∆AIMON Interview

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https://soundcloud.com/aaimon/seraphim

∆AIMON, to me has always been on the forefront of what I consider the first wave of the witch house movement. With the release of your first full length album on Artoffact Records, do you feel that you have come a long way in the genre? 

It’s difficult to place the ∆AIMON project within any definitive genre label for us. We absolutely came into the scene through the witch house movement and are still very grateful for the incredible friendships and creative allies we’ve made within that circle, however we’ve always fought against confining our sound within any appointed limitations. We are extremely happy with the direction our musical career has gone and especially with how receptive everyone has been of us doing things our own way. A lot of the early witch house artists have gone to efforts to distance themselves from the witch house name for various reasons, so I feel it’s important for us to say that we don’t find any conflict in whether or not we’re considered witch house as long as it’s clear that we aren’t tailoring our music to any preconceived ideas of how it should sound.

How do you think the internet has shaped the possibilities of new genres such as witch house? 

Our own personal experience has shown us that it’s absolutely necessary for the growth and cultivation of new scenes and genres. A lot of the criticism with witch house revolved around it being a re-hashing or trending of older music that has been around for years. That’s definitely true to an extent but rather than it being a negative aspect to us, we see it as artists recognizing like-minded individuals sharing in an enthusiasm for and re-appropriating of dark electronic music within the larger context of wide-set influences. The internet  gives us access points for these artists to find each other and plays an extremely pivotal role in these genres even existing.

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What inspirations did you draw from for the self titled release?

Most notably, we were greatly inspired by interactions with our fans at the live shows and festivals we’ve performed at. It gave us a new perspective on how intimately we want to connect with our followers. That has had a large impact on how personal the record became, thematically as well as the production elements (less reverb, more distinct drum sounds, etc.). The mood of the record was also very inspired by visual media such as Lars von Trier and Tarkovsky films. Musically we’ve been re-exploring our noise, experimental, and trip-hop interests which have definitely shaped the style of our new material.

Would you say that this album has a general theme?

There’s definitely a cohesive aesthetic to the album, though not so much to where it’s a full concept. The songs themselves all work individually as their own pieces, but we developed them within the framework of the album so that there’s the appropriate amount of dynamics and theme within the over-arching flow. We always try to keep a consistent imagery or style within each release to tie everything together and I feel we did a decent job of keeping to that with the album. If I had to describe the theme, I’m not sure I’d be able to properly nail it down, but overall we really wanted a more exposed and honest portrayal of ourselves. This includes the dark and the light, and the importance of balance between both. 

Can you describe your writing process for a new track? 

We usually start with an idea of what sort of impression we want the track to have. If it’s a darker, slower song we’ll build it up from drone and ambient layers to give the track the mood we’re after. More beat oriented songs will start with the main structure and drums mapped out. The two of us pass ideas back and forth and will give feedback until we land on something we both like. Often-times we’ll have a melody or piano piece that we will structure a song around as well. After that we usually record vocals last so that we can experiment with what vocal delivery style fits best within the emotional context of the music.

There has been a wave recently of new and impressive hardware synthesizers released over the last few years - are you excited about any of these and how do you think that the new push for analog synthesizers will change the direction of music?

We’re always excited about new gear but our music tends to be extremely methodical. There’s a certain level of unpredictability with analog that we shy away from, but at the same time we really love exploring new ways of creating sounds and evoking emotions. With hardware we usually have a workflow that involves recording a lot of textures and samples or full parts that are then resequenced through our DAW (Logic) into a structure that fits our interest. With that in mind there’s definitely an appealing tactile interaction with hardware that lends itself extremely well to experimentation. We’ve been really satisfied with the addition of the Moog Minitaur into our set recently and would love to play around with the Arturia Brute series as well.

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Do you have any plans to take ∆AIMON on the road? 

Unfortunately we don’t have any specific plans outside of one-off shows. It’s definitely a goal of ours to promote the new record by doing some touring though, so hopefully we’ll get to play a few cities in 2014. It may end up being a lot of single shows here and there where time permits, but we definitely want to travel and meet our fans and online friends as much as possible.

If you could choose anyone to go on tour with, who would it be (from any point in history)?

That’s a great question. The artistic side of us would love to tour with artists like Throbbing Gristle, COIL, or Ulver because of the depth of expression and emotion they carry, but we’ve had such great reactions from house-parties and DIY spaces that I think a tour in that vein would be really amazing. So maybe a group tour with our artist friends who are more in touch with the current underground would have the really intense energy we like. Something sweaty, dark, and overwhelming with waves of anxiety. We’re open to suggestions…

If someone gave you 1 million dollars to use only on music related business - what would you do with it? 

Hmmm. I think we’d have to build ourselves a hide-away studio retreat filled with all the appropriate gear for immersive recording. We dream of isolating ourselves with art and collaborators in a space designed solely for creating. Perhaps opening it to the public for special events. I imagine it a bit like Warhol’s Factory… Otherwise, we could easily spend it traveling to perform all over the world wherever our fans request. As we said earlier, we would love to explore further and meet our amazing supporters and friends from online.

As 2013 draws to a close there is no short supply of brilliant releases, what have been your top 5 favorite albums of 2013? 

This year has indeed been an amazing one for releases. Almost to the point of feeling it too daunting a task to try and select favorites. We’ve also spent a huge portion of the year working on our own album so we’re definitely still catching up on a ton of releases we missed earlier. A few we’ve had on play quite a bit that immediately come to mind would be: Corrections House - Last City Zero, Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty, Bestial Mouths - Bestial Mouths, Ulver - Messe I.X - VI.X, and CREEP - ECHOES.

Pick up the album now: http://www.stormingthebase.com/aimon-aimon-limited-2cd/

Dead When I Found Her - Over Dinner

Two Nerds Bullshitting Over Dinner:

with Michael from Dead When I Found Her

The rainy season had just started here in Portland, Oregon, which tends to last a majority of the year, and it was a lot colder than I expected it to be. I stopped in the army surplus store, which was conveniently located next to the restaurant, to pick up some fingerless gloves for my freezing hands. Nicholas’s is a small hole in the wall Lebanese restaurant just over the bridge on the Southeast side of Portland. Having been here many times I knew to arrive early, right around the dinner opening, to avoid a seating delay. The small restaurant sat about 30 people total, a true homage to Portland’s small big city ambiance; the half finished ceiling can attest to this. Taking a seat in the back I read over the questions I had prepared for the interview with Michael, knowing however that I would probably not get around to many of them due to the nature of the conversations we had in the past. The industrial scene in Portland is a small and cozy scene in which a lot of musicians are familiar with each other and are often on first name basis. I have spoken to Michael many times throughout my years in the scene and am a big supporter of Dead When I Found Her so this kind of prying into his life and music was nothing new to me; I have often prodded him for advice for my own project and shared similar stories.

After waving Michael over, we ordered promptly and began our discussions, talking first about our day jobs and regular people lives, and then moving then into the music realm. Michael works in a job that I would consider mentally taxing, and I was curious whether or not it went home with him and had in some way found its way into the music, as these things often do. Having experience from my own job, I was able to relate to the amount of disconnection he spoke of when talking about work issues and being able to leave them in that environment. The food arrived in the form of large Mediterranean-style bread and many plates of vegan mezza - a collection of chickpea, caramelized onions, and lentils. Every once and a while I would glance at my questions and try to steer the conversation towards them, but in the end we were just two nerds talking about music.

