The Twitterview: Black Moth Super Rainbow

Thomas Fec (aka Tobacco) Questioned in 140 Characters or Less

May 29, 2013 Web Exclusive
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The Twitterview, in which we interview an artist live via Twitter. We recently interviewed Black Moth Super Rainbow's Thomas Fec via Twitter, and here is the full exchange. 

There are some individuals who do not have the option of living within the confines of conventional society. Thomas Fec, aka Tobacco, aka the mastermind behind Black Moth Super Rainbow, is one such person. The Pittsburgh, PA-based musician and professional prank caller (under the guise Sbarro Hottopic) releases music that he hopes is offensive to all as Tobacco, as well as music that many, many people want to support as Black Moth Super Rainbow. For the latest album, Cobra Juicy, Fec embarked on a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $125,000 (an impressive number, even if he ended up $3000 in the hole) to release the album on his own Rad Cult imprint. The most listener-friendly of Black Moth Super Rainbow's six full-length albums, Cobra Juicy is a bouncy psychedelic beach ball of electro1pop, hidden behind Fec and his cohort's disturbing, and sometimes terrifying, masks. Fec hides behind the 140-character limit for our two-hour-long interview conducted via Twitter.

Lily Moayeri of Under the Radar (@Under_Radar_Mag): Hello! Ready?

Thomas Fec (aka Tobacco) of Black Moth Super Rainbow (@maniacmeat): Yo!           

@Under_Radar_Mag: There you are. You getting ready to hit the road in a few days?

@maniacmeat: ALWAYS READY. No, I am getting ready though.

@Under_Radar_Mag: What can we expect from the Black Moth Super Rainbow @HouseOfBMSR live show?

@maniacmeat: Expect a nice time with friends.

@Under_Radar_Mag: And what if I'm on my own, what will you be doing to entertain me?

@maniacmeat: It's different from the recordings because it's a whole band when we tour.

@maniacmeat: Hopefully everyone can zone out to the visuals behind us and just decompress.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Will you be sitting on the stage, as you have been known to do in the past?

@maniacmeat: Thinking of going back to that.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Have you had a hand in creating those visuals?

@maniacmeat: Yeah, shot most on bike trails around here and friends' houses.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Cobra Juicy is possibly the most accessible of the @HouseOfBMSR albums. I can't imagine this was intentional?

@maniacmeat: Sort of-experimenting to me at this point is making something that almost makes sense.

@maniacmeat: Never write for other people, but curate what's released.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Is that partially what spurred the Kickstarter campaign for Cobra Juicy?

@maniacmeat: No, I was gonna what I do regardless.

@maniacmeat: The Kickstarter made it safer to do unsafe things on our own.

@Under_Radar_Mag: What was the best thing about doing the campaign?

@maniacmeat: The money.

@maniacmeat: But mainly knowing people out there are down for some of my Willy Wonka ideas.

@maniacmeat: Felt very nice after not being able to get whatever this industry is behind it.

@Under_Radar_Mag: What was the worst thing about doing the campaign?

@maniacmeat: Not being prepared for all the work in fulfilling.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Would you do it again?

@maniacmeat: I don't think so but you never know. I'd rather stay on the creating side.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Do you have ideas on how you would approach putting out the next album so that your ideas & artistic integrity were maintained?

@maniacmeat: I don't know yet, but if they weren't, I'd find something else to do and go back to just playing it for my friends.

@Under_Radar_Mag: What would you be doing if not music?

@maniacmeat: Making bad pizza, hot-tubbing, hanging out, maybe even Bikram [yoga].

@maniacmeat: Sales position at the Cranberry [PA] Pool City would be cool too.

@Under_Radar_Mag: You did a lot of formats and promotional items for Cobra Juice, which were really cool. Would you do that again?

@Under_Radar_Mag: Sorry, JuicY :) I'm thirsty so...

@maniacmeat: In a different way. CDs and records can get boring but it's always nice to feel like you really own your music in some way.

@maniacmeat: I'm used to "Juicy Cobra" so I'll take that.

@Under_Radar_Mag: What advice would you give bands who are trying to put out their records via a campaign like Kickstarter?

@maniacmeat: Hard to say because different things work for different kinds of people.

@maniacmeat: Unless you jerk off to yourself in the mirror, don't "reward" people with your self-loving shit. It's corny.

@maniacmeat: Make something more real than an autograph.

@Under_Radar_Mag: What is the philosophy behind you and your band members' noms de plume?

