There is something quite alluring about a national identity, steeped in memory, myth and lore, which naturally bleeds into their music. Lia Hide could be mistaken for a Greek goddess, however she is a very talented producer, musician and singer, who has been creating music since 2013. With her style of dark pop/post-punk mixed with ancient wisdom, she has released her fourth album, The Missing Fourth Guest and we could help not help but to jump at the chance to talk to the charming Lia about this album and what has lead up to it.

Greetings to you Lia Hide. Please join us in the Onyx boudoir.  

Lia Hide is a woman with many public faces. You are a dancer and a performing artist. Was this inspired by family through your childhood or something you were drawn to at an older age? 


I’d love it if I were a dancer, but dancing is one of my weakest points.. Unless if I drink an extra or two, that might do the trick! I was drawn to acting from a younger age, though, and did take acting lessons when I was just 10 years old, and performed often back then, but once I got to my teenager years, I was utterly fixated with music. And yes, music was always a thing in the family: my dad played the guitar, my grandpa played the bouzouki, although he was a blacksmith and fisherman (!) and my mom would always sing traditional weeping Greek songs while cooking, she missed her home village and mom, badly. So, it felt natural, in all ways!

Was music always a big part of this artistic expression? 

Yes, I was always bold and fierce in a social group, but I would never, and still don’t, express my fears or sadness, to anyone.. So I wrote them down into music and songs!

What is your role as a music educator? 

I am a popular music vocals teacher, I am a London College of Music collaborator, and have been teaching also, Musical Theatre, Pop and Rock Ensembles, Modern Music History, and piano! I simply adore my students, they my fountain of youth!

Recently, I have spoken to a few Greek artists, and it is interesting to get their perspective on the music scene, especially in the capital, Athens. Do you think the dark alt scene is flourishing and has it changed since you first started your professional musical career? 

Actually, I don’t know of any other dark alternative artists, but us, although there is a substantially growing darkwave and post punk and synthpop scene, and of course, lots of metal and hip hop. I think alternative music was a bit stronger a few decades back, newer and more minimalistic genres seem to flourish at the moment.

Lia, you are releasing your 4th full album, called “The Missing Fourth Guest” and this is based on a story by Greek playwright, Plato, where philosopher Socrates is a main character. Can you tell us more about this concept and how it relates to the album? 

Timaeaus dialogue (by Plato) seems to be happening in an evening of wine and philosophy, where three people joining the conversation are eagerly trying to explain and discuss the person in the society, the man in the cosmos, war and defeat and the origin of the universe. So all these were ideas that were puzzling us, while we were stuck in these two horrible quarantines of Covid19. Socrates as a figure is a very strong influence for us and so is Plato’s Republic’s teachings!

You released the single “Dinner” in March with a beautifully made video, shot in a movie noir style with rich reds and sepia tones. How was it making the video and what is the premise behind “Dinner”? 

We had the opportunity to film in an amazing location, the Bagkeion Hotel (and Foundation) that is a very historical building in downtown Athens, designed by the architect Ernest Chiller and built between 1980-1894, that once was a glorious luxurious hotel, that later served as a hospital for WWII. We shot from 12 in the morning till 6 at dawn the following day, and we created it with Kiss the Frog, a group of gorgeous film-makers, with their team of 14 people all together !

You also released the first single, “Proposal” which again has a very lush video and seems that “Dinner” is a continuation of a theme. The music feels so full of regret and longing, so do these two tracks and videos tie in together?  

Yes, of course! Proposal and Dinner, together with Cloud (tracks 5,6,7 of the Missing Fourth Guest) put together ‘the Timeaus Sonata’ a major work, in 3 parts, in the Classical Sonata form, so Proposal is exposition and Dinner is recapitulation of that opening theme. They all discuss our questions and investigating of Plato’s dialogue.

How do you feel you have changed as a musician since, when you first released “Home” and now with “The Missing Fourth Guest”? 

