FEATURE INTERVIEW with Ferocious Fucking Teeth

Interview by Corrine Jensen

Ferocious Fucking Teeth is the kind of band you don’t forget. From their name (shortened to FFT for those easily offended), to their ear-ringing, head-pounding sound, to the way they challenge their fans to “come out and face them” at their energetic live shows. This five-man band is led by the vocals of Daniel S. Boroughs with Brian P. Smith on baritone guitar, Joshua M. Houser on guitar and Sgott Mackenzie and Steven K. Buttery on drums. Yes, you read correctly, FFT has two hard-hitting drummers and no bass. It’s hard to put them into a genre but what can be said is that these guys know how to be loud, how to rock, and how to entertain a crowd. Recently, Daniel, Joshua and Steven took some time from touring, preparing for their LP release show (March 3rd at Café Nine) and working on a future full-length album to talk with WailingCity.com.

WC: How did Ferocious Fucking Teeth (FFT) come to be?
DSB: It happened in the winter of 2009.
SKB: We all had bands that were kind of failing on us. We were all friends anyway, we all played music and there was a place at 420 Williams St. where we could play music, like a practice space.

DSB: It was very organic in a way because we didn’t really discuss it. We didn’t say one drummer one day and one another day. We wanted to make a combine force of sound. We just started jammin’.

WC: So, your sound is definitely unique. How would you classify it?
SKB: The sound at the beginning was inspired by everything we had previous done in other bands. Total Bolshevicks was a very minimal type band, they did all improv noise stuff. Brava Spectre was pretty chaotic, noisy, loud, fast-paced. Then Mike Slyne (original FFT member) did A Trillion Gallons of Gas, which was super punk. We knew we wanted to do something of a combination, something straight forward and meaningful with big riffs but we also wanted to have that element of feedback noise and all while making the loudest, heaviest thing around.
DSB: We definitely wanted to use all of the noise elements and chaos of previous bands and find a way to stream it and contain it. Not rein it in but streamline the sound and make it even more powerful. We’re like filthy, sludgy stoner jams.
SKB: It sounds like we’re wearing dirty jeans.
DSB: Yeah, it does sound like we’re wearing dirty jeans! I never wash my jeans by the way. I just wear them all the time and they’re filthy, sludgy stoner jeans.
JMH: Even before I was in the band, I really, really loved the band. And when I go see bands or hear bands play I try to really pay attention to what the band makes me feel, what mood it puts me in, what scene or location the music puts me in. FFT always made me think of being lost in the desert and having absolutely no hope and knowing you are going to die. So for me, I would call FFT ‘desert metal’.
DSB:: Desert stoned out blues-rock!
SKB: But we’ve got drone elements and noise elements too.
JMH: I think the most important thing when you’re playing music is to not be able to explain what your music sounds like. I’ve never been in any band that has sounded like another band. I think one of the most important things is to have your own sound and not rip someone else off.
DSB: And that translates with other art forms too. When you do visual art or writing or poetry, you want your own voice, which is like having your own sound in a band. I think that is key with us.
SKB: No matter what style of music you play one of the most important factors is make it believable and make it worth your time. I’m not going to be in a band that is playing half ass. You have to be believable and really appreciate what you’re doing. Playing music is supposed to be about doing it as well as you can, playing your heart out.

