….And talks about the new album, bad band names, our shared love of Bobby Gillespie.. . .. . and a whole bunch of other shit with Kate and Simon from Bitumen.

Ever wanted to paint and draw? Because Bitumen do. They want to paint your world dark and draw you into an electronic, shoegaze-y industrial bliss that feels like it could become the soundtrack to the best nightmare you’ve ever had at any second. I seriously can’t get enough of this new album of theirs, their sophomore effort, Cleareye Shining, which I should mention is out now [as of the 26th November 2021] on Imprint Records, who clearly have good taste if they’re signing bands like Bitumen.

Bitumen are: Kate on vocals, Simon on bass and drum programming, Bryce on guitars and Sam on guitars and synth. They’re originally all from Hobart but one by one they made the pilgrimage to the greener pastures of Melbourne. They’re good people. I know this because I got on the phone with Kate and Simon for over an hour talking about our love of Primal Scream, The Birthday Party and so much other crap because I was drunk ….More on that later. For now you have to understand that if you like any genre on the darker or heavier or more electronic side of things you should check this out.

It’s just satisfying on so many levels…or layers. You can’t get away from the layers to these songs. The mix job is fantastic, giving room for every part to do it’s thing and blend perfectly. The album starts with their second single Paint and Draw, followed by Moving Now Now Now, which is my new favourite song right now now now. There’s 7 more songs after that one, making it 9 tracks in total on the album. There’s not a single wasted second, every track could become your favourite. The last one, Luxury Auto is another stand-out in my opinion. It starts with this minor second guitar motif that kicks in the suspense and tension, and the part relentlessly weaves in and out of the rest of the track; by the end you realise that it’s been going on the whole time and the only conclusion you can draw is that it was definitely the right thing for them to do. And as a closing track, it leaves you wanting more. Always good.

So they’ve released two singles so far, and both have accompanying videos. Out of Athens was the first to drop, even before the album came out. It’s a great first single – it captures attention by simply being a banger of a tune. The video features Kate dancing in front of a flashy-starry backdrop while Sam laughs at her and she tries to keep a straight face and not trip over the microphone cable. Although you wouldn’t know about that if I hadn’t just told you – Sam’s off-screen. Being, um, supportive I guess? But their rationale for the video concept is totally on-point “The internet likes dancing girls”, as Kate tells me. She isn’t wrong, from my observations at least.

Paint and Draw is the second single, and the better song in my opinion. The band agree with me. “Drop the better single second” Kate says. This track is more complex than Out of Athens; starting with a pulsating bass line before kicking into gear with layers of guitars that build the verses to the most perfect of zeniths before crashing back down into the suspense and tension of the choruses. The video is great too. This one features Sam in the lead role, and there’s a bit of a story going on in this one, although I forgot to ask what it was all about because I was drunk. But it starts with Sam, who is sporting a very fancy leather jacket, loitering by a Telstra Payphone until he answers a call on it, 1980’s style. He tells the caller that he’s on his way. Right now. Then he jumps in the car and there’s ghost lady when he gets to what I assume is the place where he said he was on his way to. Sam seems like a bloke who knows when he’s in over his head, and he makes a bolt for it. I would have done the same. Ghost lady was asking some pretty personal questions for a ghost I’m assuming Sam has only just met. And she has an umbrella. Although how did she have his payphone number if they were strangers? It all raises more questions than it answers, so I have to go watch it again to try and make sense of it all. *watches video again* Nope, gonna have to keep trying. Let me know if you figure it out.

In a clear example of practice making perfect, the production values have increased markedly from 2019’s Discipline Reaction when compared with the new one, Cleareye Shining. Not that Discipline Reaction isn’t worth your time – it totally is. It’s just that Cleareye Shining is a massive leap forward both int terms of production values and songwriting craft. Yes, Discipline Reaction is a pun, but it’s one that both the band and myself agree holds up even after the three years that have elapsed since it’s release.

Anyway, like I said, I caught up with Kate and Simon on the blower recently. Kate and I built a rapport over Bobby Gillespie straight away as I knew she owned a Primal Scream T-shirt with the Screamadelica album cover on it, as I saw it in the promo photos the band kindly sent me.

Johnny Ryall : Kate, I notice in your pictures you’re wearing a Screamadelica T-Shirt: that is fucking awesome..

Kate: [laughs] Yeah, I got that at um, there’s this like, I don’t know if you have it in Queensland…there’s this like, discount kind of store called [inaudible] and they have like just the most random clothes, I think that like, they’re one of those shops that buys stock from other shops that are closing down…

Johnny Ryall: Oh yep.

Kate: So like a real random mix of stuff and yeah I was in there once and they had like a rack of the…I think it was like the ’94 Screamadelica Australian Tour.

Johnny Ryall: Yep…

Kate: And I was like “This is sick, I wasn’t at the show, but I can have the T-shirt!”

Johnny Ryall: So ah, you’re a bit of a Primal Scream fan I take it?

Kate: Oh absolutely, yeah.

Johnny Ryall: Oh same! How good are they?

Kate: Oh! So good! I love Bobby Gillespie…

Johnny Ryall: Same!

Kate: I love their whole trajectory as a band…

Johnny Ryall: It’s been fascinating hasn’t it?

Kate: Mmm, yeah, because they’re [sic] like transitioned into being a more dance kind of band while still being…I don’t know, still being the guitar-y kind of rock band that they’ve always been.

…..

I could have talked about Primal Scream all day, and while we did carry on that conversation a little longer, I’ll pull myself back into line in this, the editing part of the writing phase, so that we get back to concentrating on what we were supposed to talk about.

Johnny Ryall: So what are we drinking?

Kate: I’m drinking aspirin in a big glass of water because I went out last night and I’m hungover [laughs]

Johnny Ryall: [laughs] Now you know the best thing for that is to have another drink, don’t you?

Kate: Yeah, well, yeah. I’ll get there.