It seem like ages ago! I was but an inexperienced producer, and “Home” was such a huge and long album, and I wanted to make sure I fit everything in there. Now, I am more competent in producing our music, and I know when to stop and when to leave a song behind. I am also bolder and I am not afraid to state my mind, soundwise, even if people around me might suggest other ideas or suggestions, a thing I would never do in the past. I sing less, or less loud, I don’t feel the need to show-off that I am a good singer, or piano player, also.

It has been something I have noticed about Greek musicians, that they incorporate in their music and take very seriously, the tales, mythos and history of the past of your country, which is very extensive. Do you think that it is very ingrained into the Greek psyche or is it literally part of the DNA? 

It is part of our education process I think. We are taught of these tales since we are very young, and we live in a country filled with Antiquities, so you can’t really …escape them, if you’re Greek!

Apart from your own musical endeavors, I last saw you on a compilation by Mechanimal celebrating their 10 years together with your version of “The Den” which was a lovely stripped-down reimagining. Can you tell us about your friendship with the guys from Mechanimal and what it means to you being on that compilation “Living With Animal Ghosts”? 

I have great respect for both Mechanimal and ION and it was a great honor to be included in this compilation, and especially, with the song that we were assigned with! I tried to redress our version with lots of dark pianos and recreated a duet out of his amazing song, ‘The Den’, whose words and narrative spoke directly to my heart!

Will you be touring again soon as Covid messed up a lot of band’s schedules over the last 2 years? 

We really can’t wait to hit the road again, I’ve missed it so badly! The people, the scenery, the travelling, everything!

If you could be the fourth guest at Socrates table, what burning question would you wish to talk to him about? 

Actually, I wish I was but a spectator in the banquet, so I could ask, WHO this missing and so important guest, was! What if it were a she? Why is him/her so important? What did she/he know?

Sadly, we are bereft of divination but what do you see in the future for Lia Hide? 

I am already in the process (deep in my head) of writing some new songs for the next album! Reality does not seize to inspire me and so many severe issues are storming around us, so I am already trying to figure out our new sound-vocabulary, while the words are already forming stories!

Thank you for being a perfect guest, Lia and we wish you all the best with this new album! 

Thank you so much for this wonderful talk!

Music | Lia HIde (bandcamp.com)

Lia Hide

LIA HIDE | Facebook

Even though currently, INfest8 is in Sydney and Sai Jaiden Lillith in Melbourne, ZCluster are soon to release an EP but have given us a new single, titled ominously, “Death Drive“, out on the 22nd of April.

The tribal beats herald the vocals of Sai Lillith forcefully whispering in your ear to a set of dirty beats that slink along, until there is an explosion of near strangulated angst through the chorus. There is the screaming of the electronics to match the pained sentiment.

I do know that both members of ZCluster are big Nine Inch Nails fans and you can hear that influence, however, they are creating their own erotically charged, dark industrial music, born of their desires, frustrations and imaginations. It is name your price on Bandcamp so there is nothing stopping you from checking out “Death Drive“.

Death Drive [single] | ZCluster (bandcamp.com)

ZCluster | Facebook

There is a lot of deathrock out there and not all of it is good, but LA band, Black Heroin Gallery does great gothic/deathrock and they wish to weave a tale out of the darkness for you. This year saw the unleashing of their album, Feast Of Bats, which is also a feast for the ears, Eyajo December Joseph is the founding member, main songwriter, keyboard player and lead singer, so we were very lucky to be able to talk to Eyajo about the band, the album and all good spidery things. Also a confession on my part…I too have a great love of the New Romantic music of Duran Duran and if you want to know why, then you better read on!

Welcome to the enveloping darkness that is Onyx, dear Eyajo December Joseph of Black Heroin Gallery. Join us as we have a tea party, in the moonlight of a graveyard, dusted in motes of mist.

You’ve been playing in Los Angeles glam/punk, deathrock, blackmetal and underground bands since the late 1980s. You and drummer Tony F. Corpse were both members of the brilliant Astrovamps, as well as gothic blackmetal band Willow Wisp. What was it like playing with those bands, and what was the Los Angeles scene like back then?

