Jun 2023 08

Ian Flux speaks about the formation, influence, and philosophy behind Fact Pattern’s melodic and distinctly cinematic industrial/metal.


An InterView with Ian Flux of Fact Pattern

By Guy Lecoq (GuyLecoq)

Fact Pattern has emerged in recent years as one of the leading voices in the current waves of industrialized metal. Over the course of the group’s growing discography and videography can be heard… seen… felt a strong personality and atmosphere, full of mesmerizing and intense depictions of mechanical and societal structures transformed like living organisms into something… else. In a special contribution to ReGen Magazine, Guy Lecoq speaks with Fact Pattern founder Ian Flux about the band’s history and autonomous methodology, touching on the musical and cinematic influences that inform the group’s audiovisual presentation, the tumultuous state of touring in the wake of the pandemic, animal testing, the therapeutic function of art in the midst of mental and emotional turmoil, better living, and hope in an age devastated by its own destructive appetites.


Fact Pattern is now more than 10 years old, has garnered achievements along the way, and still has a lot to offer. But as every accomplishment has a story behind it, could you tell me about the events that led to the formation of the band?

Flux: The band, as it is now in what I consider to be its ‘final form,’ was not a direct path. The first few years of Fact Pattern, in its initial form, were mostly an experiment as far as the blending of styles and the people I was working with at the time. I admittedly didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it in those days. I knew I had all of these influences I wanted to blend, but I wasn’t sure what the proper proportions were. After a series of starts and stops, I gave it a full reboot towards the end of 2016 with a small batch of new songs on the Structures EP. That included me enlisting Jack Lowd to play bass and co-write, since he and I were playing together in another project in 2015 where we instantly clicked. We started writing together and knew we had genuine chemistry. Meanwhile, we were looking for a live drummer who would hopefully later round out a new batch of songs for a full-length.


We were eventually put in touch with Raanen Bozzio, with whom we would complete our first proper album, Fallen Language. After playing a bunch of local shows and a string of gigs out of state, Raanen became busy with several other projects. So, we decided to part ways with him and reach out to a dear old friend of mine, who also happens to be an incredible drummer, Corey Hirsch. He instantly agreed to join the band again, as he was briefly a part of the early experimental version in 2013. The only catch being that he was now living out-of-state in Tacoma, WA. But like Jack and I, Corey is very tech-savvy and had recently acquired a Roland TD-550 V-Drum kit. So, we were able to work together remotely with video calls and cloud file sharing – a process that ironically became a necessity shortly after he joined, due to the pandemic hitting a few months later.
Fast forward to now, three years later, and we’ve settled into a very solid routine with how we write. So far in this final lineup, together we have written two songs on a split EP with Dread Risks out of TX, a five-song EP released in 2021, and now a nearly complete new full-length record coming soon. However, the distance with our drummer is a hurdle for playing shows, so we are currently performing live as a two-piece, with all of his drum tracks from the recordings in use, instead of a fill-in drummer. That’s where we are right now, and everything feels really good!

Speaking of your influences, what are they? How did you manage to blend them, to find the right balance?

Flux: My biggest influences are Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Type O Negative, Depeche Mode, Godflesh, Neurosis, Faith No More, Deftones, MINISTRY, not to mention a gallery of filmmakers and the composers they work with – a lot of cinematic music influences how we do things. I also had a lot of help blending them all together when Jack and I started writing together. We share a lot of the same influences, but he also listens to a lot of hardcore and extreme metal bands that I’m not familiar with. So, with his sensibilities combined with mine and Corey’s, we just know what works and what doesn’t work for us as a unit. The main thing is that we always want the music to be heavy and emotionally intense while still maintaining plenty of melody. So, no matter what angle we approach a new song from, the goal is always for it to have a strong melodic core, while also being heavy and somewhat ethereal.



Your music, and your art as a whole, is very visual and cinematographic for sure. As such, which directors, composers, and films have had a lasting impact on your perceptions and your creative process?

