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Journey Agents

23 October 2013 | 5:15 am | Anthony Carew

"To be honest, I don’t have an interest in travelling at all."

"To be honest, I don't have an interest in travelling at all,” admits Andy Hung, one half of the English electro-noise duo Fuck Buttons, aka Hung and Benjamin John Power. “So, the touring lifestyle has been an interesting development in my life.” Hung is on the line from Rome, about to depart for Bologna. How can he have no interest in travelling? “There's a lot of things I want to do at home!” Hung laughs. “We're both very creative people; we want to be making things all the time. And you can't really do that when you're travelling. Without wanting to sound like a hippy: there's as much exploration you can do internally as there is to do externally.”

Across three LPs – 2008's Street Horrrsing, 2009's Tarot Sport and 2013's Slow Focus – Fuck Buttons have staged explorations in sound. “What's fun about music is that it takes you on a journey without you having to plan and intellectualise that,” Hung says. “When you're making something, a good sign is when you start surprising yourselves. The time in which you're doing something that feels a bit dangerous to you, that's what you strive for; I think any artist can empathise with that. You want to feel like you're exploring, otherwise you're just going through the motions.”

Part of the intuitive, exploratory nature of Fuck Buttons' music comes from its instrumental nature, which lends it an interpretive quality that makes it perfect for film placements and/or Olympic opening ceremonies. But are Fuck Buttons' songs, y'know, about anything? “Not really. But kind of. There's certain imagery that it conjures for us, and it's exciting for us to have that, but in terms of, like, themes or stories or narrative, there's none of that,” says Hung. So what kind of imagery does it conjure for them? “No!” Hung yelps, defiantly. “Not saying! We've been hesitant to talk about that at all. Not because we're secretive, but because that's part of the fun about the music. We wouldn't want to rob any listeners of that joy of getting their own imagery from whatever they're listening to. Once, this guy on one of our YouTube videos, can't remember which song it was, said it was like lying on a lake of ice, watching shooting stars. That's a pretty incredible image.”

“We write it for ourselves, always, without any regard for how anyone else will perceive it,” says Hung. “We think it's amazing that anyone else listens to our music at all, but we have no idea why they do. Because it's just the two of us, we're only really trying to satisfy each other. By reading each other's expression, when we're writing or jamming music, [we] can tell when something's going right. When we're playing for 'that' face, we're playing for each other; and it goes back and forth between us as a dialogue. I can't say that we don't write for an audience, because we're writing for each other.”

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