The term ‘festival favourites’ is often applied to the type of bands who blast confetti cannons or roll across the crowd in a man-sized hamster ball - not two geeks making abrasive noise on laptops. Nevertheless, Fuck Buttons are returning to our shores for the third time, playing the Melbourne Festival and All Tomorrow’s Parties’ Release the Bats festival. We had a chat with with one of the two Buttons, Andrew Hung.

Tim Grey: Tell me a little about Slow Focus. How was your approach different to previous records?

Andrew Hung: The actual process of writing and getting the music together wasn’t that different from any other album, actually. But we knew that we wanted the music to be different. Inevitably after being away from writing for a while, like we had been, the music did take a turn. We didn’t envision in what direction it would go in. We just knew we wanted it to be different.

TG: Was what you were listening to in the four years between albums change a lot? And did those influences find their way into your music?

AH: The thing is with Fuck Buttons is that it has its own momentum now. We don’t really need to look to outside, at least not consciously. Because we’ve been doing this for so many years now, it has a life of its own. We’re just riding it, in a way.

TG: How do you and Benjamin [John Power] tend to work together? Are you in the same room, or do you trade things online? What goes on?

AH: We get into a room together, and we have all our sound generators we’ve accumulated surrounding us, and we just pick and choose what we use. Then we just jam things out it in quite a traditional way, and if something starts happening, it pricks our ears.

TG: You just mentioned the ‘sound generators’ that you’ve accumulated - you’ve had a history of making music with things that don’t normally make music. How do you choose what becomes an instrument? And how much does what you choose dictate the sound of a record?

AH: There’s a lack of bias when it comes to choosing instruments, because we don’t want to get attached to anything. I think it’s more fun that way, because it means you can discard and accumulate at the same time, but there’s no pressure to get anything out of an instrument. Anything goes, really. Our houses are full of just all sorts of things, nowadays.

TG: That’s a pretty traditional experimental technique, isn’t it? Do you want to continue having an experimental process be part of Fuck Buttons?

AH: Absolutely. I think it’s really important that we keep surprising ourselves. That’s part of the fun for us, it’s getting that feeling we’re producing something that neither of us have heard before.

TG: You always manage to walk a line between what’s out-and-out abrasive, and something that has a groove. How do you find that balance?

AH: I’m glad that you said that. It’s one thing I would define our sound as: a relationship. One of those relationships is between abrasion and rhythm. It’s the stuff that happens in between things that we find interesting. When the meeting of things happen - that’s literally what we are. It’s Ben and I playing our own individual instruments or whatever, until at some point those juxtapositions start sounding interesting.

TG: For an act as noisy as you are, you’ve achieved quite a level of popular success. How do you feel about that?

AH: It’s something that’s very affirming, and I think it’s very new. It’s not going to be easy to put into a perspective, because I don’t think there exists one. We’re still in a very interesting time for music, and what’s considered tuneful or not. For us, it’s not just the name, which is regarded as non-mainstream, but the music, which is instrumental and goes on for a lot longer than a three-minute pop song. You’d expect us to have a very niche market. But at the same time we charted a few months ago, which is amazing. You just wouldn’t expect that of the music we make.

TG: Maybe it’s just because it’s good?

AH: Hah! You’d like to think so, don’t you? But sometimes there’s a cynical side that thinks that everything’s marketable. But I’d love to think that the quality of the music can just cut through that.

Fuck Buttons are playing the Melbourne Festival at the Foxtel Festival Hub on Friday October 25, and at All Tomorrow’s Parties Release the Bats on Saturday October 26.