Cam, Sam, and Jay form the eyebrow-raising named band FACIAL and together they make a hot punk-fueled mess blasted straight out of LA. They don't appear to have last names, nor do any of them feel the need to be pinned to one particular instrument, instead they preferring to play musical chairs when they perform live. A supremely loud, visceral noise trio they're somewhat esoteric about why each member rotates between drums, bass, and guitar as their hard and fast live shows unfold: "We like to think of instrument identity as more of a spectrum, not so black and white, y'know?"
At the end of 2016, FACIAL took over their local Eastside spot the Hi Hat every Tuesday in December, curating four weeks of aggressive, thrashing evenings courtesy of themselves and a bunch of similarly minded support bands, highlighting just how fervent, chaotic, and alive LA punk is in the age of Trump. Today they release their video for "Fashion Show"—premiering below—the latest single from their forthcoming second album, due later this year. We caught up with them on the what, why and how of being semi-nude in a cage, screaming anguished lyrics about lame parties and not harming any of the animals that feature in the video's final throes…
Noisey: Hey FACIAL, did your recent four-week residency feel like punk rock Groundhog Day?
Jay: No! Each week we were supported by different bands that aren't even all the same within the punk rock framework. There was math-doom from QunQ, sex-funk aggression from Vs Color, and Demands wear leather jackets so… all in all it made for a pretty diverse palette, all tied together with aggression, of course.
Your new video for "Fashion Show" starts with you rocking out in a cage semi-nude…
Cam: We love to elevator mosh [a form of moshing inside an elevator], so the cage felt pretty natural."
There's an array of animals at the end of the video: a goat, a pig, a turtle… Where did you acquire them?
Sam: It's amazing what you can find with a simple ad on Craigslist!
Jay: This lady brought all the animals. She had them trained and made them all sit in those chairs in a line at the same time—very impressive.
Cam: "We only had a minute to get the shot once they were all lined up. The goat pee'd on the floor, the poor pig was sunburned.
Sam: Mordecai, the turtle, was fucking awesome.
Do you like fashion shows?
Cam: They can be lame. The song is inspired by fashion show experiences. Once I was at this hotspot near Skid Row. Outside there were homeless tents lined down the street. Inside were plastic people wearing ridiculous $500 zombie cloaks. It was strange and disheartening. Nothing about it was beautiful.
As a noise band you obviously think 2017 is a year for shouting and screaming. Why now?Cam: President Trump is pure rage sauce for any artistic spirit.
Jay: Yelling and screaming can set you free from whatever shit is driving you nuts.
You're playing a benefit for the LGBTQ community tonight. Do you feel like a political band?
Jay: We're all definitely for supporting people to be whatever the fuck they wanna be.
Cam: I wouldn't label us a "political band", though a lot of our lyrics come from a place of social commentary, filtered through rage and light psychosis.
What does the future look like for FACIAL?
Cam: We will be dropping an album later this year. We drank more tequila and had better scotch while recording the vocals so it's our best yet.
Jay: When the Trumpster won that dang race, all the themes and lyrics we had written suddenly developed new meaning. It's about crumbling foundations, fear, people acting like cattle and disappointment.
Eve Barlow is a Scot living out in LA. Follow her on Twitter.