April 26th was world Alien day. Synthwave producer Albert Bonilla, AKA FacexHugger, honored this by dropping his new FacexHugger EP for free. I got in touch with him in cyberspace for a few minutes before Ellen Ripley blew him out of the airlock. Here’s what we picked up:
Albert! How are you this afternoon? I’m glad those timezone differences didn’t cause any issues in our scheduling.
I’m doing well. No worries on the time zone.
Great. Firstly, I’d like to give you a bit of praise for the release yesterday. I downloaded it an hour after release and have been spinning it through Bandcamp since. Very immersive stuff.
Thank you! I didn’t really plan on releasing something so soon after the album release but I couldn’t help but contribute to Alien day.
Of course. And let’s talk about Alien day, and Alien-
You work under the name FacexHugger, paying reference to the freshly hatched larvae of the titular troublemakers of the Alien franchise. The cover art of your first full length release, Chasing Replicants, features a facehugger assaulting a man in signature fashion. You released your eponymous EP – for free download, might I add- on April 26th to coincide with world Alien Day. This EP features a track titled “LV-426,” another Alien reference. All of this being said, you’re either a diehard Alien fan, or a xenomorph yourself. What has given the Alien franchise so much significance in your life that you’ve tattooed it so boldly on your musical career?
So I have a HUGE love for horror in general. Alien and Aliens are some of my all time favorite movies. I love how tense and atmospheric Alien is, and I love how action packed Aliens is. Sadly I wish I had a cool story for how I became FacexHugger but the reality is I didn’t plan on making music the way I’m doing it now. I was just making music for myself on SoundCloud under the name FacexHugger and at a certain point I felt like some of my music would fit in a horror movie. So I jumped on Twitter and started looking for indie horror films that might need music.
She Was So Pretty?
I ended up finding Brooklyn Ewing who was working on her first film called She Was So Pretty. I sent her some of my songs and she really liked them. You know your stuff! So when it came down to her wrapping up the movie she asked, “what did I want to go by?” I told her to just use “FacexHugger” since it was my SoundCloud user name. At the time I didn’t think much was going to come of it as far as people wanting to hear more stuff from me, but the response was pretty amazing and FacexHugger was born.
I actually just found out about She Was So Pretty about 30 minutes or less before this conversation began during a last minute research session. You’re on IMDB! I wouldn’t have guessed that. It seems like a dark synthwave artist debuting in a horror movie would be a perfect start. While we’re on the subject of the name FacexHugger, I have to knock a question out that’s been on my mind. It’s a simple question, but it’s a silly question. With the knowledge I’ve just acquired, I’m assuming the “x” was simply for naming, spacing, and halfway aesthetic purposes for the username on SoundCloud. However, I still can’t help but point out the naming principle involving Xs in the straight edge hardcore punk and metal scene. This only comes to mind because I’m amused at the thought of FacexHugger going one on one with San Diego “horror edge” mosh-slashers JASONxVOORHEES. I’m right to assume the x is simply for naming purposes and symbolizes nothing, correct?
Haha, yeah, it was either “FacexHugger” or “Face_Hugger.” I’ve been asked a few times if the X was silent… So I went ahead and just answered that question on the new EP.
You’re referring to the track simply titled “The X Is Silent” of course, which is definitely my favorite track on the album. The last 20 or so seconds as the track exits are absolute magic. Definitely a sense of descending in an elevator down into a boss battle on a crashed space station. When listened apart from one another, the FacexHugger EP and Chasing Replicants sound completely different, but when listened to consecutively, or mixed, I can hear slight differences in sound. This is expected of course, but I mean a difference in production style. Sometimes Chasing Replicants sounds a little more intense or seems to carry more of a wall of sound. Maybe you know what it is I’m noticing. Were there perhaps any differences in hardware or software? A new choice of tone?
I recently purchased a new synth. a Roland JD-XI, and that’s what most of the sounds came from on the new EP. I also didn’t do the mastering for the EP like I did for Chasing Replicants. I hate the process of mastering a song but it’s something going forward that I’m going to need to… master.
So would you call the 2016 single “Videodrome” your first official release other than the work in She Was So Pretty?
Yes sir. I think there is a huge difference in my sound from that first release to where I’m at now. The support I’ve been receiving is what’s helping me get better.
The difference in sound is evident. It appears your visual aesthetics have shifted as well. I’ve seen two other logos, one with a scratchy effect and one almost vector-like, for lack of a better description right now from my brain. You have a new logo, which has been featured on the past two releases. Are you sticking with that one?
Yeah, that’s the one I’m going to use going forward. One day out of the blue an artist reached out to me. Turns out he is the same guy who does some of the artwork for the amazing Dance with the Dead. He said he really likes my name and has some awesome ideas. There was no way I was turning down an offer from him. We see eye to eye which is really important and I can’t wait to release more albums with his artwork. His name is Mark Kosobucki by the way.
That names sounds very familiar, I must have read it somewhere on your media or on Dance With the Dead’s merch site yesterday. I’ve got just a few more questions for you. Backtracking to your evolving sound, I’m aware you worked with Ethereal Delusions in the final production of your self-titled EP. Is this correct?
Do you plan on doing so again for the next release? Who else do you have your sights set on for collaboration? When can fans expect the next release? What kind of release do you have in mind?
Chances are very high that I will go with him again. The only reason I wouldn’t is if I decide to try and tackle doing the mastering on my own again. I’m currently doing a collaboration with Robouroboros. We are coming up with an Alien inspired track. And I have a few more collaborations coming up with Neon Shudder and Dreddd. I’m also working on some music for She Was So Pretty 2. So I’m gonna be pretty busy these next few months. I’m planning on releasing my next free EP 08/29/2017 (when Skynet becomes self-aware) and I’m telling you now that I’m going to make the whole album heavier than anything I’ve ever done. So I’m really excited to start working on it.
That’s amazing to hear. This pattern of dates based on iconic retro sci-fi films is fun as well. I know we’re all looking forward to it. Two more questions before we close this- The final track on Chasing Replicants, “Colony”, features voice work by Aleks Marie. Am I to assume that’s the representative for you named Aleks I spoke to in regards to booking this interview?
Yup, that’s my wife. She’s been huge in letting me follow this music path. You’ll be hearing a lot more of her on future songs. She’s like a Swiss Army knife- her talents are endless.
I figured there was something there! That’s great, and it’s always so cool to see couples involved together in art. She’s definitely multi-talented. One more question for you, Albert… Do you believe in aliens?
Yes! Fingers crossed I get to meet them one day.
I hope you do too. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today, FacexHugger! It’s been nice.
You’re very welcome. Thanks for reaching out to me.
FacexHugger will be performing live in California on June 11th at The Complex in Glendale and on June 24th at Cafe Colonial. You can download his brand new FacexHugger EP for free by clicking here. To keep up with his music and progress, follow FacexHugger on Twitter and Facebook.