n September 2010, IAN GRAHAM (Strait A Students) and TOM KING (Robotronica/Meat-Bird), having shared several Bellingham and Seattle stages in their separate bands, decided to join forces and begin hammerforging the music they’d always wanted to create. Tom’s background in metal and Ian’s punk-steeped track record immediately resulted in tight, catchy rhythms interlaced with swaths of melody and adroit, snaky solo work.
In early November 2010, having penned scratch versions of four songs, Tom and Ian began the search for a drummer who could bring together the sound they’d been crafting in a musty Seattle basement.
They didn’t have to search long. KEVIN HALES entered the fold in November 2010. Coming from a musical history too diverse to classify, Kevin jumped right into the rockpocket and began throwing down punishing, driving beats to back Ian’s growling, distorted bass lines and Tom’s chunky, muscular riffs. His background as a guitarist also informed his beats; Kevin knows when to drop the hammer and when to hang back and hold the line
But something was missing. FLE was not Van Halen or Pantera. They could not survive on a single guitarist alone (though at 6’3” and 240 pounds Tom could probably feed a small village), so Ian rang up longtime Bellingham contemporary ETHAN ERICKSON to fill the lonely Guitar 2 spot. Ethan’s melodic, indie-influenced riffs, perfectly placed lead lines and soaring vocal harmonies complemented Tom’s thrashy rhythm playing and Ian’s gruff, sandpapered vocals to craft the machinelike signature sound of today’s FLE.
Throughout 2011, FLE played a handful of shows to a small but incredibly enthusiastic (and excessively violent) audience. At the rabid insistence of two or three of their fans, the handsome gentlemen in FLE entered Dynasty Recording Studio in January 2012 to cut their first EP, titled Violation! Protest!
The rest is history in the making.
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