Flux: As the mix engineer, it is a crucial priority to ensure that all the details and atmosphere we’ve created in the writing and production process comes through, and is enhanced in any way possible.
As for directors, the biggest influences on what we do visually would be David Lynch, Panos Cosmatos, Denis Villeneuve, John Carpenter, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Romanek, and Chris Cunningham. These filmmakers have had a huge impact on what I do as an artist in general and a significant influence on how we create together as a band when it comes to our music videos – from the way they handle the story itself, to the way every frame is lit and shot. These are the kinds of filmmakers that open up new worlds when you watch their work, and they all have a close relationship with the music in their creative process; it’s never secondary, and that is so important to me.
As for composers, some of my personal favorites are Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dan Wool, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter, Angelo Badalamenti, Disasterpeace, Cliff Martinez, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and Mike Patton. They all have a power that is unparalleled with creating the correct mood for whatever project they’re working on; they almost seem to invent new emotions anytime they create. Their precision is something I aspire to as a producer and composer, and their work has informed a lot of the mentality we have going into recent writing sessions.

When image and sound work together we reach a higher level in the expression of art, more emotionally impactful, and giving a greater scope to the works and the messages they convey. All these creators you mentioned have, in my opinion, a very graphic approach in their work – something that stirs and shakes our deepest senses, and tending to show us that beyond what we may think is unreal, we live in a reality that can be both beautiful and nightmarish of our own nature. What do you think about it?

Flux: Absolutely! That is certainly a common thread that all of my favorite artists have. They push towards the visceral, but always with a strong story of substance to underline it all. I think growing up watching John Carpenter from a very early age taught me to appreciate that. So much of what I love about my favorite works of art is that the vision is cohesive. Another contemporary favorite of mine would be Ti West. Like the others I mentioned, his idea for what goes onscreen is always enhanced by the music he chooses. Artists like all the ones I’ve listed have amazing instincts for making the audience feel everything, whether it’s something you’re ready for or not. I think art like that has a lot of power, emotionally and intellectually. I think it helps us face our fears and opens us up to new ideas about everything, because the film or piece of music took you somewhere that maybe you were afraid to go on your own, or might never have ended up in the first place.

I must admit I don’t know Ti West’s work, mostly because it hasn’t really crossed the borders, at least in France. As for John Carpenter, his work is highly respected, and the one I really like that had a huge impact on me is They Live, which reminds us that we all have an important role to play in the system… even if only by passing on information to help raise awareness, and this is even more true nowadays in this era where information and technology have become inseparable. It’s something that we find in your videos.

Flux: Absolutely! Carpenter is a huge influence on what I do as an artist all around, and what we do as a band, as far as our messaging goes. The references to They Live can definitely be found in our video for ‘Retail Therapy,’ as many have pointed out. It’s definitely a film discussing the cogs in the machine that we all are, but I think what’s crucial to take from that film is how oppressed most of the cogs are. That subjugation never seems to die; it merely changes shape or becomes more covert, and that capitulation is never an option.
As for Ti West, I strongly recommend his work to you. He definitely takes more than a page or two from Carpenter and many other iconic and lesser known directors from the ’70s and ’80s – X and Pearl being his most recent pieces, with the third installment being MaXXXine, which everyone in the band is really looking forward to. Other than that, some of his other great films include House of the Devil and The Innkeepers… I can’t recommend those two enough.



I must confess that when I saw your very pronounced smile that you wear on your face in the ‘Retail Therapy’ video, I instantly thought about the interludes in Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop. These newscasts or advertisements that punctuate the film, this way of presenting atrocities or selling products with a big fake smile on the screen… this can create a certain uneasiness or, on the contrary, provide some relative comfort depending on how the viewer interprets all this, and your video works very well with this uneasiness. You did a great job.

Flux: Thank you so much! That means a lot to me as the filmmaker in the band. And yes, RoboCop was absolutely another influence for the ‘Retail Therapy’ video. It’s one of my favorite films of all time and it only gets better with age, for better or worse. And I mean that in the sense that everything it was saying almost 40 years ago seems even more relevant now. So, that sardonic, half-hearted smile that I and my co-stars have plastered on our faces in that video comes from reality as much as fantasy. And we had a lot of fun making that video.

I can imagine indeed! Did you study in a film school or did you learn by yourself? Can you tell me about your working method?

