Exclusive Q&A: Zach Ferrin of Fable Cry talks Festival of Ghouls, Upcoming Concept Album!Books/Art/Culture,News Ken W. Hanley
When the macabre and music collide, you often get one of two results: either horrifying heavy metal or theatrical, operatic gypsy rock. In terms of the latter, you’ll be hard pressed to find an outfit that works as hard or as resourcefully as Fable Cry, the Nashville-based horror rock band that weaves wicked tales throughout demented discography. With frighteningly fun music videos (including “The Good Doctor”), lurid live performances, and eerie albums to their name, Fable Cry is quickly gaining notice among those who celebrate Halloween 24/7. And with Halloween itself just around the corner, FANGORIA caught up with Fable Cry’s freaky frontman, Zach Ferrin, to talk about their upcoming creepshows and creations, including their most ambitious recording to date…
FANGORIA: The last time we checked in with you guys, it was last year with “The Good Doctor.” What is the band up to at the moment?
ZACH FERRIN: We’re right now going into writing mode pretty hardcore. We’re not going to be releasing too much of that for the rest of the year, but there’s been lots of writing. We’re hoing to be recording a bit when we’re not planning our Festival of Ghouls show that we do every year around Halloween here in Nashville. It’s like a rock and roll circus show with us and a few other bands and then we have aerial performers, puppets and actually, the same puppet group that did “The Good Doctor” video that you guys premiered will be performing live with us. Then we’re doing a little weekend run around that date.
FANG: Fable Cry has such a theatrical presence on their albums. Does the band bring that interactive, theatrical presence to your live shows?
FERRIN: We try to at just about every show. When we’re on tour, we try to bring a few folks with us on tour who can add to that stuff. If we can’t, we try to collaborate with the local scene- so whatever the city has- Lexington has Tinderbox Circus Sideshow, New Orleans has 999 Eyes Freaksho- we like to collaborate when we go down there. Eventually, when we have the means, it would be awesome to be able to secure a full tour with a whole group that can add different things to different songs. But at this point, every show in every city brings it’s own thing. We switch it out a lot.
FANG: Does the stage performance element bleed into the songwriting process? Are you more inclined to write songs that could translate well theatrically onto the stage?
FERRIN: Yeah, for sure. Probably more so with some of the newer material. The videos and the songs have always been super linked because as I’m writing them, I see it going through my head and figuring out different ways we can pull off the narrative in video form. Now as we’re able to bring more theatrics to the actual stage, we can think about that part of it too. “Ain’t My Baby No More” off of this last album was one that was almost written strictly for the stage. And we have a music video for it too that deviates from what we do with it on stage, but there’s a lot of kind of play back and forth with the crowd. We have an umbrella and we have different props- different props cue the crowd to do different things- but that was one specifically that definitely was written for the stage. And some of our newer songs, ones we haven’t revealed, we’re looking to bring to the stage and have plans for.
FANG: Considering your penchant for telling macabre individual stories, has Fable Cry discussed doing a rock opera or concept album?
FERRIN: Who told? Who told you what we were doing? That’s hilarious that you would ask that. That’s literally our next project. It’s a conceptual- it was going to be an EP but it’s turning into something a little bit longer. Not much has been revealed on that and we haven’t talked too much about it yet. But that is the next endeavor. It’s going to definitely have some video visuals to go along with it as long as some plans for the live show. It will be probably the biggest endeavor for the band that’s been done so far, as far as one album goes.
FANG: Halloween seems to be a superb time for a band like Fable Cry. Are there any annual traditions Fable Cry keeps up or plans for the season?
FERRIN: We do, like I said, The Festival of Ghouls Show. We get really immersive into the whole season and just soak it up as much as we can, individually and as a band. It’s kind of our busiest time. In the past, we’ve usually had a lot of releases happening in the Fall. This time, a lot of the writing process is going to be going on during the Fall, which I’m kind of excited about, because that’s when I tend to get the most inspired and have the best ideas. We’re always kind of wrapping something up or just releasing something by the time fall comes up, and I’m like “Ugh! So many better ideas”. So, I’m excited this year to be able take advantage of the crispness- crispness, not Christmas, but we’ll take advantage of Christmas, too, at some point.
FANG: How does the venue influence your performances? Do you tend to get more interactive in intimate spaces or do you stick to a script?
FERRIN: We love it all. We try to adjust the show accordingly. If it’s a small show on a weekday in a city we haven’t been, we try to wrangle as many people as we can and meet as many people as and make it as personal as we can. The bigger shows, everybody just wants explosions and for us to be loud and in your face. The variety’s definitely fun. Some of our funnest shows have definitely been on either end of that spectrum- there’s been the huge ones when you have a huge crowd and then the ones where hardly anybody shows up but the people that are there are just so into it and awesome, and then, still following years later. I guess I didn’t give you a clear answer there but I like them both. Can I go with both? I’m gonna go with both.
