NadaMucho.com Interview – Federation X
By Graham Isaac
There’s a certain catch-22 when it comes to local bands; you can play show after show to an appreciative hometown, but it’s only when you leave and come back again that your hometown crowd is tripled and everyone lavishes you with the love you so rightfully deserve.
No band are more deserving of the red carpet-and-love treatment than Bellingham’s Federation X, who recently came back to celebrate the July 12 release of their new album Rally Day, out now on Estrus Records. The album was originally supposed to be demos of a few new songs they’d written, but the studio sessions went well enough that full-album recording ensued.
“The other albums we had all written and rehearsed before heading into the studio,” said Ben Wildenhaus, guitarist. “This one we had half-written, but things were going well enough that Bill extended his ticket for a month.”
Guitarist and singer Bill Badgely relocated from Bellingham to Brooklyn a couple of years ago to pursue documentary filmmaking. Originally he flew out to record the demos and film a video for “Hatchetman,” off of the American Folk Horror album.
“We just get together whenever we feel like it. The band was never supposed to get in the way of what we wanted to do. . . we’re all free agents and being in a rock band was never the be all and end all of what we are,” he said. “We have an equipment and van on each coast and take turns flying out and do each coast.”
Badgely said that Fed X’s east coast following has increased as the band has played shows for Black Label Bike Club, an anarchist bicycle collective, as well as a CMJ show and gigs for Blackened USA, a clothing company.
This year has proven to be a more active one for the band than 2004, with the release of Rally Day and a tour schedule that has to prove difficult for a group split between coasts. Badgely remarked that the band’s rapport has grown to near-familial proportions, making such schedules feel almost natural.
“We’ve been touring all year,” said Badgely. “We’re hoping to hit Europe in October and hopefully Japan early next year. I think this year we’ve successfully transitioned from band to family.”
With regards to the new album, the general consensus was that while it’s still definitely Fed X, there are some very evident differences.
“It’s orange. I guess it’s got a little green in it too,” Wildenhaus said dryly. “This is the first record where we used exactly what we play with live – the same amps and instruments, so it sounds more like us.”
In addition, newcomers may find this outing a tad more accessible.
“We’re writing shorter songs now. Instead of seven-minute nerdy prog, it’s a lot more concise…three minute songs. I think there’s even a two minute song on there,” Wildenhaus said. “And Bill sings better.”
Fed X recently brought their new material to hungry Washington audiences, including one all ages gig at Bellingham’s Pickford Dreamspace with fellow local legends The Narrows, as well as up-and-comers The Trucks and The Cicadas. The following week, Fed X played their official CD release to a packed crowd at Bellingham’s 3B Tavern before heading down I-5 for a similar reception in Seattle.