Johnny Ryall: Oh well, no pressure from me. I’ve been drinking since 9am, but I’m a madman.

Kate: [laughs] Truly?

…..

Of course it’s true. Then I remembered we were doing a ‘band interview’…and thought I should talk about ‘The Band’….like as in Bitumen, the band I was interviewing two members of.

Johnny Ryall: I really love your band, I just found it randomly about a month ago; I was watching RAGE….and I was like, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS REALLY FUCKING GOOD….. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS BAND!

Kate: Oh man that’s so good. I’m glad RAGE paid off for us.

Johnny Ryall: Yeah I’ve got to ask, how did you manage to get them to play it, like is it an easy thing to do, or….?

Kate: Um, I think because we’re part of that Flash Forward program, where like the City of Melbourne gave like bands a bunch of money to make an album like, through COVID times.

Johnny Ryall: Oh really?

Kate: Yeah so we got like, like they’re pressing the album for us and they like um, yeah gave us money to make the videos and shit; it was an excellent deal for us.

Johnny Ryall: That is super cool!

Kate: Yeah! And they had like, sort of their own PR people working for all the Flash Forward bands, and I think they had a hook-up at RAGE.

Johnny Ryall: Oh ok…..

Kate: Yeah, they just sent it off and..I’m really surprised it got on but….

Johnny Ryall: Well, it did.

…..

Johnny Ryall: So how did you come up with the name Bitumen? What’s that about?

Kate: Good question; I think we were like we wanted it to be one word, we wanted it to be kind of, something industrial. I think the earlier there’s a lot of things that like…like we had a gig booked, our first show coming up, and we still hadn’t decided on a name and we just kind of like got stuck on bitumen and were like oh yeah, fuck it, Bitumen, like ….

Johnny Ryall: Yeah,

Kate: We didn’t think about it too hard. I think I even like, we were practising at Simon’s house at that time, in his shed and I think he had the like the fridge magnet letters and I think I put it on the fridge one practice.

Simon: Really?

Kate: Yeah, on the side of the fridge, and like we were….I think AstroTurf was also tossed up….Thank god we didn’t go with that!

Simon: Yeah!

Johnny Ryall: Yeah, nah I think you went with the better option there.

Kate: Yeah for sure. And oh that was the other thing: We thought it would be funny that Americans say it wrong, like they say “Bit-oo-men”

Johnny Ryall: Do they really?

Kate: Yeah cause they just call it asphalt, or whatever.

Johnny Ryall: Oh yeah they say “ASS-Fault”.

Kate: Yeah, yeah, and like “Bit-oo-men.” I’ve heard like a couple of times when we’ve got played on like American radio if you listen back they’re like “the band Bitoomen” it’s just…. I don’t know. It cracks me up every time

Johnny Ryall: Fuckin’ hell, some people, you just can’t help ’em hey?

Johnny Ryall: What is everybody’s role in the band?

Kate: I don’t play anything else [aside from singing] but we sort of are very collaborative in that we, like, write the songs together…

Johnny Ryall: Yep, yep…

Kate: Simon, you do more than it says on the piece of paper [press release]

Simon: Yeah, I guess. I mean I play bass and then do a lot of the drum programming….

Johnny Ryall: Oh yeah…

Simon: But with input from everyone else as far as drum programming…. and synths as well.

Johnny Ryall: Oh yeah cause I noticed you didn’t seem to have a drummer, um and I said to myself that’s sensible because I haven’t been able to work with a drummer in years, you know, I just can’t do it. I use drum machines…

Kate: well it makes it easier to get around

Johnny Ryall: yeah well that’s it – no lugging the shit everywhere

Kate: yeah totally

Johnny Ryall: yeah drum machines are pretty light! Yeah! So who else is in the band?

Kate: We’ve got Bryce on guitar, and Sam also on guitar

…..

Then I asked them something about getting around Australia to tour, and they said this:

Simon: Brisbane have been so nice to us, I have to say.

Kate: Yeah…

Simon: I think Brisbane is our second home in a way.

Johnny Ryall: Really? So it even beats out Hobart?

Kate: Yeah…. we’ve played some really fun shows in Brisbane, I mean..yeah..

Simon: I think that people in Brisbane get what we do a bit more maybe it’s a bit of that kind of small town, Tassie thing.

Johnny Ryall: Yeah oh we are basically an overgrown country town..it’s yeah it’s who and what we are.

Simon: Yeah well we’ll be doing some good shows up in Brisbane when we get a chance to tour I think.

Johnny Ryall: Please do! I can’t wait to see yous, I’m spewing that I missed you last time but you know, I just didn’t know that you existed then..yeah, my bad I guess.

…..

Johnny Ryall: What artists made you decide that “fuck yeah, I’m gonna be a rock n’ roller?”

Kate: I guess like ..when we first started…our tastes have changed a lot in the last..however many years we’ve been a band…how many years have we been a band? Six years?

Simon: Six or something, yeah

Johnny Ryall: Since 2016 according to your bio! So yeah you’re getting up to your sixth year now.

Kate: Yeah, so when we first started we were all absolutely like….The Birthday Party..

Johnny Ryall: The Birthday Party! I fuckin’ love The Birthday Party!

Kate: Yeah yeah all that like yeah, the Melbourne goth-y, punk shit and then like that was probably Sam and Bryce and me, were very obsessed with that.

Simon was like, you were a bit different

Simon: Yeah, maybe a bit more like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, heaps of Godflesh….

Johnny Ryall: Ah yep, all good bands!

Simon: Long time Justin Broadrick fan, so anything that Justin Broadrick does I’m very into…I think personally that I feel like I follow his trajectory and like…

Johnny Ryall: Yep –

Simon: Maybe almost in reverse in terms of like getting into dub driven techno and gabber, but [in] 2016 we were very much goths.

