Angel Marcloid breaks down her new double album as Fire-Toolz – Eternal Home – and discusses the origins of her diverse music taste, and how you can contribute to her upcoming album release live stream. Plus, she shares a fittingly chaotic 90-minute mix, juggling emo, elevator jazz, punishing blast beats, and various experimental oddities. (Eternal Home is out October 15 via Hausu Mountain – you can pre-order it in vinyl, cassette, CD, weed grinder, or fanny pack form right now).
Congratulations on your second Fire-Toolz album release of 2021, Eternal Home. Were Eternal Home and I Can’t Die created simultaneously? Or did you produce Eternal Home fairly quickly after I Can’t Die was complete?
I finished Eternal Home long before I started I Can’t Die. I took a bit of a break after EH was finished and then started working on new stuff at a crazy pace. I actually have 27 new songs post-ICD & EH. I don’t know what happened…I had little inspiration for months, and then the gates busted wide open. They’re usually wide open, but they’re also very unpredictable and cannot be forced.
You said in a past interview that your albums are inspired by many different things and don’t necessarily have an all-encompassing theme or topic. Is that true for Eternal Home? If so, what were a few of the things going through your mind during that time?
They usually have some loose kind of overarching theme. I usually pick an angle or two to try to base the overall message and album artwork on. But because my music is the result of something that feels out of my control, I can’t really decide on something ahead of time and stick with it. Album titles and art concepts are usually the result of me trying to put all the songs I made into some kind of box. But it’s a very functional box. Sometimes I look forward more to the album title and the cover art than I do half the songs. But at the same time, within that album title, and underneath that cover art, exists many different angles and facets. Some of them point to the overall concept, and some of them are just there because they emerged and that’s how it is. Sometimes you intend to plant a garden and some stuff will grow that you didn’t know was there, that you didn’t mean to plant. I keep the weeds in there…they’re all part of it, even if they don’t directly support the chosen theme, or even elevate it’s message.
Are there some clear ways to differentiate the two most recent albums? The vocals were a bit cleaner on I Cant Die, and Eternal Home seems like a return to that fierce, black metal vocal sound.
I Can’t Die is less of a masterpiece that came together over the series of many months, like most of my releases are. I Can’t Die, and the Synonym single, were entirely reactionary endeavors. I was going through some pretty intense stuff both times. During Synonym, I was falling in love with life and discovering the unified nature of things… realizing that God is also Love is also Truth is also Peace is also our own personal Intuition. And probably not God in the sense that your average church-going folk would think of it. I Can’t Die is literally about spiralling and suffering and suicidal ideation, but also deep transformative spiritual/psychological awakening. Syphoning as much growth out of despair as possible. Both releases were energetic releases for myself. It was so exhilarating putting them out there. I always wonder how much ICD would be different had I worked on it over time like I usually do with new collections of music. I probably wouldn’t have kept any of the vocals as they exist on Dark Lite-Brite Of The Soul.
What did you listen to growing up? Were you ever the vocalist for a more traditional metal band?
I have been the lead vocalist in many bands. I sang melodically in most of them. I was in a metalcore band in which I was just doing some vocals, singing and otherwise. I was in a few screamo bands where I was the main vocalist. Most of my screamed vocal delivery has been in screamo bands. In fact, the vocals I did in that metalcore band were not tough. They were more just like emotional freakouts I guess. That band was very emo, despite it’s metallic dedication.
I listened to an extremely diverse range of music growing up. My earliest memories are of the radio, in the mid 80s and late 80s, and then some records my parents had. They were nerds about Rush so that explains why they are my favorite band. In fact I think I made them harder Rush fans as I grew up, because I was vehemently interested in them. So that also led me to other prog and metal. I was into extreme metal, especially death metal, in my single digits. My parents did not like that. But they did like Dream Theater, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, etc. They weren’t thrash heads though…they liked groove. So old Metallica wasn’t much to them. But I loved it. Master Of Puppets was terrifying to me. My older cousin showed me a lot of the more extreme stuff.
I also loved the pop and new wave on the radio at the time as well, but my parents didn’t really listen to it. So it was just heard in passing, on the radio, on TV, etc. It made a huge impact on me but I just didn’t have any CDs or records to listen to. Similarly, I loved jazz fusion and new age music, from listening to the Weather Channel, and stuff in the backgrounds of movies and TV and commercials. But again, my parents didn’t like that stuff so I didn’t get much exposure to it beyond in passing. I went through a huge emo phase in my teens, discovering bands like Appleseed Cast and Mineral and Boys Life, and then finding the bands that sort of paved the way for that style, like Angel Hair and Hoover and Clikitat Ikatowi. I also really loved electronic music and trance…trance had the new age aspect I loved, but also had chord progressions and dissonances akin to emo. Then in my 20s I got really into noise and super weird stuff. And then in my late 20s I got heavily into jazz fusion and new age again.
