By Jordan Mooney.
Strap yourself in, ladies and gents. Goths, take the weight off of your four foot heels. Steampunkers, sail your airships in this North-Westerly direction. Vaudevillians, set yourself in the crouching positions. This one’s a cracker..
You’re walking through a town. It’s a strange place; it could be anywhere, any time period. It’s silent, and desolate, but has that simple, rustic lifestyle that only hundreds of years of seclusion could only provide.
There seems to be only one building that is in any way occupied. You enter, and a ticket vendor is seated in his chair. At least, the remains of one. His skeletal hand clutches two scruffy, crumpled pieces of paper. ‘Admit one’. You wrench them free, and quietly creep to the source of a strange, high pitched laughter. The rats, the floorboards, cracked plaster and filthy, white-stained carpets are your only counterparts.
Within the largest room of the building the stage lights are glowing. The curtains are smouldering, and a gentle mist is spreading throughout.
A single seat sits in the centre. It seems rude not to take it.
The stage lights brighten, the curtains finally burst into flames, and a slim, sharp featured man with a most impressive moustache struts onto the stage. Your chair suddenly wraps around you, bolting you still and to the floor, as the room seems to melt and warp around you.
What you will witness here is going to be with you for life. It will never leave, it will never fade; it will be staying with you forever. Trauma or a treasured moment? That will be up to your own interpretations…
It’s time for Fable Cry; with their first full-tier studio record, We’ll Show You Where The Monsters Are.
This record is more than a little bit off-kilter; it’s twisted, bent and sinister, but it carries itself so jauntily and enthusiastically that it’s endearing. The sheer bounciness, the roguish cabaret of it all; there’s a real love and passion in this particular diary of sinister, devilish collection of handsomely extravagant tunes…
It’s not all stories of murder, death and pestilence; there’s plenty of lighter tales to hand, and it’s not completely oversaturated with the relatively cliché hallmarks of what one would dub a ‘horror’ release; it’s closer to a particularly bizarre jaunt through a camp of Georgian gypsies in colourful tents with campfires, roasting poached pheasants and rabbits in the middle of the countryside while telling tall tales to music. Gypsies whom just so happen to have invented the lightning powered guitar and telephonic recording.
Vocalist Zach Ferrin is definitely the group’s unique selling point; his range and relatively high pitch is every bit as jaunty and hopelessly infectious as their waltzing rhythms. He sounds like he’s really having a blast working with all this; and his instrumental chums (I liken them to a dapper street gang) seem every bit as excitable and playful as they follow his lead.
The beauty of the group is that they really do sound like they’re having an enormous amount of fun. They classify themselves as ‘Theatrical Scamp Rockers’, and it’s a ridiculously accurate proclamation. They may be a bit sick and twisted. They’re having fun, they’re enjoying every moment, and, perhaps most importantly, they make it sound like something we want to join in with. They’re like a far more deadly variation of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Just with more fashion sense. (Sherwood green is so five hundred years ago.)
The diversity is clear in the album’s running time. Rathermore traditional – occasionally even lovely – tracks such as From Myth to Moon are offset by mental bouts of high-tempo spells of thunder, exemplified by The Train Song. Most simply manipulate their own formulas in between, and end up suddenly spiking into different territories before gently descending back to Earth; or, at least, Fable Cry’s view of it.
The sheer range of what the group dabble with is a huge asset. Every moment is unexpected and one can end up quite disorientated. Are you on track one? Four? Fifty? It’s incredibly difficult to dissect, and your intrepid writer got lost more than once. These are tricky people, and they seem to take glee in sending you down the open country without a map. On the upside, it’s enormously refreshing. On the negative side…where the hell am I?
None of it is overtly sterilised and clean. They could be playing in front of an audience or campfire every bit as they are in a recording studio; the result is not an album that sounds scruffy, but an album with a very tangible representation of the group’s idea of fun and enthusiasm. It’s a sound you can touch and explore far more easily than a regular studio recording; it feels like it’s all happening in front of you, that you can practically feel the spots of blood hitting you in the face. Whether that’s a good thing or not may be up to your own interpretation; but for us it’s quite glorious.
They’re also a very…distinctive looking group. When not having their role stolen by a blue-faced moustachioed puppet doctor they all make use of dramatic make up contouring and pale, ashened colours, that liken themselves to figures from a Georgian playwright’s deepest dreams and darkest nightmares. They almost look ready to break into operatics, so it’s no huge surprise when the band prove to have a decent grasp on multimedia – which any seasoned reader will know is our greatest love. It all results in some of the most imaginative and entertaining music videos I’ve laid eyes on; miniature, twisted tales worthy of a far larger screen and a far longer running time.
Painted up like the most precious, sinister china dolls and flamboyantly presenting themselves so proudly on the stage like 18th Century hooligans in cravats and Jodhpurs, even if their music isn’t quite your thing you can’t help but gain a certain respect and fondness for our gallery of rogues.
And, to be fair, Fable Cry are definitely an acquired taste; they’re very much quirkier than their closest counterparts and they’ll never quite appeal to every poor, unfortunate soul out there; but they appeal to us, and if you enjoy quirky, jaunty, waltzy, slightly sinister music that you simply can’t get in the same capacity elsewhere, this could well be your perfect group.