WC: How did you each get involved in the New London music scene?
SKB: I played a lot of shows as a teenager in Norwich and Willimantic area. My first show in New London was with Brava Spectre at I AM Fest. We had never played New London before and we refused to play on the stage and started playing on the ground and we actually started playing while the previous band was still performing. We ended up with about 200 people surrounding us and somehow bees got released.
JMH: Yeah, I hit one of the poles on the pier and released some nests of Mayflies and they attacked Sean Murray. Ha! That was pretty cool.
SKB: That was our first welcome into New London and I thought we would never be asked to play here again.  But we got invited to play the Oasis because I guess we made a big splash.
JMH: My first band was a Band called Ladykillas and my first show in New London was at the El-N-Gee in about 2007. Nothing became of it and I didn’t really get into the New London music scene until after I was in Brava Spectre.
DSB: I have an awesome memory of seeing Total Bolsheviks at O’Neill’s Brass Rail and they had the techno duo Hnatiw play as well and I got a shirt and everything. I met Mark, who was in Total Bolsheviks and I helped try to book them shows. I became more and more acquainted with living in the New London scene, kind of as an outsider and not being totally accepted. Eventually, I was slapped with a bass and told I was the bassist for the Total Bolsheviks. I played very minimal, sparse chords all by ear. Thru Mark, I met Brian (the baritone guitar player for FFT).

WC: How has your experience been with FFT and the local scene?
SKB: It’s been great. It’s been a lot more supportive than we thought it would be.
DSB: Definitely started out here in New London. Our first shows were The El-N-Gee and The Eclectic (now Pigeon Hole Gallery) and a couple things in Willimantic. I really enjoy playing around here. I like The Oasis and the El ‘N’ Gee; actually the last time we played there it was really fun. Also, The Backstage has a really good size stage and a really good sound system.
SKB: We hang out in New London at night and you can frequently find us at places like The El ‘N’ Gee, The Oasis, The Dutch Tavern and The Telegraph but FFT can’t play New London all the time.

WC: You guys do tour a lot.
JMH: It’s the only way to survive as a band. It’s the only way to go anywhere if you’re serious about it. You can’t over saturate one area and play the same venue twice a month and expect to extend your fan base.
DSB: You need to expose your sound to new people.
JMH: I was just natural for us to be out playing shows in other cities.
SKB: As for the previous bands we were all in, none of us played New London extensively. We’ve been playing Brooklyn, Philly, Providence, Boston, we’ve all played those places a million times. We had those connections to get out of town. When you quit a band or a band breaks up you don’t loose those contacts.
DSB: You just join forces.

WC: Tell me about some of your best shows, either locally or on tour.
SKB: New York is really good to us and fun to play. We’ve played with a ton of friend’s bands in New York and elsewhere. There are so many bands that have helped us out or played with us. Locally, our last Oasis show was really solid and sounded good.
DSB:We also played Don Pedro’s in Brooklyn recently and that was wild. I had a good time playing that show. I had a long working week and I let a lot out during that show. Having a band like this is really cathartic. And I really enjoyed an older show where we played with the Body. We’ve also played on the same bill as Liturgy at Daniel St. and that was fun and even for a sparsely attended show, I still got really wild and felt the music and I fell off the stage.
JMH: You never know who is going to be in the crowd. It could be 200 people or it could be 2. You still have to give it your all and play like it is your last show
SKB: We’ve played some cool shows in New Haven too. Elm Bar was fun and Café Nine was really fun.

WC: Okay, so tell me about your new LP from Safety Meeting Records.
SKB: The LP was actually recorded in November 2010 during Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago with Steve Albini. We toured out, 2 days of actual recording and 1 day of mixing sound with Steve Albini and then we toured back home. It was really intense.
DSB:Sgott called and woke him up in the morning and asked if he had any dates open and rates and such. We like Steve Albini, he has a certain ethic where he records for a cost effective rate and it’s still pricey but for an independent band its very reasonable. He’s so well known in the music industry. He’s recorded Nirvana and The Pixies and so many bands.

WC: What advice do you have for musicians/singers/bands out there who want to break into the scene or are just getting started?
DSB: When I’m in this band I’m doing it like it’s my job but it’s work that I love. I’m passionate. You’ve got your 9-5 and then you have your 5-9. I go to work, I’m an artist and that’s my job. I still feel like I’m in training but the advice I would give is you gotta love what you are doing and you have to do it as if it’s your job. Also, Albini said something along the lines of the only one who has to be satisfied with the way the record sounds like is the band. Audience or no audience you gotta live with what you record and play.

