On the second day of Northern Invasion 2018, we chatted with vocalist and frontman Jason Aalon Butler, drummer Aric Improta, and guitarist Stephen Harrison of The Fever 333. The California-based trio discussed pre-show rituals, pop-up shows, and their favorite songs off 2018’s Made An America EP, released March 23rd via Roadrunner Records.
You’re currently on tour with The Used – do you have any crazy stories about the tour so far? Jason Aalon Butler: I mean, the craziest thing is that people have been so receptive to what we’re doing, and I think that’s the actual craziest thing. You know, like, we are doing something that is a bit challenging and confronting for a lot of people; and people have accepted it in a way that’s been really positive and we’re very thankful for that craziness.
Aric Improta: Especially for as long as we’ve been out. I mean, we’ve been in other bands that took a long time to get momentum and obviously we still have a long way to go, but it’s super cool to see the people come out and sing along even on songs that aren’t out yet.
It’s great that you give people a space to be themselves during your show – is this what inspired you to create the band? Butler: Yeah, I think there was just a void. But there are so many other bands doing what we’re doing - what we do and the message and the movement like this is all happening already and by no means are we the only band. I just think as far as the efforts to make it I guess assimilate on a larger scale and try to find that larger platform in an area that can reach more people; we just kind of wanted to do the things that we weren’t seeing as far as art and politics and social ideologies. We really wanted to just do what we wanted to see essentially, and I think that’s what kind of started it all.
Watch the video for the ripping single “We’re Coming In” below.
You put on a crazy show – is there anything you do before a set to hype you up? Butler: Steve’s got a ritual.
Stephen Harrison: I just listen to music and jump around.
Improta: Yoga. A little bit of yoga – gotta focus a little bit. I think it’s kind of weird when you’re rushed in and you just gotta jump on stage and go. It’s always nice to get at least a little break before.
Butler: I just started doing stuff. Before, I would just go on stage and wouldn’t do anything but now I listen to music with Steve and then while I’m doing that I’ll do some Qigong.
As a band, or individually, what has been your favorite song to write and why? Butler: That’s a good question. Honestly, for me writing “We’re Coming In” was amazing because it was the first song that I was able to write as a collective group effort, and what it did was just set the tone. It was like, okay we’re not going to hinder or bridle ourselves or we’re not going to be subdued, we’re just going to say what we want to say and do it the way we want to do it. So, that and also the tasteful fusion of hip-hop and punk rock, I think, were pretty apparent in that song, so I think the emotional attachment to that song and what it meant for me at least is pretty important.
Improta: Mine was “Made An America” because the first pass I think we put together in 30 or 40 minutes, so it’s hard to get a song to come together that quick. Like you’ll usually get a riff or something that feels good but not actually come full circle and get to the end of the song. So, for some reason that one just felt good from the start and I think that’s probably my favorite from the ones we’ve released.
Harrison: From the EP, it would probably be “Made An America” but my favorite isn’t out yet. So, as far as the EP goes, probably “Made An America.”
Portraits of The Fever 333 shot by Ann Storlie at Northern Invasion on Sunday, May 13th.
And what is your favorite to perform live? Butler: It kind of like mixes up – it kind of depends on where we are. But I would say that “Hunting Season” as of recent has been really cool because we’ve been doing like a little different approach at the end of that song and really engaging the crowd in a really unique way. So, as far as live shows and the demonstrations go, I would have to say “Hunting Season” as of right now has been really cool for me.
Improta: Yeah, that one’s been sick. On the actual headliners that we do we play a song called “Soul’d Me Out” and that’s my favorite to play.
You played a pop-up show at Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California as your debut performance. Why did you choose to go that route rather than a traditional venue show? Butler: It was really just to show people that if you want to do it, you can. These constructs and ideals that limit us are just really - they’re, you know, words on paper or just words that people speak to hinder you and keep you from doing things that may be considered a bit obscure or not normative behavior. We also went to that area because there are things happening in that area right now that are happening all around the world, where people are being displaced and land is being taken from people; in a society where we’re supposed to be at least allowed to live somewhat comfortably and where we’re supposed to just work hard and get to where we should be as a society. In Inglewood, where I’m from, I’ve seen the changes be very, very glaring. And also, on the Fourth of July it was kind of just a big plan to say look if you want to do it you can and that was a huge representation for us. It was an even bigger thing that we actually pulled off that show.
Improta: It was fun, and it was cool because we had a bunch of friends help us out. I mean like it wasn’t a professional anything, it was friends we’ve had since we were young that helped out and made it possible.
Do you plan on doing any pop-up shows like that again? Butler: Yeah, I think that if it makes sense and it’s going to have an impact and be effective and deliberate and is somewhere we feel will be effective - then that’s what we’ll do. With our releases it’s the same thing – there’s a method. There’s absolutely a method to what we’re doing and why we do it, and even if we have a full album already written, we feel it’s more important to release it when it will have the most impact and be as effective as it can be. From the music releases to the shows to the whatever - all of these things will be with a deliberate effort.
What can we expect from you guys in the future? Butler: Just getting the message out there as best we can by spreading it through these demonstrations. And by going to different places with different ideologies, with different paradigms and different beliefs, and just really opening up a safe space for conversation and to let people feel that maybe they’re not alone or let people see that there are other perspectives. Also, a full-length album will absolutely happen at some point - when it really makes the most sense.