Demo:listen: Fliege

Every once in awhile, a band comes along, transgresses all genre boundaries, and cuts a demo that stands as a genuine demonstration of a singular sound. Now, if that band also sounds like they’re having a blast laying down their own tracks, the listener’s going to pick up on all that energy and excitement. Those feelings last, too. They’re potent and highly contagious. They remain infectious even on a recording decades old. The self-titled demo from Fliege [“fly” in German]—released almost a year ago—is nothing if not infectious.

“[T]he thing about writing a record we never thought anyone would listen to is that it gave us the freedom to write exactly what we wanted to write,” says Coleman, ½ of Fliege. “Resident Evil references? Sure. Lo-fi electronic drums? Why not. Lynyrd Skynyrd solos? Go for it. Theoretically there are ideas that we might veto, but only because they don’t work within the context of a given song. If a song calls for trip-hop breakdown or a flute solo, then we wouldn’t be afraid to do that, but we don’t want to shoehorn stuff in just to be ‘weird’ either. Writing songs, as opposed to a bunch of stitched-together ideas, is what’s most important to us.”

Coleman plays guitar in Fliege. He also programs said lo-fi electronic drums and sings all those catchy hooks. Joining him, and providing the withering highs that are no doubt shredding your ear drums by now, is his friend Pete.

According to Pete, Fliege “crystalized around [his] 30th birthday.”

“I had drank my share of drinks,” he recalls, “And Coleman came by with a White Castle Crave Case and let me know that he had a bunch of stuff written for the band we had been joking about doing for a year or so.”

“A few years ago at a Diarrhea Planet show, we were having a few beers, started joking around about starting a black metal band dedicated to The Fly where we went by C. Brundle and P. Brundle a la the Ramones,” Coleman says. “It just was an inside joke for a while, but then the world went to shit and we both desperately needed a catharsis, so we decided to give it a shot.”

“A few days later we were in our rehearsal space working on ‘Want To See My Lab?’ and it kind of just took off from there,” Pete says. “Our goal was to get a bunch of songs together and play one show. Then it was a few shows. Then it was, ‘hey, this actually sounds pretty cool, we should maybe record this.’ Then a friend of a friend was starting a small label, Battle Royal, and he was into putting out the demo. And now, here we are.”

Coleman continues: “This may sound a little strange, but this is the first serious project for both of us. I played in a few high school metal bands growing up in New Hampshire and did some acoustic stuff for awhile. I also write a weekly metal column called This One Goes to Eleven and book shows around that, but while we are both semi-active in the local scene, this was our first real go at writing and producing music for someone other than our moms. Pete had never even screamed before when we first started rehearsing! But after throwing his voice out 20 minutes in to our first practice, he figured it out crazy fast.”

Photo by Chris Palermo.

Speaking of crazy fast: Their eponymous demo, Fliege, counting its wide range of ideas, and skillful execution therein, not to mention the tightness of the however unorthodox band behind it, came together, according to Coleman, in only ten months. From their “first practice to [Fliege’s] final master” . . . only ten months.  

“I began tracking all the guitars at home in July 2017,” says Coleman. “Whittling away at it nights and weekends because I have a 9-5. Ot probably took about six weeks (with doubles and everything of course). Then we went in and tracked vocals with Nikhil Kamineni—AKA Archaic Sounds—at his hidden little studio in Brooklyn. We banged those out in about four hours. Then we turned those over to him to mix and master and he killed it. He’s 10000% percent the reason this thing doesn’t sound like it was recorded inside of Lars’s St. Anger snare. Thanks Nik.”

Pete laughs in agreement, adds: “I had probably sang these songs about 1,000 times by the time we got to the studio, so I was able to plow through them pretty quickly. I don’t think I did more than two or three takes for any of the tracks.”

Coleman and Pete have, since day one, been psyched to do Fliege. The abundant inspiration and all that creative confluence makes Fliege more than probably it ever should have been. From the start, the Brooklyn duo succeed because they perfectly nail their sound. I.e., they sound like several bands teleported together and, according to Cronenbergian logic, therefore combined into one two-headed, constantly mutating entity.

“The concept of the band is totally tongue-in-cheek,” Pete admits, “but we’re not a novelty act. It’s kind of a delicate balance.”

Photo by Chris Palermo

Coleman explains how Fliege’s final track, “Teleformation” is, for him, the band’s ultimate statement.

“Musically it ticks all our boxes—fist-pumping NWOBHM intro; big, hooky chorus; and a touch of straight 2nd wave black metal in the outro. I also think the lyric ‘this isn’t transformation, this was always me’ is essentially the record’s thesis. We are all about being inclusionary, whether inside of metal or outside of it, and we support everyone having the freedom and safety to be themselves (except metal Nazis, fuck those guys). This lyric hopefully gets to the heart of that and also poses the question ‘what if my true self is actually my darkest self?,’ which I think is one the driving themes of the record and The Fly as a whole (at least our reading of it).”

Pete says, he believes it’s either “Teleformation,” or “Diptera.” The latter, he says, “is just a blast to perform for me. It’s probably the most aggressive sounding song we have, which is right in my wheelhouse, coming from more of a punk and hardcore background.”

Some of the best moments on Fliege are those hooks. Coleman intimates how the clean singing on Fliege is, in a way, pragmatic.

“What’s the point of writing a concept album where listeners can’t discern the fucking concept? I figured if you needed liner notes or a Bandcamp bio to know we were singing songs about a man morphing into a giant homicidal insect, I wouldn’t have done my job as a songwriter.”

For now Fliege remains a digital release, although the band is looking for assistance in transporting these killer songs onto a physical format. 

“We self-released [Fliege] last September and then re-released it in March via Battle Royal records (digital only). It is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Bandcamp, and a ton of other digital platforms at the moment but we would love to do a physical release at some point.”

Fliege also recently welcomed Chris Palermo on synth. They’ve also been playing shows somewhat regularly.

“In total we’ve played four shows, including our most recent at The Meatlocker in June,” Coleman recounts.

Meanwhile, Fliege are already, according to Coleman, “eyeballs-deep” into writing their debut full length. This one, he says, is “based on Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.” 

“In the meantime,” Coleman says, “we have our ear to the ground for new shows, collaborations, movies, and metal in order to keep the fire lit.”