Skinny Puppy, an obvious factor for the everyday world that both Michael and I live in, came up in traditional nerdcore fashion. Too Dark Park played a large part in shaping the atmosphere of Dead When I Found Her’s new album, Rag Doll Blues, which was apparent and respectable to me. I think that the modern musician should spend more time in the pre-90s Skinny Puppy collection. Michael said that he tries to make the music that still holds strong to him, like Caustic Grip by Frontline Assembly; what he loved about these classic albums was the inventive sampling and atmospheric elements that are lost in today’s music. Rag Doll Blues uses an ensemble of custom shaped samples and horns that were not in the previous release, Harm’s Way. Another noticeable difference is the lack of guitars, which Michael says was not intentional. Up until the very end of the album he had been trying to place guitars in at least one track, but it just never worked out the way he wanted.

Another influence I was curious about was a strange Kate Bush feeling the new album had to me, which I find an infinitely beautiful addition to the sound. This is credited, Michael says, to the horn samples and the differences in timing. Tracks like Doll Parts really set this out from any tracks on the previous album. There is always an inherent fear when following up a debut album; will it sound too much like the last, will it just be a fancier version of the same songs, or will it be so completely different that fans will not like it? I shared my own fear of this, having recently released my debut album, and how I felt that most people in the genre simply just perfected the skills they had used on their first album and did not bother to venture out into different realms. In this respect I felt Rag Doll Blues was a perfect transition from Harm’s Way.

Dead When I Found Her has been labeled “Old School Industrial,” which to me is kind of an off putting label. Michael said that he did not mind this label at all because that is what he likes, old school industrial. He also expressed that he did not care for these subgenre labels and that since he has grown up he did not have the patience to keep up with the Aggros and the EBMs. We also discussed what a lot of people call “horror industrial,” and how the original label was a pretty great representation of the music, which at the time was based around horror movie samples.

I asked Michael if he planned to go out on the road and support the album with touring. He replied that when he was younger, like me, the urgency of leaving town and being on the road was far more abundant, but now as he holds a more permanent job and has had these experiences, the inclination towards a stage show has dwindled. He wished only that he would be able to release studio albums and have people respond well to them, and he said that if some of these shows came up, and he and his partner had time in their work schedules to take off, he would love to play live.

Having recently seen Suicide Commando up in Seattle, I brought up an interesting new implementation that I had observed – an Apple iPad on stage with live filtering and remixing. I asked if Michael had any plans to go out and buy any new hardware any time soon. He stated that he liked the idea of hardware synthesizers, and turning knobs is always fun, but in the end the software equivalent was good enough for his creativity. We discussed Ableton Live 8 and the difference between the DAWs that are out today (I personally favor Logic Pro Studio but understand the need to be comfortable in your creative environment.) We talked about how Ableton Live 9 was a mythical creature and seemed to be never coming out. Ironically, one day later the new features were leaked on the Ableton Forums – it was as if they were there listening to us, secretly stealing our hummus when we weren’t looking. Sneaky bastards.

Artoffact Records has been pushing Rag Doll Blues quite strongly, which is extremely good for Michael and Dead When I Found Her. We spoke about the release and how he had expected it to go versus how it was going now, which if you have not had the chance to check out any of the social media websites has been very well. Artoffact has really made it a point to focus on some of these newer bands and push them as far as they will go right away, to the point where the label executives contact me here directly and ask how it is going and how our dinner went – you can tell they are just huge nerds like the rest of us. Michael said that the reception of the new album has been more than he could hope for, and that all of the promotion around the album’s release took him by surprise at first. There is something to be said about a label that is upfront with you and in frequent contact.

As dinner wrapped up and the conversations centered on the local scene and the frustrations over finding the right MIDI controller, we took to the wet streets and went our separate ways. Reflecting now, I see Dead When I Found Her as not only a local act that has been paving the way here in Portland for band like my own, but has been paving the way worldwide. There are not too many albums that have come out in the last year, that I would consider under the Industrial umbrella, that have moved me emotionally like Rag Doll Blues. There are a lot of nostalgic elements in that record that really hit a chord for my old school nerd love for Horse Rotorvator that I had forgotten about. It is a great album, from start to finish and I encourage you to listen to it if you have not.

Interview - Ben Arp (crunchpod, C/A/T, Captive Six, Solo Project, and many more!)

Your departure from record labels as well as the untimely demise of Crunchpod Records has been a very public, and insightful thing. Do you believe that your experience with the recording industry and your participation in the dirtier side of it has prepared you for making music on your own, without the backing of a label, and do you believe it is as necessary as it was 5 years ago?

Definitely. The things I learned while running Crunch Pod were invaluable for someone who is now going to self-release their music. The ending of Crunch Pod was bittersweet because it was something I poured my heart, soul and money into for over a decade, but I knew it was time to end it when I did so I could completely focus on my own music.

I’m really only interested in working with a label that can either align me with a pro-level booking or press agency and/or introduce my music to an audience that is not already aware of me. If no such offer were to ever come, I’m fine self-releasing my music.

I can’t really speak on the neccessity of label in 2012 since until last year I’ve been on the same label I ran so it’s hard to say what other indies would be able to do for an artist just starting out. I do know that many artists who are just starting out either don’t want to or don’t have the experience to successfully get their name out there. So associating with an established label in their scene is still probably a good move in those cases even if only for the name recognition that would come with that.

How many different projects do you have active right now, and what is your primary focus?

I only have two projects right now which are “Ben Arp” and “Captive Six”. I don’t have any plans to do anything else besides those two. I’d say, overall, Ben Arp is my main focus and Captive Six is more my side project to play around with a bunch of different styles.

Do you believe it is important to separate projects based on the difference in sound within your own creation (the opposite would be a blanket project releasing all of the different sounding songs.)?

I think if the music isn’t very similar it’s a good idea to have a second or “side” project. I know many artists will disagree with me and bounce around with sounds under the same name and that’s cool - there is no hard and fast rule in my opinion. I used to run anywhere from three to five side projects at any given time. Many of those were either collaborations with other artists or just me not being that focused yet as a producer.

When C/A/T was still active, C/A/T was my “industrial / EBM / noise” project and Captive Six was my more “mainstream electronica” side project for songs I liked but didn’t mesh well with the C/A/T material I was writing. Now it’s more a situation where I experiment with new styles as Captive Six over the course of an album or EP and Ben Arp is more strictly focused on downtempo and glitch music.

What influences, musically or in life, did you have for your recent solo release, Ben Arp -Luminous, which has a much more ambient layout?

The Ben Arp material is music I’ve wanted to write since at least 2007 or so but never had the time to write due to my obligations to the label and C/A/T. My influences musically for “Luminous” would be artists like Autechre, Emancipator, Blockhead and edIT to name a few.

Thematically, “Luminous” is the soundtrack to about March - October of last year in my life. 2011 was a crazy year for me, from finally getting to play a gig outside of North America to end the ride for C/A/T, to deciding to close Crunch Pod and having to deal with negative fallout in relation to that. I learned a great deal about what I wanted to do with my time here musically and who my friends really were. A rough year, but with a light at the end of tunnel.

What are your plans for the full length release later this year?

I’m hoping to have an album out by the end of 2012. Beyond that, I’ve only just started the outlines for a few songs so I’m not entirely sure where it’s going to end up. It’s kind of a blank slate for me both musically and thematically so I’m really excited to take my time and craft this album.

Do you have any plans to ever play Luminous material live?

Yeah, I’m planning on it. Besides that EP I already have some older tracks and some unreleased stuff that will be exclusive to live sets.

If so, who would be your ideal supporting act? (If not, who in your new genre would you want to see play live?)

I think at this point I’d be happy being the supporting act! :) Though I’d love to share a stage someday with acts like Pretty Lights, The Glitch Mob and Amon Tobin - they all really put on an incredible multimedia live show and it’d be amazing to be part of any event that included them.