Anyway we talked about a whole bunch of other cool shit but that will have to come in Part II, because if I don’t at least pretend that I have a deadline on this article then Bitumen will have a new album out before I’ve even told you to go and listen to this one. Anyway it’s late and I’m drunk and tired and cranky, so don’t fuck with me. Just go onto YouTube and listen to Cleareye Shining by Bitumen. And love it as much as I do. I know you want to.

Bitumen | Facebook

Cleareye Shining | Bitumen (bandcamp.com)

Just when you thought it was safe again to go near the water, Sea Lungs have returned with a new single, “Lighthouse Noir“. I swear on a bottle of gin (it is only good for swearing on) that these guys are getting better every release. Maybe they are getting into their groove or finding their sea legs but whatever it is, they should keep doing it. The new single conjures up visions of Sexgang Children with a little pinch of The Virgin Prunes and wrapped in the ever perfectly spine tingling vocals of Lennon, eerily sounding ever so like Rozz Williams. A story of madness brought on by loneliness and extreme melancholy, a heay toll that brings on suicidal thoughts while the wonderful guitars smashing down like waves on the rocks below. “Lighthouse Noir” is out on Mantravision Productions, so we though there is no better time than now to talk to founding member Jarrad Robertson about the band and how they are navigating the waters of the music scene.

Aaarrrghh…. welcome Jarrad Robertson of the band Sea Lungs. Come sit in the wadding pool with our pet kraken, whilst we talk of tales and scrim the shaw with Onyx.

Seeing as you are no land lovers, can you please introduce the crew.

Sea Lungs is made up of Andi Lennon on vocals, Dase Beard and Micheal Johnson share bass duties depending on the tracks requirements ( Dase does the noisy guitar bits too), I play the  guitars and cover the drums (both live and programmed) and Ant Banister provides the production skills and throws some keys in when needed.

Now, not all of you live close to each other do you? How much harder does it make to construct your music?

I’d say it has taken some of the strain out making the music. I write the main composition of each song and then send it off to each of the guys to do their thing. We all just do it when we have time, and with the understanding that it gets done when it gets done. That takes any pressure out of trying to create something to fit a deadline. It would be nice to get in a room and hash them out though at some point. Micheal and I live 10 minutes from each other, yet due to recent lockdowns and family commitments we haven’t really had much of a chance to jam.

You are all in the darker alternative scene, so how did Sea Lungs come to fruition?

In early 2020 as lockdowns were beginning and live music stopped I decided to record some stuff at home, as countless others did. But it was a bit unsatisfying so I reached out to people I’d met while gigging with my previous band and asked for help to fill the songs out. Apart from Micheal, I’ve only ever met the other members once or twice so it felt like a long shot. Luckily everyone I asked said yes and now we have my perfect lineup. The bands we are all from make music very different to the SL stuff so it’s a place to experiment.

Sea Lungs is a rather curious moniker and I am wondering how did you decide upon it?

Like so many band names I borrowed it from a song title. It’s the name of my favorite Baroness track. But it felt right in what I wanted the project to represent. At the time when the idea for this project first popped into my head I was going through a rough patch with my mental health. I found that seeing the ocean, even if just from my car while driving home, would clear my head and allow me to breathe. So it just fit. When I started writing with Andi, without me telling him the name, he took the lyrics in a nautical direction so it seemed it was destined to stick

Your latest single is Lighthouse Noir, which is a rollicking and crazed sea shanty. Between the guitar work and Andi’s vocals, this is a hybrid beastie, a cross between Sexgang Children and Virgin Prunes with that sing song manner at times. How did the band go about writing this little epic?

The main guitar part for the song was a kind of guitar warm-up, or even subconscious tick kind of thing. I’ve been playing it for years just as a thing I do everytime I pick up my guitar. Anyway I got a new guitar pedal and as soon as I played the warm-up it just sounded like something from an old mystery film. After fleshing it out I got the mental image of a thriller set at a lighthouse. This is the only time I’ve actually passed an idea for a narrative on to Andi and he dived on it. He is a master at spinning tales and the lighthouse idea was definitely in his hitting zone.

The artwork for Lighthouse Noir is bloody awesome. Bilge away and tells us who created this masterpiece?

An artist called Nikko who I’ve had a few dealings with now drew this up for us. He does amazing work and I could not be happier with it. I said ‘hey, can you do a lighthouse?’ and that was the total of my input. With just that tiny bit of info He ran with the idea and nailed it. He can be found at @nikko_s_den on Instagram for more info.

Your previous single Piss Up A Rope is a far different creature, bringing attention to how very few take advantage of the many. Can you tell us a little more about this premise?

Again, Andi has to take all the credit for this. We like to look at the idea of Empires, both past and present. While these days there is less of conquering foreign lands and taking colonial possessions, there are still empires being built at the expense of the masses. It unfortunately seems that now we willingly provide the means for these billionaires to do as they please and applaud them for it. But a tech giant taking all of your information and selling it or a multinational crushing small business should not be idolized. There is no comparison to the atrocities of historical empire building, but I’m sure horribly exploited workers the world over may see some parallels.

With three singles released, are you guys looking to keep going this way or release these tracks on an EP or album?

The goal is definitely to release something in a longer format and to get something physical out into the world. That’s hopefully in the works for later in the year.

Mantravision is the label Sea Lungs is with and Ant Banister also does the producing, mixing and mastering, which may we say is excellent and with that in mind, how did you get involved with Ant and Mantravision?

-I have only met Ant once when his band Sounds Like Winter (which also features Andi) came to Melbourne and played on a lineup with my previous band. We got chatting and liked each other’s music. After I decided to begin Sea Lungs his name was top of my list to collaborate with. Luckily he liked the demos I sent him, or he has been too polite to turn me down so far.

So is music for you a more political thing or just whatever inspiration hits you with?

