Interview by By Zach Dion
Foot And Mouth Disease is a dark ambient/power electronics project out of Rochester, New York. Lead primarily by Lawrence J. Patti, and joined by David Voekl, FAMD's noise delivers unsettling atmosphere through synth and noisy electronics.
FBN: How did you get into noise?
Lawrence: Well my main inspiration was originally Patti Smith, who wasn't a noise artist but opened up the possibilities of music for me. The first I heard of noise music was early Cabaret Voltaire, which happened when I heard their later new-wave/disco semi-hit "Just Fascination" and was seeking out the album that was on. I wound up with an earlier album called Red Mecca that had some vivid artwork but wouldn't say what the tracks were. When I played it I was in for a shock -- it wasn't music as most people would expect, it was noisy and quite odd, but the more I listened to it the more I liked it. Later I would find out about Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse
FBN: And what prompted you form Foot and Mouth Disease?
Lawrence: Foot and Mouth Disease started while I was also in a project with local artist and poet Greg Lattanzio, originally called Nihilistic Ambience but later changing the name to the Little School. I was originally doing recordings before then with a Casio SK-1 and a cheap breadbox-sized two-track tape recorder -- those recordings were lost anyways. Around 1996 I bought a Fostex four-track second hand from Michell Album who was doing a noise project called Law in Fort Bend, Indiana. I got that mailed to me and I found a cheap Korg Poly 800 synth at Sound Source. So at the time I thought of a name and just at the moment I found a book about skin diseases at a garage sale, found a funny picture of a guy who had Foot and Mouth Disease and there was the name, which would be household for awhile years later... Basically I just thought it would be great if there was something like Throbbing Gristle in Rochester and also I found out there was a Buffalo/Syracuse noise band called 666 Noise Volt Battery or something and was unimpressed by one of their tapes. I thought even I could do better than that, so that prompted me to start FAMD.
FBN: In your opinion how is the current state of noise?
Lawrence: I'm not sure about noise's future. Noisy ideas have been used in modern pop music since 1983 with Shannon's smash-hit "Let the Music Play" (which I always found more irritating than noise usually is...) I don't think it's likely noise will become mainstream but weirder things have happened anyways. As long as it holds interest I'm sure there will always be noise acts.
FBN: Again, in your opinion where is noise’s place in the extreme underground scene?
Lawrence: Hmm I always thought noise WAS the extreme underground scene, unless maybe you're talking about Heavy Metal...
FBN: Is there a place in the mainstream music scene for noise?
Lawrence: Again mainstream music has always picked up on noise since the 80s, and I think that will be a given -- not saying it's become mainstream or that all mainstream music is that way (obviously) but there's lots of smart people in the genre who want to add that special spice to their layer cake, so to speak...
FBN: What artist are you listing to today and is there any artist that you feel need more attention?
Lawrence: I'm trying to think of any current noise acts I've been listening to. Mostly it's been local acts, especially Waves Crashing Piano Chords and Swallowing Bile. Iron Fist of the Sun put out a couple of good albums lately, and William Bennett's current project Cut Hands has always been interesting...
FBN: What is the future of Foot and Mouth Disease?
Lawrence: FAMD has lately been dormant due to lack of requests for shows or recorded material. My current Dark Ambient project Spaghettiman is still going to this day, mostly because it's stuff I do on my computer. Right now I'm mostly focusing on a "rock" project with Larry Feldman (ex-Nod) -- I'm not sure how it would evolve or if there will be noisier elements brought to it, but stay tuned anyways...
While Foot And Mouth Disease don't have their own bandcamp, you can listen and download several of their releases at the links below. Here's hoping we can hear some new tunes in the future.