Few artists in the Boston scene are so unique as Fat Shuggy, frontwoman of The Corpsefuckers, spoken-word rap lyricist, jazz multi-instrumentalist, and gore enthusiast. In anticipation of her new album, we sat down over energy drinks in a Cambridge park one cool fall afternoon to talk music, composition, disembowelment, and so much more. Part One of this interview is linked here. This is Part Two.
BH: Did you use fake blood or real blood? And if you use real blood, what kind?
FS: You know this guy named Bob?
BH: I don’t know a guy named Bob.
FS: Well now you never will.
BH: Okay, well it’s only a few liters though. I think you’d have to re-up some of that.
FS: There’s been more Bobs. Well, to anyone named Bob, you’re going on my face. That’s my message to you.
BH: I’m glad I’m recording this because I need to quote you on that. So you decided to get blood then?
FS: Yeah. I’ve used both to answer that question. I was trying not to answer that question but I will. I’ve used both. When I was with Period Bomb it was really cool. I went on a tour with Period Bomb this summer as their bassist. My second show, completely, I didn’t know it would happen, Cammy just took a Diva Cup and poured it on my face. It was real band initiation. I don’t know how long she had that with her.
BH: Very kvlt. Would you be able to tell me more about Isaac?
FS: More about Isaac?
BH: It’s an intriguing song, left a very big impression. What was the whole genesis of that?
FS: That’s an interesting one, oh okay, I know. I just thought of the answer to that one right now. So I used to be a preschool teacher and, yeah, that piece dates back to a lot further than last year. One of the kids’ names was Isaac. I learned a lot about my own music working as a preschool teacher.
BH: How do you mean?
FS: There’s a lot. With that one I’m always playing with the kids’ names and with that one I was like “Isaac! Did you leave your sack of eyeballs?” The kids love it. The two voices on that song are really important to me. With preschool I learned how to sing and rap reading books to the kids like “NO! I WILL NOT EAT A TRAIN! I WILL NOT EAT THEM ON A PLANE! I WILL NOT EAT THEM WHILE YOU SCREAM IN PAIN! I WILL NOT EAT THEM WHILE I FUCK YOUR BRAIN! I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM! I WILL NOT EAT THEM SAM I AM!” “OH GOLLY OKAY” and the kids love that shit. And I get that from the kids too. Kids are so fucking violent. We’re just playing a peaceful pretend game and they pretend to stab me with a sword and they’re like “Ha ha! You’re dead!” Why you pretending to kill me kid? I mean kids get it, violence is fun as fuck.
BH: I guess so yeah. That’s fair. That’s fair.
FS: I want to be a preschool teacher again for anyone listening to that has open positions. I actually sing some children’s music. All my music is children’s music.
BH: So do you think there’s something to be said for shock value in music and art in general?
FS: I don’t really know. I feel like labeling it as shock music, I don’t really get that. I’m trying to think of someone who used shock value. I don’t even think if it is shocking or not shocking, it’s if the emotions are real, if it’s sincere. That’s what’s the criticism is. KISS I would say, they’re not real. I don’t know if I would call them shock but they’re not real. To me art is about the emotions, expression view of creation. Also, if shock value is a thing, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I wanted to shoot up my high school when I dropped out and I might have done it if I didn’t have a creative outlet and I wasn’t relating with artists like Frank Miller, in that manner, in that headspace, everyone around me needs to get their fucking lungs shoved up my ass, you know?
BH: That’s very intense. I’m sorry… As I said I’m bad at responding
FS: The one thing I hate more than anything is when people see something that’s uncomforting to them in an artistic manner and they blame fucked up shit that’s actually happening in the world, they blamed Marilyn Manson for the Columbine shooting. Those artists did the opposite to me. All I’ve ever wanted for my music is for kids that are as fucked up as me to have something to relate to.
BH: I totally get that with your work. It feels very much like you’re doing this out of a genuine sincerity rather than selling records.
FS: Yeah. I’ve sold maybe ten records.
BH: Double digits.
FS: Yeah. I really like the Eminem song Kim. It’s very intense but it’s all real. It’s not about the shock. It’s about his feelings for his wife. That’s so fucking real. It’s pushing a lot of boundaries but it’s carrying all that emotion. His work since then hasn’t really carried that. I still love the guy but he hasn’t topped that record which he says a lot in his new songs
BH: I haven’t listened to Eminem in a while but I think that’s due to middle school more than anything else. So, would you care to comment on your new album, as you mentioned it?
FS: Yeah. I’m considering making it into two albums. There’s going to be a lot of material. It’s ridiculous being homeless right now. I really hope I get all of this done. Most I’ve written on paper and a lot more in my brain I suppose.So many fucking instrumentals. Do you want the concept or the process? I can talk to you about both of those things?
BH: Either or, man. Whatever you want.
