The LA noise rockers create a soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic road trip to complement their heavy new album VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR
When HEALTH released their third album, DEATH MAGIC, in 2015, it felt like the LA noise band were entering a new era. The heavy experimental rock they’d been developing since the mid-00s had taken on a completely new, contemporary form, with cybernetic synthesisers, rave rhythms, and sharp synth-pop songwriting meshing alarmingly well with their aggressive sound.
Their new album, VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR, continues this trajectory: “RAT WARS” rattles like an LA rap track, “FEEL NOTHING” has an industrial rock groove, and “STRANGE DAYS (1999)” – its title presumably referring to Kathryn Bigelow’s cyberpunk neo-noir of the same name, which is set in the year 1999 – floats along a weightless electronic beat. That said, the results feel far heavier this time, with almost each moment of beauty offset by cathartic release of noise (save for closing track “DECIMATION”, a subversive guitar ballad). Its release follows a series of one-off collaborations with the likes of Soccer Mommy, Perturbator, and Youth Code, and a cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday” for the Charlize Theron-starring action flick Atomic Blonde.
For our latest Dazed Mix, HEALTH put together a selection of road tunes, all AM radio rock, twilight ambience, and Blade Runner blues. We also sent a few questions over to the band’s John Famiglietti (bass and software) about SLAVES OF FEAR, their legendary DISCO remix albums, and what their dream supergroup would look like.
What’s going on in this mix?
John Famiglietti: We did it pretty cracked out and jet lagged, but were going for, like, an odd ass, post-apocalyptic radio/movie vibes. Something to listen in the car, to chill to, y’know? That Jon Anderson song prolly don’t fit, but I wanted y’all to hear it.
You put your phone number at the end of the “SLAVES OF FEAR” video. Have you had any interesting conversations?
John Famiglietti: Oh, most definitely. Some scary ones with suicidal folks. However, the majority are just confusion, then elation.
SLAVES OF FEAR is the first studio album recorded since Jupiter Keyes left the group. Was there a learning curve, adjusting to a new studio dynamic?
John Famiglietti: Well, the original tracks of DISCO3 were done without Jupiter, with the same team of ourselves and (producer) Lars Stalfors, so there weren’t any growing pains.
What have you got coming up immediately after the release of the album?
John Famiglietti: A shit tonne of tour dates. Also, we’ve got some more music to drop, so we’re gonna keep the fire going.
If you were putting together a supergroup, what other band members would you pick?
John Famiglietti: Any great musician who’s dead. If I can bring someone back from the dead and they’re famous – well, you’ve got an insanely interesting group and tour right there. Also, man, I gotta explain a lot of shit to Mozart.
What’s your favourite scene in Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days (1995)?
John Famiglietti: When Ralph Fiennes gets super emotional watching his cherished memories of Juliette Lewis on rollerblades in that fucked-up ass house.
Your DISCO albums are legendary. Who would be on your dream wishlist to remix tracks from the new album?
John Famiglietti: Man, it was so hard to put together DISCO3. The general attitude towards remixes in the streaming era is very different. People aren’t nearly as excited to make them or listen to them as before. I think we might do something different for DISCO4.
What film do you wish you could have done the soundtrack for?
John Famiglietti: Shit, any of them. Hollywood, gimme a call!
01. David Axelrod – “The Warning Talk, Part I”
02. Bliss Signal – “Surge”
03. Peter Gabriel – “A Different Drum”
04. Jon Anderson – “Surrender”
05. Benjamin Wallfisch & Hans Zimmer – “Sea Wall”
06. HEALTH – “Wrong Bag”
07. Pink Floyd – “One Of These Days”
08. Brian Eno – “Becalmed”
09. Debbie Reynolds – “Tammy”
HEALTH’s new album VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR is out February 8