I've been a fan of the band Failure
for a solid 20 years. Their 1996 album Fantastic Planet
was a large influence on my formative years of music indulgence. The band broke up, various side projects formed and then, eventually, they re-formed in 2013. They released a new EP and a new album over the ensuing years.. neither of which did too much for me. However, I saw them live on their reunion tour and it was quite satisfying in every respect; particularly since I'd never seen them in their original incarnation.
Enter December 2021, and the band released another full-length entitled Wild Type Droid
. For me, it was more satisfying than the previous releases and I wondered if they just got their groove back or were doing things differently this go around.
As luck would have it, the Performance Anxiety podcast
released a massive episode
with co-songwriter and vocalist Ken Andrews
that runs through the band's entire history, all of his solo projects and insight into how the band approached the new album. Turns out, the new record was captured in sort of an amalgamation of old and new techniques. The band would play together for hours on end simply improvising parts that felt interesting and then parse those recordings into more condensed songs, re-recording and re-working some parts but often just digitally editing their jams to maintain the energy of their performances.
Going even further with it, I stumbled across this Vinyl Guide podcast interview with Greg Edwards
, the other songwriter / vocalist of the group and, in my personal opinion, the secret sauce of the band (no offense to the others).
It's an insightful interview as well that largely confirms the insights from the Andrews interview but gives even more context to how the parts are formed and the collaborations occur between all of the members.
Sometimes learning about the inner workings of a band can be less than delightful but I found both of these to be quite intriguing. It also gives me a different appreciation for the record knowing how it all came together. I don't necessarily think it has the same appeal to me as Fantastic Planet
but I also recognize that an album you love in your early 20's is never going to be taken from its pedestal.