Tell us about the Eternal Homecoming, your album premiere party on Twitch. Are you still accepting videos for the livestream? How can fans submit their content?
I am still accepting videos. If I get too many I won’t be able to use them all, but I’ve only really gotten submissions from around 20 people so far, and most of them are short (or have material I don’t quite vibe with). So please do flock to the submission page and send me your stuff! >>> https://bit.ly/eternalhomecoming
What other artists will be performing?
There will be cute short sets with a number of my past collaborators. Ben Levin is a YouTube/internet musician/3D animator giant who has become a good friend of mine. I’ve done a few songs and remixes with him. Bhob Rainey will be performing solo saxophone. He’s on the last Nonlocal Forecast album I did. Faye Fadem is performing, and she is an incredible prog/jazz drummer, electronic musician, and 3D animator. She plays drums for Thank You Scientist and makes solo music as Trust Fund Ozu. We did a song together, and I am mixing her new album. She also animated a video for me (Shenpa Indicator Light!!!). Also Giant Claw is performing. We haven’t collaborated, but he (Keith Rankin) released one of my albums with his friend Seth Graham (Orange Milk Records). Speaking of Seth, him and More Eaze are also performing, under the moniker —__–___. Ian Smith is performing and doing some solo sax work. He is someone I commission often for sax parts. And lastly, my sister, as Liverfire, will be playing a few quiet songs on her guitar.
Pandemic-permitting, do you hope to tour or do any live performances coming up?
I hope to tour again when my body is okay with it. I don’t have anything booked. I have just been doing live stream stuff. Which is a million times more comfortable for me. I do really miss traveling though. The truth is, I have more fun performing in bands, or when I’m doing stuff that isn’t so damn calculated. Fire-Toolz shows are sync’d with the music videos and there’s no much room for improv or free-form expression. Because of that, I’ve been less interested in performing. And there are also other reasons. We’ll see what happens in the future.
Whettman Chelmets is a past guest on the Slow Breathing Circuit mix series (his mix includes your track “ER = EPR ~ (EP Δ P = ER).” You did some mixing and mastering on his albums 1000 Faces and Long Read Memories. And do I remember reading that he / his dog make a brief appearance on Eternal Home?
I think it’s his neighbors dog. I was working on the second to last song on Eternal Home, and some dogs out in the distance were barking. So their voices were quiet, muffled, and subject to the natural ambience of bouncing off of houses. It took me immediately back to my childhood when I would hear distant dogs barking. And how peaceful and mysterious the world was. And how much I enjoyed being alone, and wondering what in the living fuck was going on, what reality was, why we are here, etc. So I posted on Twitter asking people for dog bark recordings so I could process them in such a way that sounded distant and quiet during this one droney ambient section. So Whettman and a few other fans sent me some stuff. I love working with him. His music is gorgeous.
0:00 – Dwight Ashley + Hans-Joachim Roedelius + Tim Story – Incubator
4:02 – Happy The Man – Service With A Smile
6:36 – Raein – From 3 To 1 In 2 And 4
8:15 – Abominable Putridity – Lack Of Oxygen
10:45 – Jeff Parker + Kevin Drumm + Michael Zerang – Lacerate [excerpts]
20:27 – John Jarvis – Wide Open Spaces
24:45 – Skywalk – Neon Streets
29:31 – The Anniversary – All Things Ordinary
33:12 – CVN – Ruggedness feat. Dove (Fire-Toolz remix)
39:19 – Eddie Jobson – Turn It Over
43:00 – G.E.N.E. – PohonKelapa-Palmtrees
47:55 – No Knife – The Spy
53:30 – Dezolve – Into The Azure
1:01:37 – Nonlocal Forecast – My Big T.O.E.
1:03:50 – Funny Factory – CYBER_KURRENT
1:04:27 – Jeff Lorber – Keep On Lovin’ Her
1:09:05 – Abyssal – A Sheath Of Deceit
1:12:29 – Hammock – God Send Us A Signal
1:16:45 – Chad Wackerman – The View
1:21:31 – Distant – The Void
1:23:13 – Fire-Toolz – Response To Subdivisions ☾
1:26:09 – Fire-Toolz – 觀音 Prayer For The Abuser [abridged]