Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Fabulous Fabulist. Together we discussed their band name, their favorite fables, their latest EP “Life in the Tutorial”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have Fabulous Fabulist join them at Music Shelf. How is everyone doing?
Graham- Doing well!
Micah – haha doing great! I really appreciate you having us!
Kris- I’m great and happy to be here!
2. Mustard loves alliteration. How did you decide on your band name?
Graham- Haha I’ve always loved alliteration as well and I think my brain is always trying to get me to do it. When I heard the word Fabulist my brain just connected the two words together and it wasn’t taken yet so I jumped on it.
3. Does everyone have a favorite fable?
Graham- I have a fondness for Alaskan Native Folklore. Especially stories about The Raven. I heard a lot of those stories growing up in Alaska.
Micah – one of my all time favorite fables is the story of Stone Soup, which is about members of a struggling community coming together and each bringing a small part of what they had to make something beautiful together.
Kris- Growing up I always liked the story of Belling the Cat. A group of mice had gathered and decided the best way to stay safe from the cat was to put a bell around its neck so they’d be able to hear it coming. Everyone was willing to offer their input, but when it came time to make the work happen, no one was willing to do it. I try to keep that in mind.
4. Mustard wonders when Fabulous Fabulist officially formed. Could you tell us more about your origin story?
Graham- I had been putting together the idea for FabFab for a few years. I actually think the big moment for me was seeing Minus the Bear play in Nashville on their “Farewell Tour”. I remember going home and thinking about how hardly anyone was doing the “indie/mathy/electronic” thing now. So I figured that would be the thing that FabFab did.
Micah – Funny story about how I came to join the band! I had only recently moved to Nashville and happened to be browsing Craigslist in search of weird pieces of music gear and found someone selling a Critter & Guitari Organelle, this little synth device that runs community made patches that are coded from pure data. With my obsession for weird musical toys, I messaged the guy and we met up a few days later at a starbucks. Later that day, he messaged me like “hey would you want to produce some music for my band?”
Graham- I was the guy selling the synth in Micah’s Story! Haha
Kris- I wasn’t around for the formation of the band, but I joined in the fall of 2021 to help with booking and management. In summer of 2022 I started learning bass to help with live shows and I haven’t looked back since.
5. If Fabulous Fabulist could create music for any video game series, which would it be and why?
Micah – I would love to do an artsy indie game like Sable, which was scored by the incredible Japanese Breakfast. With any kind of art, I love things that innovate on an existing format to bring new perspective to the medium while leaving space for collaborators to not feel “boxed-in” to traditional methods.
6. What is Fabulous Fabulist’s creative process?
Graham- I’ll usually have a collection of riffs on guitar or bass that I’ll sit on until I feel the inspiration to put it into a song format with drums and a song structure. I like to try and get as far as I can on “completing” an idea before bringing it in because I like everyone to listen to the demo as if they’re the target audience and if everyone likes the idea we’ll start working on it together.
Micah – After Graham has the bones of a song written, he brings them into my studio and we strip it back to just the bare essentials and rebuild it from the ground up. Overall, it’s a weird combination of experimenting and “happy accidents” driven by a lot of intentionality and focus. We have fun though! We’re known to have lots of breaks to play Smash Bros., sit outside and enjoy the weather or run to the store to try the latest seltzer water during sessions.
7. Who (or what) influences Fabulous Fabulist?
Graham- My biggest influences are bands like Minus the Bear, Mew, Foals, and Delta Sleep. Catchy bands with a hint of mathrock or an experimental nature. Lately a lot of instrumental stuff like Totorro and Three Trapped Tigers.
Micah – I grew up listening to a lot of synthpop and EDM music, so artists like The Postal Service, Owl City, Porter Robinson. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of indie rock like Boygenius and Toro Y Moi, but also a lot of hyperpop like 100Gecs, Charli XCX; all of which lend to my process and style of production.
8. 2021 saw the release of your EP “Pertinent Prologue.” Could you share what it was like to put this EP together?
Micah – Our first record was a lot of experimenting with blending our individual styles and coming up with a semi-cohesive way to put all of these wildly different influences to paper. Our approach for Life in the Tutorial was much more focused. We spent a lot of time studying other records that we liked and analyzing certain sounds or processing methods in order to build the exact sound that we wanted. In the end, this was a far smoother production cycle and we think that the final product really reflects that intentionality.
Graham- Micah said it well. A lot of the early demos for Pertinent Prologue were written before the band formed. Once they started to become actual songs I think we all started to learn what we did well together which is what you’ll hear in LitT.
9. How would you describe Fabulous Fabulist’s style?
Graham- I actually haven’t been able to answer that for the entire tenure of the band until recently. A friend told us that “we sounded like mathy pop music” and I really felt that summed us up pretty well.
Micah – We’re indie pop for math rock nerds and math rock for indie pop nerds.
10. Last Friday you released your newest EP “Life in the Tutorial.” Do both of your EPs share the same narrative? How soon after your first EP did you begin working on “Life in the Tutorial?”
Micah – I would say that the names of the EPs answer that question sufficiently. Pertinent Prologue was to say that we were just getting started, establishing the groundwork for the following bodies of work. Life in the Tutorial is building on what we laid down in the prologue to start forming an intention narrative and we’re only just getting started 😉
We began working on LitT before PP was even out. Re:Questing was actually written originally for release on PP, but was adapted and rewritten many times to fit the new creative vision of LitT.
11. Mustard has observed that some humans like to skip the tutorial in video games. How does it feel living inside a tutorial? Do you have a favorite in-game tutorial?
Graham- I’ve really enjoy Zelda tutorials. There’s a few Easter eggs in Life in the Tutorial Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 where we put in some heavily modified sound effects from Twilight Princess (widely considered the most controversial Zelda tutorial). Let us know if you find them!
Micah – “Nothing ever seems difficult, life in the tutorial”, as they say. – I’ve always felt that games that teach you without teaching you are the best. Games released on the old NES or Gameboys had this clever way of using visual cues to show you what you should do without ever holding your hand. As simple as the original Super Mario Bros. is a great example of teaching without telling.
Graham- also Fromsoftware games
12. How would you describe your live performance?
Graham- Always improving haha!
Micah – high energy and unexpected in the best of ways.
Kris- The live shows are my favorite part of this band. Finding ways to translate the songs to a live performance is always fun and we’ve been fortunate to play with some really great bands.
13. What is next for Fabulous Fabulist?
Graham- We have a lot of things we’re hoping to do this year! I don’t want to make promises we can’t keep but I think it’s safe to say we’ll be playing a lot of shows and releasing even more music in 2023.
Micah – we also have some sneaky surprises coming in the near future, including some remixes and collaborations with our friends!
Kris- I think 2022 helped us find a good balance between writing and playing live shows. We’re hopeful that 2023 will help us keep pushing both of those aspects.
14. Where can readers listen to your music?
Both of our EPs can be found on most major streaming services as well as Bandcamp! Luckily the name Fabulous Fabulist hasn’t been used too frequently.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/life-in-the-tutorial-ep/1675954923?ls