Before she became the world’s most famous witch, Fiona Horne fronted Sydney’s industrial dance rock group Def FX. At the height of their popularity Def FX imploded after the sudden departure of founding member Sean Lowry. Fiona Horne has got the band back together for their first shows in 15 years.
An informal meeting with a friend of a friend in Los Angeles was the catalyst for this brief reformation of Def FX. After a few bottles of champagne and some Googling of the Def FX name, Horne and her newly found publicist friend discovered Facebook pages, YouTube videos and Wikipedia entries dedicated to the band. It wasn’t long before the offer of a reunion tour came in.
“Martyn [Basha], the original bass player, had posted a message a year before on one of the YouTube videos so I put a note on there saying, ‘Do you want to get the band back together?' It was actually a mate of his that saw my comment and told Marty about it. That is how we got in touch again,” reflects Horne.
As with most bands during their younger years, Def FX were always looking forward to what they wished to achieve and possibly didn’t take the time to smell the roses and enjoy the journey. With all the members having carved out alternate careers and interests, the reunion is definitely aimed at having a fun time as opposed to trying to make a quick buck.
“You have to have the passion for [touring] to be involved because we don’t have a big budget and we don’t have a record label. We are doing it on the smell of an oily rag. Every ticket that is bought is putting us on the road. There are no guarantees and we really appreciate that the fans are coming out and buying the tickets. We aren’t doing it in a fat cat kind of way. It is very lean, very mean and very fucking keen!”
Before Horne touched down in Australia for rehearsals (she has been based in LA for a decade) the band members got themselves up to speed on the internet, Skype and drop boxes but there is no substitute for the energy of the first rehearsal. There was a slight chance that after 15 years the chemistry wouldn’t be lacking, but Horne reports the rehearsals ‘rocked!’
“I skydive, so I say feel the fear, do it anyway and don’t suck,” explains Horne about the attitude that was taken into rehearsals. None of us thought that it wouldn’t be great, but it was amazing to all be in this room together and feel the energy. It felt like I had champagne bubbles going through me. Surfers Of The Mind was the first song that we played together in a room and we just ripped into it and then looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, we are going to pull this off’.”
“This is a nostalgia tour. We are not writing any new music, we are doing a greatest hits set. We paid attention to what our 3,000 fans on Facebook had been saying they want to hear. We feel we have put together a set that honours the fans and honours the nostalgia of the band and allows us as a new band in a way to enjoy the new chemistry that we have.”
Even though it may be a trip down memory lane for the Generation X fans, Horne is confident that there will be a new legion of fans that know her from her roles on television and those who have read any of the nine books she has had published. Horne hasn’t been out of the public eye, but her time in the band has had a lasting effect.
“My hair is fucked from doing that tour with the dreadlocks and I don’t even have any eyebrows because I used to shave them off and draw them on red and green. Some fans on Facebook voted on the outfit that they wanted me to wear for the tour, so I contacted the original designer Mindy McTaggart. She has actually made me some stuff. I used to go off stage and get changed in the break before the encore and come out in some fucking outrageous costume, so if there is any room backstage without everyone perving on me I might even work in a costume change. I have some stuff to wear, it is going to be fun.”
Def FX fused electronic dance beats with heavy guitars well before the electronica movement. Being ahead of the game was a blessing and a curse for the band. They were noticed for how different they were but conversely there was no genre that radio stations could fit them into. By the time of their third album Magic, mainstream radio had caught on. Ironically just as they were on the brink of success, Def FX broke up.
“I am a big fan of current dubstep and underground electronic music. When we play our songs that we wrote 20 years ago I think that you could just slap some dubstep in there and it would be very relevant, so it is kind of interesting. If people come and see us live, we are staying true to the original arrangements and we aren’t wanking around, but everything is heavier, more solid and bigger. There is this elevation of intensity, so it’ll be more intense than it was in the nineties.”
BY CHRIS HAVERCROFT
DEF FX return to Australia for the first time in 15 years to play The Corner Hotel on Saturday June 2.