Right now, we’re still playing a variety of sideshows. So we play what we can get and we’re always honored to have anybody want to listen to what we do. So, the goal for the band is the bigger, the better, just because we have so many large theatrical ideas that have to have a huge stage to do that. But with that comes several steps in-between, so for now, it’s all fun though.
FANG: You guys have tackled so many monsters and myths in your work. Is there any kind of creature or story that Fable Cry would like to add their twisted perspective towards?
FERRIN: For sure, yeah, there’s tons of old stories and fables we haven’t really touched on that we’d like to. I have a list of subjects I’d like to eventually touch on. I like kind of having a narrative and having a personal element to it too so I can relate to it. Like “The Good Doctor,” drawing the parallel between what Victor was doing, creating this monster out of different parts, then as a creative artist, you’re also bringing different pieces of your life and memories and friendships and emotions and throwing it into songs and hoping people enjoy it when you release it. There are a lot of subjects, a lot of stories I’d like to tell- just kind of connecting them with the different personal sides of the two- personal stories. It’s a good to hide behind creatures, in a way. I could tell this story, but it’d be boring, so I’m going to let a monster tell it. It’s therapeutic, in that way, but this next batch, this conceptual album, definitely is going to be on the spooky side. It will be in a new vein, something we haven’t done yet, but I think everybody will be pleased.
FANG: Being Nashville locals must be interesting, considering the town is so based in its Country Music roots. How has Fable Cry been received by hometown crowds?
FERRIN: You know, it’s been actually really well received. I think Nashville, for a while, was known for one thing, and then there was sort of this rebellion that happened and all these other music pockets that popped up. A lot of people didn’t want to hear country music at every venue. So actually, there’s been a really good- I don’t want to say cult following but I guess I’ll say cult following. Some people dig this kind of music and were looking for it and couldn’t find it.
At the moment, there are a couple bands that we play with and it melds well sonically but thematically, we’re kind of the only ones this doing this right now here in Nashville. It’s been actually really good. I was curious when we started the band how it would work here. But actually it was not a worry at all. There’s so much more variety here then a lot of people realize, until you’re actually here, and then you almost have to look for country music. It’s funny.
FANG: Is there any town or city that’s been particularly receptive to your brand of music?
FERRIN: New Orleans has always been super good. It’s so much like home there for our stuff, it’s funny. In a good way. That’s been one where we go and we play a show and it doesn’t feel like we’re on tour, necessarily. It feels different from Nashville but it fits right in. That’s been one. Atlanta’s usually super good too, Atlanta’s a super cool town. A good town for music, they have good stuff. And we’ve been to New York recently a few times over the past year and that’s obviously a huge city with a huge variety of music but all the shows there have been really kick ass too. It’s weird- our live show is so much a part of what we do, which you haven’t seen yet, but hopefully one day. That kind of completes the package. The music is obviously the root of it and the videos are super important to tell the story but the live show is where we really all come alive and get everybody into it. We’ve been really fortunate to be overall pretty much well received in most places we’ve gone- it’s wild, it’s awesome.
FANG: Your last single was “Dead or Alive…For Now,” which featured the band itself as opposed to “The Good Doctor.” What can you tell us about that song?
FERRIN: Well, that one’s actually been out a few months. As far as the story goes, it touches on a whole bunch of classic horror stories that we wanted to show. The other songs- “Fancy Dancing,” “The Good Doctor,” and “Ain’t My Baby No More”- they have a very clear narrative and it goes through from start to finish, but we had to wrap up a narrative to tell within the whole thing. [“Dead or Alive…For Now”] is the story of the group- all coming in to do graveyard dares, which turn into graveyard brags where everyone is telling different gross stories and telling the other what they experienced, and each one seems crazier than the last. And you come to discover at the end that the stories we’re telling about ourselves- that we’re the monsters we’re actually talking about. That was the theme that runs through the whole album so we definitely wanted to make a video for that to have that and hence WE’LL SHOW YOU WHERE THE MONSTERS ARE being the title of the whole thing. There’s duality that’s within all of us, so we’re learning to embrace that and control it.
FANG: With the stories you tell, you guys would certainly be great with other forms of media, especially on the page. Have you guys ever considered doing a book or a comic book for your more visually inspired stories?
FERRIN: We’ve thought about it, yeah. There’s a lot we’d love to do in that realm. Not that we have direct plans with the immediate stuff, but absolutely; the writing part of it is one of my favorite parts, one of my favorite things to do. And I’m visually inspired too, so a comic book- you’re not the first one to ask that, and it’s more and more seeming like a better idea.
FANG: What can you tell us about your next album?
FERRIN: It will be out next year. It’s our biggest endeavor and there’s a lot going into it. The album’s conceptual and we’re going to have a video for the whole thing. So we’re going to start releasing it in chunks, hopefully at the beginning of the year, near spring, and then hopefully wrapping it up in the coming months.