You know that image of Godzilla occupying the shared public consciousness? The one where he comes crashing through Tokyo with lasers shooting out of his mouth as he swings his tail and battles a colossal moth or three-headed dragon? Take that image and replace the giant lizards with 300-foot mechanized snails that shoot beams from their antennae and spew radioactive vomit upon the heads of hundreds: Congratulations, you now have a solid idea of the visuals you can expect to see at the Snails concert in Fort Lauderdale this Sunday, December 22.
Frédérik Durand is the Montreal-born electronic music producer responsible for unleashing Snails upon the world. As a newer face in the North American dubstep scene, the 31-year-old is upholding the genre's tradition of experimental sound design while pushing its sonic textures to wilder frontiers. He calls his extra-crunchy version of assaultive dubstep “vomitstep,” and its unbridled bass belches and club-womping bass have earned him the affection of thousands, including star producer peers such as Zeds Dead, Rusko, Nghtmre, and Skrillex.
Snails' upcoming stop at the Venue Fort Lauderdale is the latest in his expansive bus tour across North America, a holographic mind trip full of lasers, props, and crowd interaction that tells a story as it stomps all over your senses. He calls it the World of Slime Tour, and he had a big hand in shaping the design and direction of the live concert.
"I wanted this show to be visually and narratively epic," Durand tells New Times via email. "The visuals are heavily based on my newest comic book, Mission: Sluggtopia. We've been working hard on this one. I'm thrilled to see the fans loving it... It's everything you'd expect from a Snails show times four."
The World of Slime Tour takes its name from an eight-track EP released this past Wednesday on Durand's Slugz Music label. It opens with the cinematic grandeur of "Grime Rate," featuring Barely Alive — synthetic horns boom over an exotic melody, and when the military drum line kicks, a gnarly voice brags, "You can't stop me dropping grime on your motherfuckers." The chant builds to a brawling machine-gun rip of Snails-styled industrial noise, and that's only the beginning. The EP World of Slime includes metal-infused scream-alongs with Sullivan King, a face-punching wall of sound courtesy of an assist from Virus Syndicate, a dub-infused island attack mounted alongside Rico Act, and more.
"I've been blessed to work with some amazing friends on this one," Durand says. "[Kill the Noise], Wooli, Subtronics, Krimer, and so many others have inspired me throughout the production process. I love to push limits and try new sounds. This EP is definitely reflective of that."
The holographic visuals of the World of Slime show push the experience to a real "System Overload." There's even a simulated computer shutdown onscreen. Fans seem to love the tour thus far, as evidenced by their sweaty, smiling faces and eagerness to happily headbang, mosh, and "rail" the front-row fence.
Durand says he has high expectations for this weekend's crowd in Fort Lauderdale.
"South Florida is so dope," he says. "It's one of my favorite places to visit, hands down. The vibe is awesome. Some of my favorite people live here, so many in Orlando. You guys all go so hard down here it's incredible. The South Florida 'vomitsquad' is crazy."
World of Slime collaborator Kompany and L.A. duo Hi I'm Ghost are set to open for Snails at Sunday's show. According to Durand, he and his tourmates' shared sensibilities and penchant for churning out brutal levels of bass has produced a petri dish of creativity behind the scenes.
"I still can't believe I get to tour with some of my best friends," he says. "The stories aren't as wild as they used to be; [now there's] lots of hydration, rest, and creation. There's a lot of inspiration going around, that's for sure.”
Bring your earplugs and your best positive vibes to this one: It's going to be a bass-heavy ride.
Snails. With Kompany and Hi I'm Ghost. 8 p.m. Sunday, December 22, at the Venue Fort Lauderdale, 2345 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors; 954-765-6968; thevenuefortlauderdale.com. Tickets cost $30 to $90 via eventbrite.com.