Now that we’ve all survived the apocalypse and are finally living in the year 2013 I thought that it might be appropriate to introduce you all to a great musician who many of you may not have heard of.. Daniel Huffman, also known as NEW FUMES is an American psychedelic artist who creates sounds that are quite different to anything you may have heard before.. Veering a little more to toward the tripped out side of the musical spectrum, he has worked with The Flaming Lips as a part of their Heady Fwends collaboration album that was released in 2012.. The album featured a plethora of well-known artists such as Nick Cave, Tame Impala and Yoko Ono.. Daniel was also heavily involved in the manufacturing of the vinyl pressings for the record..
It’s also important to note that NEW FUMES has his own album titled Bump and Assassination that’s available for purchase (on vinyl and digitally) through Good Records Recordings.. I highly advise that you check it out.. I’d also like to thank Daniel for agreeing to be a part of the site, and also Heather Key for supplying the great photos to go along with this article.. As always, thanks for reading!
When did you first start expressing yourself creatively through music?
I think I was a junior in high school, maybe a senior when I got a cheap guitar and a crappy 4 track machine. I really got serious about it after I saw Dinosaur Jr. and The Flaming Lips at Trees in Dallas on the “Green Mind” tour.
Describe your musical style for those at home who wouldn’t know what to expect from a New Fumes record.
It’s kind of like watching a movie that has real cinematography and animated cartoons together. Like Pete’s Dragon or Song of the South. It doesn’t sound like a musical, like those movies, but there are animated, cartoony bits and there are organic, raw life bits. It can sound dark at times, but I try to be playful and keep a sense of humor.
Who do you consider to be your main musical influences, and why?
Well, that’s tough to answer in a brief way. Music from the 50′s to the present mainly. I grew up on The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, the Doors and Jimi Hendrix… that’s what my parents played for me when I was a child, so that stuff has to influence me on a deep level. Then, growing up with 80′s MTV… how can that not be burned into my psyche?
In middle school and high school it was metal, punk rock, hip hop with sprinklings of industrial music, techno, new wave, folk, disco and noise. I just soaked it all up like a sponge. Being part of the skateboarding culture back then had a huge influence on me as well. That helped me discover bands like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., fireHose, My Bloody Valentine and The Flaming Lips. From there, it goes in to Kraut Rock stuff like Can, Faust, Eroc, Kraftwerk etc. etc. etc.
It’s a never ending list. We live in pretty great time in history to have access to so much music.
Having myself been a huge fan of your friends The Flaming Lips over the years, I’d always wondered what it would be like to attend one of their famous New Years Freakouts.. What is it like to be at one of those concerts, and also to PLAY on that stage?
Those shows are over the top. It’s fun to be at them. I have only been to two of them. I imagine it’s like how you would imagine it to be.
I played at the after party for last years show. It was nerve wracking but so fun. I was supposed to play at the Womb Gallery, but the fire department shut it down, so I played at the farmers market instead. I was afraid no one would show up, but it turned out to be okay. I played my set twice! It was an honor to be a part of that whole thing, it was awesome.
Also, I recently picked up a copy of The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends which you feature on, but more importantly you were actually a part of the manufacturing process for the record.. what was it like to be a part of something so cool, and did you enjoy experimenting with colours for the vinyl? By the way, mine look awesome (thank you!)
haha…Thank You! That record making process is really hard work, but infinitely interesting. Especially to make as many of them look like cosmic explosions as possible. A lot of sweat and blood went into those records for sure. I was pretty sick and could not speak by the end of pressing those Heady Fwends discs.
It is an awesome experience to work on that stuff. Much love goes in to those records. I love doing it! I am pressing vinyl for one of my favorite bands ever, I am on the record and I get to play with color and make art attached to music that travels around the globe! I have a good life!
Were you involved in making the Bloody vinyls? If so, how did the manufacturing process differ to that of the colored vinyls?
Yes, I was part of that process. I mentioned to Wayne that he should bring a vile of his blood to the record plant in Dallas so we could film him pouring his blood into the vinyl pressing machine (you can do that). He replied by saying “Let’s get everyone on the record to give us some blood and we can do the Jack White liquid vinyl thing with it”.
Next thing I knew, we were in Nashville injecting blood into these sort of hollow records.
I press records in a plant in Dallas, Texas. Just a pretty straight forward record making process, but with me hand pouring the colored beads that end up being melted and formed into the records.
There’s a plant in Nashville, Tennessee that engineered the “liquid vinyl” for Jack White, so we had them make us some like that.They are basically two, clear, one sided records glued together with a little bit of space between them. We injected the blood into a tiny hole in the middle of the disc and sealed it up.
Blood has such a distinct smell. It was making us kind of revved up in a weird way. I think our pupils dilated. I only gagged once.
I’ve seen a lot of live footage of yourself on YouTube mostly wearing a goat mask, is there any significance to the goat mask at all that you’d like to explain?
A friend of mine gave me that mask. I like it because you don’t have to look at the boring ol top of my head while I’m staring at my guitar pedals.
Before that, the same friend gave me a cat mask I would wear backwards so it looked like a cat was staring at you if I had my back turned.
Really, That’s about it. There’s no deep philosophical meaning behind my choices in masks.
Some people think goats are evil. I think that is retarded. It’s a goat!
Now that Bump and Assassination has been out for a few months, have you considered where you want to take yourself next musically?
I don’t think too much about it, I just make music as I make it. Hopefully it gets better and more interesting. I have what seems to be an EP and 2 LP’s worth of material already recorded. We’ll see how it pans out.
The next full length may seem a little bit schizophrenic, but more melodic than Bump and Assassination.
The music has almost nothing to do with classic rock. I think the party will just be getting started by the end of the record.
You seem to have embraced technology fairly openly when it comes to recording and making music, Do you think that there’s a place for Ipads etc to be used as musical instruments in the future?
For sure! why wait for the future? It’s here now.
You also perform under the name of “Frogboy” during Laptop Deathmatches, Firstly, what is a Laptop Deathmatch, and secondly, how did the name come about?
Laptop Deathmatch was an event where a hand full of laptop musicians got together to “battle”. You know, like a rap battle or a battle of the bands.
Each artist had 3 minutes to do their thing using only a laptop. There were rounds and eliminations, eventually revealing a champion.
I am not super competitive by nature, nor do I feel that art and music should be competitive, but these events were really very much fun.
After a year of doing it once a month, I could really see and feel myself improving as well as everyone else involved really stepping things up.
It was an exciting time. It has been a long while since Laptop Deathmatch has happened in Dallas. Im not sure if I would do it again, but I will encourage others to take part, for sure. Start one in your town!
The name “Frogboy” was a nickname Wayne Coyne gave me when I was roadying for the Flaming Lips in 2002. A furry frog costume was my uniform for their performances. The name worked for me, because I had a childhood fondness for frogs and would often pretend to be one. Don’t all children do that??
Frogs are cool.
Once again, thank you so much to NEW FUMES for being kind enough to be a part of the site.. And thank you for making great music that just isn’t afraid to be different..
If you’d like to check out some of Daniel’s work I’ve included links to his Youtube, Facebook and Twitter pages below for you all to check out.. I hope that you all had an awesome new year and here’s to hoping that this year will be just as great for new music as last year was..
Please don’t forget to check out NEW FUMES at any of his official pages below..