Flux: No, I have no formal training at any school for audio or video. But I’ve had plenty of ‘mentors’ along the way. I’ve shadowed a lot of brilliant people in those respective fields and picked up tons of skills from them. Aside from that, I have read countless books and consumed hours of tutorials on proper methods and technical procedures for both music production and filmmaking. So, I am essentially an autodidact. I have to learn everything myself, and if it’s worth learning, I will consume every detail possible.
As for my working method, it just depends on what the video calls for. If it’s a performance video, things are usually a lot more straightforward – find the location, determine how many setups you need, and try to capture as many angles as possible in the time allotted. Narrative videos can be a lot more involved, such as with ‘Retail Therapy.’ That took a lot of advance planning to make sure we had everything we needed, and there was even some elements we did at home that were required before we did principal photography… i.e., all the product shots and demos. And there was a fair amount of scripting before the shoot day. So really, it all depends on what the nature of the video is and sticking to a vision.

Speaking of vision, I’d like to discuss your video for ‘Under the Knife.’ For as long as I can remember, I have always felt uncomfortable with the idea that we humans use animals for scientific purposes in order to advance our own research and put our well-being ahead of that of other species. I always say to myself, ‘what if it was me instead of these animals?’ How did you get the idea for this video and can you tell me more about what it means to you?

Flux: That one was done at a time when we were in transition between drummers and had a couple big shows lined up, so we enlisted our friend Tommy Mnemonic in France to help us out. We gave him the lyrics and concept we had in mind and let him run with it. Essentially, the song is about how I believe all animal testing in this country and the world needs to come to an end. I think it’s absolutely cruel and barbaric, so my proposed solution in the song is to instead use sex offenders who’ve had repeated violations, specifically against children, to be used as test subjects for all medical research. Obviously, this is somewhat impractical in reality, but we like to think of it as a ‘nothing left to lose’ dystopian remedy. The concepts that we discussed with Tommy when we gave him our in-studio performance footage to intercut with were essentially revolving around ‘medical science,’ ‘animal cruelty,’ and ‘incarceration.’ We just had him pull a ton of royalty-free stock clips and perform his magic on it. His editing is insanely chaotic, and we felt it was perfect for this particular song. The idea behind it means a lot to me because I’m a huge animal lover, a vegan, and I deeply despise sex offenders.

80% of the world’s animals spend their lives locked up in factories, which are sometimes real factory towns in the heart of rural areas. 70 billion animals are transformed into manufactured products every year. Four multinationals (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, and Smithfield Foods, the latter part of the WH Group since 2013) that alone control 80% of the meat sold in the world and the entire production chain, each of them more powerful than Coca-Cola. Activists around the world who dare to denounce the abuses of this system are persecuted and condemned. I would like to have your point of view on this issue; also, do you as a vegan and animal lover have to face daily invectives about your opinions or your way of life?

Flux: Exactly. All of that data is a huge part of why I’m strongly against the entire industry. I honestly am not militant in my beliefs, and I don’t care if people eat meat or animal products. I just wish they would spend their money more consciously and educate themselves on these problems. If that were the case, I think these industries would be forced to reduce their footprint massively. Because, as you stated, their power is far too overreaching as it is.
As for my day to day, I don’t really get a lot of argument or insults from people around me. Those closest to me often forget I’m vegan most of the time because I don’t preach about it. But if they have questions, I’m happy to answer in a non-judgmental way. That being said, there is the occasional colleague or co-worker who thinks the joke they’re lodging at my expense is the funniest thing ever as if it’s the first time I’ve ever heard it. I usually just respond with a condescending remark or a death glare. (laughs)



It’s interesting that you talk about work because a lot of musicians and artists in general have to work in parallel to their artistic career. Streaming services, and download platforms before them, have changed the way people consume music, resulting in a drop in revenue for many artists and labels. What about you? What do you think about the preponderance and methods of the streaming giants?

Flux: Personally, I don’t really enjoy relying on an internet connection to enjoy music… at least as far as streaming in my car is concerned; the connection is almost always dodgy and frustrating. My preferred digital platforms are Bandcamp and Apple Music (Bandcamp more so), and I always buy something outright and download it if I enjoy it enough. So, I ultimately prefer physical media if it’s available. I’m definitely a bit of a vinyl junkie, although less of one these days. I don’t like Spotify at all as I feel it’s a very fast food sort of approach to music consumption with the subscription-based service that’s hurting a lot of artists. The fact that billion dollar tech companies are ruling the music world right now is extremely upsetting to me, but the major platforms all have their major flaws in one way or another, so I pick my battles.