EYAJO: The scene was thriving and crazy for better or worse back then. Astrovamps were fun and we definitely left a mark on the deathrock scene. We played with a lot of notable bands, including opening up for Rozz’s original Christian Death for their last live album before he died. We were there for direct support. An awesome band called Praise of Folly also played and they went on before us. This was in 1993 at the Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Tony started recording with us in 1993. And played drums for us on and off in the beginning, but soon became a more frequent/basically permanent member. Willow Wisp was his main band, so he played with us when he could. Yes, I joined Willow Wisp as keyboardist, many years later, for a short while and it was fun and crazy, but I found it hard to concentrate on both bands and besides, I think Willow Wisp needed a more classically train keyboardists and my minimalist technique with synth/keyboards probably wasn’t the best fit for them.

Does the LA scene still have the same vibe in some ways, and in what ways do you find it has changed?

EYAJO: Some of the vibe has remained, but there have been changes. Not as many goth clubs playing live bands as there use to be, but there is hope, 2022 has brought a lot of the underground out and there seems to be promoters popping up all over LA and Mexico, booking Goth, Deathrock, Metal and Post Punk bands. It’s very exciting, so we’re looking forward to playing more venues this year to support Feast of Bats.

What do you think being in Astrovamps taught you about the music industry that you have taken with you into your other musical projects?

EYAJO: Astrovamps taught me how to be a good live musician and live band, it also inspired me to write music and not just lyrics. That’s why I founded Black Heroin Gallery.

Black Heroin Gallery was originally created by you in 2007 with Tony following you soon after. What drove you to start up this project?

EYAJO: Well, Astrovamps wasn’t going as dark as I wanted it to, so I knew I had to start some kind of side project for that dark deathrock music I wanted to write and release. That manifested as Black Heroin Gallery. Even though I loved what the Astrovamps were doing and I loved co-writing some of the songs as a lyricist. I knew I had to have my own thing where I was Chief songwriter, musically and lyrically. Then Astrovamps broke up and were no more. So I had complete focus for the new project. Not as easy as I thought, many false starts, a number of member changes and a singer that didn’t work out. I knew I had to learn guitar to write the songs that I wanted to write and take over vocal duties or we might end up spending wasted years looking for a singer. Tony and my old bassist Kevin kept telling me to take over vocal duties, I’m glad I finally took their advice.

How would you describe your musical partnership with Tony?

EYAJO: Good and enduring. Tony is a very creative drum composer and I’ve been lucky to have him stay the test of time and stick it out with me. Tony is the metal influence in the band, so sometimes we butt heads, because I’m a minimalist with music and songwriting and Tony likes more detailed Drum compositions. So over the years, we’ve come to a creative compromise on the drums. I let him go off the rails sometimes and for me, he pulls back sometimes. Perfect. My favorite drum styles are the classic deathrock tribal sound. And this style will always be part of our sound in one variation or another. Not every song, but still a favorite color of mine on the palette.

You have three other band members, so can you introduce them to us please?

EYAJO: Krystal Fantom is our guitarist and he also co-wrote two songs on the album with me. Dracul Grotesque is our Bass player and he joined a few months ago, just in time to record on Feast of Bats with us. Lastly, we have Sky Lee Vague, our new live keyboardist.

In Astrovamps, Eyajo, you were the keyboard player and now with Black Heroin Gallery you are not only the keyboardist but also the lead singer. How much of a change was this for you, and do you find vocals easier or harder?

EYAJO: The change was needed, I’m glad I never looked back. I played a little keyboard live on stage, but mostly focused on the vocal performance, but we are grateful now to have Sky take over and play keyboards live, now for the first time in years, we’re gonna be able to perform with our full sound. I will still always write and record the synth parts, but Sky brings it to life for the band on stage and from time to time he adds a little of his own fills. I’m ok with a little improv from the guys on the songs live, as long as the main sound and chords that make the song are there.

Your new album has the unusual title, ‘Feast of Bats’, can you tell us the story behind that name?

