Since their beginning less than a year ago, The Fever 333 have completely averted from playing by the book. Referring to themselves as first and foremost as “an exhibition”, they made their live debut from the back of a U-Haul pickup van in the middle of Randy’s Donuts car park in California.
From that moment and frontman Jason Butler‘s (ex-letlive./Pressure Cracks) introductory speech of their mission statement, the three-piece – completed by guitarist Stevis Harrison (ex-The Chariot) and drummer Aric Improta (Night Verses) – proved that operate and act as more than just a band. They’re activists, and a voice for political and social change in today’s often unstable and turbulent climate.
Enlisted as this year’s Download Festival secret guests, we caught up with the band back in the festival’s press area to talk about their nature of surprise releases and shows, lack of representation on festival line-ups and society as a whole, the inspiration they feel from the March For Our Lives movement, and how they feel the youth will change everything.
DP!: You guys were the secret/not so secret band for Download this year. How did that come about?
J: I think we were asked to do it about a month ago. It’s kind of in line with what we want to do as a band anyway; we release things when we feel like it, and we like to play whenever we feel like it. It’s really cool, and it was exciting.
DP!: Well, Jason, it must feel good to be back here again. I don’t believe Night Verses or The Chariot have ever played here, right?
A: Nah, we didn’t do Download. The only UK festival we ever did was Hevy Fest.
DP!: Ah, so it is your first time here. Was it good?
A: Yeah, it’s been sick! The crowd was super cool. I think we were all just blown away at the fact that it’s the first time that this band has been to the UK and everybody was so receptive, and it was just insane.
J: It was the craziest pit that we’ve had – we talked about it earlier. It’s absolutely great to be back here. I know I said this onstage, but I’ve got a really unique relationship and definitely an affinity for this festival, so being received in this new project the way that we were was just really incredible. The people are really amazing here, and super supportive.
DP!: I mean, you guys have been a band together for less than a year. Did you ever imagine that you’d achieve everything that you have in such a short time?
S: Oh, no.
J: No, no, but we didn’t think of it. We didn’t think of any of that though. We thought of like an end game, and we thought of an objective, but we were never like “Yeah, in nine months we’ll be playing Download Festival at 3:55pm as the secret guests.” We didn’t think about things like that. It’s crazy, it’s really cool, it’s really exciting, and a blessing, you know?
S: I think we’re all just getting informed of these big things as it’s happening, but we stay pretty tight with each other and just play shows. We get some bad things, but I don’t think it has ever affected us. I just think we’ve done other bands for so long. We’re just trying to make the best music that we can and play shows.
DP!: You put out your ‘Made An America’ EP as a surprise release with almost zero promo. Why did you opt for that approach?
J: We just wanted to see how the people would carry it, and in turn have the people create the promotion. I think a lot of artists, or labels, or whatever – the industry doesn’t give people enough credit sometimes. I think we forget that the people are the reason that these things happen to begin with. The reason that the enhancement happens is because that’s what it is, and it’s also a sense of excitement. People will be like “Oh, it’s out? Cool.”
DP!: You’re not alone in doing it. Cancer Bats just did the same thing with their album ‘The Spark That Moves’.
S: Oh, yeah. They’re my boys. Liam is my hero.
DP!: I know that the ‘333’ in your name stands for change, commitment, and charity, but why did you make the change from being known as The Fever to then becoming The Fever 333?
J: It was really in the beginning. The ‘333’ was already sort of like our long core name, and then we just kind of sat on it and were like “This is what it’s about. These are the pillars upon which this project sits.” It’s also a good way to delineate and disambiguate us from any other act: The Fever, Fever, or whatever it may be, but really it is the foundation in being really able to speak to, and it really informs the project of the three Cs.
DP!: Your new song ‘Trigger’ is about gun violence and gun control. I wondered what your views are on the March For Our Lives movement that’s going on in America at the moment. I think that it’s incredible.
J: I love it. I think it’s incredible. I think that we’re being reminded that the youth will succeed us, and the youth will take us places, and they’re the ones that are going to change everything. When it gets that loud you can’t help but listen, and they’re being very loud, and they’re being very strong and they’re mobilising, and I think that their activism is inspiring for us as a project, for us as people, and for us as activists. I think that March For Our Lives and various other things would typically seem dangerous, or unappealing, or unpopular, but people are really confronting these issues and it’s incredible.
DP!: I know that you guys have spoken in other interviews about representation and how important that is. I don’t know if you’re aware that in the UK that there’s been a lot of controversies with different festival line-ups that there’s a lack of representation of women, and a lack of representation of people of colour. Do you think that’s a problem in music, and how do we tackle that?
J: I think that it’s a problem in the world really, you know? I think it’s about the evolution of society. So, when people feel threatened by this idea of- okay, here it is. We live in a world where as soon as you say something that may threaten someone they’re not going to really listen, or at least typically they won’t listen. They’ll feel challenged. So, when we say things like “Women need more representation”, or we say that “People of colour need more representation”, we’re not saying that so it’s all “Oh, fuck everybody else” and we’re going to take away what they have. That’s not what we’re saying, but we do believe that we are within a system that is perpetually subjugated women, objectified women, have marginalised and disaffected people of colour. These are just facts. This isn’t my opinion or bias, it’s what it is. So, since we’ve spent a millennia, literally a millennia of keeping people down – a certain faction of our various societies down – of course you’re going to need to have special attention on these factions of society. That’s how you repair it. It’s not necessarily a threat or rejecting the ideals of others or what they feel that they deserve, it’s just challenging society so that we can evolve, and so that everyone can feel included, and that we can continue in a more compassionate and positive way. That’s really it.
S: Showing support for an eclectic line-up really shouldn’t offend anyone. It’s not like saying “Get rid of these specific people”, we’re just saying “Get more of these people.” Also, without representing women or people of colour, your art is stagnant. That’s boring and it won’t stand, at all.
J: Yeah, absolutely. 100%.
Today, the band announced news of a one-off headline show at London’s O2 Academy Islington on August 22nd 2018, acting as a warm-up to their appearance at Reading & Leeds Festival on the bank holiday weekend.
The band’s debut EP, ‘Made An America’, is out now through Roadrunner Records.