After releasing two amazing albums as Fektion Fekler, Robert and John Bustamante tapped into their roots by digging up and reworking older material. A People Undone was the resulting album released under the moniker Moksha on ArtOfFact Records (with production and remix work from Mentallo & The Fixer)*. Now that Fekler's first label Pendragon has been bought out by Metropolis Records, they find not only a new label to call home, but also a new album materializing for a release in the near future. This long-awaited album is guaranteed to be a hit, especially with the extraordinary amount of dedicated fans accumulated in their short history of releasing music.
Daryl Litts: So what exactly happened with your former label Pendragon Records?
Robert Bustamante: That's a good question. The whole thing really sucked to be honest with you. Not that I don't like Metropolis-they're a bigger label and I'd be a fool not to have a release by them, but Pendragon was a really good label. First of all it was the first label we were signed to, and it got popular fairly quickly. The guy did really good promotion and sold a good amount of CDs for us, enough to build my studio quite nicely. The whole thing that happened though was that the owner had another child, and it's really important when you have children to that you have your family nearby. His family was from Ireland, so he went back to be with them. Pendragon was a great label to be on and it's a shame it didn't go any further.
DL: Are your CDs going to be re-released by Metropolis?
RB: No, they own our first two records. They have licensing rights to them over here so they own them until the year 2004 or something like that. After that all the rights revert back to us. Right before Pendragon had called it quits and the label got sold to Met we had just renegotiated a three-album contract. Two months later the label was sold to Met, who bought all the contracts. Basically we owe Metropolis an album, which is going to be our next Fekler album. The next two albums are options, they can either pick them up or not, that's totally up to them, but we're contracted for sure for one more album.
DL: Tell us about Moksha
RB: The bad thing about our Moksha CD A People Undone is that in a lot of the reviews I've been reading, people think it's picking up from Kling Klang Bedlam. It's not. A lot of songs on the Moksha CD are ten years old, so some of these songs are super old. ArtOfFact came to us and Yolk asked if we wanted to release an album. I told him sure, but I wasn't going to release under Fektion Fekler because it would void my contract with Metropolis. With Fekler, advance money is three times greater than what ArtOfFact sent us. So we released it under Moksha and it was just a matter of going through my old tapes, picking out the best songs, and adding new sounds, vocals, and whatnot. We remixed it and had Dwayne master it, and brought it up to date with all the equipment we have.
DL: You also contributed to Mentallo & The Fixer's Love is the Law
RB: Yeah, that was weird. First of all, you know Gary [Dassing]-he's extremely spontaneous with his music. I think Dwayne [Dassing] is a bit more like myself. When I hit play on the sequencer I expect everything to fall into place. There is some spontaneity, but it's more in the vocals and in the effects, not so much with the music, as opposed to Gary who's super spontaneous. When he's recording a song, he's got ten arms. He'll be twisting knobs with his foot and shit, and grabbing knobs with his teeth while both arms are twisting to create his effects (laughs). He's really spontaneous with his mix, which is great because you really get a lot of cool stuff as you can tell from his releases. But that whole thing came about when I called Gary and told him to come record in my studio. My whole thing was that we were going to call it the eight-hour project. We were going to spend eight hours on it and that was it, and that was pretty much what happened. He just came over and I engineered and mixed it, and he recorded it and did the drums. I was really surprised he even released it to be honest, he told me it was on the album and I couldn't believe he even put it together. But Gary's like that you know. He's spontaneous with his music and he's spontaneous with everything else. He just doesn't cut off at the music. He's pretty wild and I could tell you a lot of stories about that guy. He's a live wire in the studio and out of it (laughs).
DL: It seems like you put a lot into your music. What do you do outside of music?
RB: Talk about music. Music takes up a lot of my time. Right now I'm learning the guitar, but for all of you people out there who heard that guitar track on Moksha believe me that was a one-time thing (laughs). I'm not good on guitar, and my brother summed it up best by saying, "stick to what you know." I love music and I don't want to stay stagnant with just one instrument like keyboards or technology, period acoustic is nice because you can walk into a room and pick up a guitar and start forming a song without having to plug anything in, as opposed to a studio where you walk in and turn on twenty switches and let everything warm up. But to answer your question, I do just basic normal stuff. I have a full-time job. I read sci-fi. I have a little girl. Really nothing out of the ordinary, but music does take up a lot of my time. I spend a lot of time in my music room doing interviews, promoting it, or trying to start new projects. There's not too much outside of music besides the basics of work and my daughter & girlfriend. I'd say in a day, 8 hours for family and music. Some days my family has to suffer sometimes I'm in the music room for months on end. I come home from work, go straight in, come out at 3 AM, and go to work at 7 AM. That's basically what my schedule is going to be for the next Fektion Fekler album. I'm looking forward to it, but I don't think people know how much work really goes into recording an album. They just think the album is an hour long and must have taken two weeks to put together, but that's just not the case.
DL: You mentioned your brother is he going to be involved with the next Fekler albums?
RB: Oh, definitely. He'll be doing all the vocals again. I think he'll be contributing a little more on the music because he just bought a keyboard. He's really good at sound programming. When it comes to the music, laying down structures, melody, or bass lines he pretty much stays outside of that. He also just bought a sequencer, which it took me a month to talk him into doing. He's working on songs now, probably as we speak. I don't think having a couple songs by him on the next album would be out of the question. He'll be doing most of the vocals, that's for sure.
* Moksha's A People Undone was reviewed in Legends #107, February 2001.