Andi and I both share a love of History and take a huge amount of our inspiration and ideas from it.  And the most fascinating parts are usually the most horrible. I think it’s a very common human trait to be drawn to diabolical tales, viewed from far enough away to not get blood on your shoes. There is no joy to be taken from it, it’s more just finding out what our species have been capable of and hoping we don’t repeat the horrors. And it seems that all of it has political ties so I guess it’s unavoidable.

I’ve always thought music should be a bit dangerous, a little uncomfortable. If you can listen to an album and not be left with questions or have been shifted in some way then what is the point? We aren’t necessarily making any blunt political points with our music but there are morals, like any good tale. How would a person react to the isolation of a lighthouse keeper’s work? Or in the case of “Piss up a rope”, how much wealth is enough, and at what or who’s expense?

Will we be getting a tale of swashbuckling pirates? Nay we do not want it but rather need it!

-I’m sure at some point there will be a mention of pirates, but probably not in a positive light. The romanticised idea we see of pirates from the age of sail is pretty far removed from reality. That being said my kids would love it, so maybe if this project fails and I move into children’s entertainment.

What music influences do each member bring with them?

One of my favourite things about Sea Lungs is the varied musical backgrounds we come from. Although we all kind of meet on the post-punk front we have all done very different things previously. Andi brings the Death-rock and punk vibes. Dase has played noise rock, post-hardcore, doom and sludge. Dase and Micheal both go pretty far down the experimental noise rabbit-hole too. Most of my influence is drawn from grunge, alt rock and a bit of metal so I guess when we throw it all together it makes for an interesting brew. Ant, besides being a local post-punk hero,  loves all things synth and electronic so I’m trying to lead him astray by giving him heavier music to work on. But there is a strict no synths policy in Sea Lungs.

Do you think at some point you will all get together to do some live gigs?

We are currently working out when that will be possible. It’s definitely going to happen, it’s just a matter of maybe outsourcing parts to people based in Melbourne or Sydney if we can’t all get together. But it will happen.

Speaking of live gigs, all of you are in other bands. How has covid affected your ability to play live and be creative in your other projects?

For me it stopped me in my tracks completely.  Pigs of the Roman Empire released an EP just as the lockdown began but never got to launch it live. Not long after due to expanding families and work/ life balance we decided to call it quits. The last gig I played was in November 2019, which was the gig I met Ant and Andi at. Those guys are back playing shows with their band Sounds Like Winter which is great, and Dase is playing shows occasionally too, but for 2 years in Melbourne at least the live scene was dead. It’s regaining some momentum now but everyone is kind of holding their breath a little.

If you could be any famous seafarer (real or fantasy) who would it be?

While the idea of sailing the world is captivating, from everything I’ve read it is also terrifying and was for the most part extremely dangerous for numerous reasons. I’m not sure I’d be cut out for it. I think leading an expedition in the age of exploration, like Magellin or Drake, would have been quite an experience, but these voyages usually came at the cost of hundreds if not thousands of lives.

What will the seafaring Sea Lungs be getting up to in the future?!

Writing and recording more tracks. We have a few up our sleeves that we will be working on for a physical release in the next few months. Other than that just trying to stay as active in the musical landscape as possible.

Avast ye salty dog. Thank you for swabbing the decks so to speak young Jarrad and giving us insight into Sea Lungs. The kraken enjoyed very much nibbling at your toes and don’t trust the mermaids on your way out! Crafty wenches they be.

Music | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

We are going to get a bit serious here. For Peace. Against War. Who Is Not? A Compilation For The People Of Ukraine was released this month by the label Component Recordings. A whopping 199 artists have donated a track each and all money raised will go to Ukrainian Red Cross and VOSTOK SOS to help the people who are suffering. I could say it was generous of the bands on this compilation but I think every single one would say they felt it was right and the decent thing to do.

I only know a few of the acts on this release but they come from around the world and all are from the electro, synth, industrial, experimental scene. It was our friend Tim Tigersblood Vester of the band Warm Gadget that brought it to our attention and I noted Decommissioned Forests. There seems to be a lot of great music and it really is not a lot to pay for 199 tracks which includes Wolfgang Flür (Kraftwerk), Steven Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire) and Jack Dangers (Beat Meat Manifesto)

Music in history has been used to create war fervor and march armies into battles but since the 1960s, especially, it has been a focal point to show injustice and discourage war mongering. Music can feed the hungry, call for justice and inspire people to embrace each other, creating common bonds. So please check out the Bandcamp page and consider buying this……. humanity starts with us.

For Peace. Against War. Who Is Not? A Compilation For The People Of Ukraine | Various Artists | Component Recordings (bandcamp.com)

George Klontzas has been in some very significant projects but the most awe inspiring, has to be his own act, Teknovore. The Greek Klontzas has been a member of Pre-Emptive Strike 0.1, Croona and Cynical Existence, but now over the last couple of years has been focusing on his solo material and remixes under the Teknovore name. The culmination has been the release of the debut album The Theseus Paradox on Infacted Recordings thia month.

Feel that base drop in “Take Me Away” which features fellow Infacted Recordings stablemate j:dead. It is utterly delicious as a starting track with the soaring vocals and cyber injections of sound. The heavenly spiral of techno beats wends its way through “Apotheosis” delightfully heavy on the rhythm and spectacularly light on the dancing synths. With a verbal warning (maybe in Greek as it is hard to tell), “The Seal Becomes The Fate” definitely feels like impending doom with the ticking of the clock while “Vox Machina” is so intense, like being over-wound and on a ride you can’t get off. In the end you don’t want to.

Relinquish Your Flesh” features Neon Decay, almost has tendrils of traditional Greek music in the beginning but that all dissolves with the vocals. Neon Decay gives this track a sludgy and dirty feel, dragging you under the mire. We are back to the techno maelstrom again with “Make Us Whole” which gives you these perfect keyboard refrains. There is such purpose behind this track, as if on a mission. A single released before the album, “Anachronist” featuring RNZR is, of course, amazing as it pummels your senses with its cyber-tribal style whirlpool of emotion and rhythms. The calm before the storm is the perception with “Split The Sky“. Far more slow moving though no less intense, an electronic dream.

