"Get ready for Mistakes," Robert Fisher wrote on fivenines.com in June 2011. Rarely has the decision to abstain from italics been so prophetic. Almost five years later, Fischer is a Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. And, according to an investigation by Bonnie Bacarisse published yesterday at the Daily Beast, the 31-year-old founded The Red Pill, an infamous Reddit community with almost 200,000 subscribers that describes itself as a "discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men." More accurately, it's a hub for "men's right's activists" and "pick-up artists" to ferment their insecurities, deny that rape exists, and line up against equal rights.
Bacarisse's investigation is meticulous, connecting a series of blogs and comments back to the architect of The Red Pill, Pk_atheist, and then Fisher himself. One of the keys to the investigation also provides its most devastating line—linking a post from an ex-Christian forum back to a Fisher-authored blog, Bacarisse writes, "in the user's bio, he stated his band—The Five Nines—had a new album out. Robert Fisher is the sole member of his band, The Five Nines."
Naturally, Noisey was interested in Fisher's musical output. The Daily Beast reports that four blogs and two Reddit aliases connected to Fisher were taken down "within hours" of them contacting him with the allegation. (Fisher, for his part, denied any participation in The Red Pill and asked the Daily Beast, "What is a pickup artist?"). But Five Nines (the "The" is superfluous) is still present online in all the places that an aspiring solo musician might reach out to potential fans.
Five Nines has two albums: the aforementioned Mistakes and 2013's again, again. There's also an album of remixes out there called The Silence. All of those are available online at a price. A price that I am not willing to pay. But Bacarisse links out to the one-man act's Soundcloud page. Five tracks are available to stream there for free, uploaded between four and five years ago. Each exhibits a lazy, ambient sound and some cloyingly disaffected vocals from Fisher. The first track, "Head In The Clouds," is—I don't like admitting this—a passable stab at MGMT-esque background pop that's only really undone by Fisher's stationary drone. It helps that the lyrics are indecipherable.
Elsewhere, things don't go so smoothly. "Good Bye" starts out as an aimless mess of unnecessary auto-tune and electro-flatulence but, holy shit, does it build into something spectacular for its chorus. The beat cuts out for a second so that Fisher can land his line with the requisite heroism. "I'm going to space!" he sings, the exclamation point absolutely implied. "And you're not coming with me!" Yeah! "I'm going to space! / And I'm probably not coming back!" It's a petulant, early-adolescent retelling of Ziggy Stardust filtered through a two-day binge on ketamine and the first two Muse albums. It's absolutely worth listening to.
The most grimly fascinating parts of Bacarisse's investigation come when she pieces together Fisher's journey to men's rights activism and The Red Pill. According to Bacarisse, Fisher held sickening views on rape long before setting up the Reddit page, writing under one alias in 2008, "I'm going to say it—Rape isn't an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he'd say it's quite good, really." The posts also show a man deeply paranoid about being landed with a rape accusation—"You can't have sex with this many women without getting one," he wrote on The Red Pill. The chemicals were already bubbling up before the catalyst, a "soul-crushing breakup" in 2011. It leaves us with a character who can write a personal blog that same that's both superficially contrite and deeply foreboding. "I identified the system," he wrote on Fredrickville after the breakup, "and started building rules to encounter various forms of damage that may occur in the future."
So, on "Tonight," another amorphous and irritatingly glitchy track, when Fisher wants to retreat into solitude, it's no surprise that it's someone else's fault. Some other, self-centered person. "Don't make this about yourself / I know that I want to be alone tonight," he warbles. He seems to mumble "Don't make this about yourself" again before adding, "I understand all your mood swings."
And then there's "Submarine." If I was giving Fisher the benefit of the doubt, I'd say that he was addressing himself and going for something uplifting, but I've spent two hours listening to his Soundcloud page and now, with every fresh listen, "Submarine" sounds more and more like the guy from Owl City dealing with the voices in his head that tell him to commit atrocities. It opens with a toy-piano melody that's so synthetic that it sounds sinister. Here's Fisher's opening lyric: "It's like a submarine / You've got to come up for air." He wastes no time in rounding out the metaphor: "But you know where you belong / At the bottom with everyone else."
It's worth remembering here that Fisher ran for office in New Hampshire in 2014. And won. History is, of course, strewn with examples of contradictory campaign anthems and politicians misunderstanding their favorite artsits' intentions. But few of those politicians had their own Soundcloud pages. None of them, as far as I can tell, ever made a song called "All I Do Is Lie." Robert Fisher is the exception. With a piano line that I'm certain was lifted straight from the soundtrack to Tommy Wiseau's The Room, Fisher wheezes into the verse: "Every little thing I say / Doesn't really mean a thing / Doesn't really mean a thing / Doesn't seem too promising." Vote Fisher! I'M GOING TO SPACE!
Of course, the people of New Hampshire weren't to know about these allegations. Nor would they have known about Fisher's musical output—it took an investigative reporter to bring Five Nines to our attention. And while there are small features we can uncover to form a fuller picture of the man who would go on to form one of Milo Yiannopoulos's favorite online destinations, there's nothing entirely damning in the songs. At least on Soundcloud.
But, Good Lord, "Save You." It's the top post on Five Nines' Facebook page, dated March 21, 2014, a few months before he's elected to the New Hampshire house. "You need someone in your life, someone who can save you," the post reads, with a link to an audio file. Whatever your feelings about praise music, you'll want this song to be about Jesus.
This song is not about Jesus. The savior is Robert Fisher. "You, you only come around / When you're drinking," he begins. He's developed an affinity for the gothic in the couple years between the Soundcloud output and this track. He's shooting for something grandiose—The Cure's Robert Smith, I'd guess. He's not tremendously good at that. He's very bad at that, actually. He sounds like a 12-year-old imitating a vampire. The background electronica has jarred towards a brash and unsatisfying EDM too, and it's unpleasant, but it shouldn't distract us from the savior. "You use your eyes / To hide / What you're thinking," he sings, one step away from a Red Pill post about the dishonesty of the modern woman. And then the chorus, delivered with as much passion as a man who is GOING TO SPACE. "You need someone in your life / In your life who can save you / You need to set, set things right / I can I can save you."
Somewhere, buried in the sulfuric recesses of The Red Pill, a group of twisted, creatine-addled man-children (and the doughy, basement-dwelling virgins who upvote their topless selfies) are whining about how modern feminism has denied them, the handsome studs, an opportunity for fulfillment in life. They believe that they can restore a "natural order," that their shortcomings are all in the eyes of the women who laugh them off. They believe that can save misguided women from themselves. Robert Fisher, the rape apologist's troubadour, has their anthem.
Alex Robert Ross spent twenty minutes trying to remember the name of the band who did the song about fireflies. He had to consult Carly Rae Jepsen's discography to find out that it was Owl City. Follow him on Twitter.