Fej (Imperial Emporium Sound Options)

Members / Instruments It’s just me. I play guitar, electronic effects, turntables, samplers, drums, bass and recording devices. Imperial Emporium is a cassette label.

Years Active 1995 – now

Latest Release For Friends and Loved Ones – out today!

Favorite Local Bands / Artists Uno Lady, Actual Form, Free Black (The producer in the band has a new tape on Imperial Emporium), Mourning [A] BLKstar, Party of Helicopters, Harriet the Spy, The Man I fell in Love With, Six Parts Seven, Mike Tolan (Talons), Trouble Books, Gabe Schray (G.S Schray), Pleasure Leftist

Current Album on Repeat HR3 – Bad Butter Vol. 3 (this is one of latest Imperial Emporium Sound Options tape and I am loving it)

Currently Reading Technical Manuals

Favorite Venue to Perform Mama Joe’s when I was younger. My favorite basement all time I think. I don’t play out much lately, but I really like Musica to go see a show, or smelly basements.

Local Artists We Should Know More About Matt Haas

Favorite Albums of 2020 Hundred in the Hands – Your Dream is a Stone, Lisa Bella Donna – Changin’ Times, Free Black – Freedom Summer

Biggest Inspiration Bjork / Kid Koala / Rose Melberg

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this past year?

I guess we have to be okay with being alone for a little while. I’m married and I have two dogs, but I rarely see anyone, and I cherish the times I do. I haven’t seen my daughter since Christmas last year, and that hurts. I generally work from home alone, and I’m not so into that.

Tell us about how this project got started?

I bought a Line 6 dl4 and my friend gave me their retired Akai DPS16 (a late nineties digital 16 track). I’ve been doing solo stuff ever since. I don’t finish much though.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment? 

I have been working on a TV sculpture in my basement. It’s sort of a sloppy mosaic of 90’s and eighties era TVs that I am trying to roughly sync for a music video. I have been having a hard time getting VCRs that work though. I am hoping to finish it in the next couple weeks.

What would you consider your best local show experience?

Either playing or witnessing Space Cubs at the Hive Mind. They are not local to Akron, but the show was small and the space was good. The best show I’ve seen in many many years was played by Space Cubs in Pittsburgh.  

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

Very Poorly. I either don’t do anything for a long time and just hang with my wife and our dogs, or I dive in and can’t communicate except in business terms. I get too obsessed and can’t shut it off, and it’s all I think about. At work, when I do any creative work, I do it by the book, and have 3 backups until it’s all done. When I’m working for myself sometimes I don’t even save stuff and have to do it over again, or I don’t save in the hardware and I don’t leave myself the option to come back to it. I have burned myself a lot that way. 

Previous bands?

Chronologically here is every band I have been in, starting at the beginning:

Bloodshot

Pedwin

Dude Ranch (later renamed the Prosthetics)

LigOD

Pankration

Shipwrecked (later called Directions for Playing)

In the event of… (Eugene Oregon)

Audiocopter (Olympia Washington)

These Creatures (Olympia Washington)

Duunes

Ghost Cut

Area Man

This is What We are Now

Zoo Ruins

Were you anywhere before Akron?  

Was born in Akron, but I lived in the northwest for a few years.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

I have a project planned with Lisa Bella Donna trading 388 tapes back and forth. That covers that goal. Other than that the rest are pipe dreams I’ll keep to myself.

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

My last record was a collaboration with a lot of my favorite artists I’ve met and admire. Uno Lady, Jac Nelson, Taka Tozawa, Floco Torres, Josh Weiss, Cory Juba, Josh Novak, Tucker Theodore Haendler, and Erin Carracher all have songs on it. It was finished in June. Also, I am finishing up working on a record for Tucker right now. It’s coming out on a label called Antiquated Future. Pretty sure it’s a tape release, and that it’s coming out in December or January. 

Experience working with a label? 

I run a small tape label called Imperial Emporium Sound Options. I don’t have much experience really. I am really bad at the marketing side. I like making the tapes and the ads to try and sell them, but I have no idea how to get those things out there. I wish I was better at that portion of it. I love all the tapes we’ve put out. I wish they were reaching a wider audience.

Craziest memory from touring? 

It’s been a while. I guess the first day of my first “big” tour we played in a public park gazebo in Little Rock. I think the organizers just showed up and plugged into the power there. Right after the show tornados took out parts of the city and the power was out across all of Little Rock.

What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with (Promotion, Recording, Merch, Booking, Touring, etc.)?

Promotion I think. I have now idea how to promote anything. I like making things, but I have no idea how to make people wanna listen or watch it. It really helps when you can get stuff visible, then at least people start to think they should take the time to check it out. 

What does Cleveland or Akron have to offer aspiring musicians?

I think it has a huge pool of different and super talented people to work with, but once you get moved in, and start meeting people, I think you find that a lot of places.

What areas could it improve on?

We could start our shows earlier. I think the later nights are a discouraging thing for the working population. 

What has your recording experience been like?

I think recording in studios can be useful for some people, but most of the people I work with seem to all have a method of capturing themselves by now. I keep entertaining the thought of opening a more pro studio than I currently personally run, but then I think “oh no, that would be a lot to get going, and do people really want to work with me like that?” I am bad at asking to be paid also. Most of the people I do work for I respect so much, or don’t really have the money to pay for a pro space. I’m just flattered they’re working with me. 

What are the ingredients to a thriving music / art scene? 

I think a few good bands, and people that care is enough sometimes. Other times I think why is nobody here right now. Other times I think I’m too lazy and I should be out more. (obviously not right now, but when things are running). I think a few good artists and people that recognize it is a good start though. Also a good diy space is super important. For me the smaller and dumpier the space the better. 

What’s the next move? 

Well after I finished this tv thing for the video, I was thinking of doing a youtube record that uses the same pile to create an ep of music concrete created from multitracking using a vhs camcorder and playing it back through the tvs with a live accompaniment. I am not so sure how feasible this is, but I’m going to give it a shot. After that, I want to do a record using only Command and Project 3 records produced by Enoch Light. I’ve been digging through my collection and making notes, but again, I take a long time to get things done, so we’ll see how many years I talk about that one before not finishing it.


There is a tree of links here to all the people that I have worked with recently – Fej

Zoo ruins – https://zooruins.bandcamp.com/releases

Directions for Playing – https://directionsforplaying.bandcamp.com/

Ghost Cut – https://listen.rubbercitynoise.org/album/hard-agin

Area Man – https://areamanakron.bandcamp.com/releases

This is What We are Now – https://thisiswhatwearenow.bandcamp.com/releases

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