Interview: Fat Mike of NOFX on the ragtime soundtrack for Rubber Bordello

February 21, 2012 by Michael Dauphin

Interview: Fat Mike of NOFX on the ragtime soundtrack for Rubber Bordello

 

NOFX ringleader Fat Mike has put together quite the professional résumé during his thirty years in the punk business. He’s sold millions of NOFX records, released and sold even more records through his label, Fat Wreck Chords, opened bars, published magazines, created a political awareness group and dabbled in the lodging industry. Now Mike can add another feather to his Manic Panic-stained cap: composer of porn music. Along with Mad Caddies keyboardist Dustin Lanker, Fat Mike wrote and recorded a ragtime soundtrack for Rubber Bordello, a BDSM fetish film penned by his girlfriend, the dominatrix Soma Snakeoil. (He also makes a cameo in the movie: “I am a client. I’m a judge, actually.”) “I’ve never done anything like this,” he says. “It’s totally different from what I’m used to. It’s also the first time my girlfriend, Soma, wrote and directed a movie. And it’s the first time I ever scored a movie. It was very exciting for us to do.” AP recently caught up with Mike to discuss this project, the upcoming NOFX album, debauchery in general and his biggest regret in life. (Hint: It involves a certain kind of sport.)

Interview: Michael Dauphin

I know you wrote much of this album, but did you perform on it as well? I don’t hear too much bass?
I didn’t actually perform any of it, but I wrote a lot of it. The first song (“Shedonistic Society”) was totally mine. And the other songs were a collaboration between Dustin Lanker and myself.

I know Lanker is a member of Mad Caddies and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Who else is on the album?
We had a couple local horn players from San Francisco. And we had Ralph Carney, who plays with Tom Waits. It was really fun, because I wrote a lot of the horn parts. You can tell on the album when someone’s riffing and doing leads; that’s them. But the actual written horn lines, those are mine. And the horn guys liked it that way. They like direction.

On the final track, “Sleep Tight,” I thought the horns turned out particularly cool. There’s an interesting effect on the trumpet.
That’s the thing: I’m happy with how it really sounds like it was from the era. It doesn’t sound modern; it sounds very authentic.

Did you see the movie prior to writing the music, or did you write these songs based on the idea?
The movie was filmed, and then it was edited. After that, I took the movie to the studio and Dustin and I looked at the scenes. I did a lot of work beforehand, and the music you hear kind of depends on the scene. So if it’s a rope bondage scene, we have one number that comes in for all the rope scenes. It’s a number that’s piano-based and it speeds up with the scene. So we scored it. We watched the scene and then made the music that fit the scene.

What were some of the most challenging parts that you really didn’t budget for in your mind?
The most troublesome thing was… You know, it’s not like watching a regular porn movie. There is no talking in this film. So it’s not like writing songs that kind of get it out of the movie. This music has to carry half of the film. So when there’s a ten-minute scene of strap-on sex, you have to keep the music interesting. For the soundtrack, we edited down the songs between two to four minutes. But some of them go on much longer in the film. And I’m used to writing two-minute punk songs.

 

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