Interview with Fiona Horne of DEF FX
DEF FX, Australia’s own electronic surf rock band of the 90s is returning to Australia in 2017 for a national tour! Amnplify’s Pauli Dee spoke to enigmatic front-woman, Fiona Horne in what he praises as the most interesting interview he’s ever done.
Pauli: Hey Fiona. Thanks for chatting to us and happy Friday!
Fiona: Is that what day it is?
Well where are you?
I’m in The Caribbean. It’s Thursday night.
Oh nice. Well happy Friday-eve to you then! We’re chatting today because DEF FX have announced their “Heaven and Hell 2017 Australian tour” which is somewhat of a 20 year reunion for all original band members. …Why now?
Twenty years! Why not? Hahaha You said it!
Is it something you’ve been thinking about for a while?
Well there was just a sequence of events that happened last year that were kind of interesting. An amazing promoter, Roy Ortuso and his wife Enza have a company Abstract Entertainment and we’re friends through someone else and they put a lot of artists on the road in Australia and they’re a real class act, they’re great and we’re friends. I was visiting Australia and having dinner with them and at the same time, the original guitarist, Blake Gardner and I got in touch on Facebook, you know someone somewhere tagged us both in a photo and I was like “What is Blake up to?” and we ended up sending each other a few messages and sort of saying maybe we could take another run around the park with this just for fun and then Roy, Enza and I were chatting about other things and Roy said “I’d love to put your band on the road. You were huge in the 90’s and the 90’ is so popular right now, so that’s sort of how it all started and then I got in touch with Marty, our original bass player and Ant Banister who is a member of the band as we are now and now we’re doing this tour!
I think the thing that’s really exciting for all of us is the three founding members, Marty, Blake and myself, you know we wrote the original songs that carved out what the sound of what DEF FX stands itself as, which is the electronic, surf-sonic heavy guitars and that amazing bass that Marty plays. To have that original line-up to play with again is really exciting for us and we’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re doing a ‘best of’ show with everyone’s favourite songs, but we are doing one, maybe two new songs just because we had already started on that and it’s just really fun, we’re not going to release it as a single like it needs to be played on radio or nothing like that, we’re just going to share it with friends. I mean it will be available on a commemorative 20 year CD that we’ll be selling at the shows, but it’s really just something fun to do!
Can you believe it’s been TWENTY YEARS?
I know! Blake left the band in 1993, only 3 years into the band and we were on tour in America and there was a lot of heavy stuff going on and we were all really young and he just had to go. He couldn’t keep on with the tour, he needed to find some balance and peace in his life, so we haven’t all played together in a quarter of a century!
Oh God I’m feeling old now!
Yeah but you know what, it’s funny when we think about the passage of time and does it define if you’re ageing, are you getting older, are you getting better at living and I certainly approach my life in a way that Im getting better at living and I think the embers of the band all agree that when your young, there’s that saying “Youth is wasted on the young” and I love being at this point. We’ve known each other for a long time and some of the most amazing memories we’ve had were in DEF FX together as a band and just to be able to do this again and unite with the fans, who are following lives path just like we are and some of them are bringing their kids to the shows and then there’s a whole wave of people that are going to come that know me from my books and things I did after DEF FX, they’re all coming too, so its a massive celebration of life & energy.
What makes this tour absolutely amazing for me is we’ll have “My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult” touring with us and they’re AMAZING! We toured with them back in 1993, we did this Texas tour, we did Ausitn, Dallas and Houstan & they were fuckin’ nuts! They were amazing, so to think all these years later, Frankie & Mars from Thrill Kill Kult, who are friends of mine now. When I was living in Los Angeles for the last ten years, we became good friends and one day I was there and I knew Roy and Enza (Abstract Entertainment) wanted to put us on the road so I asked Frankie if he’d ever been to Australia and he was like “Nah, we’ve always wanted to go but never made it out there!” so I asked if he wanted to come out with us and told him I’d speak to the promoter and Roy is so funny. He’s the good catholic Italian boy and he was like “Oh yeah I can’t wait to hear them play “Daisy Chain for Satin!” and we were just cracking up laughing, saying this is going to be so awesome, so they’re coming with us all the way from Chicago. We’re all going to meet in Australia and it’s going to be a blast. We’re calling it the “Heaven and Hell – the ultimate electric disco rock show” because it really is, it’s going to be so much fun!
