A continuous cycle of releasing jubilant, party-esque music since their 2002 debut album; a reputation tainted and earned by elaborate multimedia experiments; personally appointed tour support for artists like Aesop Rock, DEVO and Explosions in the Sky; and now barely more than a week shy of their fifth studio album, The Octopus Project—a moving blend of electronic pop and experimental elements—waits patiently to draw back the curtain on Fever Forms for its July 9 release date.
“The grand unleashing,” sighed Toto Miranda, one of the panoramic members who splits duties between drums, guitar and bass. “We’re really happy with the way it turned out. You can never be quite sure how ideas are going to pan out when we start throwing them around.”
The second single from the upcoming record, “Sharpteeth,” dropped with a music video on June 25. An Austin show on July 6 will commemorate the album’s release before touring nationally for the summer’s remainder.
Miranda said as a band—consisting of Josh Lambert, Yvonne Lambert and Ryan Figg—they are pursuing a lot of the same ideas as before, while improving upon.
“We always try to maintain some element to keep ourselves a little bit unfamiliar with what we’re doing,” Miranda said. “I think we come up with our most interesting ideas when the band is in territory we’re not really sure about. It’s taken us through different phases, but they’ve all been sort of different approaches to the same things we’re interested in.”
In comparison to 2010’s Hexadecagon, the tracks are much shorter. The Octopus Project made an effort in Fever Forms to be a bit “tighter” and “punchier” than the previous LP. They felt as though the basis of “epic and gigantic” had been covered with their previous pursuits.
Miranda stated how the new record has a couple songs written prior to Hexadecagon but deemed inappropriate for that particular album. He also cited how the contrast had been fun to work with between the two, and finding room on Fever Forms for more energetic tunes.
However, in regards to the band’s career as a whole, they have a bit of pure luck and their “party-vibe” reputation to blame. “I like parties and I’m not into guilt,” Miranda laughed. “It’s a pretty abstract way to describe music. We definitely go for that party vibe, and proudly represent Austin.”
One moment of the band’s career that stood out in particular was the opportunity to contribute with DEVO at Moogfest in 2010. After being invited to play the festival, the Austin natives realized they would be playing the slot right before the iconic New Wave group. But to everyone’s initial dismay, the band received a call about a week before the festival from Bob Mothersbaugh, of DEVO, saying he had injured his hand and would not be able to perform. Nevertheless, fellow bandmates Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Friedl were still planning to attend the festival.
“We got a request to learn a couple of their songs to kind of back them up, so they could still do some DEVO tunes at the show,” Miranda said. “We kind of got to be in DEVO for a show. That’s super surreal, and totally spectacular. It was was incredible. Totally incredible.”
As artists, he said the band had never thought about how far they would go on this bumpy road that is the music industry. The Octopus Project considers themselves lucky to be able to pursue their music exactly the way they want too. All while still gleeful to have reached the people who seem to appreciate them doing their own thing.
“I feel like getting on the road helped us figure out what we were doing, and helped solidify what was going on with our band,” Miranda said. “I know you learn a lot more about each other and the music you’re playing when you’re so focused on it. Out on the road, when your lifestyle becomes doing that show every day and it falls on the wayside, you really have to figure it out.
“I’m incredibly grateful that we still get to do this,” Miranda said. “I don’t think there was much of a plan in the beginning, other than let’s make some rad sounds.”
Watch the official music video for “Sharpteeth” from the band’s new album below.