|Also known as||Definition FX|
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Years active||1990–1997 , 2012 –2013|
Def FX was an Australian band created by Sean Lowry (keyboards) in 1990 and included Fiona Horne on lead vocals, Blake Gardiner on guitar and Martyn Basha on bass - the band had no drummer. They released four albums, Light Speed Collision (December 1992), Baptism (compilation, November 1993), Ritual Eternal (May 1995), Majick (July 1996) before disbanding in April 1997. For United States releases and touring they used Definition FX as their band name to avoid confusion with similarly named groups.
Top 50 ARIA hit "Psychoactive Summer" is one example of Def FX's music, combining elements of electronica and heavy-metal instrumentations and grunge vocals and pop. Their music throughout their career can be described as a fusion of elements of psychedelia, grunge, electronica, and heavy metal, and commercial pop and in their early days, even reggae and disco.
Basha and Horne resurrected Def FX for touring in 2012 and 2013.
Def FX were formed in 1990 in Sydney with the line-up of Martyn Basha on bass guitar, Blake Gardner on lead guitar (both ex-Bezerk), Fiona Horne on lead vocals (ex-Mothers) and Sean Lowry on record player with a padlock on it, sequencers and samples (ex-King Prawn). According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, their "intention from the outset was to mix energetic dance beats with hardcore grungy rock." & electronic dance music." Larry Van Kriedt was a "hidden fifth member" on saxophone and sequencers (ex-AC/DC, Non Stop Dancers); he "also co-wrote much of the band's early material."
Def FX's debut release was a four-track extended play, Water, in June 1991 via Phantom Records. It featured the song, "Surfers of the Mind", which Joanna Palmer of Tharunka described as "a violent whirlpool of high-voltage house metal where [Horne] puts her larynx through a militant aerobic workout, while the cool delivery of [Lowry]'s 21st century gospel raps around her." The track appeared on national radio station, Triple J's listeners' poll for 1991. They toured Australia, and promoted it with the band's first music video. Water was produced by Nick Mainsbridge. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1992 the EP was nominated for Best Independent Release and Producer of the Year.
They followed with a second EP, Surge, in November, which included the track, "Under the Blue". A third EP, Blink (June 1992), included the track, "Sex/Game/Sucker". Gardner was replaced on guitar by Dave Stein late in 1992. Lowry summarised the group's attitude to signing with a major label, "It was always important to stay independent long enough to set the parameters of the band, so that anyone who came on board would be clear what the band was like and how it should be marketed."
Their first album, Light Speed Collision, was released in November 1992 in a vinyl-only format via Phantom Records; it appeared in CD format through EMI in the following February. The album included guest vocals by New Zealand pop singer, Margaret Urlich. For its United States version, on RCA/BMG in June 1993, the band used the name, Definition FX, to avoid confusion with a US band, Das EFX. They reordered the tracks and added material from two of their EPs. Lowry explained to Nic Haygarth of The Canberra Times that "People get the misconception that because we're a technology-based band we do a lot of our work and development of songs in the studio, but I suppose what we do there is attempt to transfer the live show to record, and we might put up a very rough mock-up of a song and start playing it."
The second album, Baptism, released in 1993, is a compilation of three Australian-released EPs Water, Surge and Blink as well as a 12-inch single, "Surfers of the Mind". Baptism featured the track, "Make Your Stash", which is apparently so rare that Horne had no idea of its existence when presented it for autographing by a dedicated Def FX fan. The single was rather atypical of Def FX, in that it had no cover art and no B-sides, which had characterised their EPs. The band usually preferred to make each release, be it album or EP, a conceptual work that made full use of the compact disc format that had recently come into commercial prominence. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1993 Blink was nominated for Best Independent Release.
Three more EPs followed No Time for Nowhere (March 1993), Space Time Disco (June) and Post Moronic (September 1994). At the end of 1993 Basha had departed and his duties on bass guitar were taken up by Van Kriedt. Post Moronic appeared on the ARIA Singles Chart in the top 50. One of its tracks, "Masses Like Asses", was listed on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1994.
