Hot on the heels of the Breeders' 2008 studio album, Mountain Battles, comes a four-song-EP, Fate to Fatal, set for an April 21, 2009 release. Recorded both at a professional studio in England and in the basement of Breeders' singer/guitarist Kim Deal, Fate to Fatal is the EP where they boast, "we've discovered the treble knob."
"We started with a song called 'Fate to Fatal,'" recalls Kim. "The Breeders were on tour all of last year, so we booked time at a place called the Fortress in London, England, and worked with a guy named Gareth Parton. At the beginning, Gareth and I were really snitty towards each other, which can turn out bad or good. And it turned out really good. The second song, 'The Last Time,' I wrote, but I recorded it in my basement - we have a guest vocalist on it, Mark Lanegan [Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, The Gutter Twins]. The third song is a cover of a Bob Marley and the Wailers song, 'Chances Are.' Kelley and I recorded it live in Chicago at Steve Albini's. And the last song, 'Pinnacle Hollow,' I did in my basement on a four-track - tape hiss and all."
Additionally, the Fate to Fatal EP's album art will undoubtedly catch the eye of both Breeders fans and Obama supporters.
Explains Kim, "An artist named Chris Glass designed the logo for Obama's 'American Recovery and Reinvestment Act' - we saw a news photo of Obama and Biden at a press conference standing next to a signboard with the logo on it - well, Chris designed the artwork for our EP. He's like family - we're related by marriage, so it was really exciting and it looks really good. We're getting some fancy craft paper for twelve inch sleeves, and Kelley and I are going to personally hand-screen the artwork at Chris' studio, Wire & Twine, in Ohio."
With the record industry in such a state of upheaval, along with the reach of the Internet, Kim and her Breeders bandmates - twin sister Kelley Deal (guitar, vocals), Cheryl Lyndsey (guitar), Mando Lopez (bass), and Jose Medeles (drums) - have decided to issue Fate to Fatal entirely on their own.
"I started asking questions, talking to Dan Koretzky from Drag City Records, Albini, Bob Weston, and Ivo Watts-Russell who owned 4AD Records. And it seems that now, more than at any other time in the past, we could put the music out ourselves - hand-screen some cool artwork ourselves, sell the EPs at our shows and on our website, as well as get them to traditional record stores and other online outlets. So, we're just going to press up a thousand twelve-inch vinyls."
With some rock bands making it clear on which side of the fence they reside regarding whether music should be free or not, the Breeders fall somewhere in the middle, according to Kelley.
"Eventually, you're going to get what you pay for. I don't know, it's one of those things - it's not like you can stop it. But it's like, the Fortress is all-analog, and there are people who work there who need to be paid. I don't know what the answer is, but I don't think 'free' is the answer."
In addition to the arrival of Fate to Fatal, the Breeders have several other upcoming projects, including playing and curating on 'All Tomorrow's Parties' festival in Minehead, England on May 15-17. In addition to the Breeders, fans will be able to catch sets by the likes of Bon Iver, Gang of Four, the Foals, X, J-Zone and Heartless Bastards, among others. Also, bassist Lopez is shooting footage of the Breeders for a forthcoming documentary (Kim's take on the docu's topic - "Why it takes us too long to make a record!"), while the band members have found themselves strangely aligned with a certain contact-heavy sport.
"It was a weird thing that happened," explains Kelley. "The Breeders were on tour last summer, and we went through St. Louis where we met up with our friend Amy Whited. She is an Arch Rival roller girl - for the St. Louis roller girl team. I've known her since she was 16 or 17 - I met her in 1994 at Lollapalooza in Chicago. We really watched her grow up, and we talked about how cool it would be to do a video with the Breeders performing live while a roller derby game was going on around us. Then, last October in Cincinnati, the Breeders played a 'Vote Early, Rock Late' rally. While we were there, these girls introduced themselves to us as the Cincinnati roller derby team. Then in November, I was doing a signing for my book ["Bags That Rock: Knitting on the Road with Kelley Deal"] and judging a craft show in Minneapolis, and one of the teams that I was judging at the craft show was the Minnesota roller girls. All this was going on and I thought, 'this roller derby thing is really knocking at my door - I gotta do this!' So, I got a hold of Amy and we figured it all out. We got the first edit of the video last week, and the Arch Rival girls look great. I can't wait for them to see it!"