Bacon Grease is a name you might not know, but should. Not only is she a photographer who has documented Florida’s scene for years she is also a musician who creates dank electronic soundscapes that sit in the middle of a Venn diagram consisting of lo-fi electro, outsider music, improvisational workouts and punk techno.
Since 2012 Bacon Grease has notched up 22 releases. At least nine albums and the rest singles and EPs. All these releases were recorded live as Bacon Grease improvised. Her early work features guitars and is reminiscent of The Fall, in that you don’t know where it is going and her vocals sound like a stream of consciousness.
She has just released her self-titled debut album on Popnihil. This is her most cohesive and devastating release to date. Over 30 mins Bacon Grease punishes the listener with wonky baselines and almost unrelenting breakbeats. The songs are monsters and would decimate any club, or space, they are played in, but there are hints of fragility and warmth to the recordings that demand repeat listens. This is top-tier stuff and shows what techno is capable of in 2019.
We were lucky enough to grab some time with her to discuss what artists first got her into music, what kit she uses and her recording process.
Where are you now?
I’m currently living in Orlando, FL.
What have you been up to today?
I’m just relaxing and watching Netflix.
What did you watch on Netflix?
I was watching Season 3 of Jessica Jones.
You recently played the Savage Weekend Festival. How did your set go? Will your set be released at some point?
It went well. I had good response to my set. I played the second day. It was first my time playing Savage Weekend. I only watched videos of that event on YouTube. I’m not sure if I will release the audio for that event.
You’re based in Florida. What is the scene like at the moment? Who should be we checking out?
It’s pretty cool. I don’t get out much as I used to. Mother Juno, JASON, Channel 83, Burnt Hair, and Fjshwjsh are the bands to look out for. There are probably more.
What is your first musical memory?
I was listening to Madonna and Janet Jackson.
What Madonna and Janet were you into? What was it about their music that spoke to you?
Maybe I just like the beat. I was really young.
When did you start making music?
Maybe 2010? I played keyboard in Middle School and High School. But I was too cheap to buy a keyboard. Now I just buy gear.
What were you listening to that inspired you to start making music?
Michele Lane, Skeleton Warrior, Father Finger, No Milk, and other solo or duo bands
Was there a feeling of trepidation when you uploaded those first few songs?
Not really. I’m usually over-confident at first and then I fear about it later. But I tried to show my music to friends, but I guess they weren’t into it. So I learned not to show off my music so much.
Did you get any response to them?
I think I got that oh “it’s nice” response, but I had a feeling they weren’t into it.
When did you start performing live?
I think its 2010? I joined a band called Saving Twilight. I was the drummer.
Some of your early songs feature guitars, why did you stop incorporating them in your music and is this something you’ll go back to?
I wanted to focus more on electronics. I started using guitar because that’s what I knew how to use. Then I started using a drum machine and I added synths. I wanted to see if I could stop using the guitar on one of the shows and it worked out fine.
You didn’t upload any new music in 2015, what was going on that year? Were you still recording?
In 2015, I didn’t use Bandcamp to upload music, I mainly used Soundcloud. Since Soundcloud has upload limit, I started using Bandcamp more.
How did the split cassette with Wank Hilliams come about?
A guy from Denmark contacted me through Instagram and asked to release split a Tape. I said yeah because I didn’t have to do any work. It was done in one day. It made me realize, I could one day do this myself.
Your new tape on Popnihill is your first ‘album’. How did this come about?
Matthew Moyer would watch me play in Orlando over the years. He watched me play with just guitar and pedals to now electronic instruments. He has been very supportive of my music projects. He wanted to release a tape. I think about a year or two later it finally happened.
Where was it recorded?
Both were recorded at a show. The November song was recorded in Tampa for Tropical Depression fest. And the other side was recorded in Orlando at A Shop.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
I’m super happy with the tape. I hope there will be more in the future.
How often do you record/jam?
Not as often as I would like. Maybe a few times a month. I want to do it every day.
When you start recording, do you have a plan in your head, or do you just follow your instincts and the groove?
I mainly follow my instincts, but sometimes I have a plan in my head. I guess it depends on how I am feeling that day. I like to try out different music techniques.
What kit do you use to make your music?
Elektron Digitakt, Arturia Microbrute, Korg Volca FM, Korg Volca Bass, and Behringer Model D. I only use four musical instruments at a time.
You are also a photographer and have documented the Florida scene. When did this start?
I would say around 2009
You also make zines. Why did you start making them? Was it a way to get your pictures out there?
Matthew (Moyer) wanted to put a zine together for Orlando Zine Fest. I said yeah. I thought it would be a cool idea. I always wanted to publish my work.
What are the plans for the next 18 months?
My plan is to continue to create music, play at least one show a month. I want to play more out of town shows.
Bacon Grease’s debut album is available to buy and stream here.