You are a supporter of music sharing, and the digital age, so to speak ‚ what are your projections, business wise, that the primary market for music will be (downloads, free music universe, trade, torrent, physical CD, etc.)

I support authorized music sharing. If an artist really doesn’t want their music shared then I’d respect their wishes. I’m more interested in people hearing my music than making money from it. That is just me though.

I’m a big fan of Spotify since I’m able to check out a ton of music and then track down and buy the songs or albums I want to own. I have a paid Spotify membership and then I’ll go to band or label site to see where I can buy, direct if possible, and I’ll use Amazon or iTunes as a last resort.

I haven’t bought a CD in about 5 years but spend hundreds of dollars a year on digital music. I’m kind of a minimalist in my daily life, so having my entire music collection on a few hard drives is far more appealing to me than a rack of physical media. Back when I was a full-time club DJ I used to buy CDs, sometimes only to be able to play one song, and it became a real pain having to dedicate an entire room of my house to music and forget about moving… half of the moving truck was just boxes of CDs!!! :)

I don’t know where things are going to go because if I did I’d be doing it already! I think CDs will remain as the “collector’s item” kind of thing that vinyl became in the late 90s / early 00s so I don’t think that format is as dead as some people like to say it is though.

In the studio, are you working with more hardware, or software synthesizers?

These days I’m entirely software based. When I started out in the late 90s I was using entirely hardware; from the synths to the midi sequencers and samplers with floppy discs and all that. I didn’t even start using a computer for my music until 2001 or so and it was all over after that and I was sold on producing with a computer. As I said, I’m kind of a minimalist in my life so I like having a “minimal” studio, with my computer and VSTs doing the majority of the work and only a few pieces of gear (mainly just a sound interface and midi controller) at my workstation.

If you could get any hardware synth, from any time period, without financial obligation, which would it be?

I actually own it! Roland’s Juno 106. That was my first synth and even when I switched to recording entirely on the computer, I hung on to that synth since I really liked the sounds I could get out of it. I like having it on reserve just in case I ever need to employ it in the studio again.

If you could rewrite the soundtrack to any movie, which would you do? (The Crow doesn’t count as a movie!)

Hmm. Well, I think I’d go with the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. When I first started writing music I’d practice by running that movie and then improvising over it. That film has a really sparse soundtrack, mainly only screeching sounds, so it worked really well to practice playing over. I think the power of the movie is that is has such a bare soundtrack but it’d be fun to write one for it nonetheless.

What has been the most influential CD(s) you have ever bought?

I can think of two: DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing….” and El-P’s “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead”. Shadow was a local celebrity at the radio station I got my start DJing at and “Endtroducing” was always a favorite since it’s a record made entirely by sampling.

El-P’s last album found me at a really rough time in my life a few years back and the lyrics really resonated with me on many of the songs. It’s one of the few records out there that when I decide to play it I have to listen start to finish.

What are you most looking forward to in 2012 (musically or non musically)?

Musically, I’m really looking forward to the new Stray album. I’ve been a fan of Erica’s work for years and I know she spent a lot of time writing her new album.

I’m also looking forward to getting out and playing live again at some point this year. I ended C/A/T in 2011 after our gig at the Resistanz Festival and then had to cancel some pending gigs for Captive Six due to a back injury I was dealing with. It’s nearly been a full year since I’ve been on stage and that’s the longest I’ve ever gone between live gigs.

As far as non-musically, it will be nice to just relax and spend more time with my wife since I finally have a bit of freedom again.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview for A Dark Figure Music Blog! We are looking forward to your upcoming full length release!

Thank you! And keep up the great work with A Dark Figure!

For over 20 years Suicide Commando has annihilated dance floors all over the world. A figure head in the industrial scene and a pioneer for HarshEBM, Suicide Commando is definitely a force to be reckoned with. On a more personal level, I’ve drawn countless influence from many a Suicide Commando song for my own music, and Hellraiser holds a special place in my heart from back in the Dungeon days in Hawaii.

Current release: Implements of Hell
Label: Out of Line Records

Official Website

First of all, really big congratulations for making it for 25 years! That’s pretty phenomenal for any band, let alone an industrial band. Your sound has grown largely throughout the last 25 years, but I feel like you are still true to the original Suicide Commando signature sound. A lot of bands have problems with either repeating the same album over and over again, or completely changing their sound and alienating fans – How do you “keep it fresh,” for lack of a better term, in the studio?

I don’t know, I never gave it any real thought as I’m just doing what I feel is right. But I guess it’s a combination of a lot of things that keeps Suicide Commando fresh. I just try to blend my roots of old school electronics with today’s sound and I guess that still works for me. I think many people soon get stuck in a certain time and don’t evolve anymore. I just try to keep the good things from all periods in time, so from the eighties electronics till today’s more upbeat club stuff, and combine those elements into my sound.

With The Suicide Sessions, you went back and re-mastered the first few CDs as well as some unreleased material – what was it like going back and working with those older tracks, and did it give you any ideas to reincorporate into the newer material?

It actually was really interesting and fun to go back into time and my own history. Before I started working on “the suicide sessions” I didn’t listen to my older works for quite some years, so it almost was refreshing to hear those old recordings again. I realized how much my sound evolved after all those years and it indeed gave me a boost and hopefully new inspiration for the new material I’m starting on right now.

2011 seemed to be a pretty busy touring year for you, playing your first show in North America at the Kinetik Festival in Canada, as well as many, many other festivals around Europe – Do you have any plans to come back to North America, and will we ever see a full US tour?

Yes, the plans are there for sure, now we only need to realize those plans. Unfortunately it costs quite a lot of money to tour the US, only the necessary visa’s for our entire crew already are really expensive, but we nonetheless hope to find a way to make it all happen in 2012, so wait and see. With some luck we at least will be over with a couple of shows.

You’ve worked with Jan, from X-Fusion/X-M-P/Noisuf-x/Merch-x, on not only the mastering for the last handful of releases, but also Kombat Unit. There are stout rumors here and there of a full length Kombat Unit release – is there any truth to that?

Yes and no, plan indeed is/was to finish and do a complete album with Kombat Unit. But unfortunately both me (with Suicide Commando) and Jan (with his projects and mastering job) hardly find any time at the moment to work on more material, so I fear we’ll have to at least delay those plans. But we still hope to finish that album sooner or later.

What is one piece of equipment that is pinnacle to the Suicide Commando studio?

Well, without my computer I would be a bit helpless today, but who wouldn’t be in today’s society, so I guess that doesn’t count. So I’d say my Roland JP8000 is my most valuable piece of gear at the moment as it was responsible for so many Suicide Commando clubhits so far.

The X20 box set included a DVD of live footage; do you have any plans to release another live DVD/documentary?

I don’t have any concrete plans in that direction at the moment, also because it’s a very expensive thing to do if you want to do it in a professional way, but never say never. So I guess sooner or later we’ll do another live documentary, but not in the very near future as I now first plan to work on a new studio album.

If you could tour with any band, at any time in history, which would it be?

I’ve been touring with many of my favorite bands over the years, bands I admired when I started doing music like Front 242, Klinik, Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy … I never expected that one day I would join stages with these legends, but it did happen, so I’m already a happy old guy.

What was the most influential live show you have ever seen?

That’s a difficult one. For me the most influential shows doesn’t necessarily have to be big shows, for example I’ll never forget one of Front 242’s first shows in a small club in Belgium back in 1984. I guess most of my favorite shows go way back in time with bands like Front 242, Klinik, Alien Sex Fiend … from the more recent shows I guess Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly are among the better ones.

What are some lesser known artists that you are currently listening to, and that you think people should know?

