An Interview with More Ephemerol

More Ephemerol is a Los Angeles-based synth / minimal wave / industrial duo consisting of Chad Fjerstad and Tamara Sky.

Photo by Teia Ciornei (@teiatoast)

Teia Ciornei: I am here with Chad of More Ephemerol. Dildox is about to play, then More Ephemerol, then Crow Jane. We’re here at the Moroccan Lounge. So, could you introduce yourself and what you do in the band?

Chad Fjerstad: I’m Chad Fjerstad; I write the songs. I do vocals, and I play synthesizers.

Unfortunately, Tamara couldn’t be here today. Both of you do vocals. 

Yeah, absolutely. It’s pretty 50/50 on most of the songs. That was kind of the vision I had for it. I wanted [the vocals] to be, you know, male, female, male, female, to be honest.

How did you start More Ephemerol? How did you and Tamara meet?

It’s really cool that we’re playing here tonight because I met Tamara for the first time about ten years ago. She used to do a monthly party here [at the Moroccan Lounge]. Back when this place was called the One Eyed Gypsy. Tamara was the resident DJ for a night where they’d also have live bands come from out of town. It was, like, super gothy but futuristic. It was called “Lil Death”. But it was mostly a goth party, with mostly dark synth music. It was pretty popular. And it went on for a long time. I just always considered Tamara my favorite DJ. So I knew she had the best taste in tunes. And then, when I wanted to start a project of this style, she told me she was interested. And I was like, of course, you can be in the band because you have the best taste in music. So, that was that.

You said that you used to play in metalcore bands. So, how did you go from that to starting a synthesizer project? Do you still do that kind of music? Or are you more focused on the synths now? Basically, how did you end up making this music?

I mean, I still play in some hardcore punk bands, but I have four or five different projects, and they’re all in different genres. I mean, More Ephemerol is the one that means the most to me personally at the moment. It’s the one I’m most serious about, 

But, in summary, it was like, you know, the first bands I ever played in were metal bands. They were a kind of melodic death metal inspired by Swedish metal. We did a lot of touring back in the MySpace days between 2003 and 2008. But right around the same time, as those bands were ending, I started getting into horror movie soundtracks, especially Italian ones. There’s this band, Goblin. That’s one of my favorite bands of all time. They did the soundtrack to like the original Suspiria movie. 

No way! That’s my favorite movie of all time. Giallo films are great. Like, Mario Bava, Dario Argento…Italian film scores, too. 

Oh yeah, Lucio Fulchi, Fabio Frizzi, all that stuff. So, I got super into that. Then, when I moved to LA in 2009, the first year, I was trying to find friends. And then, eventually, I just ended up finding these dark synth parties. And the bridge for me was that it sounded like these horror movie soundtracks, but with vocals, and people were dancing to it. It just worked for me right away. Then, I slowly started moving backward and listening to early industrial, like Front 242 and Cabaret Voltaire. Now, that’s some of my favorite music ever. That crossed with New Wave, like Human League and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. 

Would you say that those artists are some of your influences for this project?

Oh, yeah. Human League is one of the biggest influences. On the lighter, poppier side, they’re one of the biggest influences. Then it’s mixed with the darker, you know, very ‘LA goth club’ vibe of today. There are many projects out there doing the dark stuff now, but I wanted to do something that, you know, that crowd can enjoy but that has a more timeless, poppier element to it.

So, for your most recent album, what was the creative process like for that? 

I usually go on a writing spree and write all the music myself. But Tamara and I work on the vocals together. I don’t know what else to say other than that. I mean, you know we did that album with Matia [of Infinite Power Studios], right? 

There’s a couple of things that I’ve self-produced over the last few years, but, you know, when I’m making a real record that I want to be taken seriously, I like to work with someone, you know, who’s known for being an engineer, someone legit to mix and master. Every once in a while, I’ll put out a single or something weird and just completely do it myself. But for a real last record like this, that I want to have lasting value, and for people to still be talking about 20 years from now, or maybe even appreciating more. I feel like, you know, you got to work with someone like Matia, you know.

Yeah I think that was the perfect choice. Is there anything you want to promote before we see Dildox perform?

I have too much to promote. I mean, I write books, I make comics, I’m playing in five projects. If you’re interested, look me up by my name and follow me as a person. For More Ephemerol, we want to play shows right now. We’ll probably make a couple of music videos soon and maybe put out another single. 

Photos by Teia Ciornei (@teiatoast)

Before long, More Ephemorol enchanted my senses with their upbeat stage presence and minimal, at times, industrial instrumentals. You could tell the duo were enjoying themselves while performing. Before announcing their last song, Chad shed the signature white cloak he’s always wearing on stage. It is impossible to say whether the spotlights were getting too warm or Chad was getting into character as Frank Tovey for their next song. More Ephemorol ended their sparky set with a version of “Ricky’s Hand” by Fad Gadget, much to the delight of myself and a few other similarly heady show-goers. It’s unique to play to an audience entirely of Fad Gadget fans, but that’s the glorious crowd More Ephemerol draws.

Halfway into “Ricky’s Hand,” Chad tossed a comically small plastic hand into the crowd. The person who caught it started throwing the tiny hand at other people in the crowd, resulting in a hilarious game of catch. Many artists throw huge beach balls into stadium crowds (cliché), but I think More Ephemerol should continue their tradition of bestowing tiny, severed plastic hands upon arm’s-length audiences.

More Ephemerol’s 2023 LP Apotheosis Pageant is out now on all platforms

You can connect with More Ephemerol on Instagram & Bandcamp