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Escape Velocity

They Do Like It Up 'Em: Fisty Fun & Queer Bangers With Furfriend
Luke Turner , May 15th, 2014 02:22

On the surface, mysterious Electronic Bumming Music duo Furfriend appear to be a carnal celebration of the squelchier end of sexual practice. Yet, as Luke Turner discovers, their new EP for Perc Trax reveals that they're LGBT activists, as well as just 'active'...

I do not believe that Furfriend are half human, half canine. I suspect their mothers do not know them as "Dingo" and "Das Uberdog". I'm not entirely convinced that they're from Antwerp, where they claim to have met "when we were still puppies".


What I do know is that Furfriend are very, very naughty boys. I first became aware of the duo via their track 'Geck' after tQ film editor Mat Colegate sent it to me during a trawl of YouTube. He thought it'd be up my alley - and, with a rubber glove on, it certainly is. 'Geck' is seven minutes of grinding, minimal grot, in both music and lyrics: "morning Tommy, how's your hole? Still awake? Want some more?" You get the picture.

Further investigation revealed more filth - 'Shepherd', an ode to ruttin' with mutton ("I like my sheep yellow / I share them with my fellow") and 'Fist Fuck', which does exactly what it says on the Vaseline tin ("...feel my solid punching pole...").

It's never entirely clear exactly how far Furfriend have their tongue firmly in (both types of) cheek. This is, however, inch after inch, insanely, gratifyingly sexual music, queer industrial down in a cellar that smells of leather, sweat and lube, all creaking, grunting darkness with a very Euro edge.

Further enquiries via Twitter revealed that following Furfriend's debut EP on the German Killekill label, they'd be releasing a new record via Perc Trax. 'Endless September' suggests a more serious side to the duo: the beats thrust as sternly as before, but this time around Furfriend have written an anthem in part about information overload in part spunkily aimed directly at Russia's homophobic beefcake leader, Vladimir Putin. I've heard the Perc remix of the tune, where the buttock paddle beat drops out for Furfriend's gruff vocals to snap "pics of me and Putin fucking" at various techno events in the early hours of the morning, and it goes down a storm. I dropped Furfriend a line to get to the bottom of what they're about...

There's a bestiality aesthetic to some of what you do - "the sweet feel of sheep in their best years". Where does that come from?

Furfriend: After a rather dramatic change in our lives we were thrown onto the street and had to get by with shitty sheep-herding jobs. Well, you know... some of them gave us the looks... guess it has something to do with power and stuff. But actually we never went too far on the offer... some of it is just fantasy. Some of it isn't though! The name Furfriend came from a gay dating website - one of the guys on there called himself Furfriend. He was a hot daddy and a lot of fun.

What musical inspirations did you have? I can hear a lot of EBM in here.

F: EBM played a big part in our lives of course - we are kids of the 90s and grew up in Belgium, so Front 242 was a big part of our youth. A lot of inspiration comes from classic Chicago trax like Deeon or stuff like laTOUR's 'People Are Still Having Sex'. We are also big fans of Leigh Bowery and Minty. Their shows were unbelievable - I wish I could have seen one live. We also like to go to hardcore and death metal concerts for letting off steam.

And three non-musical inspirations?

F: Porn, punk and politics, it's all connected really.

How did your music start to come together?

F: We've known each other and were thinking about doing a project for a long time. So at some point we just sat together and thought it would be cool to do a gay prank on 'One Night In NYC' by The Horrorist. That's how 'GECK' came together. we didn't think it would go anywhere, but then Nico from Killekill really liked it and it became a hit somehow. We are actually not so sure why - it was all done in five hours. So now, when we make music that is our dogma - make it in a day or it's shit.

"Furfriend encourages you to write down your dirty fantasies and send them over via this facility. We'll turn your sexual deviance into roaring techno moansters!'" Has anyone done this yet?

F: Unfortunately not. But I guess people still have a long way to go in terms of liberating themselves sexually. The call is still on though, so feel free to write us to info@furfriendroyalty.com.

Terrific! Expect a mail about the time I... moving swiftly on, do you see humour as a tool?

F: It is tongue-in-cheek but is always heavily inspired by real life. A bit like in stand up comedy - sex and humour can sell anything.

Is your music specifically written with fucking in mind? Do you 'sex test' your music?

F: Hahaha - well not all of it, that would get old after a while. But yes, I have fisted to 'Fistfuck'... it wasn't the best fit for it though. Usually you'd want something more spherical. It's a spiritual experience after all...

Have you played out live much? What reaction do you tend to get? Have people started fucking in front of Furfriend?

F: When we played at GEGEN, some people were fucking on the balcony across from the stage. That is not a rare thing there, but it added a lot to the atmosphere.

Tell us about 'Endless September'. What does the title refer to?

F: 'Endless September' refers to Eternal September, which stands for September 1993, when Usenet was opened to the wide public and the internet started taking off. It's the first time we wanted to show a bit more what's behind a lot of our other tracks. There is this monster of information politics in the room and it scares the shit out of everyone. So the track is about us being totally dependent on our social networks, and how we all know it can be used against us, but we still keep on doing it, because there is really no alternative if you want to be part of society.

How did you get involved with Perc Trax?

F: Ali [Wells, aka Perc] contacted Nico from Killekill because he liked our stuff. It was really quite simple in the end. We are huge fans of his work from day one, and it's sheer magic that our current focus fits so well with the Perc Trax ideology. We met recently when he was playing at Berghain a couple of weeks ago. He is focused and on the mission to change people's perception, just as we are.

Your other tracks I've heard have been about the pleasures of sexual hedonism, and what you say about the information age and the lyrics about Putin are far more political. Are you involved in LGBT activism?

F: Absolutely! If you look at our lyrics, they all carry a social or political message. We are involved in anything that promotes equality between all people - no matter who you are or what you are into. There will always be differences of course. That's part of what drives culture, but if our society cannot provide a basic level of respect for everyone we have no right to call ourselves civilised. You can always lose your respect for someone, but not for what he is, only for what he does to others. This is why I have no respect for people like Putin who have no problem degrading and excluding a minority just so people have someone to kick around. Every villain means well, but they all fail at empathy.

Do you feel sex can be a political weapon?

F: It's interesting how gay culture has polarised the world so much recently. It seems like the idea of sexual freedom scares one half of the planet and empowers the other half. It has become like a tag - equality has become strongly tied to progress and it shows how much power sexuality has over everything we do. After all, it is also how we reproduce, so - fuck yeah! Of course sex is a political weapon!

Is it still possible to be transgressive in art? Do you feel that 'extreme' sexual practices are the only form of transgression left?

F: Sexual practice is an easy way of getting people's attention and package it nicely. I would say there are a lot of good artists out there who manage to be transgressive without using sexual practices, we are just being lazy. And we also want to have fun, so we chose this way.

If you were to meet Putin down the local gay sauna... do you reckon he's a top or a bottom?

F: I am quite sure he's one of those 'tops' who are really bottoms, if you know what I mean. He probably likes to get fucked by big bears.

Furfriend's Endless September EP is out this month via Perc Trax

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