Freddie Heinemann of FISK Discusses Mad Max, Bisexuality, and Vomiting with Evan of Madness To Creation

Contributor’s Note:  Fisk is one of the most interesting bands in Brooklyn.  Their hard and heavy riffs are reminiscent of King Tuff or Ty Segall but they elevate the whole experience by bringing a level of DIY theatricality to their music.  I talked with Freddie about the band, his stage persona, and a few other things, but the raw power of FISK can only be experienced through their music.

Fans can also find FISK at the following locations:

www.facebook.com/FISKNYC

www.fiskband.com

www.soundcloud.com/FISKNYC

Do you have a distinct stage persona you adopt when you play?  Or do you feel that you’re simply being a heightened version of yourself?

I feel like internally I can be an incredibly critical person, in terms of judging myself and my interactions with the people around me. So surprisingly, when being on stage, I find myself just sort of entering a fugue state but in a good way. When the music lines up, the nagging little judgmental voice in my head shuts up for once. So I guess I end up being a less inhibited version of myself on stage. Which is really refreshing.

But the minute I get off and the adrenaline begins to wear off, I’m right back to asking “Was that okay? Did we sound alright?”

So, it’s a heightened truer version of myself but it’s fleeting.

What was the genesis of your crazy stage attire?  Were you always a very theatrical performer or did you gradually ramp it up?  

Coming from a background in performing comedy prior to FISK, either in improv or stand up, a flair for the dramatic and weird has always been there. In terms of the attire itself, the war paint that we often wear started as a Halloween gag when I suggested we dress ourselves like Mad Max rejects. But it kind of stuck and evolves depending on our moods. I feel like with aggressive music, you want the audience to connect to you but how do you balance that out with an antagonistic nature or sound? I think the war paint gives the audience the ability to see that wall or distance between you and them but to also realize it’s okay to let go of your inhibitions and just let loose.

Every show you’re going to war with an audience by vying for their validation while also fighting against their preconceived notions of how the show will go. So why not wear war paint?

How do people usually respond to your performances?

We get a lot of goofing around usually. Which is rad, usually dancing, people starting circle pits or singing along lyrics. I was actually super sick before our last show and vomited right before I went on stage, so I had to mention it to the crowd which inevitably lead to everybody in the venue chanting ‘Throw up! Throw up!”  But my favorite is when people ask me to put war paint on them before our set. We kinda look like a little apocalyptic gang. And getting drinks together after the show makes us like completely insane.

What’s it like being an openly bisexual frontman?  Do you feel like you ever run into difficult situation because of your sexual preference?  

To be honest, in NYC, it’s not that big of a deal because there is so much diversity in the local scene and being punks, we understand the plight of being a marginalized misfit. However, outside of NYC and our scene, things can be much different. Part of the punk community, a long time ago, in some circles developed this unfortunate machismo that when taken too far can lead to homophobia and violence. So, it’s funny to see the reaction when I preface a song like ‘Dance Machine’by saying it’s about doing narcotics and having anonymous sex in a gay night club. True story. People love it, hate it or assume it’s a misguided joke. But it’s my life.

You seem to use a lot of organized chaos in your music.  Your most recent release, ‘Smile Drift’, seems to be very experimental, very punk, and very technical all at once.  What was the recording process like?  Did the album come out how you were expecting?  
I’m gonna sound like a nerd, so buckle in. Everything in life is based on the second law of thermodynamics. Organized systems are inherently prone to degradation. Chaos is life, music is life and therefore chaos is music too, to a degree. Everything has a rhythm to it. I find that when my life is the most unstable and that I’m grasping for straws or a semblance of control is when I can channel creativity the best. Artists just lead naturally bizarre lives. To me a song can mean something profound or metaphoric but it can also simply be an expression of a moment in time in someone’s life, which is why I try not to adhere so strongly to one specific genre and why my lyrics are often written stream of consciousness. Just gotta go with the flow.
I feel like that was all over the place, but maybe there’s something in there.
In terms of the recording process, we were given a deal with a friend where we could record anything we wanted in one long ten hour session from 7pm to 5am, which is how we’ve done all of our past EP’s, to capture a raw primal element. So most of the songs are done in one single take with minimal overdubs with us playing in separate rooms but within view of each other. There’s usually always plenty of booze involved too, which looking back on it was probably a bad idea. Due to our style changing a bit and the parts getting more technical, I don’t think we’ll be recording that way again anytime soon. It was more out of necessity and being broke as all hell. But it makes for a cool story.
Where and when can people come see Fisk?  
You can always check out our site (www.fiskband.com) for show dates which we should be adding some more for the summer and expect to hear a new EPt hopefully at the end of summer or beginning of fall!
And there you have it!  As of press time, several gigs have been added to FISK’s calendar.  Check out the show dates below.
Saturday, June 23rd- Birthday Bash for Mohawk Dave in New York, New York (w/The Cuts and Bedpan Fight)
Monday, July 9th- Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn, New York
Saturday, August 11th- Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York, New York (w/The Bloody Muffs)
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.
Check out their music video for “Down and Dirty” below.

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