Fever 333 are ready to explode in 2019.
Made An America, the band’s EP debut was a statement, but whilst garnering praise from their music, it was the intense live shows and political stances that quickly gained the trio a reputation for being one of the most in-your-face and energetic bands on the scene. Dare we say, dangerous? On top of all that came a Grammy Nomination, a support slot on the Bring Me the Horizon UK Tour and they are now set to unleash their debut full length album, Strength In Numb333rs this Friday (Jan 18th). We nabbed some time with frontman, Jason Aalon Butler to talk about the album, as well as their Grammy nomination, some of his political beefs and their upcoming appearance at Australia’s Download Festival & Brisbane sideshow.
To say 2019 is going to be big for Fever 333 is the understatement of the decade. Put simply, Fever 333 are here to stay, so the only question is, “Are you part of the solution or part of the problem”?
Jason, thanks for your time. The EP, Made An America only came out early last year but I’ve been listening to this debut album, out this week and it seems to follow a similar tone in parts but wow, the lyrics and the depth of emotion on a few tracks are next level. You must be happy with the end result?
Thanks man, it’s good. I felt like all I could do was be honest and try to reflect a type of truth to others as I see it, but also do it objectively. I wanted to validate what I was trying to say but with a lot of hopeful absolutes, like statistics and facts, not just conjecture. I tried to inject that with my own emotion. Just because someone feels passionately about something doesn’t mean that they’re trying to sell you on their own agenda. Perhaps they just feel strongly about something and it’s affecting them and others. So, I’m hoping that (through our music), it works.
The track, ‘Inglewood’ blew my mind. A 7 minute track too, something I didn’t ever envisage Fever 333 venturing into, and it’s not alone with ‘Out Of Control’ also that long. The lyrics, in particular on ‘Inglewood’ are fucking deep. Was this something you just needed to get out or vent on?
I just wanted to offer people a road map to why I feel the way I do. I wanted to give them (the fans) evidence as to why I’m saying what I’m saying and the way I say it. I explain my experience. I explain the things I have observed. It’s just one story out of the billion in this world. Again, it shouldn’t just be considered a complaint or an opinion I just formulated. I’m trying to give credence and evidence of why I’m saying these things. I want to give people a clear picture of who I am and why I am that person, through a little bit of storytelling.
The Rage Against the Machine influences are another thing that struck me when listening to the album, particularly the tracks, ‘Animal’ and ‘Prey For Me’. I can only guess RATM were a huge inspiration for Fever 333, not only just in political stance but in sound.
Absolutely, 100%. They are the reason of why we (Fever 333) are able to be the band that we are I think. They paved the road, at least in my relative understanding from my era of music. They are the benchmark. They are the champions of political, culturally charged hard edged music and crossover. I have nothing but love and respect and am thankful for a band like Rage Against the Machine.
Noticeably absent from the album was the track, ‘Trigger’, which we now understand to be a stand-alone single. It’s a killer track. Was there a reason ‘Trigger’ wasn’t included on the album?
That song was just a reaction to what had happened or what is frequently happening with these shootings. The acquisition of firearms and allowing people with mental instability, mental anguish, who should not have been able to acquire firearms, to begin with, is an issue. The degree of firearms being acquired is an issue. We were just reacting after the Parkland shootings, it was just a build up inside of me. I called John Feldmann (Goldfinger front man/producer), Travis Barker (Blink 182) and Munky from Korn to come jam with us and write a song as a reaction to what was happening. Like many other tracks that will come out from us, they will be reactions. I’m not saying we have answers, it’s just a reaction for all of us to try find solutions to these problems for the betterment of everybody.
Seeing how bad gun violence and lack of gun control is in the States, and continues to be, were you ever worried about any ramifications that could have come from releasing such a hard hitting and thought provoking track?
You can’t worry, or you’re going to mitigate or alter what you’re trying to say or do. If you’re worried about what might happen or the fall out or repercussions of what you’re trying to say or do I think you’re selling yourself short and you’re going to go into something with constraints or be subdued. This is the last place or project where anyone should be going in feeling subdued or with any constraints. I know what has happened to people who have spoken out. I know, I know. People who challenge convention or systems or governments, and create music or a feel for protest. I know what happens. I accept that.
