To say America’s political landscape is in shambles right now would be quite the understatement. Their President has the wit of an almond, mass shootings are all too common and the alt-right is a fast-rising bastion of racism, queerphobia and general fuckassery. Bands like Prophets Of Rage and Enter Shikari are wielding their arena-filling platforms to draw legions of otherwise unsuspecting punks into the fight against fascism, but what sets The Fever 333 apart is a distinct impulse to be more than just a soundtrack to the revolution.
“Here’s the thing,” says frontman Jason Aalon Butler. “The movement that will really change things, or the movement that will reinvent how we see culture, politics and society, I think it’s already in motion, so for me to arrogantly try to take that and show it off as my own – I would be remiss to do so. But that line, ‘The soundtrack to the revolution’ – no, I want to be a part of that revolution. I don’t want to just sit back and write the songs, and then hope that people listen to them and then go, ‘Alright, I’m gonna go protest.’ I want to be at the protest. I want to facilitate these spaces where people can express themselves and where they challenge and reject the things that are set up to oppress them. I want to offer them a sense of empowerment and for them to understand that I am just as disgruntled and frustrated as them, and I’m just as willing to be there with them in that fight.”
Though they’ve seen wild amounts of hype pour from the release of their debut EP, Made In America, Butler notes that its fierce anti-bullshit ethos is just the tip of the iceberg, his ultimate goal being to incite more than just some hectic circle pits.
“I think in a lot of ways, at least for our millennial demographic, the idea of change is just a talking point,” he says. “And although I feel like it’s a good idea, I don’t really see too much enactment of that; there aren’t many people employing the tools or the efforts to make that change a reality. I’m not saying that every artist needs to go out and say something that changes the world, but in a time where our world is so fragile and volatile across the board, we’re in desperate need of some real, tangible action.”
It’s harder to ignore the regressive shitstorm when it’s coming from within your own circle. Though he occupies a very different slice of the music industry’s extra calorific pie, Kanye West is arguably one of the most influential voices in the media today – a fact made all the more sour by his instantly infamous ‘slavery was a choice’ spiel, which hit Butler especially hard as a longtime fan of the controversial rapper.
“I think it’s dangerous for any artist to go out and to speak on these issues if they’re going to speak so ignorantly,” he says. “Because the thing is, social engineering is not an option, and it’s not something that’s been fabricated. There is science behind it that proves these things were socially engineered … As a representative of more than just black culture, but music and artists and alternative thinkers, for him to do that, he’s lending credence to and offering a space for people that want to hurt others. And as an activist and a member of the community, I just think it was fucking stupid.”
The Fever 333 are here to counteract the bile-spewing right-wing figureheads that lie in their way. Made In America has done a great job amping up the next chapter of the punk rock revolution thus far, but fans shouldn’t rest their pumping fists just yet. As Butler is quick to point out, there’s much more on the way.
“I wrote a lot with John Feldmann [Goldfinger] and Travis Barker [Blink-182] when we were working on the Made In America record, so we’ve got a lot of music in the bag already,” he says. “It’s more so just that the release schedule needs to be one that is impactful. When we release something, I want to make sure that it speaks to an issue or has a bigger message to it than just, ‘Yo, buy this record because we want to sell more units.’ So as we move on, I’ll certainly be gauging the climate, politically and artistically, and find a good time to release the next record.”
Made In America is out now via Roadrunner/Warner Music.