Interview with Fatigue - "It definitely lies within a realm of both synth-pop and darkwave"
With the release of the up and coming album, Illusory Things, from Fatigue on August 7th, we decided it was about time we caught up with Lillian Martin to ask her all about the current release, and more besides.
Q. Hi, Lilz, many thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
Absolutely. This is my first ever interview as an artist so I'm glad to.
Q. So, the album Illusory Things releases early August, can you tell us a bit about it's background and inspiration?
The phrase I've been relying on to sum the album up, and this is also on the Bandcamp description for it: "Songs of mortality, identity, unrest, societal collapse, and bitterly dancing on the ruins out of spite." The glut of Illusory Things was written, arranged, tightened up, and recorded during two incredibly stressful times in my life: The first was during a long stretch of recovery in December of 2019, when I had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid. During this time the music was heavily influenced by the intense feelings of depression I felt, and my own preponderances on mortality and identity (Trans rights). I also wrote several songs that were originally intended for Illusory Things, but I ended up releasing on their own as standalone singles or as part of EP's. The second was the first few months of the pandemic, when there was little information, society seemed to be imploding all around us, and those in power were only worsening things with terrible decisions. That's when the rest of the songs came together, and took on a more detached and cynical bent, as a means of coming to grips with the chaos we were all just barely existing through.
Q. How long did it take you from start to finish to write the album and what were the highs and lows of putting it together?
Tightening everything up and letting it all come together was a definite high. Surgery and quarantine were definite lows. In all total this album took a few weeks to write, but it was spread out across several months. My songwriting ability is kind of neurotic, in that weeks can go by where I won't be able to write a single song, and then one week out of a month I'll have an ineffable jolt of creativity and motivation. Writing lyrics has always been the toughest for me. I can come up with some pretty good arrangements, but it takes me damn near forever to put words to it.
Q. How would you describe the albums sound and are there any elements within it that you have tried to experiment with?
It definitely lies within a realm of both synth-pop and darkwave, but I try not to fall into certain trappings (Or cliches if you want to be unkind) of the genre where I'm able. It's hacky at this point to say "I listen to everything", but my musical tastes do run wide enough to almost encompass everything, and that wide range of tastes won't allow me to remain steadfastly focused in one specific genre. This is why Illusory Things, very clearly a synth-pop record, also has traces of glitch, noise music, classical string arrangements, and other disparate elements.
Q. Do you have any plans on live performances once the Covid-19 situation is over or are you planning a live stream at all to help promote the release?
It's funny: 2020 was the year that I had been hoping to finally debut a live performing setup. I was supposed to have my first live show in my home base of Lowell, MA back in May, but obviously that's fallen by the wayside for a while. I hope to pick it back up again once it's safe to rejoin society though. I resisted doing a live performance for a while even though I have more than enough material for a short set between this new record and the singles and EP I've produced. My musical beginnings were more indie/garage rock-focused (I'm a drummer) so I've had that live music mindset in my head, as well as the belief that a show just featuring me behind a laptop with a microphone barely qualifies as a live show. It's taken me a while to shake myself of that notion and convince myself that I have something that might entertain people in person.
Q. As an artist you have done quite a few collaborations over the years with remixes and playing live percussion for Transdusk, any plans for more future collabs at all?
I have several unreleased remixes under the Sawtooth banner in the pipeline that I can't really say anything about at the moment, but I hope to work with more artists and explore new avenues of expression and creation under the Fatigue moniker as well. I love to collaborate and cross-pollinate with other artists, and it makes me incredibly happy when I get to incorporate into my music outside ideas from people like Eric Oehler of Klack, and Jim Schultz of Ease Into The Noise, who both contributed instrumentation for select tracks on Illusory Things.
Q. As also a DJ, producer and promoter, how have you adapted to the current situation during the Covid-19 shutdown?
I have a Twitch stream that I've been doing with some regularity for the purposes of testing out new material and keeping in practice until it's time to return to the clubs. Apart from that I've just been doing the same things that I've been doing, as far as sporadically putting out material, be they original stuff, remixes, etc.
Q. Is there any one of your many talented roles within the music scene you have a preference in doing over the others?
I don't prefer one over the other, but my excitement and motivation for a specific role I undertake tends to come in phases and stages. There are times when I pour myself into songwriting with my head down, nose to the grindstone, while other times my focus singularly turns towards getting better at DJ'ing and searching for new tracks to play, and other times towards event promotion. (That last one unfortunately hasn't been happening so much under the current climate).
Q. A favourite question is always regards band names. What made you decide on the specific name 'Fatigue'?
Fatigue just felt like the perfect and simplest word to convey the kinds of songs I wanted to write about, and the atmosphere I wanted to invoke with them. They're danceable, club-friendly songs for the most part, but also ones filled with neuroses, anxiety, exhaustion, paranoia, and existential dread. Also because I've always had trouble landing on a name for a band or project, only to discover multiple other artists have the same name and confusion ensues. I thought I'd found something with Fatigue, but it turns out there's also a rapper with the same name, I've recently discovered. Whoops.
Q. Wacky question time! If you were a musical instrument which one would it be and why?
Probably a hefty set of drums. Because I'm a drummer and I like a good percussion section. That's all I got. Sorry.
Q. Many thanks for taking the time talking to us and good luck with the release. Any final words you would wish to share?
Inspirational words really aren't my area of expertise, so I'll just say to be well, be good to one another, and not to let this profoundly awful situation we're all stuck in break you down.
Remember, Illusory Things releases August 7th and can be purchased from the Fatigue Bandcamp page and other streaming services from this date onwards.
And be sure to follow the Fatigue and Sawtooth Facebook pages and keep up to date with all of Lillian's projects and events.