I get to discover many bands while being on the road or through the World Wide Electronics label I’m running, some bands definitely worth giving a listen, in my opinion that is, are vProjekt from Australia, First Black Pope from Italy, or yet Nano Infect from Greece.

What are some new(er) releases you currently have on rotation?

The first album from vProjekt “exhilarate and disgust” got some heavy rotation, furthermore just checked out the first album from Surgyn, the new album from Project Rotten or even the latest album from John Lord Fonda which is quite different stuff, more minimal techno oriented.

What would you say are some essential CDs to have in any industrial musician’s library?

Essential definitely should be the first works from Klinik (like “sabotage” or their masterpiece “face to face”), Front 242 (from “geography” to “tyranny for you”), the first works from Skinny Puppy and Leaether Strip, even the older works from Fad Gadget. From the later works I’d say “music for a slaughtering tribe” from :wumpscut: is an essential release, or even “mindstrip” from myself … 

When you’re not making music, or on tour, what other hobbies do you have?

Unfortunately there’s not much time left for any hobbies at the moment. Having a job, doing music and being a father of a 2 year old kid hardly leaves any free time I’m afraid … The few free moments I’d like to catch a movie or just watch some TV, even play some xBox once in a while, but that’s about it …

What advice would you give new, budding artists in the genre?

An advice I always give to the newer generation of artists is to do the music they love to do and not just try to be a copy of this or whatever band, they should enjoy making music without thinking too much of how they could sound like Combichrist or VNV Nation. The fun aspect of making music always was and still is a very important to me. I also would say the new kids should have some more patience. I have the impression that many kids starting to make music want things too fast, today they buy a computer and tomorrow they want to be the new big stars of the scene. But it doesn’t work like that. Sure it became much easier and above all much cheaper to create music these days, all you need is a good computer and some cool softsynths, but they forget that it also takes time to mature and create an own sound and be original. Nowadays you get way too many poor releases simply because they were done way too fast.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to A Dark Figure Music Blog, we are looking forward to future releases and many more tours!

Thanks and keep our scene alive !

Johan Suicide Commando.

Interview: Detroit Diesel

Current Release: Terre Humaine
Label: Deathwatch Asia / Infacted

"Terre Humaine,” your 2010 album out on Deathwatch Asia and Infacted Records, was released digitally and in both a regular and limited edition – How has the response been to the album?

Really good, much better than what I was expecting for a harsh ebm album. I believe it shows the scene is not dead and people still listen to harsh ebm.

You’re currently working on a new album– Can you give us some insight about the new album and some changes you’ve made to the sound?

I want the new album to sound different from “Terre Humaine” so I’m not just making a “Terre Humaine V2”. People really liked this album but making the same thing again and again would be boring for me as well as for the fans. I guess I will lose half of my fans but also gain some new who will like the fact that the new album sounds different from your usual harsh ebm band.

For me, “Terre Humaine” is a pretty solid Harsh EBM release – What were some of your influences?

Dance music of every genre, but the harsh side comes from classic ebm bands like Hocico, Leaether Strip, Funker Vogt.

I see you are all over Europe (UK, DE, BE) playing some shows – Do you have any plans to expand that or go on a full length tour?

For a new band that plays this kind of music like we do, I don’t think it would be a good idea to make a big tour. It will be an already three-week tour (more dates to come) but adding more dates would make it difficult to deal with our day-jobs, because of course, we don’t live from our music.

Right now it Detroit Diesel is 2 members both live, and in the studio – Do you have any plans to add more people to the live line up, and if so, what would your additions be?

For the new album , I tried to work with different people, to add more professional orchestration, but there was a big fail: just to give you a hint, I’m still waiting for some orchestration tracks and the album is already on the mixing studio.

If you could tour with any band (currently in rotation,) who would it be?

Nachtmahr

Are you currently using more hardware or software in the studio?

Now I’m using both. In my early years I was a hardware nerd, but 15 000$ later, I realized it’s way faster to use software. So now I use my good old Novation Nova as a main synth and a hardware sampler. I like the simplicity of the software, no wires, no need to record them, and these days they sound really good!

What was the most influential live show you have ever seen?

It’s was Funker vogt in 2003 with the Survivor tour in Montreal, the most amazing show I have ever seen: so much energy from the beginning to the end.

What new releases are you currently listening to?

It’s been such a long time since I bought any new music, but these days I’m listening to Mylene Farmer.

What are your top 5 albums of all time?

It always tough to answer this question, but my all time favorite would certainly be ;

Chrome – Red Exposure
Yello –Claro que si
Ministry - The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste
The Germs - GI
SonicYouth - Confusion Is Sex

What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

The end of days

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, and I wish you the best luck moving forward in 2012!

Interview: The People’s Republic of Europe

Current release: Machine District (2012)
Label: Vendetta Records

There aren’t a whole lot of “big name” bands that do Rhythmic Noise/IDM stuff without vocals anymore, here in America especially. Has it been a struggle for you to get the word out about your project because of this?

Not at all. Over here in Europe electronic music is basically the norm, and most people go clubbing and are used to instrumental music. The main problem would be that our music is to noisy and aggressive for most people. Especially loud electronic music like gabber or hardstyle is populair in the northern European region, but that kind of stuff is pretty clean compared to what we do. We do get lot of props from that scene lately, so we seem to be getting somewhat more attention. Some people who do more underground focused industrial hardcore on labels like The Third Movement or Masters of Hardcore have been positive about us, so that’s a point to focus more on for the future.

What are some primary influence that you had when making “Machine District” ?

That would be a lot. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music which also leaves its trails inspiration wise. I also like to try out new things like mixing other genres with industrial. I have been busy with mixing dancehall with industrial for a while, and “Shake it” is such a track. Very few industrial artists do this, which is weird because the genre’s mix easily, and I know a lot of my industrial and EBM collegue’s are into dancehall as well. There is also a track I made with Taury from Dead Hand Projekt which is more Witchhouse oriented. But my main taste in music is dance and club music, so there are obviously a lot of dancy tracks. Funk (James Brown, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins) is a major influence on our music. In terms of industrial roots we are one the same trail as Cabaret Voltaire so we concentrate on grooves. In modern terms a lot of inspiration comes from hard techno like Jeff Mills, Chris Liebling and such, and rhythmic noise like Asche, Punch Inc, Terrorfakt and similar.

You’ve released a good collection of music prior to “Machine District,” how is this album different and how has the band as a whole grown from back in the “Steel and Honour” days?

I would say focus and production. We used very primitive means in those times, and sonic-wise we didn’t know what we were doing. So the very early stuff is produced very bad. I have been remastering our old stuff recently, and it was shocking to discover how bad it was all mixed and mastered in those days. But it’s a learning process, and as long as you get better it’s ok. The music in those days was also a lot simpler. A lot of tunes on “Steel and honour” for instance, are based on just a few loops. Nowadays we use a lot of sounds, loops and channels to build up tracks, which makes our stuff more interesting to listen to. The old tracks were also “overdistorted” and you lose a lot of oomph in your basses, so nowadays we try to walk the fine line between sounding harsh, but still having the thump to make dancefloors and living rooms shake.

When you make music, are you aiming for a dance-friendly atmosphere on some songs, or does it just kind of end up that way? Disko Neubauten for example is very much a song that I could see doing well in the right scene.

It does just end up that way, but like I said: because our first and foremost influence is funk and techno So we are subconsciously going for a dance friendly atmosphere. The one thing I am looking for is a good groove when I experiment, and I always build up on the groove. To me that is what makes a good song work. If I can’t find a good groove I can’t make it work. Only exception would be when I work on dark ambient tracks like we release on our “Cumulonimbus” themed albums.

