Gets Awkward With Punk Globe
by: De Fen
The last I spoke with Ian Fellerman was back in December of 2010. Abyssal Creatures had recently released a self titled album, which was the follow up to his 2009 debut, Cracked Things. The self titled release was an acoustic solo effort. The songs were all well crafted third person narratives and dealt heavily with political themes. Enter, late 2011 and Abyssal Creatures, which have evolved into a electro-noise pop trio consisting of Ian Fellerman on vocals, guitars, keyboards, drum programing, and synth bass, Jodi Larson also on drum programing, and Paul Jung on bass guitar and back up vocals. This expanded version of Abyssal Creatures has just released the 16 track album, Social Awkwardness, which is available on their website free of charge. The narratives on Social Awkwardness are written in first person and deals heavily with issues of authenticity. This evolution in musical stylings and themes is comparable to Radiohead's transition from Pablo Honey to OK Computer. Sounding somewhere between the Flaming Lips and Adult, Social Awkwardness is easily one of the best albums I've heard all year and definitely recommend heading over to Abyssal Creature's website and checking it out.

I had a chance to talk to Ian Fellerman about Social Awkwardness, The Occupy Movement, and more. Enjoy.
Punk Globe- Hi Ian, can you give the Punk Globe readers any updates you may have since the last time we spoke?
Ian Fellerman- We have a new album, Social Awkwardness that just got released this September. Right now we're focusing on marketing the album. We also have a comic book on our web site and Facebook that we update once a week. That's been fun. Iím currently writing another album that Iíll start recording in November.
Punk Globe- I had a chance to listen to the new album and thought it was phenomenal. The narratives are a bit different from your last album, can you talk about that?
Ian Fellerman- Our previous album self-titled Abyssal Creatures was written in the third person. It was also a political album. All the songs for the new album Social Awkwardness are written in the first person and have to do with my personal life, which is something that I've never done before. I started playing around with different types of sound and this transformed the music into something completely different. As long as I keep making new music it will continue to change. Who knows what the next record will be like.
Punk Globe- This new album is really dance-y.
Ian Fellerman- When we were playing our self-titled album live, we were so loud that our message was difficult for people to understand. It didn't seem like I was changing anyone's opinion. So when I was making our new album Social Awkwardness, I thought that if it were music people could dance to, maybe people would lose themselves in the music and pickup the message subliminally. This summer I noticed when we played this new album live, people did dance and lose themselves. The goal of Social Awkwardness is to encourage people to be comfortable with themselves. It's more complicated that that, but if you were to boil it down to the basics, itís about not caring what other people think.
Punk Globe- I like that. It's also really outside of modern punk in a good way.
Ian Fellerman- I don't listen to electronic music, so it's kind of strange that I'm making it. But I wanted to make the album all by myself and electronic music allowed me to do that. A permanent band ended up forming out of this. I've caught some flack that it's not like other punk rock music but I really feel like I accomplished what I was trying to do with this record and the last. If people still want to be fans of the band, they can. If not then that's okay too.
Punk Globe- That's funny. When I interview people who were actively involved in creating the first wave of punk, one of the really great things is that they didn't have any rules at all. Then you have some of the third wave people who were trying so desperately to make rules out of that first wave of borderless exploration.
Ian Fellerman- Exactly. It's a really funny dynamic. I've always been huge fan of punk rock, but it seems like in the last ten years there has been a lot of new bands ripping off/copying older bands. You can hear it on the radio stations that play independent music. Most of it sounds like bands from the 1990ís. In the ďIndieĒ scene most bands sound like some sort of form of Pavement. I love Pavement, but it's not really original to try to sound like them now. Back then, Pavement had this really loose sound. It was experimental for their time. Right now people purposely have a really loose sound copying the 1990ís bands, and are really strict about it. But it comes off to me as unoriginal. When Malkmus put out a new record that was really different around 2002, most of the people who copy/copied his older albumís hated the new one.

When it comes to the present day punk scene, I live in Colorado where punk is pretty much a boy's club. This is not exciting to me. There does not seem to be much creativity in the music. Out here in Colorado it's how fast, how loud, and how hard you can punch somebody in the face in the mosh pit. I'm still a huge fan of the D.I.Y. ethic. But Iím a little over the redundancy and lack of an open mind in the music and the scene. But that is just here in Colorado. Iím pretty disconnected with what is currently going on in the East Coast where Iím from. I do think the most punk rock thing you can do is to be yourself and have your own ideas. That's what I think art is all about.
Punk Globe- Did you ever listen to any riot folk/folk punk?
