|Also known as||Definition FX|
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Years active||1990–1997 , 2012 –2013|
Def FX were an Australian band formed in 1990 by Martyn Basha on bass guitar, Fiona Horne on lead vocals and Sean Lowry on synthesisers, sequencers and samples. 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 exemplary of Def FX's music, combining elements of electronica and heavy-metal instrumentations and grunge vocals. Their music throughout their career can be described as a fusion of elements of psychedelia, industrial, grunge, electronica, and heavy metal, and in their early days, even reggae and disco. In fluctuating degrees their sound has similarities to that of, Cliff Burton-era Metallica, Soundgarden, Jesus Jones, The Prodigy, INXS, Garbage, Rammstein, 1990s Wollongong grunge band Tumbleweed, Marilyn Manson, and especially Evanescence. Basha and Horne reformed 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 synthesisers, 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. Add to the equation lead singer Fiona Horne's captivating, feline stage presence, and it equalled a spiralling, trance-inducing blast of 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' 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 p1aying 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 February 1996 they issued a single, "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, and became the band's only certified release, going gold in 1997. 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 & visual artist. Sean Fonti formed Primary with brother Jamie Fonti also from Caligula and vocalist, Connie Mitchell.
In 2012 Def FX reunited, with Horne and Basha as the sole original members, and embarked on a national tour in May–June 2012, performing in east coast state capitals. Joining the pair were electronic musician, Ant Banister (Lunar Module and Clan Analogue) on keyboards 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.
|Year||Title||AUS||AUS Alt.||US Dance|
|1993||No Time For Nowhere||67||-||-|
|1996||I'll Be Your Majik||67||-||-|
|1996||Spell On You||51||-||-|
|1992||Light Speed Collision||-|
Best Dance Act - 1994 Music Awards Readers poll, Rolling Stone, Australia.
Best Keyboards - 1994 Music Awards Readers poll, Rolling Stone, Australia.
ARIA nomination, 1992.
|Title||Album Information||Track Listing|
|Water||Released: Jun 1991||
|Light Speed Collision
|Light Speed Collision
|No Time For Nowhere||Released: 1993
|Something Inside (No Time For Nowhere)||Released: 1993
|Space Time Disco
|Space Time Disco
Make Your Stash
|Post Moronic||Released: 1994
|Kill the Real Girls||Released: 1995
|Psychoactive Summer||Released: 1995||
|Ritual Eternal||Released: 1995||
|Deja Vu / Headfuck||Released: 1996
|I'll Be Your Majick||Released: 1996
|Spell On You||Released: 1996
- 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 23 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. 67 (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. 67 (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.
- Hung, Steffen. "Discography Def FX". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- "Winners by Year 1995". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- Discogs: DEF FX - Water
- Discogs: DEF FX - Surge
- Discogs: DEF FX - Blink
- Discogs: DEF FX - Light Speed Collision (Aus)
- Discogs: DEF FX - Baptism
- Discogs: DEF FX - Light Speed Collision (US)
- Discogs: DEF FX - No Time For Nowhere
- Discogs: DEF FX - Something Inside (No Time For Nowhere)
- Discogs: DEF FX - Space Time Disco (Aus)
- Discogs: DEF FX - Space Time Disco (US)
- Discogs: DEF FX - Post Moronic
- Discogs: DEF FX - Kill the Real Girls
- Discogs: DEF FX - Psychoactive Summer
- Discogs: DEF FX - Ritual Eternal
- Discogs: DEF FX - Deja Vu / Headfuck
- Discogs: DEF FX - I'll Be Your Majick
- Discogs: DEF FX - Majick
- Discogs: DEF FX - Spell On You