabit the edgelands, those liminal spaces between town and country, like a siren song trying to lure you back into the old world.
In this sense the cover art to LA band Faetooth’s debut EP …An Invocation, which serves as an introduction to their unique strain of self-described “fairy doom”, is remarkably fitting. An innocent fawn shaped by delicate brush strokes sleeps peacefully against a light pink backdrop, with tiny mushrooms and shoots of grass laying here and there, further adorning the tranquil scene. It’s a soothing cover, imbued with a sense of something magical despite only depicting things we know to exist. It calls to mind a sort of folkloric mysticism that is innate in nature, and it makes a wonderful visual introduction to the band’s music.
Sitting somewhere between the steady rhythms of classic sludge, the unsettled aura of noise rock and the doomy otherworldliness of shoegaze, the band’s music touches on something personal (“I’m left in the fumes of a guilty machine”) but largely remains poetic and slightly abstract, the lyrics merely hinting at their true meaning. At times the vocals are almost spoken word, repeating the words like an incantation. The band’s music is fascinating, and mimics the EP’s cover in the way that it is alluring and almost calming, but only in a hypnotic sense, as if it were slowly working to ensnare you. It’s wonderfully subtle but at once capable of fierce heaviness as well, with measured rhythms that would seem to amble were it not for some angular riffs.
The band’s music is fantastic, and it is unquestionably enhanced by a wonderfully well realised aesthetic and visual flair. To find out more, we posed the band some questions over email.
So you’ve been making music together for a couple years now. Can you tell us a bit about the band and how you formed?
We have been friends for quite a few years, having met through high-school and the local music scene. We officially formed outside of a music venue on a winter evening.
Your music sits loosely in the doom genre but is very unique within that. What artists would you cite as an influence on your sound?
Our fresh sound moving forward into our full-length album has been more black metal inspired. The music we listen to definitely reflects within our writing. Thou, Emma Ruth Rundle, Messa, Ragana and so on, have all been within our musical loop and have inspired our current writing.
And what non-musical influences inspire your music?
Some of the non-musical influences are film, literature, art, and spirituality.
Reading your lyrics, they feel very poetic. What kind of topics or themes do you tend to write about?
Most of our songs root from a personal experience and then are written in metaphor – ranging from allusion to the natural world, mythology or the supernatural.
With the moniker “fairy doom” and of course the band name Faetooth, the concept of faeries comes up a lot in your music and aesthetic. Is folklore an influence for you, and what drew you to faeries in particular?
Yes! Faeries emit mysticism, the beyond and unfamiliar. Folklore definitely is an influence on our music. With how folklore works and its innate ability to be iterated differently with each use, it is something we are naturally drawn to.
The album title …An Invocation also seems to point at that folklore or spiritual angle too. Where did the name come from?
The title definitely points to our more magical aspects, but also the title itself seemed like a perfect debut name. We were literally invoking our music into the universe!
Your aesthetic and visuals (album titles, merch, Instagram edits etc) also do such a good job of capturing that mystical atmosphere of your music. When the band started out did you sort of plan a kind of vibe you wanted to go for or has it kind of just developed naturally as you’ve progressed?
Our presence stems from our individual personalities. It came together quite naturally.
In the past you’ve donated Bandcamp revenue to For The Gworls and have shown support for vital causes like Black Lives Matter. Do you think it’s important for bands to stand up for what they believe in and use whatever platform they have to raise awareness? Especially in a metal scene that has a lot of issues with racism and misogyny.
It is absolutely vital to be vocal about prevalent injustices as a musician – especially in a genre such as metal. Fascist, racist, sexist and transphobic bands unfortunately still exist and have support. Uplifting and vocally supporting bands composed of queer, trans and BIPOC members is particularly essential as those folks are severely underrepresented in heavy music. But they very much exist and make amazing music.
What can we expect from the band going forward?
We have been working on new music for the last year and a half. We are hoping to hop in the studio before the end of the year to record our first full-length album. It has been an unpredictable and long process given the state of the world, but trust us – it will be worth it!
…An Invocation is out now on Bandcamp. Order here.
Words: George Parr