Is there anything i particular that you want to show them when you get back to Australia?
I haven’t really thought about it to be honest. Our touring schedule’s pretty tight. I’m getting in earlier but we have to rehearse, we’ve only been rehearsing via the good old internet, but when I get there, we’re just gonna jam and really lock it down for a week before they get there, then once they get there, I don’t know, theres a 3 day break in the middle of the tour, I’d love to take them flying. Maybe I’ll rent a plane or something or maybe just hang out. I have to talk to them about what they want to do.
Oh yeah, You’re a pilot, aren’t you?
Yeah Im a commercial pilot. Ive had a very long day today. I’ll give you an idea of what my day is; I just flew from Saint Thomas to Saint Croix, that was empty, picked up what we calla HR, which is human remains. You know on the islands, you have to transport bodies, sometimes the family need them on different islands. Its interesting because, this might sound a bit hippy-dippy for a professional pilot but I feel the energy and when Im about to transport a body, I’m feeling like very respectful, but there’s also this sense of peace. I, in my own way say my own version of what could be considered some kind of prayer honouring the passing of a person and asking for their safe and peaceful passage and for the blessings of their families. You know, to be given the honour of transporting their body to its final resting place is a pretty intense thing, so anyway, once the funeral home picked up that body, I then flew over to Puerto Rico to pick up a passenger and take them to another island, so its been a very long day! Ive been flying all day.
You must see some beautiful sights, being a pilot in The Caribbean, right?
I do! Im very blessed to work here in the caribbean. I moved here 4 or 5 years ago after a lot of things happened in life, but I love living and working where I used to pay to come and holiday! Its been quote a journey to get to this point in my road and to actually work as a professional pilot, but planes are much more comfortable than broomsticks, so thats why I started flying planes instead of broomsticks!
Hahaha but really one of the things that really drove me to do this was to be able to donate my flying skills to fly humanitarian aid to do animal flights, helping relocate animals from kill shelters to loving homes and then I co-ordinated and operated two humanitarian missions to Haiti this year to help an island that had just been decimated in the hurricane last year. They’ve had such a rough trot over there, so we flew in seeds and doctors and a bee keeper who helped with a hive over there, so I really love donating my time and skills to that and then I work as a commercial pilot as well.
Ive actually written about it in my newest book.
The Naked Witch?
Yes! Thats the story of all that and more and thats coming out at the same time as the DEF FX tour, so the timing’s all real beautiful. I feel very lucky and very blessed that Ive managed to stay out of the way and life has just happened without me micromanaging it.
hahaha Oh man, Ive got a million questions to ask you. Im so personally invested in this interview because Im a big fan, but we have to wrap it up. I know Im the first of a few people you have to speak to today.
Yeah, sorry about that mate.
Thats ok. You don’t need to apologise! There is something I like to do at the end of my interviews which is a bit of fun and it’s really quick, it’s called One Random Minute.
One Random Minute
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Oh God! Ummm, Oh what did I have? I never get time for breakfast. I had a cup of tea and a belvita biscuit, which isn’t as good as a TimTam, but will suffice.
haha for now..!
What I had for lunch! I had two pieces of pie and they were amazing. One was almond and coconut and the other chocolate brownie with caramel cream and I ate both of them! It was between flights and I needed sugar!
Apples or bananas?
Oh bananas mate. Always, but I love apples too! bananas help you sleep and Im always really wired so sometimes Ill have a banana at night.
I think you’ve already answered this, but Tea or Coffee?
Tea! Im more of a tea person now, especially because I stopped drinking alcohol. I haven’t drunk alcohol in about 5 years so Ive become a bit of a tea-whore!
A tea-whore? I haven’t heard that one! hahaha
Who’s your favourite super hero?
Hmmm, I was going to say the obvious, which would be wonder woman or something, but if you could call the old bionic woman a super hero, it’d be her. She’s really cool. Id love to be her!
Oh what a blast from the past, Im gonna look that up on YouTube now!
What’s your favourite thing to have on a sandwich?
Oh these are such great questions because I love to eat!
Provolone cheese and kale! hahaha I love a a good strong italian cheese!