Ian Fellerman- I used to. Where I was from Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains were really big. I always thought he was a really great lyricist. Andrew Jackson Jihad is also really good. My first album was acoustic, and could be considered folk punk. But the only reason it was acoustic punk was because at the time I was broke. The only way I could make the record was with the acoustic guitar I had. I'm still a fan of riot folk. I'm not sure what Pat The Bunny (Johnny Hobo) does now, but when I was fifteen and he was singing about spending time in parking lots, I found it to be very similar to my teenage years. Andrew Jackson Jihad is really hilarious. I think it's cool people are still making music like that.
Punk Globe- Yeah. Andrew Jackson Jihad just released a new album and Pat The Bunny is playing with a band called Ramshackle Glory and they have a new album out as well.
Ian Fellerman- Pat The Bunny is very talented. Seeing him live was really kick ass and inspirational. I'm looking forward to hearing the new stuff.
Punk Globe- It's really great. I think because he let himself develop. Like your new album, you let yourself develop instead of following other people's rules.
Ian Fellerman- I'm a huge Sonic Youth fan and when they put out Rather Ripped everyone was freaking out going, "Oh no, it's a pop album!" I went and saw them play on that tour and it was great, they were terrific and it's a good album. In present day music business, one of the hardest things is that they do not allow artist development.
Punk Globe- Have you been paying attention to the Occupy Movement? If so, do you have any thoughts on it?
Ian Fellerman- I've been paying close attention. I think it's great and I support it. It's about time. The one thing that I'm disappointed in is that we should have been protesting this kind of behavior during the Reagan administration. It's great that people are out there, I just hope it's not too late. I'm also really glad that everyone seems to have a positive attitude that it's not too late. I just think that we would be a lot better off even if we started acting up during the second Bush administration. We're really far down the hole at this point.
Punk Globe- Yeah. I've been covering Occupy L.A. and camping out more off than on.
Ian Fellerman- You have to love how the media is saying that the movement does not have a message, which is total bullshit. Itís obvious to me that the message is that weíre tired of Wall Street traders manipulating the stock market. We are also exhausted by all these companies who started in America that are now acting like international companies by shipping jobs off to third world countries when hard working Americans helped them make their first 20 billion. Do they really need the extra 1 billion dollars by doing this? Iím impressed by the protests; it takes a lot to get people to come out of their house. Even people who aren't working are taking time off from looking for a job to go out on the street and protest. Even in the small town I'm in, there are people out on the street holding up signs being supportive. De, where were the protests in L.A.?
Punk Globe- At City Hall. City Hall looks like a tent city. It's really beautiful and well organized. Food Not Bombs is out feeding people and they have an emergency medical tent among other things. It's very interesting.
Ian Fellerman- Wow. I think thatís great. I've seen people on the news that are conservative Republican types who voted for Bush but they're out protesting with the left because theyíve been hung out to dry. Hopefully people who are closed minded over the social issues will go to the protests over the economic problems and will be open to changing there mind on whatís going on socially in this country. There's definitely a lot of people who are having their rights stampeded upon and no one is really talking about it.
Punk Globe- I agree. It's interesting to see people in mass begin to have cross community conversations that we should have all been having decades ago.
Ian Fellerman- And the whole election right now is a sideshow to what's actually going on. It's a complete circus. It's always a circus, but it's laughable at this point.
Punk Globe- That relates to your last album.
Ian Fellerman- The last album was comprised of different perspectives of young people's view of the post 9/11 world. The basic conclusion of the album was that we need to take care of each other. That's the feeling I'm getting from these protests, that people are realizing that we have to take care of everybody. It seems that when the protesters express this, one of the first reactions from people against the protest is, "You're unpatriotic or a Communist". In my opinion, the most patriotic thing you can do is to take care of each other.
Punk Globe- Do you have any tours planned?
Ian Fellerman- We're pretty much just playing Colorado right now because of job restrictions. We're looking to play on the West Coast around April or May, so if any venue reads this, please feel free to contact us.
Punk Globe- It'd be great to see ya'll play out here. Backtracking a bit...What made you want to start making the comics?
Ian Fellerman- DJ Super Pooper does all of the comics. We had to take time off from doing shows while were recording our next album and were trying to keep people in touch. We're all such big comic book nerds. A lot of it is completely exaggerated, but some of it comes from some tiny grains of truth from the tour we did this summer.
Punk Globe- Right on. Do you have anything else to say?
Ian Fellerman- Thanks so much to Punk Globe for being so nice to us. We're really excited about the new direction of the band. We posted Social Awkwardness on our web site for free www.abyssalcreatures.net and every week we post a comic on Facebook www.facebook.com/abyssalcreatures if you want to get in contact with us about anything please email me at abyssalcreatures@gmail.com