The Fever 333 played their first show in a Californian car park in the summer of 2017. Since then, there’s been a steady stream of confrontational, aggressive music that doesn’t mince words or waste time in getting to the point. ‘We’re Coming In’ was a burning flag statement of intent, their ‘Made An America’ EP bundled frustrations and fury. ‘Trigger’ stands its ground and pushes the conversation of gun ownership while a remix of ‘Made An America’ features both Travis Barker and Vic Mensa. This is a band dreaming big and acting bigger. We caught up with Jason Aalon Butler, Stevis Harrison and Aric Improta amidst their first run of UK shows.
You’ve all been in bands before. Why now for Fever 333?
Jason: It has to happen right now. The whole world is at this crazy boiling point, and we can all see what’s happening. It felt like this though this was the time for us as artists and activists to do and say something for us. Hopefully, it speaks to other people, and it seems like it has.
Why use quote-unquote aggressive music as the vessel for that message?
Jason: Because that shit is sterile and homogenous as fuck. It’s fucking scared. What happened to being the movement that scared people into wanting change? What happened to being the movement that came out of subversion and adversity and struggle? When did we start packaging danger? When did we start making a commodity out of excitement? That shit is fucking crazy. Me and Steve are real big on hip-hop and rap music and Aric’s like a rock god, so it made sense. Motherfuckers need to stop being scared to take chances in a scene, in a world, that was built on pushing the envelope. When did we stop doing that and why? It’s just another reaction to the sterility of guitar music, that’s why we do what we do.
This feels like quite a reactionary band, how do you handle that going forward?
Jason: If something comes up that we need to write about, we all meet up pretty fast. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be something to react to, I’m not a pessimist, I’m not dismal, but there’s always going to be something to react to, even if it’s music becoming stale again. I wanna say this now, and this will be a thread that goes through our entire career as a band, we’re gonna do what the fuck we want, and we’re gonna keep doing what we want, the way we want to do it, and we are very deliberate in what we do. We’re not being told to do anything and luckily (our team) are with us 100%. If anyone tries to tell us what to do and we don’t believe in it, we just don’t do it.
We cancelled shows on our last tour because we found out that there were these accusations that would have challenged the safety of women at these venues. Some fans are getting upset going, why’d you cancel? and I reach out and say, because of this, and if you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand The Fever. You don’t understand what the fuck we’re doing and if you can’t see why we’re not going to support a place that is aiding and abetting the assault of women, where it’s meant to be a safe place for children, then get the fuck out my face. If you don’t get that, then you don’t get what this is, and you probably shouldn’t be fucking listening anyway. Well, you probably should be because you need to understand that.
You’ve got the Bring Me The Horizon tour coming up. What made you say yes to that?
Jason: I used to play in squats to 25 or 50 people, 100% of those people were probably feeling what I’m saying, ‘cos we all believe the same thing. If we play a big show to 10,000 people and I can offer 1% of those people a new perspective or change their thoughts, that’s 100 people. We’re not trying to ostracize people; we want everybody to come through and try to feel something and express themselves. If we get a chance to play in front of a lot of people, we’re going to take that chance.
We’ve ended up in places where people don’t agree with us, and we wanna be there. They’re the places we should be. I think it’s most important to speak with those people who have diametric and opposing beliefs to show them that you’re not a conspiratorial fucking freak, which is what they think. You gotta go in and create an area where you can talk to those people, not just say fuck you, get out of my face; you’re dumb or whatever. If you do that, you’re foreclosing any opportunity to advance the conversation you wanna have by saying, I don’t want to talk to you. That’s just as damaging. It’s different sides of the spectrum but kind of the same problem.
Aric: We talk about creating safe spaces wherever we go and when we see it happening it’s an amazing feeling for all of us. What we try and do at our shows is have a safe space for conversation that doesn’t end in fighting, shouting and bullshit. It just seems like it would go against our whole view to say no to a tour like the Bring Me one. And when the opportunity comes up to reach more people, our show doesn’t change. There’s nothing different, it’s just in front of more people, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Jason: It’s like that punk guilt. When you come from a punk rock background, you almost feel this inherent guilt when you start to move forward because they used to call it selling out. We are doing demonstrations by ourselves when promoters are going; we’re not gonna book you. We say ok, fine we’ll go somewhere else, and then we end up doing our own thing and it’s sold out. If you believe in something and you see it in your head, the possibility and the potential, there’s no reason you can’t at least try. That’s what we’ve been doing, and luckily we’ve had the privilege of seeing success and doing things the way we want to do them.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Jason: Power. Always power. I want people to feel power, I want them to feel empowered. They hold that power. People have been told for too long that they are feeding the top, that they’re just a cog in the machine. I want people to feel power from this music, and I want them to understand that whatever it is they want to be or whatever it is they are, they can do it. They have that power, and we can only hope to aid advocacy through writing a soundtrack to their power.
Fever 333 tour the UK with Bring Me The Horizon from 23rd November.
23 Birmingham Arena, Birmingham
24 First Direct Arena, Leeds
25 SSE Hydro, Glasgow
27 Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
29 Alexandra Palace, London
30 Alexandra Palace, London