Jim Marcus interviewed about Go Fight
By Bob Gourley | Published on April 12, 2015
With Die Warzau no longer active, founding member Jim Marcus teamed up with a few of his bandmates to unleash a new project, Go Fight. Rounded out by Dan Evans and Vince Mcaley (currently also in Dead on TV), the group released their debut album, ‘Music For Military Torture,’ in 2013. Like Die Warzau, Go Fight meld heavy dance rhythms with a variety of electronic styles and tend to bring strong political and social commentary to their lyrics. Releasing on Marcus’s own Pulseblack Records, the group is free to do whatever they want musically as well as push the boundaries lyrically. On April 10, 1015, Go Fight returned with their second album “Napalm Baby.” In an email interview, Marcus discussed the band and new album.
How did Go Fight initially come together? Had you been actively looking to start a new musical project, or was it just a case deciding to do something with Dan Evans and Vince Mcaley?
Van had decided not to keep on playing shows or doing new projects as Die Warzau. At the time Vince and Dan had been playing with us and the live feel was really good for me. I felt like I had this family I could go on tour with, play shows with, hang out and watch Walking Dead and eat tacos with, etc. I had an idea for what I wanted to do—a project in my head— that would let me keep on playing shows with them, but had no songs or tracks written yet. Vince is my favorite drummer to play with and Dan is an amazing musician on a lot of levels and I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t at least pitch the idea. They’re also my best friends and I didn’t want to waste their time. I made the case that we could do something anthemic and big, beat heavy and catchy, about the things we cared about.
“Napalm Baby” is the second Go Fight album. How did the making of it compare to the first?
The first Album was recorded and mixed with a lot of studio involvement. This one is influenced a lot more by live jamming. So it’s a little more raw and live feeling, I suspect. Because of that, too, it’s the product of an overabundance of songs. At various times, there were going to be many more songs on this album. We do have some 30 or 35 more songs written, though, because of that. It was sort of an explosion that wasn’t well contained. This album definitely sounds a lot more like how we sound live.
What is the creative process like within the band? Is songwriting generally collaborative, or do you all have more defined roles?
I think the only real defined roles are that I tend to name songs, but that has gone out the window a few times as well. We pass a lot of ideas around, beats, lyrical ideas, themes, and then decide what pieces we want to move forward with. Lately, a big driver in that has been what we think will be fun to play live. Also, as a sidebar, what we find amusing. More often than not a song has evolved from an inside joke between all of us.
Since the other members are in Dead On TV and you seem to be involved in a lot of things, I’m wondering if Go Fight is something you’re continually working on, or do you do it in bursts when everyone is available?
I’m always working on it. The rest of the guys come in and out as they work on Dead on TV. Dead on TV is really important to them and, because of that, it’s important to me, too. It’s not hard to work around that so that the band can get the prioritization it deserves. Live, my son actually plays with Dead on TV, too, so I would never want to dismiss it or do anything to get in the way of its progress as a band and a songwriting force.
Do you feel that the DJing you do has much of an impact on the music you create? Perhaps in exposing you to new musical ideas, or seeing how audiences respond to particular things?
It does. Djing is a strange experience, even now. I think that one of the things you learn is that trying to please every single person rarely ends well. People come up to the booth and sometimes loudly tell you what to play but very often they aren’t even paying attention. They want to hear something they’ve heard before but, really often, those aren’t the club moments that really blow your mind and create amazing dancefloors. I think there is an interesting skill to listening to people and giving them enough of what they’ve heard before- and like- and enough of what is new. I would love to one day be able to say that I am beginning to learn that. Or that I know what to do when someone comes up and asks for a :Wumspcut song right after I just played Schrekk & Grauss, or asks me to play a song just exactly how it is on the albums and not fuck with it. Very often I’ve wondered if the people who come up and ask for music at the booth are even that interested in music or if it’s about control. I was spinning at a club one night, deconstructing some classic rock albums and overlaying them with EDM and electronic grooves, turning them into club dance songs. I had done Dark side of the moon and just finished with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, which worked really well, I thought. Right after that, a guy came up to the booth and said “Hey, it sounds like you like Fleetwood Mac. You should try listening to some of their earlier stuff before they went all techno.” You can’t please everyone.
Many of your songs come up with with the ‘Explicit’ warning. I’m curious as to your thoughts on that type of labeling, and if your views on it have changed at all over the years?
There was a time when it was frustrating how easily the labels jumped to put that sticker on music, especially when it so dramatically impacted how that music would be heard, whether through limited in store placements or minimized airplay, but it’s begun to matter less and less. But while language has become less of a consideration, it’s sad to me that we’ve all been encouraged to fall back on these major platforms that censor almost universally. Whether it’s youtube or facebook, we end up having to accept that a good part of our artistic output is going to be censored away. I guess the disappointing thing about this is that the line between what is mainstream and what is alternative has been whittled away through that aggressive quantization caused by the use of the same distribution platforms. Our first video, for Fuck like a Movie Star, has now been taken down from everywhere but youporn.
