Introducing: El Fatso

Dutch groove merchants El Fatso sounds like a hot and messy one-night stand between Mr. Stonerrock and Ms. Pop. Falsetto vocals, crooked guitars, and sweaty grooves form the ingredients for their signature sound, which they call ”Rock ‘n’ Roffa”. Here’s the lowdown on El Fatso, direct from the band themselves. Check out the video for ‘Touch Base’, above, and give the band a follow on their socials.

What are the origins of El Fatso? How long have you been playing together?

‘We formed the band in 2015 with 3 friends. Of the O.G. members, one had a big belly. One had a giant head. And one an enormous ego. The name El Fatso ties the three together.’

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band? And how was it?!

‘We played our first gig in the summer of 2016 in Rotterdam during a festival (Eendrachtfestival) which took place all around town. Our stage was outside, it was hot and the street was crowded. It was an awesome experience to share our songs! The icing on the cake was that we won the audience-award. Booyaah!’

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe El Fatso?

‘Expect a ménage à trois of crooked guitars, falsetto vocals, and sweaty grooves. We love bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Steely Dan, Mastodon, and Talking Heads. You can also expect a touch of absurdity, which is also prevalent in our video clips. And live? Get ready to move when you see us: mosh or dance, we don’t care as long as you own it!’

What’s the current situation like in Rotterdam with the curfew? With regards to the anti-curfew protests, has everyone just had enough and felt it was time to vent?

‘(Tom) Well…. the curfew has just been extended to March 30, which totally sucks. I’ve recently dusted off my Rage Against The Machine records as I’m fed up with all the ‘can-nots’. There have been some protests, riots even, but most people ‘do as they told ya’.’

New EP ‘Rock ‘n’ Roffa’ has just been released, what was the gestation period like? How long had the songs been in your head before recording them?

‘3 out of 4 songs were written in the first year of El Fatso. So they have been in the womb for about 5 years. However, we did play them live. When we decided to record these songs we looked for additional instrument parts (since we grew to a 5 piece) and for some (‘Ketama’ for instance) a new riff, chorus and bridge was written.’

What are the lyrical themes behind the tracks?

‘The main theme of our upcoming EP “Rock ‘n Roffa” is hedonism. Most of the lyrics were written 5 years ago. This was a period when all the band members were particularly fond of their dicks. The songs portray scenes of seduction, adultery, and some smooth swayin’ of the hips.’

What goes through your head in the run-up to releasing new music? Are you excited? Nervous? – Both?!

‘We’re excited of course!! It’s awesome to share what we’ve worked on. We also enjoy the promo part: coming up with silly videos, cool artwork, etc. Also to hear back from people what songs they like most. We are happy to share new music during these crazy times: it keeps us busy and keeps the interaction with our following alive.’

The cover art for ‘Rock ‘n’ Roffa’ is incredible, who designed it? And what were the basic ideas that they were given: did you specifically ask for poultry with a trippy background?! Or was that totally spontaneous on their part?!

‘The artwork was designed by Luis Toledo of PrisaMata Studio. He has also made the artwork for our first EP (which is even more trippy). The chicken is our spirit animal and appears in many of our work, so the idea was ours but the execution is all Luis!’

It looks stunning on vinyl! And looking at the love that went into the artwork, it must be important to the band that you have some sort of physical product out there with your name on it?

‘Thank you! And yes, it is important to us that everything we release comes in a coherent package. The artwork is part of that package and needs to fit the vibe of the songs. Luis did a great job on that!’

It looks like you had fun recording the video for ‘Touch Base’! How many takes did the burger-eating scene have?!

‘Damn right! The video was shot in the center of Rotterdam and we got a ton of comments from people passing by. We only had one shot of the burger scene. All we could afford was one burger so we had to get it right on the first try. So Tom gave it his all!’

How does it work with having three guitarists in the band? How do you work out who takes which solo, etc?

‘When we’re writing the song, we arm wrestle and the winner gets to take the solo. Just kidding, it works quite organically and basically whoever comes up with the part gets to play it.’

In what ways has the band grown over the last few years?

‘We’ve really gone through massive changes. The line-up changed quite a lot. We started out as a 3 piece and are now a 5 piece. That also means our sound has changed, we introduced synths and a bunch of vocals. Also as a group, we’ve grown a lot, we got closer over the years and we’re all on the same page when it comes to our goals and ambitions with the band.’

In terms of a similar audience: who would be the ideal act for El Fatso to support?

‘Queens of the Stone Age! They have been a big inspiration for us.’

What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

‘(Tom) Uhhhm, well what got me to play guitar was hearing U2’s records. I was fascinated by the sounds The Edge produced. After that, I got pulled to heavier and heavier rock/metal. I formed the band because I didn’t feel a strong connection to the music I played in other bands at the time.’

Personally, who has been the biggest influence on you becoming a musician? Would it be a teacher? A family member? A fellow musician?

‘(Jur) It was actually a friend I met online through gaming. He bought a guitar at one point and was playing ‘Smoke on the Water’ to me over skype. I was like “fuck man I want to play ‘Smoke on the Water” and got my parents to buy me a guitar. Then I ended up playing drums for some reason. I don’t know how that happened.’

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

‘The issue of people freaking the F- out. Very interesting. Much wow. I’m frustrated with a great passion.’

What album do you have in your collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

‘(Jur) Scissor Sisters by Scissor Sisters. Guilty pleasure. Don’t judge.

(Tom) Dark Knight Rises soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. Batsy is very metal.’

Although 2020 was a year to forget, there was some great music released; what would be your album of 2020?

‘(Jur) Deftones – Ohms.

(Thomas) Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant.’

What are your plans for 2021 should COVID ever disappear?!

‘To play some shows! Wouldn’t that be great? Meanwhile, we are in the process of writing and recording our 3rd EP, so keeping ourselves busy.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

‘We have stepped up our Instagram game lately and post content every day! From live music to “whose-moustache-is-this?”-content. You don’t wanna miss that. Give us a follow at el.fatso if you haven’t already!’

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