Tom Fec, otherwise known as Tobacco, otherwise known (with other band members) as Black Moth Super Rainbow, is something of a man of mystery. Sequestered in the woods outside of Pittsburgh, Fec sings only through the electronic machinations of a vocoder, so it's rare when a journalist gets to hear his absent-minded meanderings without a filter.
"I have a lot of limitations because I can't sing," he explains. "I can pretty much get anything I want out of the vocoder, so that's why I go with it."
Masks are also a major theme for this enigmatic band, who just released their fifth full-length album. Like most of the BMSR albums before it, the cover art for "Cobra Juicy" features a haunting face. The hollow eyes of it seem to echo the distance Fec puts between himself and the fans of his work, and it gives the psychedelic trash-rock he makes that much more effectively creepy.
"I grew up on Garbage Pail Kids and Mad Balls and all that kind of s--," Fec says. "I was always drawn to this big colorful kind of ugly, but well-designed faces and I think that's what it'll always be. I think [the cover art] is as important as the music. I think it frames it all, so I have to make it for every album."
The care that Fec puts into the design of those creepy faces is purposeful, he says. "Cobra Juicy" was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and Fec wants to be sure that fans are getting something for their money.
"There aren't a lot of bands who really care about their album covers, it feels like," he says. "They're really boring and it makes sense to me why you would want to just download it and not own a physical copy. It's like, 'Why would I want this stupid picture? Why would I want this in my house?'"