EYAJO: It’s actually the name of a short dark fairytale that I wrote and was illustrating. I loved the title, so I thought it would work well for the album. And the cover art I drew is from the illustrated story as well.

Many of the song titles, while obviously inspired by gothic horror themes, also have a quirky playfulness about them, reminiscent of Tim Burton in some ways. Is Burton a source of inspiration, and is there an element of tongue-in-cheek dark humor, having fun with tropes of the goth genre?

EYAJO: Yes, I would say that there were some of those influences in my writing. My main influences are fairytales and poetry. I like dark and tragic romantic themes. Dark things in general, Dark humor or satire does also play a part in some of my writing and lastly myths, witchcraft and philosophy I find very inspiring too.

There are a lot of references to death and her darkness in the lyrics. Do you find comfort in the beauty of the macabre and grotesque?

EYAJO: Yes, I most certainly do, it’s a recurring theme in all my arts. Poetry, Music, filmmaking and illustration. Death is my loudest muse.

There are also multiple mentions about God and demons. Is this for lyrical effect or something deeper?

EYAJO: Oh, it’s definitely not for any effect. I would say, deeper is probably a better description. Most of those references are from parts of the bible that the church removed or banned from the public. These stories inspire some of my work and the others are just my own mythos that I create.

As the lyricist and composer for the band, is that an added pressure and do you find writing music easy or a heartache?

EYAJO: Yes it can be both, but it’s very rewarding as well. Especially when you’ve reached that moment where the song is done. Krystal co-wrote two songs with me on this album and Tony added his drums and Dracul the bass. Then I added keyboards and Synth after the song had the basic instrumentation recorded. I usually write with guitar, then show it to the band and they learn it and then we work out all the little arrangement issues that may or may not come about. I’m lucky to have such talented and creative musicians working with me. Of course, I have to mention that this album would not have come out as great as it did, if it were not for the producing/mixing/recording and engineer artistry of Roman Marisak.

The band has been around since 2007 but this is your third album. I also noticed that some tracks have been around for a few years, often found in live videos. Do you like to try and test songs before you commit them to an album?

EYAJO: Yes, there were some formative years to say the least. Actually, Feast of Bats is our second album. My Rotting Flower was an EP. I have learned that it does help us out if we play the song live for a few shows. But that’s not always the case. I can say with almost certainty that our future albums are gonna be closer together in release times, probably every 2 years. For as long as it makes sense to me. I’m already working on the art and music for those future releases.

Do you find the acts of writing music and live performance a catharsis of sorts?

EYAJO: Yes, most definitely.

I do adore your version of “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes The Bogeyman”. Do you have a favorite track off the album at all?

EYAJO: Thank you, that little gem was arranged and brought to us as a potential cover song by our guitarist Krystal Fantom. I loved his guitar arrangement on the song, so it made the album cut. For my favorite? Well It’s hard to choose, because I definitely put my heart and soul into all of the songs in one capacity or another. So if I have to pick, I would say, “I cover her horns.” There are many reasons why I like that song, but the main one from me is the story it’s telling and the very haunting musical arrangement.

When the young Eyajo was getting into darker music, what or who were your gateway drugs?

EYAJO: Well it was Duran Duran, who inspired me to make music and get into a band, but the dark path with me started after I heard Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours” for the first time. I fell in love with the song and then the band. Then I continued to find more dark gems, like Skinny Puppy, Gene loves Jezebel, Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy and Virgin Prunes to name a few.

Are there new acts you’re really getting into now?

EYAJO: Not really, but it’s not because I don’t like them, it’s more like, I just haven’t paid too much attention to new bands this year. Because I was working on Feast of Bats. Ask me that question a year from now and I’m sure I will be listening to some then.

If you could have a lovely tea party in a cemetery and the option to bury someone there and bring them back, Pet Cemetery style, would you do it and do you know who that would be? 🙂

EYAJO: The tea party sounds like fun, but I would probably pass on burying someone to bring them back. Because it more than likely wouldn’t end well.