Download Festival and a Brisbane sideshow will mark the band’s first trip to Australia, can we expect some more wild antics like you’ve done in the past when you were here with letlive. or are you more chilled out a little since becoming a father?
(Laughs) Nah, I think it’s still all the same little old me. I’ve actually just been attending therapy recently just to figure out why my reckless behaviour still exists. Trying to figure out what’s going on in my brain. Why I seldom have fear or fear any dire consequences when I do these things (on stage). I’m still trying to figure it all out.
Oh man, I’m in my 40’s and still act like I’m 20 years old, so don’t stress about it.
Oh, that’s good man (laughs). I’m not alone.
Have you seen the Download lineup? Are you someone that will try see other bands live at these kinds of festivals or do you like to chill backstage away from it all?
I love playing festivals because of the other bands. To be fair though I’ve been so busy with my son, my wife, this lifestyle brand that we run. My wife just bought a hotel. We’re just so busy. There are just so many festivals we are playing, I don’t even know the lineup but I’m sure there’ll be someone there I’ll want to see. It’s so cool playing with these bands that you grew up idolising. I remember I had to steal the Korn cd when I was growing up because I was too young, the Follow the Leader album. So whoever is playing its just cool playing with these iconic legendary seminal acts. It’s just cool.
Congrats by the way on the Grammy nomination. Fucking huge for a new band. How did you and the guys celebrate that achievement?
I was in Sicily with my family when it happened, so my wife and I and son had a little dance party and ate some pasta, which was cool. We all congratulated each other though, it was really a testament to our hard work and really believing in what we do and in our craft and believing in the project. But ultimately, for me specifically, although the acknowledgement and accolade is really flattering I think it’s just utilising this platform to further our message we carry and to spread that message. It’ll be cool though. We get to dress up and be around some contemporary peers but at the end of the day it’s about sharing the message and getting it out to more people.
Speaking of which, rocking up on the red carpet for these type of award ceremonies is usually a good place for artists to get a message across. You’re known for your political stance against police brutality, the injustice of people of colour in the States. Will you be doing anything that may catch the eye or holding back a little and showcasing some of your G.I.R.L (Gentlemen in Real Life) clothing line, and getting some style out there?
(Laughs) Yeah man I think I’ll try really walk the walk and try get that message across at every opportunity we’re given and that definitely is a great opportunity. I’ve got some things in the pipeline though and trying to figure it out.
Are there any plans down the road to return later in the year to Australia, maybe visiting my part of the world on the west coast and Perth?
Honestly, I don’t know. I just got my schedule the other day and it’s looking really full. I know that I would love, love, love to come back to Australia. I’d love to come back and tour Australia and New Zealand. My wife is from New Zealand and I just love being in these countries and that part of the earth. That’d be amazing to return, so hopefully we can.
Last time you were here I heard you actually slept on the beach? Is that right?
Oh yeah, yeah, that was in Perth. A few years ago now. Shit, that was a while ago now. I found like a place or a beach near Fremantle I really loved and I was like falling in love with this girl. I was trying to figure out myself and all these things and I had fallen in love with Perth. So yeah, I slept on the beach and kind of hung out with myself and try figure out how I was going to court this woman. Obviously it didn’t work out as I’m happily married now.
Mate, if you ever need a place to crash though, Wall of Sound have couches available in every state ha-ha!
Good to know.
Last question, comes from a fan on social media. You’ve changed the band name a few times, from The Fever to The Fever 333 and now Fever 333. Are we locked in now to a name?
Yeah man, it’s over. Three times. Three is the recurring thing, so yeah, that’s it. 333.
Ahh, ok, makes sense. Well, look forward to seeing you at Download mate, thanks for your time.
Interview by Jim ‘Plugga’ Birkin
Strength By Numb333rs is out Friday, January 18th. Pre-Order here
Fever 333 – Strength In Numb333rs tracklisting
2. Burn It
4. Prey For Me/3
5. One Of Us
7. The Innocent
8. Out Of Control/3
9. Am I Here?
10. Coup D’éTalk