Faith & the Muse play the Hyatt Centennial Ballroom as part of Dragon*Con on Sun., Sept. 6 at midnight.
After meeting on tour while William Faith was performing with Rozz Williams in a resurrected incarnation of Christian Death, Faith and Monica Richards formed Faith & the Muse in 1993 to explore a more ethereal side of their dark punk roots. Over the years the LA-based duo have fostered something of an Elizabethan approach to their dramatic and multilayered songcraft. For Sunday's show Faith and Richards have filled-out the lineup to to a nine-piece ensemble to add a bit of a Japanese bent to their mystique.
Does the word "goth" bother you when talking about Faith & the Muse?
Does it bother me? No. It at least gives you an inkling as to the style of the music. When people use that as a limitation on what you do it's another thing. There are certain things about the goth genre that apply, and the music has a darker style to it; there is a romantic quality to what we do. Also, when people see the word goth they know that you're not Garth Brooks or something like that. It's useful in that capacity, but because we employ so much other stuff into what we do, goth is part of it, but it's not the whole thing. To me it's all born out of punk rock.
Faith and the Muse is a different beast all together. I tend to think of your sound as being bombastic, but it's not an in-your-face sound. There are a lot of subtle shades in your songs.
We try to keep it majestic and add a certain grandeur to it but at the same time, we're not Mastodon. There's a heavy aspect to it; heavy in the Wagner sense.
You dropped the Wagner bomb...
[Laughs] He's a big influence on us... His music, not his politics.
Tell me about the instrumentation of the group.
Well it all depends, in the live context it's paired-down and we bring other musicians out with us. But when we record, the usual division of labor is that she does about 90% of the vocals and I do all of the instrumentation in the studio. For the live set we have a traditional trap kit played by Geoff Bruce. The Taiko drums are played by Julia Cooke, Violin is played by Paul Mercer who used to be in the Changelings from here in Atlanta, and does solo work quite a bit now. He's our featured performer for this line-up. On guitar and viola is Stephen James. On bass and cello we have Marzia Arngel. Oh, and backing vocals and dancers... We have Aradia Lucretia Renee. They're both from a dance troupe called Serpentine. They're doing some percussion as well.
Tell me about the time you spent playing with Christian Death.
It was with Rozz's Christian Death. I played on two records, Path of Sorrows and The Rage of Angels, the latter of which came out in about '92. They were the last two albums of new Christian Death material, and they were the first ones since Ashes in 1985 -- under Rozz's work.
Prior to that I was in a band called Mephisto Waltz that was touring with Rozz's band Shadow Project. Rozz asked my drummer Stephen and I if we would play on these new Christian Death albums, and had been an enormous fan of Christian Death since the early '8os so I was honored that he asked me; and they were the first albums that he had done under the name since Ashes. The idea at the time was to try to reclaim the name from Valor and I definitely wanted to be a part of that.
So when did Faith & the Muse start up?
I met Monica on that same tour. Her band Strange Boutique was supporting Shadow Project and we made a connection and decided that we wanted to start doing some stuff together. The following year we got Faith & the Muse started with some early demos.
Tell me about the Tatsu EP that you have with you for this show.
It's sort of an advance on the upcoming album. We wanted to create sort of a buzz about it and we haven't released a new album in 6 years, so there's been quite some time in between and we wanted to get the word out and give people a hint of what's coming. Track 2 on there, called "Blessed," is straight-up punk rock by my definition, but it's a mix of stuff and like everything we try to do it's moving forward; new hybrids and new style and bringing things together in an interesting way. Stylistically and thematically we started to introduce a bit of an Asian flavor to the instrumentation. With this album we were really interested in exploring Japanese myth and culture.
(Photo courtesy Mercy Ground)
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