Onyx symbolizes renewal, change and more than likely, my little black heart. What do you feel in your little dark heart, is next for Black Heroin Gallery?

EYAJO: Oh Hell, where do I start…Let me see, oh yes… We’ll be headlining a World Goth Day festival, May 14th in Mexico City, Mexico. Then we will concentrate on some music videos by June and continue to play as many live shows as we can. Also, remix and master the first album. Record 2-3 new songs for Feast of Bats vinyl release. Write and prepare songs for the third album. So needless to say, we’re going to keep busy.

Thank you Eyajo for joining us and chatting as we dance between the graves, like there is no tomorrow.

EYAJO: Thank you very much, it has been an honor to talk with you.

BLACK HEROIN GALLERY (bandcamp.com)

BLACK HEROIN GALLERY | Facebook

In 1872, Charles Gounod, wrote the piece, Funeral March of the Marionette and now in the modern era, we have the Illinois band, The Funeral March Of The Marionettes and I wonder if the name is borrowed from this piece (apparently this is a yes as I never read the press releases first – derp!) . They also released on March 13th, their latest single “Slow (Trapped In This Moment)” which will be on their new EP, when it comes out soon.

A stream of sound in the background, a graduation of vocal intensity due to an overwhelming sadness. The guitars wail in their loss as the electronics cover all like a death shroud. A constant reminder of what never can be again.

The band have been around since 1987 and their current configuration is Joseph Whiteaker (Vocals, Bass, Synths), Mark Tenin (Drums, Percussion), and Wayne Thiele (Guitar), with F. Love on this track providing additional guitars. So, if you are in need of gothic inspired post-punk of the morbid kind (and honestly, is there any other type?!), then you should have a listen to “Slow (Trapped In This Moment)” by The Funeral March Of The Marionettes.

The Funeral March of the Marionettes (bandcamp.com)

The Funeral March | Facebook

PANICMACHINE is the label. Phobos Reactor is the act. TFG, the gnome finder from TONTTU, is the featured guest. The single is “#FOLITWIBG” and in honesty…..yeah, you need to be told what this means. Fragments of life in the world infested by gnomes or had you already guested this? Released on April 18th, 2022, so hopefully not the beginning of the end!

There are five “#FOLITWIBG” tracks, literally numbered #1 to #5. #1 seems to be a gnome taking exception to humans in a simple trippy kind of way. It starts to get a bit groovy in #2…though the gnome is still not happy by the sound of him and by #3 the gnome is getting all sophisticated synth sounding. Maybe futuristic gnome and it is amazing like a bad trip. By #4 that gnome is become cyber mega cool in a very lurking way and track #5 is cyber loathing reloaded from #1, and so all comes full circle in the gnome of life.

Are gnomes out to get you? Probably. Do they want to steal our children? More than likely. Are they stealing our cats? Most definitely! One could ask if they (the musicians) are completely bonkers….but then again, one could say they know things most others don’t. Beware of the gnomes, for they are moving against us, so grab your cat and listen to Phobos Reactor featuring TFG (TONTTU), before the mayhem ensues.

#FOLITWIBG | Phobos Reactor feat. TFG (TONTTU) | PANICMACHINE

Phobos Reactor | Facebook

TONTTU | Facebook

Music | TONTTU (bandcamp.com)

PANICMACHINE

Panicmachine | Facebook

We here at Onyx have already given our opinion of Australian band, Sea Lungs’ single “Lighthouse Noir” – which was that it is a sterling piece of deathrock/post-punk. I am pleased to say that the band, who are with Mantravision, have created a video with the help of Bruce Nullify of Orcus Nullify and Sequential Zero. A psychedelic experience, so get your dark yo-ho-ho on with a bottle of rum.

Lighthouse Noir | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

Melbourne based, synthpop/darkwave act, Suburban Spell, have released the single “Fools And Clowns“, with a lushly produced music video. This latest single, comes from the Split Levels album that was released in February and the video was shot and edited by Adam Calaitzis, of Toyland Studios.

