Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start a band / become an artist?
Ess: The first band I was in was in 2001. I wanted to have a platform to advocate for social justice– and the idea of being a performance artist (rock star) had an undeniable draw. Being an artist, though, is not a decision for me– I have been making art and music since I was walking and talking, and when I’m not creating something, I start to malfunction. However– choosing to prioritize art and music in a hyper capitalist world IS a decision that I have to recommit to every day in order to overcome all the cultural and mental barriers. I’ve been working on some visualizations to help me with this.
Kai: I started playing guitar in middle school and I was instantly hooked, even though I had zero natural talent for it. I liked the physicality of it, and the mathy brain feelings that came from logicking my way around a fretboard to make up for not having an ear for figuring out what sounded good. The ear came eventually, but I still love the logic and coordination and physicality of playing guitar and drums, and I think it’s those feelings that have kept me seeking out musical outlets this whole time.
Introduce us all to the members?
There’s the two of us — Ess Nelson, Kai Hofius.
We like ridiculousness and eternally unfolding scenario humor! Also puns. We’re both wordsmiths and one of our favorite parts of collaborating has been crafting lyrics together. We each tend to generate riffs that are catchy, rhythmically intricate, and often unexpected (Ess on synth, Kai on guitar).
Kai’s from Albuquerque, New Mexico and Ess comes out of Detroit/rural Michigan and Philly. LE FOMO is largely the result of Ess’s musicianship and tireless work ethic, while the contributions Kai makes musically and energetically are key.
So tell me a little bit about you and what you like doing for fun?
Ess: Lately, I have been having a lot of fun generating video content for our music. I’ve been running around forests in a green body suit and a facekini and getting a kick out of all the gawkers. ????
Kai: Fun these days looks like noodling on my guitar, getting wrapped up in good fiction, playing with my dog, zoning out in a hot tub.
Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Ha! Probably the more general “so tell me about yourself” ones.
Which one is the biggest pain in the arse? Hmmmm…. we’ve both gotten on each others’ nerves, to be sure. We try to be compassionate regarding each others’ challenges.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Definitely at El Rio in SF– always a great, energized show, with the connected community. Last year we played a show the potent week before Pride, and as usual, we were dancing with the audience. At this show, I (Ess) was knighting people for all their herculean efforts to survive and thrive in a hostile world and reminding everyone to reach out and pull each other closer to make sure no one was alone during Pride week. The audience was beaming back at us. So much love in that room!
What was the worst experience on stage?
We played a very dude heavy punk venue awhile back and it was miserable– we felt unsafe, we were tired and cranky and had lost a power adaptor and were running around trying to find one from any store that had this particular 15v adaptor. Ugh! Fortunately, Kai’s friend had one that he brought for us to use. Another show on that same tour– the stage experience was fine, but in the middle of the night (we slept over at the venue on some couches), we overheard a couple of people having kind of nasty sex in the big open space while a tv blared and the lights never went off and the doors were locked shut and we couldn’t figure out how or who to ask to just let us out! Omg, that was the worst. Also for the record, we do support nasty sex! Just maybe not in the same room as us as we are trying to sleep on tour, pls thank you.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Ess has graduate degrees in Urban Design/City Planning and Political Science. Kai’s usual answer to this question is “I play a bunch of instruments”, but that doesn’t work in this setting…..so I guess, Kai can take their socks off and roll them up in a ball with their freakishly long finger toes.
Who would you like to duet with?
What goes into your favourite sandwich?
Ess: Peanut butter, for sure– omg peanut butter. Everything else is secondary.
Kai: What Ess said ????
What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?
Stay focused on what you want and regularly visualize yourself doing it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you as an artist.
What advise would you give your younger self?
Ess: Go to art school!!! Kai: listen to your body and your feelings more, they’re a lot smarter than you think they are.
Whats your biggest achievement as a band?
Becoming a part of the AnalogueTrash and Club Queen Record label families and then getting a mention in Billboard for Tiny Anchor– these are up at the top for sure. It’s been such an exciting time for us!
What makes you stand out as a band?
That we are both genre- and gender- expansive, and multi-instrumentalists. Plus our outfits.
I hear you have a new album brewing, what can you tell us about it?
The one we just released– Swallow Me Whole– came out just this past Friday on AnalogueTrash across Europe and on Club Queen Records in the US and elsewhere. It’s a wild mix of genres– if you played our nu-disco hit NOTDF and our blazing rock number Hot Whiskey back to back, you wouldn’t guess they were from the same band. But if you listened from beginning to end and go on the genre journey with us, you’d feel the continuity. We love that about our album. Each track is dynamic and fresh, and the entire piece gives the listener access to our full range of emotions.
As a member of the LBGTQ+ community how has the pandemic effected your community?
We have been so isolated and so many breakups have happened in quarantine and I think now we are really hungry for connection with friends and community. We’re shooting a video for our song, Spoon Revolt, and we’re inviting friends to participate, and the response has been so positive– it really feels like people are looking for ways to feel connected to community right now.
How do you think the government have looked after the the night time economy / live gig circuit?
Shit. Total shit. Speaking as a Political Scientist, of course.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Yes. Please focus on what we all want to make happen, what kind of world we want, and stay focused on cultivating it, and invite everyone into the conversation about it. Manifest it all.