Slingshot 2015: Fascinator x Vinyl Mag

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It’s safe to say that Fascinator follows through on the promise that their name implies. With tempered and melodic sounds and psychedelic visuals, front man Johnny Mackay leads the three-man band as the self-declared Lord Fascinator. His previous project, Children Collide, was a Melbourne-based modern rock project that mostly dissolved after Mackay’s move to America.

As Fascinator appears to have become Mackay’s musical priority, he has adopted a whole new style and sound. The synthetic beats may come through your headphones as rather “chill,” but they take on whole new dimension when performed on stage. The guys, clad in multi-colored layered pieces of clothing, have a ritual of covering their faces with masks. From heavy fringe to baklavas covered in googly eyes, their theatrical stage presence enhances their rather self-aware lyrics.

This practice has also carried over into the band’s trippy music videos, wherein images are often fixed over the members’ faces or are heavily covered with hats and large sunglasses.

Fascinator’s last album, Birth/Earth, was a combination of two albums, Birth and Earth, respectively, released in 2013. Birth came first in July with five tracks, and Earth followed in October with another five. The two were combined and enhanced by Mackay’s media production hobby and affinity for still and moving collages.

Be sure to catch Fascinator’s show at Slingshot Festival this Friday at the Georgia Theatre in Athens.

We got a few minutes with Lord Fascinator himself to talk about Slingshot, the band’s collages and masks, and what we can expect next.

Vinyl Mag: Are your social media photoshopped pictures and collages a social commentary of any kind?

Lord Fascinator: Photoshopped? For too long cosmic shaman like myself have been shunned by mainstream society. I’m just here to represent my people and beings of all planets.

VM: Your Facebook page says you’re inspired by Beck…do you have a favorite Beck album?

LF: Mellow Gold for fun. Odelay for tricks. Sea Change for emotions.

VM: Where did the idea of the mask come from?

LF: I want everyone and anyone to be in Fascinator. There’s a unique individuality to this unique brand of anonymity.

VM: Are you using the mask to hide from someone/something?

LF: No. I’m using it to expose something/someone.

VM: Most interesting crowd you’ve played (DJ’d?) for?

LF: Either Burning Man or when I performed my guided meditation, Lord Meditator, to a bunch of dinner dining families on white plastic furniture at Sydney Festival.

VM: Where do you get the inspiration for your psychedelic collage music videos?

LF: From deep, down inside. Or in front of my face. Or coldest, darkest space. See also Maurizio Cattelan, Alejandro Jodorowsky, or whoever’s world I’m sniffing around in at the time…

VM: Who are you most excited to see at Slingshot?

LF: Omar Souleyman, Holly Herndon, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Prince Rama.

VM: Favorite thing about Athens?

LF: The people and the food and the people who give you food.

VM: What’s next for Fascinator?

LF: Finishing up five videos so I can finally release my album, Man.

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