J:dead brings on the angst to wake you, with “Every Broken Bone“. All the bass with screaming vocals, only to be smashed with a wall of synth.”Olethros” in Greek mythology is a personification of destruction that will bring on renewal. It flies on the wings of the ancestors in a modern era. A bit of drum and bass mixed with piano and electronics gives you the last track “Continuity“. Deep and dark with foreboding is an excellent way to end an album like this.

If you are unaware, the title to the album refers to the ship of the mythological hero Theseus. The Athenians cared for the ship and whenever a piece was rotting, they replaced it…until there was nothing left of the original. Therefor, is it still the same ship? For the record, Klontzas is a master at this style of music. An ability wind up the music, drop and do it all over again, creating anticipation and instant gratification when the rhythms bear you away on an inspired electronic journey. There is everything from techno to harsh EBM and the choices of guest vocalists are perfect. The old tale says beware of Greeks bearing gifts but in this case let the Teknovore in.

The Theseus Paradox | Teknovore | Infacted Recordings (bandcamp.com)

Teknovore | Facebook

Well….apart from some stellar remixes, we haven’t heard anything new from HOSTILE ARCHITECT since the debut album and what a debut it was. After speaking to Mitch Kenny (he whom is hostile), I have been told that the new single. “POWER OVERWHELMING (ALPHA MIX)“, is heralding the soon to be launched EP. You can find the single on the Bandcamp page of Brutal Resonance as it was released on March 18th, 2022.

Yep those dance beats just get to you and the wonderful thing is that Kenny always keeps certain tones and sounds consistently in his tracks, like a fingerprint. Oh yes, the ARCHITECT is all about the destruction with the idea that destruction and eradication causes two of whatever to become one. Intense and amazing.

It is a great dance floor single and if this is any inkling of what is to come, well then, damn it the EP is going to be stonkingly good. What also is really cool about this release is that Brutal Resonance in their wisdom, give you the opportunity to purchase this single on postcard vinyl. When I was a kid, you could get magazines with a floppy freebie and this is pretty much the same idea, as it can be sent to you via the post for free rather than a tape, CD or full vinyl, which is really neat and a bit of a collectors item. Sure the quality might be a little lo-fi but that’s half the fun and you still get to download it as well.

POWER OVERWHELMING (ALPHA MIX) | HOSTILE ARCHITECT | Brutal Resonance Records (bandcamp.com)

HOSTILE ARCHITECT | Facebook

Electro Industrial Music Magazine | Brutal Resonance

Brutal Resonance | Facebook

Psyklon Industries | Facebook

JE T’AIME have made a big impact since they released their first single “The Sound” and their self titled album in 2019. With their guitar fused with synth led style of gothic rock, they dropped the second album PASSIVE in February of 2022. My official word is get it because it is good. There is dboy on vocals/programming/synths/bass/guitar/ bass with Crazy Z. programming/synths/bass/guitar and Tall Bastard on guitar/bass. Sooo, we thought it might be time to get to know these Parisians a little better and what better way than to ask a few questions.

And for the record, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells is dangerous and alluring Tall Bastard. Take all due care and precaution and immerse yourself in the sexy juggernaut beast that is JE T’AIME.

Welcome JE T’AIME down the rabbit hole, into our boudoir, all black and velvety! Just ignore the cobwebs….

You are based in Paris, so how did JE T’AIME come into being?

dBoy: The idea of forming a band came to us during a party, while drinking an excellent French red wine. We had been talking about music for hours when we thought that instead of talking about it we should make it. The main idea was to make the gothic audience in Europe dance. “The sound” was the first song written by the band

Why the name JE T’AIME? Is it a bit weird having people tell you they love you all the time?

dBoy: It was at this same party that we came up with the name of the band. In the early hours of the morning, after finishing The Sound, we were so happy, and drunk, that we couldn’t stop saying: I love you, mate.

Crazy Z. : and the funny thing is that people can’t stop to say “I love JE T’AIME !”. Is not it meta ?

Many people outside of France will say they don’t know any French gothic/darkwave/coldwave bands until you start listing acts like Corpus Delecti, Brotherhood Of Pagan, Asylum, Cemetery Girls etc. Can you tell us about the alternative scene in Paris?

dBoy: Today the French scene is full of great bands. I’m thinking of Blind Delon, Vox Low, Team Ghost, Jessica93 or Rendez-vous for example. But this was not the case a few years ago, the French rock scene was really bad, except for a few rare exceptions. It seems like we’ve learned to finally play music properly, or at least copy the English a bit better.

Crazy Z.: I think France is more open to alternative music and alternative underworld since recently. We had great bands before, you mentioned them, but they just were under the radar. Large platforms like Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music have their disadvantages, but also they help in sharing more easily music between countries.

You gained a very strong fan base after the first album, which was self titled in 2019. What was it like for you to have that sort of reception and did it put pressure on the band to follow up with an equally impressive album?

dBoy: It’s true that we were lucky to receive a good reception with our first record, and so much the better. I don’t think we were under that much pressure to write the next record. We had a lot more time because of the pandemic, which is why we decided to release a double album. We wrote so many songs that we liked that it was too hard to choose which ones to put on the record and which ones to throw away. But to be quite honest with you, yes, the second album is a rather difficult exercise.

Tall Bastard: The pressure didn’t come so much from our audience but more from us. To deliver the same sound without repeating ourselves. But also to make sure that everyone of us are happy about the songs, hopping that they are good enough so that we don’t have to compromise.

Crazy Z. : To be honest I can’t imagine that each new album will not come with some kind of pressure. I often hear guys with some bullshit theories saying “you will see, the second one is the hardest” or “the third one is the one which confirm or destroy a band !”. Come on man. Each album, from the very first one to the true last is a new adventure, and we have to put more and more efforts each time in it.