What are some elements that you incorporate in the live show that are not presented on the recordings?

More rhythmns and noise. We use three drum computers and a synth and a lot of pedals to add extra texture and grooves to the music. Obviously we can’t play live like a live band can because we would need about 20 people on a very good level musically to come close to the sound we want, but we are also not a “press play and pretend you do something” band. So we try to walk a fine line here. I also play bass guitar in an indie rock band, so I know what it is to actually play live, and I fully realize this will not work for TPROE. I also recently see a lot of bands falling in the “live” trap by adding acoustic drums and (mostly metal) guitars, and it makes performances really bad. Acoustic drums don’t have the power drum computers can bring, and if you are adding metal guitars you are doing it wrong already. What does work is bass guitar for instance. Kloq is a very good live band because they have a good bass player. I recently saw Straftanz with a bass player as well, and it did sound very good. The major mistake most bands make is that they think they need to sound more “rock” while they are active in a genre which is based on disco and dance. So if you want live instruments, use the live instruments of those genre’s, and that would be percussion, bass guitar and keyboards. Personally if I go see some industrial or EBM band and some longhaired guy with a “typical” brand of guitars like BC Rich or ESP walks on stage I am out, because I know its gonna suck beyond belief, and I have never been proven wrong on that.

If you could tour with any one band, who would it be?

We do get along fine with almost all bands from our scene, so we can hit the road with most and be fine with it. We already opened for Alec Empire once, and he is a nice guy, so a tour with Atari Teenage Riot would be on the to do list. Furthermore maybe with some funky guys from the harder techno scenes. Jeff Mills would be great for instance. A tour with Nachtmahr would be nice as well, because we do hang out with Thomas and Massimo on occasions and have lots of fun, though I think if we go do that we will die of laughter halfway the tour. Humor overdose!

If money were no issue, what kind of things would you add to the live performance?

Some good musicians from a disco/funk background. Bass and percussion. We would also put a lot of money into making a really cool stage set and visuals. A lot of investments would go into good high end gear and hiring professional sound and light people to make a show really really kick ass.

If you could play any festival, which would it be?

A festival we really would love to play would be the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, Germany. That’s a festival we attend as visitors for years, and it has a really cool atmosphere and vibe. Kinetik is a festival which we would very much like to do as well since other bands tell jealous making stories about that one. Others would be some more mainstream oriented festivals like Coachella festival or something like the Detroit electronic music festival. In Europe stuff like Lowlands of 5 days off in the Netherlands. We ourselves love festivals, and will play any one as long if they provide a good place to play, and have fun along.

If you could remix any one song throughout history in your style, which song would you choose?

That’s a tough one. I am not really fond of remixes because most of the time they add nothing to the original. I more or less stopped doing them myself because they rarely get released anyway. I now remix by the rule that the original artists have to give me permission to release it myself if they or their label don’t do it, so I expect it to get very quiet on the remix front. But if I were to pick one I would say “Man’s best friend/Loopzilla” from George Clinton.

Do you have any plans for any special box-sets or versions for the release of “Machine District,” or any future releases?

None at all. Currently the financial situation is very bad in the music industry so there simply is no money to invest in such a project. The CD version of “machine district” is overdue for several months because of Vendetta music having to wait to get the available funds for a release. The illegal downloading has proceded at such a pace that the majority of small and middle sized bands don’t make any money at all. So most of them also stopped investing since there is no point anymore in investing in something which will never break even or bring in some cash. With “Machine District” I released the final album I had to release due to my contract with Vendetta Music, and I am currently releasing some stuff myself before I decide on renewing my contract with Vendetta or on another label if a good opportunity arises. But the prospects are not good at all, and though bandcamp and sales from older releases and merch bring in some money, it doesn’t provide me with the funding of special versions. I don’t even have the funds to release the upcoming album “Military Industrial Complex” on CD, so for now we go download only through Bandcamp.
Given this situation I decided I only do things for TPROE if they at least break even. I have lost money on TPROE since the beginning, but in those days there was at least the hope of sustaining yourself, but nowadays even that hope is gone, and thus I decided to stop investing. No special box sets. This might change of course if people get wise and start paying for music, or if politicians get wise and put a stop on illegal downloading. I see some good developments in that regard, but there is still a long way to go.

But there is something special because we do release mixtapes, and on our bandcamp we have a third mixtape up for free download to go with the CD release of “machine district” and the upcoming digital release of “Military Industrial Complex”.

When you first decided to make rhythmic noise, way back when, what would you say was the most influential album that got you started?

The first industrial noise I made was in 1989 and in those days the main influential album would be Current 93’s “Dawn” which still is awesome to me. When I started TPROE in 2000 it started out as a dark ambient project, and “Heresy” from Lustmord would be the main influential one. After we started making more noise stuff that would have become “Blast furnace” by Converter.

What new releases are you currently listening to?

Currently I am listening to the debute from Nao which is very good. I am also into some real hard industrial hardcore stuff like Moleculez, Sandy Warez and Mindustries. I am delving into some new genres like moombahton and moombahcore to see if there is nice stuff going on. And I am awaiting the new album from A Place to Bury Strangers of which the single sounds awesome, so that one will get some plays in the foreseeable future.

You also DJ, from what I understand, what are some “must have” CDs in your DJ box?

I am indeed a DJ and one of the leading ones in the Dutch industrial/EBM scene. I DJ under the name DJ Krat. Mostly in the Netherlands, but sometimes abroad. I DJed the Wave Gotik Treffen twice for instance. As for “must have” CDs. That’s a lot. You obviously need the club hits to get the crowd going, but I also mix in lesser known stuff which I think is good, and generally this goes well with the crowd. Lately I have become very disappointed in the quality of a lot of scene music, so I am experimenting a lot with hard and dark music from other scenes. Some like it, but some don’t. But I think quality is important and as a DJ I won’t play absolute shite like Valium Era, Ext!ze or Terror Error even if the audience want it. I know a lot of DJ’s who feel the same way. So I am not alone in this. Bad music doesn’t belong in any scene, but most cyber goths only look at image, so if some cool dude with cyberdog clothes and cool hair extensions farts into a microphone most of those glowworms will love it. That’s not my scene anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with A Dark Figure Music Blog. We are looking forward to the future of the People’s Republic of Europe and possible American dates!

Thank you very much for having us on your blog, and we definitely want to come to the US to do some shows. Currently there are no plans, but if that changes we will come over. I did understand your blog originates from Portland, Oregon, and last time we were in the US we drove through it, and it looked like a very cool city so I told Dave Vendetta I want to play Portland next tour. I hope we can make it happen!

Interview: Stray

I had the chance recently to talk with Erica Dunham from Unter Null and now the growingly popular Stray here in Portland, OR. I have followed Erica’s music for a long time and am a consistant fan, so it was really great when she moved to Portland and I had the opportunity to open for Unter null a handfull of times and get to know her. Stray, which started as a side project of Unter null has really taken on it’s own form and following. It’s safe to say that Stray will soon become an equal successor to Unter Null and lay some solid foundation in the female fronted world of Industrial/EBM. I have had the opportunity to hear bits and pieces of this new album coming together and I can tell you that fans of Unter Null and Stray will be very pleased with it. 

Facebook: Stray

Current release: Let Me Go (upcoming - no date announced yet!)
Label: Alfa Matrix

You’ve released a number of albums under Unter Null and are preparing to release a second album for your primary side project Stray – What are your general distinctions between Unter Null’s newest album Moving On and the new Stray album?

