Northwest Arkansas, home to vast farming fields, hunting and fishing, and Razorback sports, seems an unlikely place to find an 80s inspired rock band with an affinity for synthesizers, but that’s exactly the image 3-piece band Fossils of Ancient Robots is trying to alter.
Fronted by Eureka Springs native Caleb Lindsey, F.O.A.R. has been stirring up dancing shoes since 2009. Lindsey said F.O.A.R. came together after his other band, Livingston Hollow, disbanded.
“The band (Livingston Hollow) broke up and I started writing songs by myself. I had a lot of computer sounds and software that I had never used before, and I was trying to make this rock and roll sounding music with no instruments. The more and more I got into it the more electronic it got, because those were the sounds that were available to me.”
Lindsey said he contacted a friend of his about the new sounds and explained that he was trying to experiment with classic songwriting style and incorporate it with techno instruments.
“I was trying to explain what kind of sound I was going for and she said ‘Oh, you mean like fossils of ancient robots?’ and that’s how the band got its name,” Lindsey said.
F.O.A.R., with its current lineup, didn’t come to completion until Lindsey had already written around 20 songs by himself. He recruited Jesse Anderson, with whom Lindsey performed while in Livingston Hollow, to play synth/guitar/vocals, and Daniel Koob, longtime friend of the guys, joined the group on drums/percussion.
As far as the sound of the band goes, it’s a synth driven rock sound reminiscent of 80s new wave bands such as DEVO and Depeche Mode. Lindsey said the sound that came out while trying to write songs was really an accident.
“Overtime, we just started to embrace the sound. We brought it live and we saw that people liked it, so we went full force into the synth sound after that,” Lindsey said.
And people have been very welcoming of the band’s unique sound so far, Lindsey said.
“Especially in Eureka Springs and Fayetteville, the crowds we have played in front of have been totally receptive and really cool about how weird we are.”
Live shows with F.O.A.R. are a sight to behold. Lasting about three and a half hours for their set alone, the band is nothing if not hardworking.
“We have our own programmed lights, and we do our own light show. We start the show with an indie rock set, and as the show goes on it gets more and more dancy.”
F.O.A.R. boasts the fact that throughout their long set, they don’t play even one cover song; their entire set is original music. F.O.A.R. has about 50 songs in their repertoire, but only play between 30 and 36 songs a set. Even for a seasoned veteran performer, that’s an extremely exhausting number of songs to play.
But the band doesn’t seem to be letting up steam anytime soon, and are planning on starting work on their new album, “Leaders of a New Earth,” a concept album following a science fiction view of an apocalyptic future.
“The leaders of the new Earth are people in the apocalyptic future, hunters, blacksmiths and farmers, who know how to survive without technology,” Lindsey said. “Our last release was kind of us playing catch up, with a lot of indie rock sounding songs, but this one will be representative of what our sound has evolved into over time.”
F.O.A.R. is expecting to release the album in the next six to seven months, but plan on playing a lot of shows in between now and the album’s release. Lindsey will also be working on new songs for F.O.A.R.’s live shows.
“I always say, you know how some people play video games, or watch TV, or read books? Programming beats is like my version of all of those things put together. If I’m bored, or just sitting around the house I’ll make beats,” Lindsey said.