Tom Fec (aka Tobacco), the mastermind behind experimental psychedelics Black Moth Super Rainbow, just finished touring in support of 2010’s Maniac Meat. In a 2008 interview with Kotori Magazine, Tobacco initially explained his vision for the solo project: “There’s something seriously fucked about workout tapes from the mid 80s, and just about everything obscure on beta tape. They make me feel awful, but really good and curious at the same time. With this Tobacco stuff, I’m trying to translate that feeling.” We were lucky enough to catch an intense performance at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia earlier this year. The ever-elusive Tobacco, who is known to wear disguises on stage and rarely does interviews, took some time to talk with Fishpork about his latest solo effort, the upcoming L.A. U.T.I. EP, and the recent theft of the notorious basketball head.
Fishpork: How do you approach your solo work differently than the music you make with Black Moth Super Rainbow?
Tobacco: It’s weird to answer that, because it’s all been solo work. I just wanted to do something different that wasn’t … that I didn’t have to think about bringing to a band to learn … that I could perform on my own … instead of relying on other people
FP: How would you describe the differences between the records that came from BSMR and now Tobacco?
Tobacco: I guess the main difference is that Black Moth was me worrying more about what people thought. And maybe not embracing some of the weirder shit that I really wanted to do … but was kind of worried about that. And so this Tobacco stuff was exactly what I always wanted to do. But I was worried that people might not understand it or like it at all.
FP: You have the L.A. U.T.I. EP coming out soon. What can you share about that release?
Tobacco: I made it while I was making Maniac Meat. It’s kind of … Maniac Meat was gonna be kinda of weird. I was gonna have a bunch of rap songs on there. And at the end of the day it just didn’t fit. So I kind of broke out all the rap stuff my friends were doing for me, and I’m making that into something. Half of it are like beats that are from Maniac Meat, and the other half are songs that just didn’t make it onto the record.
FP: Your live shows are pretty intense. We were at the Philly show. Did you have a favorite stop on your tour?
Tobacco: Maybe Ann Arbor. That one was fun. Everyone was pretty crazy. Kalamazoo was really good, too. I guess some people were fucking in the front of the crowd in Boston. That always makes for a good show. Yeah, those were my favorites. Philly was good too though. Philly was OK.
FP: Is there any new music that you’ve been listening to lately?
Tobacco: Oh man, I don’t think I’ve listened to a single thing since I’ve been preparing for the tour. Hmmm … let me look, I have a CD case in my car …
Tobacco: We left the stage for a couple minutes, and some little fucking dickhead came up and took it. We know who it was, and apparently it’s on its way back. It really bothers me, because it’s like this kid felt like he was entitled to this. It’s not even … people are like … let’s raise money to buy a new basketball head. I can buy a new basketball head. I can buy 20 new basketball heads. It doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that some fucking asshole thought they were entitled to just go up there and take it. And they thought, that as a fan, that was OK. But it’s coming back, so it is what it is.
FP: Do you have any plans after this tour? I read something about you playing guitar?
Tobacco: Everyone’s been asking me about that [laughs]. Every once in a while I say something … drop something stupid on Facebook, and a lot of times people take it seriously. That’s just something I said.
FP: So is there anything happening after this tour?
Tobacco: I’ll just be touring more. A couple more this year, and then next year we’ll do more. Touring is kind of … maybe a little more fun right now.
FP: Do you have any motivation to collaborate with any other artists. I really enjoyed your work with Aesop Rock. Would you consider doing something along those lines again?
Tobacco: Maybe, but I’m not certain. It’s weird. I’m in a weird limbo right now. I kind of don’t know what I want to do with my future. I don’t have any plans, but anything can change at any minute.
Check out Tobacco’s remix of Fishpork’s favorite track of 2009, “Die Slow” by HEALTH. If you like what you hear, please check out Tobacco’s Maniac Meat and support one of our favorite artists!