Well, Moving On was written over the course of a few years, with a few interruptions during the recording process… The latest Stray album, which I just finished writing, was also written over the course of about, well… 4 years; pretty much since I finished that last Stray album. When I’m writing for Stray, I feel more freedom in the creative process to express a more gentle side of myself. However, Stray was never meant to be a ‘light’ project, nor was it meant to be ‘happy’ just because the content with Unter Null is angry, brooding, and pissed off. Stray kind of reflects the feelings of despair and sadness when that anger wears off. Lyrical content aside, the writing process of the music is approached in a very different way; I can’t really describe it, but I’m in a different headspace when I’m writing for either project, and I have to focus on one or the other so I don’t start melding the two projects into one. It’s very important that they remain separate.

Do you have a projected release date for the new Stray Album?

It’s looking to be early Springtime of 2012, so not that far away. I’ve mentally cut myself off from writing any more for the album, and the artwork is finished, so it’s just a matter of sending it off to master and wrapping final details and more business and paperwork aspects of releasing an album, which is a bit tedious.

How do you view the music now compared to The Failure Epiphany?

Improved by leaps and bounds. Here’s how I look at it, though: I’m not embarrassed by anything I’ve ever released because that is what I knew then and what I wanted to write then. Every day is a new day to learn something, to improve, to expand your skills, and so is every album, and every song that is written. What I know now I probably didn’t know then, but it’s the accumulation of practice and learning and applying new knowledge that is important, and it’s important to keep evolving as an artist. I would hate to be writing the same album over and over- that would be a personal hell. I want every album I release to be better than the last, and sometimes I can be kind of an asshole to myself because of expectations I hold myself to…. but that’s okay.

What were some influences, musically, that you had when shaping the new Stray album?

I listened to so much different music over the years it took me to finally finish Let Me Go that it’s hard to narrow it down to a few artists or bands, but I listened to a lot of Halou, Blue Foundation, Mind.In.A.Box, The Flashbulb, Moderat, Faunts, Röyksopp, Covenant, Raison d’être, Wovenhand, Nick Cave… and on and on. I’m pretty much all over the place with music and I like a lot of variety. I wouldn’t necessarily say that any one of the artists I’ve listed influenced Stray, but I sure have enjoying their creative output.

What is your most important piece of gear in the studio for the critical Stray sound?

I’m a Native Instruments whore, so I pretty much need everything they release. That being said, I use Absynth, Reaktor, and Kontakt heavily, and I rely on an enormous sample library of real instruments (piano, cello, violin, strings, voice) for composing not just Stray material but Unter Null as well. As a lover of classical music, I find it absolutely necessary to incorporate traditional instruments into electronic music.

You’ve gone on a couple tours with Unter Null, do you ever plan to take Stray out on the road?

I’ve actually answered this question with a firm “no” previously, but as Stray is turning more into a second main project for me, I do think it’s something I definitely plan on doing in the near-ish future. I have a lot of ideas of how to present the project, visually and whatnot, and I’ve talked with a few people about live collaborations, so we’ll see how that turns out.

If you could add any one thing to the live show, if money were not a factor, what would you add?

A full choir and orchestra.

If you could tour with one band, throughout history, who would it be?

First choice hands-down would be Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Murder Ballads era when he was working with Kylie Minogue and P.J. Harvey… that would have been a kick in the pants… Rammstein, but that would fit more with Unter Null, huh? And absolutely Nine Inch Nails. Amazing stage production!

What would you say is the most memorable show you’ve played?

In spite of all the shows I played overseas when living there, and in spite of playing bigger cities and bigger venues, and in spite of shows from years and years ago, this one is a bit more recent. We played with Nitzer Ebb right here in Portland, but it was the first show where it felt like I had a full band to work with, and we were working together well. The energy from the audience as well as everyone on stage was incredible and that performance felt absolutely magical. I strive to feel that again.

You’ve recently voiced your intention to return to living in Europe – Do you believe German, or even European audiences in general are more receptive to our style of music?

Receptive? Yes. A lot less reliance on guitars in Europe. I love guitar mixed with electronic music when it is done well, but in America it seems people are raised to think that all music must contain guitars, otherwise is it automatically lumped into the category of “that trance shit”. …Despite the fact that I believe Europeans to be much more open-minded and accepting with the arts.

When you’re not making music, for either project, or working the day-job, what hobbies do you have?

The problem is, is that any free time I have these days IS spent on music. I work an insane amount of hours, and what precious little time I have left over is to rest and to create. Hobbies, though, I like to create. Can I be as generic as possible? Haha. I just love making things, whether it be material or food or music- pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I spend a lot of time planning and plotting, making to do lists, setting goals for projects I want to start.

What release are you most looking forward to in the early parts of 2012?

2011 was a really good year for strong music across the board; a lot of the electronic heavyweights (hehe ;)) released really solid albums and it seems like for the first time in a long time innovation and a breath of fresh air has been breathed into music once again.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with A Dark Figure Music Blog, I look forward to the release of the new Stray album as well as possible live ventures soon!

Thanks a lot!!

Check out Stray on Soundcloud:

Stray - The Bitter Pill of Being (feat. E.S.A.) by Stray_official

Edwin Alter, of Die Sektor, and I had the chance to talk recently about some remixing and things for the new [product] album/EP and it turns out he’s had a lot of the same experiences I have had with music. I asked him to do this interview based on some questions I had, but also because I know it would be interesting for fans to read about things that they might not have heard about yet, like the new (new) Die Sektor album that is in the process of being mastered now! 

Interview: Die Sektor


Current Release: Applied Structure In A Void
Label: COP Int, Noitekk, DWA

Die Sektor released Applied Structure In A Void in early 2011, which turned out to be a very different album than I think most people were expecting. Overall I believe it was extremely well received – Did you expect some flack for sort of abandoning the A-typical TerrorEBM sound?

EA: Yes, we did. We had no doubt there would be a fair amount of misunderstanding and those who wouldn’t give the album a chance. However, we were unsure what the broader reaction would be and were very surprised at how well it was received by parts of our audience. There is a sample in the first song on the album of a man playing Russian roulette. I interpret that sample as Die Sektor playing Russian roulette. Fortunately we won.

There were a lot of different influences sighted for Applied Structure; what were some of your influences vocally for the new songs?

EA: We are big fans of various vocalist and their styles but try to go our own way and not use the influences in songs consciously. Going back and listening to the album I can hear certain influences more strongly. Daniel Myer (Haujobb), Ogre (Skinny Puppy), Skold/Sascha (KMFDM), Trent Reznor (NIN), Dismantled and Marilyn Manson. Lyrically Raymond Watts (Pig).

Following the release, you guys hit the road for a little bit and played a number of shows on the southern east coast here in the US – What cities would you most like to play in the future?

EA: The big cities always stand a chance to bring a large crowd. New York, L.A., Chicago. Most cities we have played we would play again. We seem to have the largest fan base in L.A. so we want to make it out West in 2012.

Do you have any plans to take Die Sektor overseas/out of country, and if so – where would you hit first?

EA: We would love to play Mexico City again and we have a good fan base in South America and Mexico so that would be great but nothing planned right now. We had plans to take the show to Europe in 2012 early on but have since changed those plans to a possible West Coast tour instead. One of the problems we have faced going to Europe is that we have a 4 man band. We have received offers and interest but for a band of our scale they want us to have a 2 man band to cut down on cost. We have been working this winter on making a 2 man Die Sektor set with the same quality and impact. So we will see what happens.

If you could tour with one band (in current rotation) who would it be?

EA: Best case would be a good mainstream act along the lines of NIN or MM so that we could get exposed to a larger audience. If I was to go with more industrial related bands then KMFDM or Combichrist. You know the tour would be organized well and you would play to good size crowds. I think it would be most fun to tour with DYM, vProjekt, SML8 and Omen Machine.