FS: So the concept,there’s gonna be two parts which is why I’m considering making it into two albums. One of them will be titled the Rotten Snot In Forgotten Emotion which is named after this piece I’m working on. I don’t even know how long it will be. It’s my first attempt at a full length novel. It’ll be spoken word with songs, sort of like the Queen of Pus but less poppy. I’m done trying to do the pop songs.
BH: You call the Queen of Pus poppy?
FS: Yeah. Too many pop songs on that.
BH: Interesting take.
FS: Yeah this is what I do I fuck shit up! I fuck shit up! I’m putting piercings in my vein because what I do! I drink blood up! Drink! That’s fucking terrible. I really liked that song when I wrote it too. I was trying to get signed to a record and realized I get a lot more out of the songs that are not in that direction. That’s not what people listen to my music for anyways. So anyways the Rotten Snotten Forgotten has a lot of different characters. This character named Snotalina, I was saying earlier all my songs are canon with each other. They all take place in this universe that I’ve created in my head and I think this will very well establish what goes on in this place. There’s a couple spoken word short stories I’ve done before. There’s this one piece with some singing from the Entrail Princess and some singing from the Queen of Pus and a really long instrumental section. I was listening back to some of my older stuff, like people are like
“I’m a lyricist” no fuck that, when I was 16 I think I was composing a lot of music as sheet music and I’m using some of that music in there. Both records contain lyrics that have been with me my whole life and I think it’s some of my most personal and self-aware music.
BH: I look forward to hearing what you have to release.
FS: Thanks. I hope I get a space. It’s really difficult not having a space right now. I really need to record all these vocals. There’s been a lot of nights when I’ve just been staying up at 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts and just been remixing on a computer all night long. I wanna set up my fucking keyboard. You can’t just bring a fucking keyboard into Dunkin’ Donuts.
BH: You can if you try.
FS: Yeah. I can try. Still though even if I’m just using headphones it’s like what the fuck. There was this guy who was just staring at me for an hour and he walks into the Dunkin’ and sits down right next to me and just continues staring at me. I’m just like, “Can you not stare at me? It’s really fucking weird.” and he goes, “Oh I’m sorry. You’re weird with your computer.” “I’m trans and using a computer. I’m glad the computer’s weird to you. You’re just an old cracker who doesn’t know how to use a computer. That’s real entertaining.” In the process of the record I make a lot of instrumental tracks. I wish I had my laptop with me so I could show you. My iTunes is just full. Some of them are just three hours of me jamming out with sick synthesizer tunes. I get really in the fucking zone when I’m playing music. I try to listen to all those tracks and find the best moments. Oftentimes I’ll only use like ten seconds or something. I was starting that a little bit in the process of making my first two records although I actually used most of the tracks. If I want to play keyboard I’ll play keyboard. If I want to play guitar I’ll play guitar. You know?
BH: I dig it. I dig it. I feel weird because I’m not sure what else to ask. I feel like there’s more that I’m missing but I don’t know. Do you have have any final thoughts?
FS: I’m curious what songs resonate with you.
BH: I’ll be honest I’m very fucking bad at song names. Again, Isaac because for some reason the whole eyeball-fucking is so bizarre and creative. It felt very visceral and instead of just being a “Oh wow, I made a song about gore” it was funny and it wasn’t just disturbing. It was calming and unsettling. I fucking love. The Disembowelment Choir EP felt really fun in a weird way. Which is to say your music is enjoyable, even though it’s not conventional, it’s not difficult.
FS: Thank you. That’s an interesting take. I’m always just looking for doing accessible with inaccessible. It’s funny you said Disembowelment Choir. I have a lot of mixed feelings about that. I think Lucifer fucking killed it. I think Travis fucking killed it. I don’t know if I killed it. Those are some of my most composed pieces. I wrote some of those before Revada Casa Enoy Reve. I mean I wrote for a big band when I was 15 or so, there’s some funny videos of younger me on YouTube that exist. I don’t know how I feel about those. Disembowelment Choir was the first time I wrote for a band and the band’s been tight playing a lot of shows. The way I composed those songs was a lot different. It reflected a lot with accessibility in inaccessibility. I’ve always been drawn to noise music and free jazz with Ornette Coleman, one of my biggest heroes. At the same time I’m aware I have a very developed ear in certain regards. I might be tone deaf actually, I’m not sure. I have a developed ear, I’m able to listen to the record Free Jazz, one of my favorites. I’m also aware not everyone has that ability and I want everyone to be able to take away something. All I want is to do something that people can remember so I want to explore that music in a way that can be enjoyable for someone who has a different background with music. When I tried writing songs like that I was still able to explore areas that I really love and make it in a way that people can take away something from so it’s not just a wall of noise.
BH: I really think you trying to get people into something weirder than what they would typically seek out is an admirable pursuit.
BH: I think that’s all the questions I have. Thank you for your time.