These dandy highwaymen are like a strange concoction of alternative culture and storytelling. They are there for you to eat up their imperfections, to coin a phrase…
Fable Cry make the rest of our bizarre, eclectic visitors seem at least that little bit more sober. It seems like it’d be a damned shame not to get them to give their side of the story. Vocalist, frontman, and megalomaniacal mastermind Zach Ferrin scampered into the room to give his side on the story of Fable Cry.
So, without further ado..!
Cat on the Wall: Hello there, and welcome to Cat on the Wall! How are you today?
Zach Ferrin: I’m very well and I’m wearing a nice sweater. You didn’t ask me what I was wearing, but I figured we’d get cosy with details.
COTW: Please, introduce yourselves to our readers!
ZF: My name is Zach Ferrin. I am the founder and frontman to the Nashville based Theatrical Scamp Rock band, Fable Cry. I have a curly moustache, and am currently wearing a nice sweater. There. Now we’re ALL feeling cosy, aren’t we, readers?
COTW: How did Fable Cry first come about? Where does this terrifying journey begin?!
ZF: Fable Cry was first born many moons ago when the world was more cruel, and demons walked the earth openly. It was in the Summer of 2010 – I know, a lot has changed in five years; But the hungry spirit to make our favourite band and gain notoriety from every living creature still survives to this day, and only grows!
COTW: You are of course here to talk about your latest album, We’ll Show You Where The Monsters Are. How would you describe it to the uninitiated?
ZF: It is a one way ticket to send you down a spooky path to your Grandmother’s house of nightmares. Along the way, you’ll hear tales of revenge, horror, heartbreak, robbery, love, life, death and reanimation! It’s packed full of suspense, AND surprises – a real Jack-In-the-Box.
ZF: It might be made of plastic, but it is ALL real. The inspirations come from classic tales (like Frankenstein and Little Red Riding Hood) and brand new original myths. With nearly every song, though, you have some sort of personal metaphor wrapped up in a whimsical narrative. That’s really the way Fables and Myths have always been, so we’re just continuing that trend. I enjoy stories that are a bit more abstract, or can be interpreted differently to speak to different people in their own way.
COTW: How was your experience recording the album? Is the Fable Cry recording routine like a well oiled machine, or a touch more organic?
ZF: It felt like a well oiled machine that took the scenic route to get where we knew we needed to go. This album is the first album that we recorded as a full band, and the first album we ever recorded in a studio. I engineered the whole first album in my bedroom and at the time we were just a duo. So lots of changes. But Ford Heacock (Firebreath Records), our engineer for this album, was incredible and just as eager to experiment with all kinds of sounds and layers as we were. We used bones and knives for percussion layers, an old piano in sync with some of the bass parts, a penny-picked banjo overlapping much of the guitars, and tons of backing strings and vocal tracks of us whispering, growling, and going bonkers. Overall, it was one of the funnest times I’ve had with Fable Cry.
COTW: The internet has made the entire world a potential market for independent musicians. Have you found it easy to get noticed in such a large, competitive industry, or did you find it difficult to find an audience?
ZF: That is an excellent question! We are a very diverse band, but I think a lot of people online didn’t always necessarily get that right away.
When you’re trying to brand yourself, you have to give an overall look, vibe, and sound to help people understand what it is that you are. Unfortunately, sometimes, that can limit people’s views on what you do. We are a bit of a niche band, but I think we appeal to a broader audience than some people initially assumed when they would find us online. Hell, it still happens. Listening to just one song or watching just one video doesn’t always represent us on the whole. So catching peoples interest to delve deeper was always and still continues to be the trick.
COTW: Do you find a specific subculture has latched onto the group, such as Steampunks, Goths, etc..?
ZF: Both, and more! (See above answer) We love all of the subcultures that have latched onto us, and I don’t mind if they claim us. But we don’t plan on getting stuck in just one category. There’s a little something for everyone to love, we think, from the videos, to the different songs, to the variety in each live show.
COTW: Of course, touring is a must for such an eccentric medley of ne’er-do-wells… what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in the audience at one of your shows?!
ZF: Children singing some of our darkest songs! It doesn’t happen too often, but when we play all ages shows, some people will bring their tiniest tots, and those kids will know our songs by heart. It warms our hearts to see these little spooksters gleefully singing along!
COTW: How would you describe The Fable Cry live experience? What could we expect if we were to attend?!
ZF: You can expect the stage to be filled with a good-looking, wildly dressed, rouged out, band that invites you in to be a part of the show. You will share in their stage participation, dance pits, sing alongs, and hear twisted and dark tales, comical monologues, and see the visual spectacles of their stage antics, creepy lighting and, even, puppets!
COTW: Actually..do you have any plans to cross over the Atlantic soon?!
ZF: I’m taking this as an invitation. Your place. I’ll wear my sweater so you’ll recognize me. (But seriously, yes. It’s a dream of ours and we will make it happen just as soon as we can. And yes, readers, you’ll meet the sweater too.)
We’d like to thank Zach and his lovely sweater for bringing such a keen sense of fashion to the Webzine. Until next time…
We’ll Show You Where The Monsters Are is available now from Bandcamp for streaming, purchase and even a physical copy. It’s like being at the Ritz hotel, but it’s in a spooky wooden chalet.