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Fischerspooner - Looks Good, Sounds Good

Author: Cyclone
Monday, 20 October 2008

NYC electroclash duo Fischerspooner are back in 2008, having already released two singles and an album in the works. 3D’s Cyclone chatted with Casey Spooner ahead of his DJ set at Global Gathering.

No act exemplified electroclash better than New York’s Fischerspooner; they were theatrical, flamboyant and subversive. But like the new romantics nu-electro’s enfants terribles were targeted by suspicious media types. Some reckoned that Fischerspooner represented style over substance – they were a dance-pop hoax.

While the UK’s Ladytron steadfastly rejected any suggestion of their being a retro novelty, amid the mounting electroclash backlash, Fischerspooner disappeared – and in the interim the disco-loving Scissor Sisters stole their thunder. In 2008 Fischerspooner’s outlandish frontman Casey Spooner has resurfaced – and he’s heading down under to DJ.

Three years have elapsed since Fischerspooner’s underrated second opus, Odyssey. In his time away, Spooner, disillusioned with popdom, returned to the theatre. He’s portrayed Laertes in The Wooster Group’s Hamlet.

“I was so frustrated and burnt out and pissed off after we released the last record,” Spooner confesses. “I wasn’t happy with the way it all went down. It was kinda like, ‘Congratulations, your dreams have come true, you’re successful, you’ve signed to a major label, you’ve made it’ – but it was very bureaucratic. It was difficult to be creative in that atmosphere. I felt like the release was handled poorly. As the music industry was in decline, it put a lot of pressure on us. We weren’t able to tour as much as we’d been able to on the first record.

“There were two years of working on an album and then I wasn’t able to do what I love to do the most – which is perform. So, when I came home in the summer of 2005 after what I thought was gonna be another six to eight months of touring, I just walked away from the whole thing and decided that I needed to reconnect with my roots as a performer.

“I had started in experimental theatre. My dream was always to be in a production with The Wooster Group. Basically, I did the last show of the album tour and the next day I went into rehearsals and started working with them on this really amazing and incredibly intense and difficult performance of Hamlet.”

Spooner, from Athens, Georgia, bonded with Warren Fischer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They collaborated on performance art projects. The buddies then separated, only to hook up again in the Big Apple – and it was here they launched Fischerspooner.

Spooner had long been involved with an experimental theatre company but was growing stale. The pals contemplated developing a TV pilot but became more interested in the soundtrack. The low-key Fischer, previously in the obscure math-rock outfit Table, was to be producer. Fischerspooner staged their post-camp show at clubs and galleries alike.

The electroclashers aligned themselves with DJ Hell’s stable, the German reputedly discovering them online, but bigger labels were soon on the prowl. Fischerspooner (in)famously inked a much-hyped mega deal with Ministry of Sound (and, it ensued, Capitol Records internationally). In 2002 the Americans re-issued their underground debut, #1.

It wasn’t the combo’s music but their image – and brazen self-mythology – that rankled with critics, who depicted them as the electroclash Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Fortunately, clubbers were more open-minded, with Emerge deemed a nu-electro classic. The single cracked the UK charts. Fischerspooner even appeared on Top of the Pops.

Fischerspooner rematerialised in 2005 with Odyssey, further exploring arty electro-pop. Tellingly, this time the music took priority. Above all, Spooner wanted Odyssey to be “a more expressive, emotional and human album.”

At the beginning of the year Fischerspooner disseminated The Best Revenge via the French tastemaker’s imprint Kitsuné. It’s auspicious.

A decade on, Fischerspooner have defied those who dismissed them as a flash in the pan – and Spooner sees his upcoming DJ tour as a chance to reacquaint himself with Australian fans.

“I’m excited. I’m sorry that we’re not coming to do a show, but the DJ thing is fun, ’cause we do get to play music. It’s a great way to at least touch base and connect with people and just let them know what’s going on with us.”

WHO: Fischerspooner
WHAT: Play Global Gathering at Entertainment Quarter
WHEN: Sunday 30 November
MORE: sydney.global-gathering.com

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