2022 has seen the release of this much vaunted second album, PASSIVE and it really is a gem you should be proud of. Why was there a three year break between these two albums?

dBoy: Oh, thanks you. We wanted to take our time, everything goes so fast these days, it’s also good to leave a little time for the audience, isn’t it? It’s good to give the audience time to get into the songs. And then there was this damn pandemic that slowed down the whole world. No more concerts, no more meeting the public, no more parties where we all danced together. The only thing left to do was to write music, so we kept on writing, hoping to be able to release this record in a better time.

Crazy Z. : It really was no break for us, as we spent the 3 whole years in working on it. It is just the time we need to create, record, produce, prepare it. Moreover it is a double album, the first part is PASSIVE, and the second part AGRESSIVE is foreseen in October.

PASSIVE will be followed up by the next album already titled AGGRESSIVE. Can you tell us about this next album and how is relates to PASSIVE?

dBoy: Passive-aggressive behaviour is a set of so-called passive attitudes that indirectly express a hidden hostility that is not openly assumed or remains unconscious to the subject. Each disc contains ten songs about our hero from the first album. He has grown up but is still as stupid as ever. This whole story, this trilogy, is about the Peter Pan complex and the difficulty of being a good lover, a good husband and a good father. The strangest thing about it is that none of the three of us are fathers. But… we do have great sex, apparently.

Tall Bastard: For me this is one album. The songs were written during the same period . We put out two albums cause there was not enough space in one record for 20 songs.

The tentative release date for AGGRESSIVE is around October, so is this album mostly finished?

dBoy: Yes, this double album has been completely finished for six months now.

Crazy Z. : How frustrating is it to have it since months and to not release it! But yes. Both have been pro-cessed and finished in the studio together.

Photo Marion Parfait

If you had to pick a song off the latest album that you felt epitomized JE T’AIME or is a favourite, which one would it be?

dBoy: I love them all, really. I’m not saying that to sound pretentious, it’s just the pure truth. As far as the sound of the band goes, I think of Lonely Days because this song is the sound of JE T’AIME.

Tall Bastard: recording and playing a song that feels like a pornography song was an old dream of mine so i will say Another day in hell.

Crazy Z. : Well, I probably have a special feeling for Stupid Songs. That makes us a real Trinity with different minds, and that is our strength.

What bands or acts first got you into the scene?

dBoy: Michael Jackson was my first crush, I was living with my parents in Atlanta (Georgia) when he released his album Thriller, what madness. As far as wanting to perform with a band, it’s definitely Gun’s N Roses. Duff Mac Kagan, my god. I immediately wanted to play on a huge stage so I could run around on it with my bass on my lap.

Tall Bastard: I’m not sure I want to talk about my first crushes because they are honestly terrible. But everything changed when I heard Shake The Disease from DM. My first musical shock. The Cure came two or three years later with Holy Hour and its bass line. The song that make me want to play music. I then learn to play Boys Don’t Cry and Where Is My Mind from The Pixies and i considered myself a mu-sician haha! Crazy Z. : I’m a little younger than those two old geezers. My slaps in the face were Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins. It makes me learn the guitar too. And it makes me learn it so badly..

Who or what are you listening to now?

dBoy: Our album PASSIVE, on repeat, to learn the lyrics. I’m getting tired of it. And I really liked Anila’s latest album “The Loom”, and Vlure’s latest EP “Euphoria”.

Tall Bastard: Mike Oldfield! Is that dangerous?

Crazy Z. : I am discovering MXMS. Their song Gravedigger is turning me mad.

Going forward, what does the future hold for JE T’AIME such as recording, tours etc?

dBoy: We are hoping for as many concerts as possible, even if the situation in Europe becomes somewhat unstable. We are also preparing the release of our fourth video clip of the album, the song “Dirty Tricks”, directed by Quentin Caffier.

Crazy Z. : We have around 20 gigs to comes, from France, Belgium, Switzerland to Germany, Austria. You can check all of them on our website jetaime-music.com. And we are on the highway to the second part, AGGRESSIVE. But keep listening in PASSIVE until then, they are strongly linked.

Thank you for talking with Onyx and we can’t wait for AGGRESSIVE.

Crazy Z. Thank you mate!

https://jetaime-music.bandcamp.com/album/passive

https://www.facebook.com/jetaimethemusic

https://www.jetaime-music.com/

Once there was an EP that was recorded and then it was unable to be finshed for reasons. Many years later, the siren whom created the EP, Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp, was given the opportunity to complete it. This is very much our luck as well, as Sidhe is a wonderful eclectic mix of cabaret, sexiness and sprinklings of darkness. Justine has been a part of the New Zealand dark alternative scene since the 90s but this EP marks the lady being independent of a band, so we spoke to her about the EP, what she has been up to and find out a little about the Kiwi music scene!

Welcome/kia ora Justine, down in the Onyx burrow where we currently have an infestation of fairy folk… do be careful as they occasionally bite.

You have been involved with the New Zealand music scene since the 90s, with acts including The Gael, Flinch, Pulchritude, DiS and Artemisia. Most of these bands were involved in experimental, dark ambient styles. How did you get into this scene?

I socialised with many of these people in the 90s and we all had a similar desire for the darker and more experimental. We listened to much of the same kinda music. I have always been fairly confident socially, you could say, so I showed what I could do and it unfolded from there.

Justine Album Shoot

What was the gothic/industrial/darkwave scene in New Zealand in the 90s and 2000s? Is it similar today or have things changed?