There is already talk of a new album – How far along is it, and do you have a title yet or any common themes?

EA: It’s complete. We are getting our tracks ready for mastering. The artwork is almost complete along with all titles. It’s hard to say when it will come out as it takes a few months to master, manufacture and package the album. Then the label has to find a good release slot. We have heard from March to May.

The album is titled “The Final Electro Solution”. As far as theme we describe a combination of a concept album of a mental and physical apocalypse, a sarcastic stab and a nervous breakdown- in stereo. Lol

It has a much darker tone than Applied Structure both in sound and lyric.

Is the new material primarily software or hardware based? And what are your views on the advantages of either one?

EA: The first Die Sektor EP Scraping the Flesh was more hardware based and written almost entirely on a Yamaha Motif. Since that point Die Sektor has been 90% software. There are plenty of occasional Motif appearances and some cameos from the Nord lead. Software is so much easier a simple to write with when you are recording everything into a sequencer like Logic. Die Sektor uses a lot of sampled sounds and we make our own sounds by layering samples and synths so the workflow is easier when working with software. The only real advantage of hardware is if you find an amazing sound that you can’t recreate in the box. You always have the option of writing some midi sequences into your sequencer and then dialing up a sound on your hardware synth if you can’t find a good soft synth sound. That method has been used in the DS studio several times.

I know that Daniel Grant has his own side project going, Chloral One – are there any other projects sprouting off from within the Die Sektor camp?

EA: Scott had one called A Silicon Wasteland that has a few songs floating around on the web. That project morphed into a new project that we will announce after the next album. It has a very mainstream electro/alternative sound with some dubstep elements. Scott also has some solo instrumental stuff floating around under the name sK0tt deadman.

We have been putting together ideas for a new project we are going to work on after this next Die Sektor album. It will be mainly instrumental but will not have any boundaries of genre. No restraints. Not sure of the spelling yet but the project name is Fuck You.

You had mentioned to me in an earlier conversation that Die Sektor had fans popping up in Middle Eastern Countries, which have been under some turmoil recently with protests and all kinds of governments being overthrown. Do you believe that industrial music sort of follows political turmoil or social unrest?

EA: I think music is often found everywhere and always. The tone that it takes can tell you about a time and place, communicating what words alone can’t explain. I would be willing to bet if any industrial music was to come out of those regions that it would be very dark. But I might argue that since they are at least making music, music with a strong beat too, that they are expressing a form of freedom and showing perhaps a flash of optimism.

Are there any clubs that you guys frequent in the Atlanta area that I should check out if ever to stop down south?

EA: There’s pretty much a constant rotation of different club nights I will usually check out a few times.

Every tour has something ridiculous happen, no matter how small it is – Did you have any ridiculousness happen on your last outings?

EA: No doubt there was plenty but most of it too embarrassing to bring up. There was a venue where we had to steal power from another business. One of the guys in one of the other bands knew how to do it. Getting dressed and doing makeup by a cell phone flash light while people keep walking in on you. A lot of stuff like that. Maybe just as much lameness as ridiculousness.

If you could make a music video for any of your songs, which one would you choose?

EA: A new song called “The Final Electro Delusion”. Off the last album I would say if we did one then it should be “Accelerant” probably. For fun I would pick “Dissector”.

Are you playing any video games right now, and if so what system is your preferred system?

EA: I prefer the PS3 system hands down. Right now I am playing Skyrim. It’s really good. I prefer RPG’s usually but I like a few action games like Arkham city and Assassins Creed. Daniel is playing Skyrim too right now.

What new release are you currently listening to? EA: Been on a kick lately looking for rare and obscure late 50’s early 60’s music. As far as new releases for 2011 I probably listened to the new Dismantled and new Haujobb the most. The Korean pop band 2NE1 had some cool stuff in 2011.

What would you say was the most influential album when you think about when you first got into industrial music?

EA: NIN “The Downward Spiral”

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, and we here at A Dark Figure are definitely looking forward to your future endeavors and seeing you on the West Coast sometime in the future!

EA: Thank you. Look forward to doing it again someday!

Interview: Necro Facility



Current Release: Wintermute (2011)
Label: Artoffact/Progress Productions

Wintermute, your latest full length album, has received a lot of critical acclaim since its release earlier this year – What were some key differences that you have made from The Room to Wintermute?

There is some big difference between the albums we’ve done, especially between the room and wintermute. We wanted to take our sound further. We wanted to put some more pop music into the mix. We also put a lot of time into lyrics and the vocals. We wanted them to be in front, and the music in the back. we also moved further in our skills to mix and produce music as well, so the developing of Necro Facility is on its right way.

When The Black Painting was presented to me for the first time, by a trustee record store owner here in Portland, Oregon, as a modern Skinny Puppy. That is a compliment, of course, but do you feel like that kind of assumption burdened your music style?

No, of course we are very flattered to be compared to one the best bands in the world. we are proud of that, but people need to compare stuff to make sense to them. We don’t aim to sound like Skinny Puppy, when we started Necro Facility we were that old, so the musical influences were kinda small, and the best band we knew was Skinny Puppy. Now when we are older and have the opportunity to find new music easily and buy music everywhere, all the time, we have a much wider spectra of influences. Thats way we want to take Necro Facility further in the sound as well, because we love so much music.

What were some influences you had while working on Wintermute?

Everything from, dubstep, grindcore, hiphop, jazz to pure billboard pop. We love music, and the best thing we know is to find a new good song or album!!

Do you use primarily hardware or virtual instruments when you compose?

We have primarily used virtual instruments but we have recently starting working more with hardware. The 2 first album in our bedroom, so it doesn’t matter what gear you got, its only how you use it.

If you could have any one piece of hardware, from any time period, and without monetary constraint, what would it be?

Don’t know why, but Korg MS-20 always been one of our favorites.

What new releases have you been listening to recently?

love the new Noisia stuff he´s releasing!! really great!

Do you have any plans to go on tour in North America?

Would love to go there. Hopefully in the future, Necro Facility never played in America, yet..

The last time I saw a live video, which I admit has been awhile, from Necro Facility, it was just the two of you- do you have any plans to, or have you already expanded to more people on stage?

We will not extend people on stage, we used to be 3 in the band. and one time 4, but that ended when we forgot one of our band members in germany after a show heading back to sweden.

What was the most influential live show you have ever seen?

The knife at arvikafestivalen in sweden a couple of years ago. That was pretty awesome.

If you could go on tour with one band, which would it be?

Probably one of the bands on our label, they are all kickass good people.

What was the first Industrial CD/Tape/Record you ever bought?

Skinny puppy - Too dark park

Here in Portland, “Do You Feel the Same,” from Wintermute, is weekly on the playlist at our most prominent industrial dance night, and packs the dance floor – Do you go to night clubs often, and what is it like to see the reception of one of your songs?

We don’t go to the industrial clubs so much anymore, we often work so much or we party at other places, but i know happens. Its always strange to hear you’re own music, then u just go sit in the bar and stare into the wall for a couple of seconds.

What was it like working with Covenant on the Lightbringer single? (This is also on a weekly playlist at our most prominent club here in Portland.)

It was really fun, and a really cool collaboration. We are very happy with the result of the song and is impressed by covenant to release it as a single!

Thank you for taking the time to talk with A Dark Figure Music Blog, I am looking forward to possibly seeing you live sometime in the near future, and also any releases you might have.

thnx, keep on rokkin!

