La Fin Absolute du Monde, an electro-rock duo based in San Francisco, Calif., turned 4 years old this year. In a recent blog post on the band's website, guitarist Jason Myles recalled a warning that a musician friend gave him about this time in LFADM's career.
"She was explaining that it usually takes a business five years to start really turning a profit, and that the four-year hump is where most fail," he wrote. "I think most fail because doubt really comes into the equation for success. The older we get, the more our peers and family members stop looking at us as an emerging international touring band, but as a bunch of lazy bums who don't want to get a job."
Boise Weekly caught up with Jason and wife-collaborator Chicky Myles while they were in Portland, Ore. In a phone interview, Jason talked some more about aging and artistic ambition.
"Four years is hard, and it wears on you," he said. "We're not spring chickens anymore: I just turned 37, [Chicky] just turned 35. But we kind of looked at each other and some people sent us some kind of positive messages, and they were like, 'You guys are on a mission, man; you gotta see this thing through.'"
The Myleses' "mission" has yielded enough results to qualify them as an "emerging international band." They toured the UK in 2013 and this past April opened three West Coast dates for seminal industrial metal band Godflesh. The duo's latest release, Black Sheep: Remixed (2014), features a remix of the title song by Godflesh frontman Justin K. Broadrick. LFADM is currently on a North American tour and will play The Bouquet on Thursday, Sept. 4, with local acts Satyr Co., Reverend Otis, DJ Bones and Chalivera.
LFADM's sound--a somber, idiosyncratic mix of metal, trip-hop and folk--evolved without a clear plan. The first song that the couple wrote together, appropriately titled "Beginning of the End," grew out of a riff that Jason played on acoustic guitar. After recording the riff on GarageBand, he handed his computer to Chicky and told her, "Do something with it."
"I didn't know what the hell I was doing," Chicky said. "I started playing some really dark, brooding things, thinking, 'Oh, he's going to hate this and he's not gonna think I'm cool and this is not gonna work out.' And he listened to it, and he was like, 'Wow, I love it.'"
It still took time for the duo's sensibilities to mesh. While Jason had experience playing on various hip-hop albums and performing with rock bands in the Bay Area, Chicky came from a classical background, studying piano and Flamenco guitar in college. Eventually, they found common ground: Chicky had a soft spot for Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana and shared with Jason a love of trip-hop groups like Portishead and Massive Attack.
Once Jason and Chicky developed enough LFADM material, they started their demanding touring schedule. The duo will typically be on the road nine months out of the year and work odd jobs the other three months to finance more touring. They'll stop at Walmart parking lots to sleep and take advantage of the Wi-Fi at McDonald's restaurants. They'll also book gigs in remote, sometimes dangerous areas. For example, their last tour included a show in Juarez, Mexico, which has become infamous in recent years for widespread drug cartel-related violence (they have another show in Juarez scheduled for Oct. 17).
"It was actually a great show; a lot of people showed up," Jason said. "Once they found out that we were not assholes, they would kind of send the one person who could speak English up to talk to us. And this girl got kind of emotional and she was like, 'People don't want to come here. They think we're trash.'"
LFADM's shows with Godflesh in Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles proved equally gratifying.
"[The other bands] had watched the show [in Seattle] from the balcony, and they were giving us a lot of props," Jason said. "It was a cool experience because you felt like there was almost a baton being passed."
LFADM hopes to take that baton farther down the track. The duo plans to release another batch of remixes and a video this winter followed by a new album next spring.
According to Jason, the Godflesh shows provided him a good lesson in perseverance. It came from a former Godflesh drummer who turned up in Portland and Seattle.
"He was talking to me, and he was telling me about some of the stuff that Godflesh had to go through," Jason said "You know, he jokingly looked over at me and he's like, 'Man if all these people would've shown up 20 years ago, I never would've quit.'"