Vastly different nowadays. Back then we were the stragglers of the 80s: the children of boomers, where we were not really acknowledged and kinda felt raised by radio and tv. So the music in the alternative scene (not limited to goth etc.) was a kinda purging of what was repressed in us. It made for some very interesting material; very raw in many ways. Nowadays I am not seeing much of this from the younger lot… I guess they have their own voice. Social media has changed things a lot. And the days of the old 4-track and analogue reel-to-reel that were always highly coveted now sit collecting dust in forgotten corners, holding memories and unfulfilled dreams. I quite liked the 90s “misfits” that wandered about looking for gigs to go to it felt quite supportive, and felt like we were kinda healing or medicating each other with music and booze: very much dysfunctional, but at the time was fun. There was however the shadow side that era came with, which was quite vampiric and deeply unhealthy. I needed to extract myself from that, so I left

The EP, Sidhe, was recorded in the early 2000s but then it was kind of forgotten about? How did Sidhe get resurrected and who was involved?

No, never forgotten about I assure you. Its state of incompletion haunted me. I would see that hard drive that was biffed in a box every time I would go looking for something and it would tug at my conscience – my obsession with tying up loose ends – I don’t like unfinished business. Then one day like an answered prayer, Josh Wood contacted me out of the blue, asking if I would be interested in doing some vocals on his EP. I was chuffed because I liked his work back in the day and was only too pleased to help. In return, he offered to help me with my EP when I was ready. He understood the bullshit that surrounded the temporary cessation of my project, and wanted to see it done. Very good guy: straight up and ridiculously talented. Another talented friend, Bryan Tabuteau in Wellington, also offered to assist. I gratefully accepted their help, and so here we are.

The style in Sidhe is different from what you were performing with other bands. Was this because you had more autonomy creating with long time friend Iva Treskon or were trying out something different?

Yea, so I was getting bored with the randomness of the other projects. Although I enjoyed these projects at the time, I suddenly started to feel like I was a bit of a puppet and wasn’t given much license to do what I wanted. I always wanted some structure and a degree of slickness – not too slick, mind you. Iva and I moved to Auckland in 2000 from Christchurch to carve out a new life together, and he is a very good drummer. I mean, the dude is crazy talented at a lot of things and drumming is just one of his natural abilities. He liked my singing and we would jam regularly in our tree house in Tītīrangi with the tūīs surrounded by native bush. His drum n bass break beat style with my drones, loops and vocal style created a lovely kind of landscape that had a nice balance of structure and experimentation. It was fun, and it happened very organically. We were highly motivated creative beings and we got a lot of creativity out back then collectively. We inspired each other. In fact his art still inspires me some 20 plus years later.

The single Red Room has been picked up by radio and streamers. You also had fellow New Zealanders, The Mercy Cage do a fantastic remix and in 2017, you recorded the single, Walking Ghost Phase with them. How did you make their acquaintance?

I met Josh Wood briefly in Auckland at some Goth gig in the early 2000s. I think he was based in Tauranga back then. I am not sure we even spoke to each other; just acknowledged each other in our introverted way. I was super impressed by The Mercy Cage and I guess my voice made a positive impression on him.

He did a huge amount of work on my EP and I asked him if he would like to do a remix of one of the songs with complete creative license. He chose Red Room and yes, he did a fantastic remix.

Justine Album Shoot

My favourite track is the wonderful Stanley’s Only Hope, a duet with Michel Rowland of Disjecta Membra. Your vocals complimented each other so well. Michel mentioned he had re-recorded the vocals after many years, so can you tell us about this song, your friendship with the delightful Rowland and is it inspired a little by Nick Cave?

I met Michel years ago, playing some shows together between 97 and 98. I was in Flinch then, and he was in Disjecta Membra, and we have been friends ever since. His voice blew me away when I first heard him sing, I was astonished. I love it. Deep and rich… I like how he seems to masticate words when he sings, and they come out kinda different, his own and yet otherworldly… hard to describe.

As for Nick – we both really enjoy Nick Cave and I think for me it’s almost impossible not to have Nick influence me creatively on some level. I wrote that song deliberately to be sung as a duet and for me there was only ever one person who could sing Stanley’s part and that was Michel. I am glad he agreed to it. Our voices do go well together. I think that’s a lot to do with getting where each other is coming from. Quite intuitive… instinctive.

You seemed to have a break from the music scene, so was this intentional?

Yes and no… Life and its twists took me down the path of motherhood, among many other distractions, both unwelcomed and welcomed.

In 2015 saw you starting to appear on recordings again. Was this the start of a return to singing for you?

Yes, dipping my toes back in, gently. Curious to see if I could still sing… seems I could.

What music or bands brought you into the fold in your youth?

As a child, early Simple Minds, early U2, Bowie, Clannad… then from 14-ish Nick Cave, The Church, Bauhaus, New Order… then latter teen years came Diamanda Galas, Swans, Skin, Jarboe, Dead Can Dance, PJ Harvey, The Breeders, Bongwater, The Specials… many more, but those are front of mind.

What or who do you listen to now that inspire you?

Still most of the above. I do like Weyes Blood, and Big Black Delta have a couple of decent songs that I return to.

Justine Album Shoot

Are there plans for more music in the pipeline due to the reception of Sidhe?

I hope so. There are some discussions about some collaborative work. For any solo stuff, not sure… I would like to, but perhaps not on my own completely.

We honestly hope to hear more from you and so do the fairies! Thank you/ char for your time!

You’re welcome. Yes, indeed the fae are never far from me… never far from us.

Sláinte! Kia ora!

Sídhe (EP) | Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp (bandcamp.com)

Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp | Facebook

𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞 Ó 𝐆𝐚𝐝𝐡𝐫𝐚-𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐩 (@justinesidhe) • Instagram photos and videos

Alexander Hallag (@themusicistalking) • Instagram photos and videos

Most people have a fairly good grasp of what OMG stands for in social media, however the EP title of Fredrik Croona’s new project, Against I, it stands for Obscene Morbid Gore. Many would be familiar with the Swedish Croona’s other bands, Menschdefekt, Croona and Cynical Existence. The EP hit us on March the 11th, 2022 and it is out on Insane Records.

