I drove out to the 214 and pulled up to the address given to me but somehow I managed to knock on the back door instead of the front. I’m a lot like Dogmeat in the sense that I am somewhat of a lost puppy.
Then I waited some more.
5 minutes later, standing on the doorstep with my PS4 in hand, I started to get the sense a pack of feral ghouls could be ambushing my ass soon.
Instead, Emma rescued me from the porch and led me to Fallout playing, music writing bliss.
Once inside I struggled with powering up the PS4. My baby doesn’t travel often, took a little while to get its sea legs I suppose.
In the meantime I acquainted myself with the band.
Bassist Todd Thompson joined the other three band members on the couch along with Emma’s boyfriend Eddie and their two cats, Charlie and Zoey.
Charlie was active and friendly; he immediately swooped in for a petting, giving me a shot of confidence that I’d get the Playstation working soon.
That “confidence” was short lived however as Zoey, resting high above in her sleepy perch, shot me a disinterested cat look that said, “Meh. Who the hell is this loser??”
The PS4 finally fired up after a lot of finagling with the wires and the controller.
In my best Dirk voice I thought to myself, "Take that with you Zoey!"
With the PS4 humming along, it was time to get down to business.
As is the case on any Fallout campaign, in spite of my cursive-walking thru life, I did have a few objectives that clearly needed to be met.
For this story, those objectives went something like this:
1. Interview the band, particularly about the 1919 benefit show.
2. Have each band member create their own vault dweller using Fallout 4’s character generator.
3. Play lots of Fallout!
I handed the controller to Parker and pressed record on my iPhone voice memos utility.
I asked how long they had been together.
Everyone paused until Shannon said, “It’s been since January of last year.”
They all seemed a little shocked it had been a year already.
Emma playfully chimed in, “Happy Anniversary guys!”
This interaction encapsulates the vibe of the band. Contrary to the grave tones found in their music, everyone in the band is super laid back. I'd pay good money to watch the comedic banter Shannon and Parker displayed throughout the night.
I asked Shannon, "How do you play drums that fast?"
He replied, "The boring answer is time and practice."
To which Parker challenged, "What's the dank answer???"
After some shared laughter among the group, Shannon conceded and gave us the dank answer: "Being so furious at your instrument ... just destroying the circles around you."
His answer segued nicely into my next question...
"Like a tasty sesh of Fallout, do you find playing music provides an escape from the insanity? And also, at the same time, perhaps it doubles as your way of fighting back?"
Parker humored me, "I can see the parallel. It being a release, like blowing up enemies or making a lot of loud noise (with music)."
Shannon seconded, "I did break my snare head at our first show."
"In general, I find musicians prefer RPG games due to the inherent freedom/space for creativity found in them. Do you see those parallels in a non-linear game like Fallout?"
"There's a certain aspect to the freedom that I like. Personally," Emma motioned to herself, "Fallout for me kind of opened up my mind to what the world is coming to. The humanity of it. The aspects of propaganda and how societies function before and after."
"I see it," Parker added. "Exploring a expansive world, like with music, you can write anything."
"So I wanted to talk about the 1919 benefit. Have you played 1919 before?"
"Oh yeah," Parker confirmed.
"I think it's great you're playing this benefit show. I went thru that whole 4chan thread, that shit was crazy."
"I just can’t believe people waste their time," Emma demurred. "If I hated something that much I wouldn’t waste my time and go there, and scope it out to call the fire department. 1919 is about the music. Anyone is welcome there even if you are a shithead. As long as you’re respectful. There's other DIY spaces this is happening to and they're not making enough money to cover expenses. It's really sad."
"I read all the lyrics for your songs on Bandcamp. The Vault Dweller from the game essentially serves as a vessel of justice that sticks it to the man, whether that's the Brotherhood (i.e. Neo-Nazis), The Enclave, etc. Basically, the Vault Dweller is a truth seeker. So Emma, with that said, is that what the lyrics for 'Vault Dweller' and 'War of the Words' address?"
Emma: "For pretty much everything I write lyrically I don’t ever want to be super specific about one thing, especially with Fallout. I just like the general concepts. Even if they enjoyed living in the vault, the general concept was they were lied to, they were forced there, they were coerced there, and ya know, that’s fucked up!"