SKB: Yea, you have to live with what you record and if you don’t love it that’s a problem. As for advice, logistically here is how you do it, use technology to your advantage. You have more places than ever to host your music for free. No matter if you’re going to break it with the band you’re currently in or the next one, you need to build up the fan base. Bandcamp is a really good thing. Realistically, write good music, write what you think is good and believe in it. And if you’re in a band with people you don’t like, get out of that situation. You’re going to spend a lot of time with people you don’t like and that’s going to suck and you’re going to be turned off from music forever. Play a lot of shows for free and don’t expect to get paid. We spent a really, really long time where we didn’t get paid either. And the cruel side of everything is you’re going to be spending a lot of money getting to shows, buying a van possibly, buying the gear, buying gas.
DSB: Don’t expect to break even when you’re in a band.
SKB: And think creatively about how to actually physically put out music too. Don’t depend so much on demos online all the time. If you have something that you are really proud of you should present it physically in some format. You can burn some CD-Rs but if you package them really beautifully, you can charge a couple bucks for them.
JMH: First thing, you have to be serious to be a musician on any level but especially in an assigned band and in a touring band. It isn’t something you do “whenever”. If you want it to be successful it has to become your life, needs to be your life. It’s so emotionally, physically and spiritually consuming that you should be ready for that if you want to make it.

For more info:

Check out Adam's review of the LP here:


CD Review: Ferocious Fucking Teeth - Self Titled

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

New London’s own Ferocious Fucking Teeth are releasing their long awaited, self titled, Steve Albini recorded, LP on Saftey Meeting Records Tuesday February 28 with a celebratory release party at Cafe Nine in New Haven on March 3.  This doom/sludge quintet has been garnering a lot of attention lately and with good reason.  Not only did they record with one of the most respected names in the industry but with their unorthedox lineup, (2 drummers, guitar, baritone guitar and vocals). Making enough noise to be heard easily within a 4 state radius and playing music that runs the gammot from slow melodic drone of Earth to the breakneck speed and big riffs of Buzzo*ven this is a band to watch for sure.

FFT’s instrumentation makes for a very polarized sound on record.  With each drummer and each guitar hard panned to a specific side, the only thing heard in both headphones is Danny’s voice screaming out from what sounds like the 4th demension.  It’s a crushing feeling being in the middle of that sound but it’s a feeling most coinesuers of heavy music have grown accostomed to.  The tonality of the guitars isn’t all that different being that it’s usually a big distorted chord but they are distinguishable.   When they’re playing different things the polarized nature of the recording comes back into full view.  This technique makes FFT sound almost like 2 bands that are playing off each other.  Neither side is leading this dance and without one side the sound would be thin.
Another striking thing about the songwriting is changes in speed throughout the album and even in single songs.  A song like "Don’t Go" seems like it would be building to a breakneck almost grindcore pace but instead after 2 big buildups breaks down to a mid tempo stomp.  The opening track "One Bright Light" has the almost the oposite effect going from very quick but distant guitar hits to a rocket powered noise fest with an ending that almost crawls to the completion of the song.   My personal favorite track on the album "Daytona" is a semi melodic dirge from beginning to end but grows in and shrinks in volume rather than speed.

Despite the noisey nature of the members previous bands (Brava Spectre, Total Bolshevicks, Trillion Gallons of Gas) the noise on this record is much more of a texture rather than a selling point.  This causes FFT to be far heavier than all of the other projects.  While noise is good for grabbing attention and abrasiveness it doesn’t give you the thud and bang required to bring home a heavy sludgey riff.  FFT’s self titled LP is well worth listening to if you’re a true fan of heavy music or casual fan of the big riff.  There is more there then a cursary listen will allow you to hear so strap on your headphones turn it up and brace yourself.
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Check out Corrine's interview with the band here: