MUSIC INTERVIEW: Fever 333
It’s been a busy year for musical activists Fever 333, who are in the midst of a worldwide D333MONSTRATIONS series following the release of their debut album STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS in January. We caught up with Jason Aalon Butler, Stephen Harrison and Aric Improta at Las Rageous earlier this month to discuss the concept behind the ‘333’, their imminent return to the UK and more.
So firstly, thank you for taking the time to chat to us today!
Jason: Of course!
How are you feeling about playing at Las Rageous today?
Stephen: Very excited.
J: I’m actually really excited to see Poppy, I haven’t seen her and we’ve done things with her.
Yeah we’ve just interviewed Poppy and we were chatting about that, you did the collaboration?
J: Yeah, I’m excited to see Poppy play!
That leads nicely onto our next question, you’re playing on the same day as Poppy and also Bring Me The Horizon who you played in the UK with last year, do you find that festivals are a great way to catch up with other bands or are they often too hectic?
S: Y’know what, sometimes it is, but I feel like it’s the only way for us because when we headline it’s usually just us. So festivals are kinda key!
So you released your debut album STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS earlier this year. We love the concept of the ‘333’, the three C’s and how that also ties in with the band name. How did that concept first come about?
J: Really we just decided what we wanted to discuss and what we wanted to rest upon as three individuals, I guess five individuals, making music and then creating a culture around it. That sort of helped inform everything that we wrote about and the subject matter, but also the way we approach our demonstrations, the way we approach engagement, interactions with people. Then honestly I just thought of the numbers because there is three of us, so I just wanted three of us by three, and three is such a strong number. In the beginning it was because a triangle holds three points and it’s the strongest shape known to man, which can also represent strength in solidarity and that was between the three of us. Then we were all supposed to represent a ‘3’ and then one day I was talking to our A&R and he mentioned that ‘C’ is the third letter of the alphabet, so that was the three C’s, and then that turned into ‘Community’, ‘Charity’ and ‘Change’. So it was all kinda meant to be!
That’s amazing, we’d never actually linked the fact that C is also the third letter of the alphabet. One of the things that we love about you guys is that you use your band and music as a platform to talk about important subjects. For example when you won the Heavy Music Award in the UK you didn’t just say “thanks everybody for voting”, you used that opportunity to show people that if they do vote it can make change, and you linked to the Amazon Rainforest crisis. In times where social media is so prominent, how do you think others with a similar platform can be encouraged to speak up about these issues? Because it often feels like not enough people do…
J: Yeah, we talk about this a lot…we don’t necessarily feel like anybody should feel obligated, because I think that your best work is done when you want to do it, and if you don’t wanna talk about it then I guess you shouldn’t say shit. But we like to encourage people to discuss if they want to, and perhaps maybe there are people who want to and don’t feel comfortable in doing so, so hopefully we can offer them representation, or show that it’s not as corny as it once was.
S: Yeah, because what sometimes happens is artists will speak about something and then receive immediate backlash, or from fear of backlash they’ll ride the fence on an issue and that’s really corny to me, but I think when you’re very strong in what you believe in and you have a very strong stance in what is going on – that works. If you feel like you can bully or sway someone one way or another then you will, but if you feel like you can’t people aren’t really going to fuck with you. If you feel like saying something, be strong about it and don’t waiver, y’know what I mean? Just say it!
Aric: And be informed.
[Jason and Stephen show agreement]
A: You’ve got to be informed because I think, to your point, a lot of artists see something happening and they feel like because it’s happening they should be a part of it. But when you have personal experience, or you have done your research, your information is going to be a lot more potent to the listener. I just think in general if we can give any advice on what we do before we try to speak about it, it’s look up the subject and really know the ins and outs of it.
Definitely, because then there’s the fear of talking about it, people questioning you and then you being like, I have no idea…
J: Absolutely, it’s complex too. World issues are complex issues because they affect everybody, so there’s levels to it all of the time and you have to be ready to stand firm in your agency and your stance, but at the same time be open to other perspectives, because there’s always going to be other perspectives.
Absolutely, it’s so true. So you return to the UK in a couple of weeks for more demonstrations. Aside from playing to your fans, what do you look forward to most when coming to the UK?
J: Honestly, me? Y’all have been crushing it, there’s this vegan cheese…and vegan chicken nuggets that people have been sending back because they think it’s actual chicken. So I’m going to be like way off the subject of fuckin’ world affairs and this, that and the other, I’m excited about that! If I’m being honest the demonstrations, I think, they speak for themselves, the fervour and the investment that we’ve seen in the UK has been fucking unbelievable, unreal. So I think that’s a given and you said “other than that,” so for me, that’s that…[turns to Stephen and Aric] but y’all have probably got something different!
S: I think being over there in November, we always seem to be over in November, is awesome because the holidays and the season is just so beautiful over there. Like, this country is…new [Jason laughs and agrees] but when you get over there it’s like the backdrop of the holidays with Fall, everything looks amazing.
A: I still try to be as much of a tourist as possible. Even if this is like our third or fourth time over there, and we’ve gone over there with other bands. To Stevis’ point, it just looks beautiful and it makes all of our music sound better when we listen while walking around. So when we do get the time off I’m still trying to act like it’s the first time I’ve been there and see whatever I haven’t seen yet.
All great answers! Well thank you again for taking the time to chat to us today. Do you have any final messages for our readers?
J: Same old, man. Just please understand that we’re not here to just talk about shit because we feel like we have to talk about it. We talk about it because we want to talk about it, and we also talk about it because we feel empowered to do so because of the power that our allies, and our friends, and our family, that citizens, that people possess. So as always, we just want to remind people of their power and understand that we must assist each other. Especially right now, even globally things are so fractious that we have to try and assist each other if we want to get back onto some sort of powerful, or even just an even keel. So yeah, let’s just remind ourselves of our power.
Indeed, that’s a very good way to end. Thanks guys!
Interview by: Hannah Gillicker
Fever 333‘s debut album STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS is out now via Roadrunner/333 Wreckords Crew, available to purchase HERE.
See Fever 333 on tour at one of the following dates:
Fri 1st – BRISTOL – SWX
Sat 2nd – BIRMINGHAM – O2 Institute 2
Sun 3rd – MANCHESTER – Academy 2
Tue 5th – GLASGOW – SWG3 TV Studio
Wed 6th – LEEDS – Stylus
Thu 7th – LONDON – O2 Forum Kentish Town
Tickets are on sale HERE.