Death In Vegas Are Back - Richard Fearless Interviewed

With a new album, and an all new line-up Death In Vegas are back after eight years in the wilderness. Richard Fearless discusses shooting snake pits for The Rolling Stones, producing young bands and sharing a studio with Andy Weatherall...
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From Hawkwind to Detroit in fifteen minutes. ‘Trans-Love Energies’ is Death In Vegas return album. Track 1 and 2 get you stoned while Track 3, ‘Your Loft, My Acid’ puts you back on the dance floor. Death In Vegas fifth album is a mix of dark psyched-out-electro and sonic garage-rock with the vocals of chief Vegas protagonist, Richard Fearless and guest Katie Stelmanis - a classical trained singer who’s voice is a pure high in itself.

Prior to this resurrection, their last album, Scorpio Rising came out in 2003 and was followed by a live original score for a surf film event entitled ‘Chairman of the Board’ at The Barbican. The band parted company with their label Universal and Fearless drifted to New York to pursue a new life behind the camera. He resurfaced fronting a new young-faced band, Black Acid. Back in the UK, his agent Alex Nightingale, pointed-out that this wasn’t Black Acid’s new album, with its sonic mix of electronics and vintage guitar amps, it was Death In Vegas’ fifth album.

Fearless, back in deepest Dalston fills in the last eight years since Scorpio Rising.

“I’d been doing Vegas stuff since I left college. Thirteen years of writing songs, creating the artwork and videos, producing it. I just had to get away from it really, so I went to New York.”

What kind of filmmaking were you involved in?

“At one point I was shooting a snake pit in an aircraft hangar in Toronto for The Stones Bigger Bang tour. It was for ‘Sympathy For The Devil‘  which they opened with… rumour has it Keith liked it.”

“I put thirteen years of my life into this band… I’m in no hurry to stop making music just yet”.

You have written and recorded the album in a number of locations has being back in a UK studio had any influence on current record?

Andrew Weatherall had a studio in space in London. I’ve been I there for two years. It’s not a bad set of ears to have on the other side of the door.”

Scorpio Rising had a host of guest vocalists, BBC 6-Music still play that track with Liam Gallagher singing. How did you end up doing the vocals this time?

“I didn’t want to make an Unkle type record where it’s all about whose vocals are on there. I’d written some songs and ended up doing it on my own, it was easier. It would feel weird with someone else signing my lyrics.”

Trans Love Energies also has a double album release with remixes by you?

“I worked on this for two years and I didn’t see the point in getting remixes done. I didn’t really think that one through – I created a whole load of work for myself”

Your voice is not the only one on the album; the female vocals are not typically associated with electronic music?

“I’d heard a track from Katie Stelmanis (aka Austra, on Domino Records) I got her in for the day, she was supposed to be flying back to Canada and ended up staying here for weeks. She’s a classically trained opera singer and I wanted her to under-sing which was really hard for her.”

Is this the same line-up as Death in Vegas on stage at the Barbican in 2005?

“It’s a completely new young band. It happened by default while I was engineering music. I started working with Travis in Black Acid while I was producing his record and Dom the bass player – I was producing his band Dark Horses. I had a young guy programming for me he came in for a week and stayed for a year, young James, he started doing the synths. Bringing back the old boys from the previous band and starting again didn’t feel right. Fresh horses.”

So you’ve had Keith Richards admiring your short-film of a snake pit and now a new, younger band ready to tour. Where next?

“I put thirteen years of my life into this band… I’m in no hurry to stop making music just yet”.

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