Ritual Eternal (1995), their third album, is more experimental: including tracks without standard guitars and others with Charlie McMahon on didgeridoo (ex-Gondwanaland Project), who also joined Def FX on tour. It was recorded and produced almost entirely by Lowry, following the cancellation of their contract with EMI, and was issued via independent label Cicada Music and distributed by MDS. McFarlane felt the CD was "over-ambitious". Ritual Eternal introduced their new bass guitarist, Peter Tasker, who was forced out of the band months later and replaced by Sean Fonti (ex-Massappeal, Caligula). At the ARIA Music Awards of 1995 they were nominated for Best Independent Release for their third album.
In October 1995 they issued the EP, Psychoactive Summer, which also reached the top 50 on the ARIA Charts. It was followed by their fourth album, Majick, in mid-year, which peaked at No. 21 on the ARIA Albums Chart. It provided four singles. The band dissolved in May of that year with the split announced by Horne on ABC-TV's Saturday morning youth variety show, Recovery.
Post break up and reunions
Fiona Horne followed her stint with Def FX with musical releases 'Shut Up and Kiss Me' with Paul McDermott and a solo single "Let's Go Out Tonight" (both achieving chart success) before subsequently become a writer, with 11 books, including two autobiographies and guides to her practising of Wiccan rituals. She is an actor, as well as a performer in reality television as both host and contestant; she used to appear on the Hamish and Andy radio programme. In March 2007 Horne released her first solo CD, Witch Web, based on her spiritual practice.
Sean Lowry completed his Ph.D in 2003 at the University of Sydney. Lowry is now an academic, writer and visual artist. Sean Fonti formed Primary with brother Jamie Fonti also from Caligula and vocalist, Connie Mitchell.
With Horne and Basha as the sole original members, Def FX reunited and embarked on a national tour in May–June 2012, performing in east coast state capitals. Joining the pair were electronic musician Ant Banister (Clan Analogue) on keyboard and vocals and Wiley Cochrane on guitar, as well as an appearance by Jesse Basha (son of bassist Martyn Basha). From October to November 2013 they reformed again to play shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Light Speed Collision||96|
|Title||EP details||Peak chart positions|
|Kill the Real Girls||
|1993||"No Time for Nowhere"||67||Light Speed Collision|
|"Space Time Disco"||70|
|"Something Inside (No Time for Nowhere)"||-|
|1996||"Spell on You"||51||Majick|
|"I'll Be Your Majick"||67|
Awards and nominations
ARIA Music Awards
The ARIA Music Awards are a set of annual ceremonies presented by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), which recognise excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of the music of Australia. They commenced in 1987.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result||Ref.|
|1992||Water||ARIA Award for Best Independent Release||Nominated|||
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Def FX'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 10 July 2004.
- Palmer, Joanna (1 August 1991). "Records: Def FX Water EP (Phantom)". Tharunka. p. 50. Retrieved 4 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Hottest 100 Archive | def fx 4 Results". Triple J (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Winners by Year 1992". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "17th Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 22 February 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2017. Note: User may be required to access archived information by selecting 'The History', then 'By Award', 'Producer of the Year' and 'Option Show Nominations'.
- Haygarth, Nic (4 February 1993). "Good Times: 'Surfers of the Mind' Making Waves". The Canberra Times. Vol. 67, no. 21, 114. p. 3. Retrieved 19 April 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Haygarth, Nic (10 June 1993). "Def FX on Verge of Light Speed Collision". The Canberra Times. Vol. 67, no. 21, 240. p. 27. Retrieved 18 April 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Winners by Year 1993". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Def FX in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- Top 100 peaks to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 77.
- Water EP: "ARIA Singles Chart w/c 16-3-1992". Imgur.com. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- "Spell on You": "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 23 Jun 1996". ARIA. Retrieved 11 December 2017 – via Imgur.com. N.B. The HP column indicates the highest position reached.
- "I'll Be Your Magick": "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 08 Sep 1996". ARIA. Retrieved 20 April 2020 – via Imgur.com.
- "Winners by Year 1995". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "ARIA Awards Best Independent Release". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2021.