What about the profitability of live shows nowadays? During the pandemic, artists were obviously deprived of this important source of income, but the recovery seems to be equally difficult. We are seeing many artists forced to cancel tours due to unsustainable costs.

Flux: The profitability of live shows is very tenuous these days. If you’re already an established artist with a sizable fan base, you might have it a bit easier with touring and doing one-off special engagements. But there are still plenty of obstacles in the ways of even the biggest acts, not the least of which being that everything costs so much more right now, especially in Europe. Even Skinny Puppy and KMFDM have had recent issues with planned tours in the region. I’m not entirely sure why, but for some reason, it’s a bit easier to tour the U.S. right now. It seems the biggest factor is the cost of ground transportation. But we do have some friends who have been enjoying a bit of success touring stateside. Granted, they are mostly one-to-two-man operations, and they have the benefit of working with booking agents or managers. D.I.Y. tours are pretty much dead in the water right now. It costs way too much to put everything together yourself, not to mention the stress of making sure everything is in place night after night while still delivering a quality performance.

I can confirm that many artists are forced to cancel their tours in Europe. This is an unprecedented situation as far as I know, and it doesn’t seem to get any better. You mentioned the difficulties and stress that many artists have to deal with. In a study conducted among independent artists and published in 2019 before the pandemic, which considerably worsened the situation, the results showed that 73% of the respondents experienced mental health issues, ranging from anxiety to depression, stemming from their music careers. Is this something you have experienced or witnessed on your journey?

Flux: Absolutely. Nothing about this chosen artform is easy, especially in this day and age. Every artist has to be a multi-faceted talent; from the writing and production of the music itself to conceptualizing the art for each release to creating the videos, or at least having the resources and network to help you out. It becomes very daunting to do all of that and keep up with the pace of social media and the way in which music is consumed now. I love being able to execute every aspect of what we do ourselves, but it is the pacing that becomes exhausting. So, learning to make as much as possible when schedules permit and drip it out later is becoming part of the rhythm. And I haven’t even gotten into the other aspects that have an effect on an artists’ mentality such as impostor syndrome, comparing yourself to your peers too much, etc. But for myself, a lot of what wears on me mentally and often makes me want to quit is seeing people who are known abusers, violent offenders, and others like that succeed again and again. There are people we actively avoid associating with and it becomes more and more tricky the more your network expands. I am so immensely grateful for the allies we have and the dear friends who have our back. I’m always trying to dwell on the positive that those individuals offer, and staying true to what we are trying to create is also very helpful in keeping a level head.



It’s a beautiful lesson of humanity. And it’s all the more difficult to accept because art in itself is a form of therapy for the one who creates and for the one who appreciates it. Speaking of humanity and what we create, how do you see the future of the world and humanity as a whole? In your opinion, what are the hopes that we can hold on to?

Flux: You’re absolutely right, art is therapy… for both the creator and the ones who experience the creations. That has always been its function for me on both sides.
As for the future of the world, I’ve never really considered myself a very optimistic person when it comes to that subject. That’s not to say I don’t feel like there’s hope for humanity. But I was raised in the ’80s and ’90s when end times and doom were part of the vocabulary of the daily news and in a lot of the art I consumed. Global warming (now climate change), acid rain, geopolitical conflicts of all sorts, demagogues, dictators, disease… all of this stuff kind of informed a lot of my world view, and I think where we are now as a society feels very much on track with where the world was when I was brought into it. So, while I don’t feel a lot of hope for humanity, I still always allow myself to be surprised by a potentially positive outcome in any case.

That being said, it is the people I love, the family I’ve built with some very special individuals that keeps my hope alive – the hope that even through all of this uncertainty and constant anxiety surrounding the stability of our species, we still have each other and can overcome anything. I think there’s also a lot of hope to be derived from the idea of accepting my limitations. Knowing that our time here is short allows me to not dwell on the things that I cannot change. Of course, I’m always trying to make my world a better place, but living a fulfilling life, for me, includes picking your battles. This is all stuff I write about regularly.


Fact Pattern
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Photography by Sam Franco and Pablo Salamone, provided courtesy of Fact Pattern


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