Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smallpox Champion: Chris Lawhorn - "Fugazi Edits" (The Witzard, Emailed Interview)

"Nice New Outfit" (Track 01) by Chris Lawhorn

(1.) What really compelled you to edit a bunch of Fugazi tracks together in the first place... and how'd you go about picking which parts to use?

Chris Lawhorn: I love the band. I thought it would be an interesting project and an excuse to listen to their catalog in a new way. I used all of the songs in their discography -- apart from those on the Instrument soundtrack.

(2.) Did you have to pay constant attention to stuff like pitch, tempo, rhythm, timing etc. When mashing the tracks together?

Yes. With the whole album, I tried to group the tracks by tempo -- so that I wasn't mixing fast tracks with slow ones. And with the individual tracks, it was a matter of keeping each instrument in time with those from the other tracks by manually moving beats around.

(3.) Do you have a background in Punk and/or Hip-Hop (even just as a fan)? Cause parts of it really remind me of both genres!

In the late 90's, I played drums in a band called Cataract Falls. The singer -- who went on to form Dead Letter Auction -- is the one who got me into Fugazi in the first place. Anyway, we only made one album. But it was pretty heavily influenced by the music to which we were listening at the time: Fugazi, Born Against, Native Nod, and Indian Summer -- in particular ... Somewhere in the 2000's, I made a Rap album. The circumstances were similar; with both the Cataract Falls album and my Rap album, I'd gotten dumped immediately beforehand. And in both cases, I was trying to keep myself occupied. It's just that -- in the 2000's -- I was DJ'ing and listening to a lot of Rap. So, that's the sort of music I was interested in making.

(4.) Has Ian MacKaye heard the final version of Fugazi Edits and what's he think of it, man!?

Everyone asks this. But, I don't think it's my place to say. He has heard the album. We've gone over everything from the original demo to the final artwork. I just don't want to speak for him or relay things from our correspondence.

"Steady Diet" (Track 02) by Chris Lawhorn

(5.) Can you tell me a little bit about the different album options? How bout the affiliated charities, too?

There's a limited edition CD that folks can pre-order on Both that and the digital version come out October 30th. As for the charities, they have strict regulations -- in terms of what I can say and can't. I'm waiting on final word from their lawyers -- with regard to the phrasing I can use. But all of the profit is going to a pair of charities and since I can't name them now, I've just been advised to say what they do. To that end, one works with senior citizens in Washington, D.C. and the other works with folks affected by disasters and civil unrest.

(6.) Fugazi & Minor Threat were 2 of the first Hardcore Punk bands that I really got into @ like 14-16. Do you have a similar story? If so, would you be down to share it?

I got into Fugazi around the same time. Damian, again, from Cataract Falls loaned me a copy of In On The Killtaker. I didn't love it at first. But within a few months, I was playing it all the time. Up until that point, the only people I knew who were putting out their own albums were pretty crusty punk dudes, who seemed like they were always mad, and I couldn't relate to that. I was angsty for sure, but not really angry ... When I started listening to Fugazi and reading about them, they seemed more accessible. They didn't have crazy mohawks, they weren't giving everyone the finger. I feel like a wuss writing this stuff. It wasn't that Punk dudes scared me, they just weren't doing stuff that resonated with me. But Fugazi didn't seem to have an image and I couldn't pin down their sound. So, when I realized that a band like that could exist -- even thrive -- with a D.I.Y./independent approach, I started realizing this route wasn't just for certain bands. It could work for any band ... I know this will sound trite, but that changed my whole world. That's not to say this couldn't have happened later or with a different band. It could have been Superchunk with Merge [Records] that did that for me or Ani DiFranco with Righteous Babe [Records]. The folks in both those examples had big effects on me later. But Fugazi happened to come along first for me and everything else came from that.

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