Fiction Reform hadn’t even put out their first record, and they were getting the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that punk veterans would have killed for.
ESPN grabbed their single “Small Silhouette” off the band’s not-yet-released debut to feature the song on Sportscenter, and the phone started ringing. In quick succession, GC Records called to get permission to use the single on a benefit compilation; then XM/Sirius called to get a copy to start playing on the radio. All this before the record was ever pressed.
With the album Revelation in the Palms of the Weak finally out on Basement Records, guitarist Aaron and singer Brenna spoke recently about the band, working with Basement founder Chuck Dietrich and why they’re glad they’re not on “Cops.”
Innocent Words: Let’s start at the beginning, how did the band get together?
Brenna: I actually met Aaron when he was playing in a band I was good friends with from touring way back in the day. Years later, he calls me up when they were searching for a singer to complete the lineup and here we are today.
Aaron: I like to think that Danny poached me from my last band. When we were searching for a drummer, he showed up and smoked everyone else we’d been considering. We only lasted long enough to play a few shows before we realized we had very similar tastes in music and the same desire to cut the bullshit from what we see a lot of bands doing today. We both quit and decided we were going to do what we really wanted to play instead of trying to catch on as a “flavor of the month” type punk band.
Danny had been friends with D. Powell since their days in Crooked Evangalists and set out to bring him into the picture right from the start. Like all the best bass players, he was already taken and touring with Aerodrone, so we had to work around his schedule as much as possible in the beginning.
The search for a vocalist was by far the most frustrating step. We started off with one person in all of our minds that ended up deciding to pursue personal hobbies and really left us high and dry. Even though we felt like we’d lost the main piece of the puzzle, we began combing online ads and social networking sites looking for someone with the right personality and attitude to fill the spot. As luck would have it, we managed to audition what seemed like every Evanescence-wannabe singer for miles around. Brenna was always high on our list of wants, but we were nervous about approaching her too soon and missing out on the opportunity because of her current band situation. Once we decided to throw caution to the wind and call her up, Brenna agreed to hear us out and take a pass at our demo. Brenna’s first audition consisted of her belting out vocals over our demo on her car stereo outside of a Starbucks, and it’s the same chorus you hear in “Cancerous Gold” on the album.
Aaron: I’ve been in quite a few actually. None that anyone will ever recognize, but I learned a lot from each, and they got me to where I’m at today. Danny [drummer] has more experience than I can list here, from the Jeff Tucker Extravaganza to Cut Shallow and Bullet Treatment. D. Powell [bass] is the road dog in this band. He’s played guitar in Crooked Evangalists, 12 Inch Rulers, Vendetta Valentine, while playing bass in It’s Casual and Aerodrone along the way.
Brenna: I started as a drummer in a band with my brother around 12 years old called The Basils. I was one of the founding members of Civet, and when I left, I started playing guitar and singing for The Last Gang.
IW: How did you guys get involved with Basement Records?
Aaron: We found an ad in the back of Penny Saver for exotic massages and Chuck (Basement Records owner) happened to answer, (laughs). Danny and Chuck have a long history together, and Danny even played on Bullet Treatment’s What More Do You Want album. We knew that we would need professional help to get this band to the level we wanted, so we let him know about our plans for a new band. After many a talks with Chuck, he helped us form a game plan that we’re still sticking with today. Once we were able to bring a working demo to the table, he agreed to produce the record and release the album on Basement Records.
IW: So, is Fiction Reform a full-time band or one-time project?
Brenna: It’s a way of life.
Aaron: Fiction Reform is the main focus of every member of the band. We really thrive off the live shows and the creative process that comes with writing albums. We started writing new album material before the first album was even released.
IW: Do you plan much touring around this record?
Brenna: Yes, we’re taking every opportunity we can to be on the road as much as possible and hit every city we can in the process. Creating longevity as a band takes a lot of hard work, and that’s what we’re striving for.
Aaron: It’s not just a “must do” either; it’s really something we look forward to.
IW: Let’s talk about the new record Revelation in the Palms of the Weak….
Brenna: In general, the album is about what we went through as kids in the punk rock scene and watching the scene progress while growing up in it. Today, it seems like music lovers need more motivation than ever, and it’s hard to separate yourself from every other band with a Myspace page. Now that we have more experience on the stage as opposed to being in the crowd, it’s harder for us to capture the angst we had when we were younger. I tried to express this in songs like “Cancerous Gold” and “Drugs in The Kitchen.” The last song I wrote for this album was “Whites in Their Eyes” which is the story of the early days of this band and our frustrations with the direction of the scene today.
IW: How were song-writing duties handled?
Aaron: Danny, D. Powell and I had the majority of the album written before any vocals were introduced because we already knew the sound we wanted from this band. We all knew that settling for the sake of hurrying the process along wouldn’t help us in the long run, so we spent lots of time working out the songs. Brenna managed to blend her style into ours so well that we let her run with her parts. Chuck was with us every step of the writing process but made a point of not being part of the band, so we’d have our own unique sound. Most important, he let us know when songs sucked. And, I mean really let us know!
Brenna: It came about because all of us hadn’t really bonded yet when it came time to focus on finishing lyrics for the last few songs on the album. After a rehearsal, we all began discussing the TV show “Dexter” and realized that we’re all huge fans of the show. There’s something to be said about the “Dexter” character and how he’s not that different from the average person. That conversation quickly became one of the longest we’d had as a band, and it seemed fitting to incorporate it.
IW: Before the album even came out, you were attracting a lot of attention, including ESPN, who used one of your songs. Were you surprised about garnering this kind of attention this early on?
Aaron: I was blown away because it felt like it could be a sign of things to come, and it really lets you know that if you keep working on your craft, you’ll get where you want to be. Watching Manny Ramirez hit a home run followed up by your music is quite the experience for a guy like me, who still gets stage fright from time to time. The way I see it, as long as we’re not on COPS without shirts on, we’re making progress.
IW: The album’s finally out, so what’s next for the band?
Aaron: In addition to the “Small Silhouette” video, we’ve got two others on the way as time permits. We had a blast with the making of the first video, so we want to make as many as possible.
Brenna: We’re playing all over southern California and the southwest this summer and we’ll hopefully be hitting the rest of the country soon after.