When the Fever 333 turned up in the back of a U-Haul truck in the parking lot of Randy’s Donuts in LA last year, it certainly left people scratching their heads. After being on the verge of world domination with the previous band, letlive., it felt strange that frontman Jason Butler decided to return to a far more primal form of music. However, it feels as though this band have something truly special, something that no other act that is currently doing. We had a chat with the instigator, frontman and mouthpiece Jason Aalon Butler before the band’s debut overseas demonstration at Download Festival.
“The activism that runs through the project is just as important as the music.”
Something that sets the Fever 333 apart from other bands of their ilk is the fact that it feels as though it is a gang, or a collective rather than simply a band. Not only that, but the Fever 333 feels like a political mouthpiece. Look at the bands last single, Trigger, a commentary on America’s gun culture. Or the titular track from the band’s first EP, Made An America, which documents the racial inequality which is still rife in modern-day America. “I see the project as a collective. The activism that runs through the project is just as important as the music. I know not everybody wants to hear that in their music, but it’s important to me.” Comments Butler.
On the subject of a collective, the Fever 333 has had heavy investment from some of the biggest names in rock music. be it Blink-182’s Travis Barker drumming on Made An America, or the masterful production job from superstar production wizard, John Feldman, it feels like this band has so heads turning right across the board. “It’s really inspiring. I’ve known John [Feldman] for a decade and have always admired his work ethic. It was the same with meeting Travis. What’s fucking crazy is, i’m sitting in a room with these guys now and we’re having discussions about maybe my idea being the one that we go with. As a child, listening to Enema Of the State, I never thought I’d click the talkback button in the studio and say ‘Hey Travis, maybe you should try something else’.”
““This band dismantles constructs and expectations that we’re put under.”
The art of spontaneity is something that the Fever 333 has capitalised on throughout the band’s lifespan. Be it playing shows in parking lots, to dropping the surprise EP from nowhere, the Fever 333 feel as though they have a good grasp on what it takes to make their audience listen. It’s almost as though they’re preaching Guerrilla politics, everything they do contains that rife political message. “This band dismantles constructs and expectations that we’re put under. If we feel like playing a show in the back of a U-Haul or dropping music from nowhere, we’re in a position in this collective where we can and are readily able to do that.”
Butler goes on to mention the Walking In My Shoes Foundation. “I have a foundation that i’m setting up called the Walking In My Shoes foundation. It’s a charitable organisation which will encompass a place to discuss issues and hold panels. It’ll be a place of charity and an interactive experience. A space where we can discuss the issues that we’re currently battling in society.” It feels like the Fever 333 are so much more than just a band. They’re a charity, a political device, in a sense, a gang with an incredibly important message.
“I was drawn to it was the instant subversive undertone to everything I was listening to.”
Conversation takes a turn to the musical backdrop that the Fever 333 create. Throughout Butler’s career, it has always felt as though there is a fierce hip-hop influence running concurrently alongside the throat-shredding hardcore with which Butler made his name. When asked whether there is an apparent kinship between hardcore and hip-hop, Butler states: “Absolutely. Hip-Hop and R&B are my first loves. The reason that I love punk and the reason I was drawn to it was the instant subversive undertone to everything I was listening to. So with stuff like Public Enemy or even Gangster Rap, there was this sense of subversion. Then I found Minor Threat and Black Flag and was like ‘Oh, this is the same thing ideologically’.” In a world where a lot of new hip-hop feels disposable, it’s as if the Fever 333 is trying (and succeeding) to reinvent the played out hip-hop feel. Everything they do feels modern and vibrant, yet with a much harder edge.
The band’s latest single Trigger is potentially the most vital track they have released up to this point. Written and released in the wake of February’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, the track is a harsh commentary on the state of America’s gun control and just how flawed the system currently is. “Parkland happened, then the following day I was in the studio with John [Feldman] and Munky from Korn writing that song.” States Butler.
“I hit up John, Travis and Munky and said this has to happen today, so we hit the studio and wrote Trigger.” Currently, this scene often feels bogged down by bands who are scared to comment on important, real-world issues. This is something that absolutely does not apply to the Fever 333. Everything they do as a collective feels incredibly reactionary. They are not afraid to step up and tackle some of society’s most difficult issues.
The Fever 333 are one of the most important bands on the scene right now. They are building a platform in order to push one of the most vital messages in 2018. It’s starting to feel like the entire world is catching the Fever and we’re all throwing up the threes.
MADE AN AMERICAN IS OUT NOW VIA ROADRUNNER RECORDS. THE BAND ALSO PLAY LONDON AS PART OF THE HEAVY MUSIC AWARDS NEXT MONTH.