Was there ever a consideration as to whether things were going too far with the lyrics/subject matter, or perhaps not far enough (considering that declining importance of airplay provides more freedom)?
In all honesty, I never really feel like we go far enough. In a lot of ways, this band represents absolute freedom to me. Unlike Die Warzau, it’s never been my main means of making a living. We’re not necessarily mainstream industrial. We’re on our own label, not accountable to any distributor model or anyone. There is no one we have to send a song to before putting it out, no one who has to approve a piece of artwork. If it’s good, it’s on us, and if it’s awful, it’s our fault. Given that, I tend to think we don’t go far enough. I started Pulseblack, our label, specifically to put out X rated and edgy records that no one else would touch. Since then I see that there is so much room here. I suspect the space in which to create amazing art that is over here, beyond what is generally considered offensive, is way more expansive than we all might even think.
Could you describe the technology behind the music of Go Fight? Are there particular pieces of gear/software that you feel are crucial to the creative process and/or live show? As you’ve been doing electronic-based music for a long time, were there any particular pieces of technology or techniques that you specifically wanted to use on this project?
We’re pretty easy from a technology perspective. A long time ago I made a point to not rely too much on any one piece of gear or method of doing things. I wanted to be able to walk into any studio, anywhere, and walk out with a record. Because of that, I can’t say that we have a methodology anymore, except to have a song you can hum before we start recording it- which is the model for a ton of bands, I’m sure. The voice recorder on my phone is probably my favorite songwriting tool. Hell, my wife and I were out at a hotel that had a piano in the foyer and I wrote most of “Rocket” on the new album sitting at that piano. I look forward to playing that version sometime.
As the music industry is very different from when you started with Die Warzau, I’m wondering what changes have particularly affected you as an artist?
This has been on my mind a lot lately. The first thing that jumps out at me is the roleswitching that happens as an artist lately, under the new model of the music industry. It used to be really easy to put out a record and feel like you were doing something people could love- that meant something to them. Now that musicians have been forced to adopt the promotional role, too, it sometimes feels like you put out a record and then instantly begin to beg people to like you. This makes it really hard to see through that self-promotional haze for me. It feels selfish to complain about it, though, because this model contains opportunity for people who never had this kind of chances before to work, make great things, etc. Couple this with the automatic restraint we all seemingly engage in so as to promote ourselves on facebook and youtube, and we end up with a musical culture of people begging and restraining themselves so as to maximize their listenership. I don’t love the current musical climate. I do recognize that a lot of people are able to do amazing things in it, though.
What is in the future for Go Fight after the release of “Napalm Baby”? Will you be touring? If so, how extensively?
We would love to. These are all songs we wrote to play live, specifically, and we love to do that. I know we have plans to do a few shows with En Esch, a show or two with the Dreaming, mostly alongside friends and bands we enjoy. We’re open to doing something strange and interesting and have even floated the idea of doing a tour of gay clubs this year, something we think would be a lot of fun and a little out there.
Any update on the possibility of the Die Warzau “Supergangbang” album seeing the light of day? (I seem to remember talk of a possible Kickstarter a while back?)
I still have to sort of ‘come to Jesus” with Kickstarter, but, yes, we really want to release it. The songs are all there, recorded, and some are even mixed. I would love to do a kickstarter that would let us mix it well, master it well, and press it, possibly doing a video for a song or two. My hope is that the theme of the record comes out and is not too strident. The album was meant as a long form sort of dissertation on religion and finding a way to do it without really insulting good religious people is important. It’s a rejection of ideas, not people. If we the time, I think we can clarify that in the work.
You put out an ebook, “Compassionate Machinery,” a few years back. Could you discuss that a bit?
Yeah, I sat down as an exercise to clear my head. I thought I would write about a year of my life from a musical perspective. So I chose the year I turned 18. I was going to write from January 1 to January 1 the next year. It turns out, though, that I can’t separate music from sex and what I ended up writing was deeply pornographic. Even so, after I finished I had planned to send it around to publishers but it was pretty clear that the people in it would recognize themselves, both the musicians and the other participants, so I chose to just put it up quietly on Amazon. I don’t expect anyone to much understand but it was an unusual year and I benefitted a lot from writing it down. It’s probably too heady, too pornographic, and too inside baseball with respect to music for anyone to get much out of it. But if anyone actually has an interest in understanding me, it’s not a bad start.
Is there anything else that you’d like to add or mention?
It’s good to see Chaos Control still around and working after all these years. Thanks for the opportunity to speak out.