Lights, Camera, Headaches

The quickest way to ruin a music festival? Get actors to show up.

To be fair, Thomas Fec (who also goes by the moniker "Tobacco"), the band's brainchild, sings through a Vocoder, which means half the time he doesn't even sound human. This gives BMSR a weirdly lo-fi psychedelic space vibe, which you'll be able to experience for yourself at Fitzgerald's May 29.

BMSR is touring in support of the band's fifth EP, Cobra Juicy, an album that almost wasn't made. A few years ago, Fec was approached to do a remix of a female singer's album. He won't name the singer except to say he'd never heard of her before.

"I didn't want to make music at the time," he says. "I wanted to take a few years off."

Christian Bale at the 2011 ACL Music Fest
Marco Torres
Christian Bale at the 2011 ACL Music Fest
Historically, the ACL Music Festival gates have been closed to Houston acts.
Marco Torres
Historically, the ACL Music Festival gates have been closed to Houston acts.

But he took the job and ended up being pretty happy with the result, "once I got into it." Unfortunately, the female singer's people were not, and so the album was scrapped. Fec reworked it, and reworked it again, and the result eventually became Cobra Juicy, which was released in October.

Fec says it snapped him out of his writing slump.

"Writing around something like that, her voice, I had to look at things differently," he says. "To think about writing songs with guitars, it's really uncomfortable to me. Traditional pop music is weird to me."

"But I need constraints," he says. "I can't read music. I didn't go to school for this."

In other interviews, Fec has often disparaged his normal singing voice, hence the Vocoder. He also uses an older keyboard and an old sampler whose age give the band some of its unique fuzzy sound.

"I like pushing that one thing to see what I can get with it," he says.

A lot of the band's noise is influenced by the pop culture of his childhood, Fec adds.

"When I was a kid, my parents let me watch trauma movies," he notes. "People's faces were always, like, melting off in those. And the guy who drew the Garbage Pail Kids cards. They had big ideas and big colors and a lot of personality. I think that stuff kind of stuck with me."

In 2007, the band released what is probably their best-known album, Dandelion Gum, and went on tour with the Flaming Lips, playing several festivals. Despite that, BMSR's reputation is one of "cult status."

"If cult is defined as having, like, a small amount of fans, I guess," Fec says. "The ten people that like us really like what we do."

Black Moth Super Rainbow performs with The Hood Internet and Oscillator Bug Wednesday, May 29, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Doors open at 7 p.m.

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