Exploring the Dark Landscape of Fotocrime

In our Spring 2020 Issue we launched a new music feature, Emerging. If you’ve been wondering what to listen to lately or perused Spotify and social media searching for the next emerging band that would restore your faith in The State of Music, this feature is for you. We checked in with a few of the bands we think have a unique voice in the musical landscape to inspire a new generation of concert-goers and record-buyers alike. In this Auxiliary Online Content you’ll find more background and photos on each band, this time we are focusing on Fotocrime.

R. of Fotocrime. Photo by Nick Thieneman.

Roll Call
“Fotocrime is a solo entity, I write, perform, and produce the music. I credit myself in the records by my first initial, R., in an attempt to disconnect from personal identity and direct focus to Fotocrime.”

Emerging band lineup feature in the Summer 2020 Issue.

Following up on the 2018 debut LP Principle of Pain, Fotocrime released a second full-length in early 2020 just as the world was grappling with the uncertainty of lockdowns due to COVID-19. In a way, it couldn’t be a more fitting time for the sounds of Fotocrime’s latest effort to emerge. Amidst the unique circumstances of a global pandemic and no live venues to celebrate and showcase new work, the sophomore release South of Heaven on Canada’s Profound Lore Records shows that frontman R. is honing his songwriting with deceptively simple songs that feel equally danceable and melancholic through the emotive vocals, gritty bass lines and the use of synth in a minimal sense, adding a sexy and eerie quality to Fotocrime’s overall sound.

The beginnings of this project were in 2016 where R. found himself, “alone in my garage studio writing music, finding a new voice, exploring sounds that were new for me.” He went on to tell us, “The intention is always growth and exploration, to expand as a songwriter, to focus my loves and struggles and joys and confusions into music and lyrics. To escape.”

The latest video released from South of Heaven.

“Always Hell” is the standout titular track from the Always Hell EP released in 2017.

Photo by Nick Thieneman.
Fotocrime live in 2020. Photo by Jurgen Van Hest.
Photo by Katie Lovecraft.
Photo by Katie Lovecraft.

When asked how he describes the sound of Fotocrime, R. said, “I do my absolute best to not talk to people about my music, unless they specifically inquire. I find those conversations awkward and usually fruitless. To an average civilian, I say postpunk with electronic elements. They usually respond with glassy eyes and a tilted head like a perplexed puppy.”

More specifically, what stands out upon first listening to Fotocrime is how refreshing it is to hear a self-identified post-punk project incorporate guitar as a main element of its sound. The popularity of coldwave and synthwave has left guitars in the shadows, almost shunned in place of electronic harshness and restrained or manipulated vocals reflecting a darkly tinged world. There’s elements of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry in the grainy, bass-heavy tones of these songs along with some hints of First and Last and Always era Sisters of Mercy. It was no surprise to see Fotocrime’s R. referencing the Lorries along with postpunk band Blitz in the press release for South of Heaven. Go along for a ride with R.’s rich vocals guiding listeners through stories of  facing shadows and navigating matters of the  heart.

Photo by Katie Lovecraft.

Listen to more of Fotocrime’s music at the Bandcamp page and follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for upcoming shows and news.

Check out the interview with Fotocrime in the Summer 2020 Issue. To read more about bands we cover for this feature, check out all of our Emerging interviews.

Elizabeth Rhodes is the Associate Editor of Auxiliary. Based in Los Angeles, she is a writer, DJ, modern mystic, and astrology junkie.
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