Distorted Memory, for me is a very influential band not only for my own music, but for many others I know. The sound is very distinct, and different from a lot of music out there right now - very broadly influenced. “Burning Heaven” was a pretty pinacle album that I definitely think you should revisit. “Swallow The Sun” (2011) however, is a groundbreaking album. It combines a lot of tribal and rhythmic sounds, which I usually am not a fan of in industrial, and a very raw aggression that is presented perfectly by the images of the album. I had the great opportunity to work with Jeremy on my latest EP, and I can honestly say it is a spectacular remix, and was a spectacular experience overall. I had the opportunity to catch him via email this week, and he specifically requested some obscure questions, siting that he is bored to death of your regular-I-dont-listen-to-your-music-really interviews! I did not disappoint. This is a fan interview for fans. 

Interview: Distorted Memory

Swallowing the Sun was a very different album, both in theme and general style, than Burning Heaven –What were some of the thematic or literary influences for Swallowing the Sun?

This should be an easy question to answer, but it’s not, simply because Swallowing the Sun was written over such a long period of time (4 years). So the influences weren’t specific, over that time there were many different ones, some that I probably can’t recall at this point. But I think the biggest underlying theme or idea that was running through my head during writing was in regards to the destruction of our planet. The album isn’t an obvious “save the planet” type hippy album, but most of the songs do center around the notion that we are headed in a direction that we may not be able to turn back from in regards to how we treat the earth. In a way Burning Heaven had a similar theme, but it was more hidden in anti-religious metaphor. As far as literary influence goes the work of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris always play a role in my life and my music.

The vocal style is also much different on Swallowing the Sun, much more raw sounding – How did you come to this new style and do you think that you will continue to use it on future Distorted Memory releases?

It pretty much started with live shows. I decided early on that I wouldn’t be able to match the vocal processing used on Burning Heaven in a live situation. It would leave too much room for potential feedback issues. I also don’t like the idea of live vocalists drowning themselves in effects. So when we started performing that material live I decided to strip down the effects to just a little pitch modulation and delay. By doing this I was forced to create more of the distorted, evil tones with my own voice. After doing this for a while my keyboardist at the time said to me that the next album should have vocals similar to the live stuff. When it came time to record the albums vocals the new member, Tim, was brought in and it was his job to record and engineer the vocals. He comes from a rock background and pretty much flat out said that he didn’t want to do anything with lots of effects. So from there we started experimenting with getting the tone we wanted just by using different microphones, preamps, and my own voice. I am pretty happy with the result, and the new direction. I don’t think it was perfect on Swallowing the Sun, so the next album will continue in this vein but will be even more refined.

Distorted Memory in studio!

What one piece of hardware do you think is critical to your studio set up?

Well avoiding the obvious computer, audio interface, monitors answer I’d have to say the NI Maschine. Although it is technically software with a controller, that controller has proved to be my most valuable piece of kit lately. My studio has seen many different hardware synths go through it over the years, most of which only stay for a while until I realize that I only had gear lust for them and they weren’t actually that important to my creativity. Of all the synths I’ve owned over the past decade (Virus C, Virus TI, Blofeld, V-Synth, MS2000, Waldorf XTK, and a bunch more not worth naming) the only ones that have stayed as permanent fixtures are the two Viruses. However the NI Maschine won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It got a lot of use on Swallowing the Sun. All of the percussion was programmed on it. It was especially useful when creating all of the tribal percussion on the album, which I programmed myself, no loops were used. I don’t think I would have been able to create realistic world percussion using only a midi editor.

Secondarily to the last question, what hardware would you most like to get, if money were not an issue?

Well if money wasn’t an issue, if I won the lottery for example, the first thing I would buy is a Euphonix System 5-MC…but running at over $100,000 I don’t think that will happen anytime soon :) I need to start writing more commercially viable music.

You recently went to the US for your first show at the Cyber Genetic Winter Festival in Texas – What are some differences between Canadian audiences and American Audiences?

I can’t say that there really were any huge differences. I can say though that it was amazing to see so many people from so far away going crazy to our songs and singing along to all the words. Actually there is one big difference between American and Canadian audiences, the Americans are hilariously paranoid about smoking weed and getting caught. In Canada no one thinks about that, if you want to smoke a joint you go outside and have one with the other people smoking cigarettes. Not that I am a big smoker, but I always find it funny when people at a show are “looking for a place to smoke”….only in America.

Distorted Memory live in Texas!

What additions would you make, again if money were not a factor, to the live show?

I would love to have a dedicated light technician, video technician, and costume designer. The video technician is something that will probably actually happen if we do a road tour, the only thing stopping it at this point is that it is too expensive to add another person for fly in shows. If money was not an option I would find and hire whoever is the art director / costume designer for Fever Ray as they are making use of a similar aesthetic that I envision for Distorted Memory.

What is the most influential live show you have ever seen?

Ever? Well there are a few that stand out. Austra and Peaches are two big ones for me. But the number one is as far removed as you can get from industrial music. Leonard Cohen, to this day it is the best performance I have ever seen. It also taught me a lot about what it means to be a performer. In the same respect all the bands I’ve ever seen that don’t play the songs you are expecting to hear have taught me not to do that. It is our job to play the music people want to hear, not just the newest stuff that we ourselves are currently enjoying. I don’t care how sick I get of songs from Burning Heaven, I will always play a few because I know there are people in the crowd wanting to hear them.

When you aren’t making music, or working the day job, what other hobbies do you have?

I think %90 of my time not at work, or producing is taken up by listening to music. I have a sick addiction to music. I spend a questionable amount of time searching out new music If I don’t find something new every few days I go crazy. Aside from that I enjoy cooking. I grew up in a typical Ukrainian family where food=life=love and this has always stuck with me. My wife is a vegan, and I am a farm boy who loves meat so I have learned to be a very creative and efficient cook. I also spend a lot of time watching movies, and tv series that I like…and way too much time doing nothing productive on the internet.

What was the first industrial CD you ever bought?

I actually remember this, Skinny Puppy – Bites and Remission. I was maybe 12 years old and I often listened to this experimental radio show on the CBC where they played stuff like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and some early industrial. Anyway, I was in a used CD store and saw this Skinny Puppy disc, I hadn’t heard their music but recognized the name because it was mentioned on that radio show, so I bought it. I still remember coming home and putting it on. From the first seconds of that disc to the very last I sat in awe. My life was changed forever.

Do you go out to clubs often, and if so, what are your views on current “dance hits” within the scene?

Almost never. Mostly because the Industrial night here, which can barely be called an industrial night, is so sad that I can’t be bothered to go. I am really not interested in hearing Marilyn Manson, NIN, Rob Zombie, VNV track from seven years ago, rinse repeat on my saturday nights…. If we had a club night on par with some of the bigger cities I would probably go more often, but even then maybe not because I am not really that into “club” music. I am a pretentious music snob. I’d rather sit at home with a beer and listen to some Legendary Pink dot’s on vinyl through my disgustingly overpriced audiophile set up :) I will be really happy if industrial ever returns to it’s roots and starts bringing some art back to the music. Hard house died in 2000, but unfortunately it’s lifeless zombified remains stay strong in the EBM scene.

If you could re-score any movie, in your own style, what movie would you choose?

That’s tough, do I pick a movie that I love but has a score I do not like? Or a movie that has a score I love, but I would also like to work on? I am going to say The Last Temptation of Christ simply because it is one of my favorite scores of all time and I would like to challenge myself to live up to that standard.

What new releases are you currently listening to?

Lot’s, but since I just compiled a list of my favorite 2011 releases I’ll give you that:
1. Austra - Feel It Break

2. Of The Wand & The Moon - The Lone Descent

3. M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
4. Gazelle Twin - The Entire City

5. oHgr - unDeveloped

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We are looking forward to future Distorted Memory releases and more US shows!

Cheers!

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