@maniacmeat: Don't always like mixing life with music world.

@Under_Radar_Mag: How is your focus as Tobacco different from Black Moth Super Rainbow?

@maniacmeat: Without writing with anyone in mind, I curate the way it comes out. BMSR is what I think people might not find offensive.

@maniacmeat: TOBACCO is the stuff I can't imagine anyone liking, and that makes me the happiest sometimes.

@Under_Radar_Mag: And Tobacco stuff goes under the name of something that a lot of people find offensive?

@maniacmeat: BMSR straight from the heart and the head, TOB from the loins and the heart and the head and the butt and the front butt.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Hahah :) How did your collaboration with Beck for Maniac Meat come about?

@maniacmeat: He must've thought I was the Radiohead guy or something.

@maniacmeat: Serendipity, someone told me.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Great when that happens. You think that's also what happened with you and @RobZombie for his album?

@maniacmeat: That one is a headscratcher.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Any theories people have suggested to you about that unholy alliance?

@maniacmeat: Haha, none.

@Under_Radar_Mag: That's the serendipitous one. @volcom_ent seem to be on the same page as you with the release of "Lipstick Destroyer" on their Vinyl Club.

@maniacmeat: Yeah! Cool people. @volcom_ent

@Under_Radar_Mag: Maybe the entirety of the next @HouseOfBMSR or Tobacco album can be released that way?

@maniacmeat: Haha, you never know.

@Under_Radar_Mag: A lot of your artwork is kind of terrifying. Are you the artist? What's the inspiration behind it?

@maniacmeat: Yeah, I do it. It has to look like the music sounds and vice versa.

@maniacmeat: But I grew up on Troma and everything melty and neon, so I guess it stuck.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Are you also involved in your similarly terrifying videos?

@maniacmeat: Yeah, coming up with video ideas and having other people execute is one of the best parts of the job.

@Under_Radar_Mag: How do you convey your concepts to the directors? All your videos look like a twisted slideshow of my teenage TV watching.

@maniacmeat: Come up with a logistical nightmare and have someone else figure it out.

@Under_Radar_Mag: That's what you like about it, passing on your nightmare to someone else, I see how you are.

@maniacmeat: One excited phone call.

@Under_Radar_Mag: I can just picture their faces on the other end of the line. What's the fascination with masks? Similar to hiding behind monikers.

@maniacmeat: Imagery. The art of the face.

@Under_Radar_Mag: The art of a face or the art of a face as a mask?

@maniacmeat: Maybe both, but a face can say everything.

@Under_Radar_Mag: And a mask can hide everything.

@maniacmeat: Haha, too deep. Need potty humor injection.

@Under_Radar_Mag: You're going to have to provide that. What's with you and prank calls? I didn't think people did those anymore with caller ID.

@maniacmeat: Party activity that is a lot of inside jokes, but I figured maybe somebody out there could appreciate. Especially in [Pittsburgh].

@maniacmeat: Sometimes the funniest thing is just talking to people and trying to understand them. I don't plan skits or anything.

@Under_Radar_Mag: With all the virtual interaction out there, people are probably starved for some actual conversation even if it is random.

@maniacmeat: Seems like it.

@Under_Radar_Mag: I've got a couple of questions from our followers @TheRevWiley and @ToryHarter.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Brandon Wiley @TheRevWiley asks: @Under_Radar_Mag @maniacmeat How did you hook up with the Force Funk?

@maniacmeat: Just heard someone humming a lullaby in my house & I'm only one home so gonna get the fuck out for a minute. Back in 10 min.

@Under_Radar_Mag: Don't forget to answer when you return, @maniacmeat.

@maniacmeat:  Safe from hauntings as long as I'm touching the RedBox.

@maniacmeat: @TheRevWiley Shaun @anticon introduced us a few years ago!

@Under_Radar_Mag: Good memory! @maniacmeat don't let go of the Redbox...

@Under_Radar_Mag: And here's one from @ToryHarter. How would you describe the BMSR sound? The Black Angels once called it "airy," which seems to fit @maniacmeat. 

@maniacmeat: @ToryHarter I don't like describing it. It should be whatever you hear in it

@Under_Radar_Mag: Thanks for Twitter chatting--for the last TWO hours @maniacmeat. You are a good sport, looking forward to catching you on the road.

@maniacmeat: Grazie!

@Under_Radar_Mag: Oh yeah, @maniacmeat, forgot you were of Italian descent... Buonanotte.



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