Title track straight up. “O.M.G.” As soon as you hear those harmonic synths, you know you are about to hear something big and it doesn’t disappoint. The hoarse aggro vocals with the backing speeding guitars and fuzzing tech. The anguish about a society that will watch on while others suffer, no matter how bad it gets. I always shake my head in wonder how this style of music has such harsh vocals and yet there is this wondrous techno-cyber light keyboard refrains backing up all of it. The “Other Half” is a perfect example of those keyboards while Croona screeches out the lament of the loss of humanity due to people no longer finding connection to others.

Disgust” is a really bouncy maelstrom of discontent over overtly judgmental types. It has such good momentum, The single is “Scum” which swirls and picks up pace. Croona invites you to call him scum if you want to though I feel this is a mirror reflecting the actions of other. You know the Tecknovore remix of “Scum” is going to kick arse and it just pops! Klontzas has cut back on the guitars and just gone for full on electronic immersion. “Scum” by Death Verified is a glitch tech fest, again the guitars have been dropped in favour of synths but there is no loss of veracity.

It is very angry but that is what Croona does very well. That miasma of pained, screaming vocals, guitar distortion, those fabulous synths and techno beats that underpin it all. Most of this would easily make it onto club floors and dance mixes. But when you have the time, listen a little more closely to messages as there is something in that as well.

O.M.G | Against I | Insane Records (bandcamp.com)

Insane Records – Dark Electro Gothic Industrial Aggrotech Synthpop EBM (facebook.com)

Insane Records – Dark Independent Label – Industrial / Goth Label (insane-records.com)

Pure Obsessions And Red Nights are a French band that have been around since 1999. They are soon to drop a new album but before that happens they have released on the 11th of March, 2022, their latest single, “A Vanishing Sight“.

From the start this has a really light feel to it. floating on an 80s electronic influenced wave. Full of these wonderful synth lines and lyrics that remind you of of times of being wanted, loved like no other. It is poppy and truly a track that reminds you that not all is doom and gloom in the world. Lead singer, Philippe Deschemin did say that they had recorded on vintage synths and equipment and this all feeds into the ambiance.

Okay, wow. Their sound has changed a lot since the 2009 album, A Decade In Danger And Glitter, which is a far more metal industrial sound, when they were known as the murder rock band by the acronym PORN (I dare you to google that!). I don’t think it is a matter of mellowing but rather a growth in the style to incorporate more of the 80s electronica. It is a really enjoyable track and in times like these, sometimes we need the music that feeds and inflames our hearts.

Pure Obsessions & Red Nights – A vanishing sight | Pure Obsessions & Red Nights (bandcamp.com)

Pure Obsessions & Red Nights | Facebook

Mike Pougounas (vocalist, keyboards, bass, guitar) has been in the Greek scene for quite a while, starting in 1981 with the gothic Flowers Of Romance, Nexus and New Zero God. Nexus had been on a 17 year hiatus, but Pougounas found himself without a project during the Covid lockdowns and decided to resurrect the band and through his friendships, had Greek guitarists Yiannis Drenoyiannis (Anti Troppau Council, Yeah!, Captain Nefos, Sigmatropic) and Michalis Galaios (Ερεβος, Lost Bodies, Mavres Comodies), bass player Michalis Semertzoglon (New Zero God, GAD, Atria) and trumpet player Louis Kontoulis (Stress, De Traces) help him on various tracks to create the album Ninouki, which was released February the 28th, 2022.

Mark Gemini Thwaite aka MGT (Peter Murphy, Gary Numan, Tricky, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mission) contributed guitar on the track “The Words That Got Away“, as well as playing and remixing “You & Me“. “Rhythm Of Life” is mixed by musician/producer John Fryer (This Mortal Coil, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, Black Needle Noise) and “Star Thief” was mixed by producer/engineer Steve Whitfield (The Cure, The Mission UK, Terrorvision)….. that is a lot of big names on the one album.

The Words That Got Away” contains the title for the album. It is bright and joyful with MGT’s guitar work lighting the way. The trumpet melds so well as is not intrusive but rather a warm siren while Pougounas‘ vocals lure us into his world. A hypnotic beginning to “Do You Remember” with eclectic noises and the vocals give a hint of sadness, maybe remorseful about a time long ago. Suddenly the electric guitar breaks though and you are in a sonic place where time is ticking by. I love the start to “Star Thief” with those rhythms. It is bold and has a feel to it of something ancient swelling beneath while the modern music coasts above it. The lyrics capture your imagination in a story about foolish soul. It is beautiful and breathtaking plus reminds me very much of David J (Love And Rock).

Voyager” does have a space like quality to it, traversing the inky darkness. The spoken words tell us we are but stardust. Psychedelic touches as we become one with the universe in a constant stream of consciousness. This MGT remix of “You & Me” is surprisingly on the more electronic side and the guitar work light and non-invasive. This track pumps along, not caring if anyone else is listening. It song is just for you, a sweet sentiment that time should not weary love. Some people seem to be able convey themselves into a track and John Fryer is definitely one of those people. “Rhythm Of Life” remix just oozes his touch with the glitching fuzzy tones and plumbing depths with electronics. The organic meets the stellar cool. “Turn Me On/Turn Me Off” is the last track is probably the most conventional post punk song with it’s riotous vocals and lashings of guitar, that set a merry pace towards the end.

Ninouki is a mixture of what was, what could be and what we shall become in the future. It all seems to tie into the theme of space and time, that we mere mortals are made of the same stuff of stars and return to dust…… so enjoy it while you can. Pougounas effortless flows from singing to dramatic spoken words, giving each track a nuance and capturing a moment. There are the the more rock aspects, mixed with the electronic and verbal artistry that make this new album from Nexus so easy to listen to, so 17 years have been worth the wait.

Ninouki | Nexus (bandcamp.com)

mike pougounas – search results | Facebook