A project called HOSTILE ARCHITECT was launched just over a year ago, with Brisbane based Mitch Kenny, finding himself being picked up by local radio programme, Dark Essence with Josh Guinan, followed hotly by international shows such as Scott Durand’s Dark Indulgence and then being signed by the recently created label, Brutal Resonance Records with Steven Gullotta at the helm. Most recently the debut album LOWGRADELIFE was released and the ARCHITECT’s first venture onto a live stage, in a showcase of Brisbane industrial acts called Factory Reset.
Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Onyx, Mitch Kenny. We have been watching your progress since the first single from HOSTILE ARCHITECT was released with great interest and now there is this wonderful debut album.
Did you find the process of creating LOWGRADELIFE easier as you went along and is it a different mind set than writing singles?
Hey Del, thanks for having me! It’s actually funny, I started the project with the express idea that I wanted to release a serial album in small chunks and never actually compile it into a full release. But that was when I was fully expecting to release the music into the aether and have no one really listen to it as per what I was used to with my other project; so much so I didn’t even intend to have separate social media accounts for H/A (HOSTILE ARCHITECT). Obviously I changed tactics a little bit when people started getting behind the project and I realised I should probably take this a little bit more seriously than I wanted to at first. You can see it most prominently in the title track, the original single version of the track is fairly static and more EBM influenced but after releasing “SEMTEX” and it being my most popular track I knew LOWGRADELIFE needed to be retooled to include the elements that drew people to “HOSTILE THEME” and “SEMTEX“. It’s definitely been a learning process!
You also belong to another electronic act called Abelisk. What or who drew you to electronic music in the first place and what was the inspiration to go solo with H/A?
Abelisk has only been a two person project since the most recent EP, before that it was always a me thing. Some of the songs on my first album were written when I was still in high school so for me it’s something with legacy, but only for me I guess. That was really the biggest thing that made me want to get a new project going with H/A, it was just super nice to not have my own expectations and plans weighing me down. H/A was just me trying to make the music I was into at the time and not really worrying if it fit a self imposed ‘brand’ that no one but me gave a fuck about. To answer your actual question though, I think the stuff that got me into electronic/industrial in the first place is a bit generic but definitely NIN or Marilyn Manson. Project’s like that really got me into the idea of rock and roll mentality with weirdo extra instrumentation and strange FX timbre.
It is always hard to pin down influences but who do you feel now gets your creative juices flowing?
I definitely wear my influences on my sleeve with H/A I think. The whole project was born out of frustration that I couldn’t connect Abelisk with an audience so it was a bit of a back against the wall fuck it attitude that had me specifically targeting a genre that I thought I could have fun with and then cosplaying as bands I like in that genre. The best example of that would probably be “EVERY FOLLOWER A BOT”, which was my best attempt at ripping off the vibe of a Blush Response song. It legit sounds nothing like Blush Response but I’m not too bothered because it ended up being one of my favorite tracks on the LP; who really cares if I didn’t hit the mark exactly. I think I’ve settled into more of a groove with the H/A sound now anyway, I know what I’m aiming for when I start a new song more so than a year ago. Likely the next single will be in the vein of “SEMTEX” and “HOSTILE THEME“ but have more than one stanza of repeating lyrics which might be a nice change of pace!
It must have been thrilling to hear yourself on local radio and international podcasts. Brisbane in Australia isn’t a huge city but how do you percieve the local music scene?
Legitimately getting airtime on Dark Essence Radio back in June last year was an earth shattering experience for me, it definitely gave me the confidence to really go whole hog with this project and helped connect me with everyone else in the scene here, honestly I wish I got out of my own bubble much sooner! Getting to work on remixes and having people remix my work has been really rewarding too, everyone’s in the same ballpark of interest so it’s super easy to get something going and the results have been universally awesome in my opinion. The ‘Ozdustrial’ scene has a seriously bright future and I just can’t wait to see what some of the local Brisbane projects have got up their sleeves coming out of these uncertain times.
Covid has really caused a lot of heartache for musicians and those whose livelihoods are connected to the scene, however do you think there have been positive outcomes as well if any?
I’m hoping that when everything starts getting back to normal the music scene in general will bounce back. Factory Reset the other week was a good indicator that people in Brisbane definitely want this kind of music out there and are willing to support it when they can so hopefully it was a good litmus test for future industrial/EBM/dark electro gigs in our sleepy little city. I know Metalcore in Oz is having a bit of a moment right now with seriously amazing albums coming out what feels like every week since the start of 2020 so I’m hoping the isolation and the rapidly approaching end of the world will do the same for niche goth dance music.
You just had your debut live show which we have to say was most excellent. What was this like for you and how do you perceive live events in the future?
Thank you so much for saying so! It was definitely an experience that’s for sure. I think I’m just very lucky I was in an extremely supportive environment that was happy to overlook the myriad technical issues I had during the set. I know we joked in person about it being an impromptu harsh noise remix but damn in the moment up on stage my brain was definitely melting down that I couldn’t do anything to fix the problem. Overall it was a really great experience and I know where my weaknesses are now. I can take that back to the studio and prepare for H/A Live 2.0 which will probably involve a laptop that was made this decade!
We can’t finish the interview without asking who is the ARCHITECT and why is he so HOSTILE? Is this a character or a side to Mitch Kenny and WHY IS HE ALWAYS YELLING?
Yes, definitely, ‘THE ARCHITECT’ is a character! People seem to always think I’m yelling too but honestly I always envisioned it as more of a ‘constantly above speaking volume Ohgr impression’ mixed with the way The Board speak from the game Control. The more weird and detached from normality the character seems on social media the funnier it all is to me. Not sure if other people find it as fun as I do but I plan to get more into the character angle on future releases so I hope it doesn’t turn off too many people.
Thanks so much for your time Mitch and we wish you all the luck in the future.