From the very beginning there is the shoegaze electronics, that swirl and envelope your senses in a gorgeous blanket of sonic emotion. It is about being out in the wee hours of the morning and the temptation of a one night stand, perhaps also the regret of the aftermath too.

You are taken to spots along Victoria’s Great Southern Road, which is a truly beautiful trip, though I must say in black and white, can look almost menacing at times but also shot in inner Melbourne. Peter Endall has taken his song and pared it down from around six and a half minutes, to a neat, just a smidge over four, yet the track has lost none of what makes it quite beautifully tragic and is only enhanced by the video.

Fools and Clowns (The Single Edit) | Suburban Spell (bandcamp.com)

Suburban Spell | Facebook

Toyland Recording Studio – Melbourne Australia

The 15th of April, 2022 saw the release of Danish, post-punk musician, (((S)))’s single, “Mama, Do You Think It’s Gonna Rain All Day?”, out on Aenaos Records. The title is attributed to the Danish poet, Poul Borum, as something he was heard to say his mother at age four. Later, Borum would be involved in the punk movement of the 80s in Copenhagen.

(((S))) has a very delicate touch and this track is genuinely sweet and full of light. The guitars are subdued in the beginning and eventually become a powerfully joyful affair, while his vocals convey a hopefulness.

There is no reproach or shadows in this track, far more a child’s wonder of a world and guidance from his mother. It is kind of refreshing to hear a song that speaks of childlike qualities that all of us have somewhere within, no matter how old we become and (((S))) proves this in spades.

(((S))) (bandcamp.com)

Ungoogable- S | Facebook

Aenaos Records | Artists (aenaos-records.com)

Brutal Resonance have signed, Philadelphia’s Her Noise Is Violence, to their growing list of acts. With her soon to be released, first EP with Brutal Resonance, Out Of Time, coming soon, the first single, “Apathy” was dropped on April 15th, 2022. Her Noise is Violence is making a name for herself as a creator of industrial music with dark techno.

The beats and electronics rotate around your head, maybe in a state of confusion or a mind infected by a malaise. A male voice says everyone is dead and if they were dead, what would you? Deliberate and slow fuzzing rhythms plod on until….nothing. A sudden stop.

This is a lot more sedate than her normal fare, but as the artist herself explains, ‘Apathy’ is a chilled-out tune, it’s the last track on the EP and what I wanted to convey is the feeling of, well, apathy.‘. With this in mind, we await the EP and more of those beats with Her Noise Is Violence, plus get a load of the awesome artwork by Psyklon Industries.

Apathy (Single) | Her Noise Is Violence | Brutal Resonance Records (bandcamp.com)

Music | Her Noise Is Violence (bandcamp.com)

Her Noise Is Violence | Facebook

Brutal Resonance | Facebook

Psyklon Industries – YouTube

Psyklon Industries | Facebook

Estetica Noir are darkwave/post-punk group, founded in 2013 in Turin, Italy and they released their second album this year on the Red Cat Records label, called This Dream In Monochrome. The band is comprised of founding members Silvio Oreste (vocals-guitars-programming) and Rik Guido (bass), as well as Paolo Accossato (drums) and Marco Caliandro (synth-programming-back vocals).

There is something beautifully serpentine about the track “Room Of Masks“, as we are introduced to Estetica Noir and their lead vocalist’s ringing tones. Basically if this is the quality of what is to follow, then the whole album is going to be a treat. The second single off the album is “Sweeper” which is simply a divine myriad of guitars, synths and vocals. So utterly catchy.

Striate Body” has a harsher tone to it in the beginning but that all melts in the chorus, only to return for this song, that was the first single released. The contrast of abrasive vocals and sweeter singing is quite delightful. The rain greets you in “Autumn” with unaccompanied keyboards, building a soundscape where if you listen carefully enough you hear the heartbeat. I still suffer from the pain of hearing the old internet dial up sound. “N.U.” uses this effect within the track. There is a cyber coldness as you feel the icy tendrils of the synths.

Such a wonderful build up of guitar in “Dawn Of Pluto” that drives it along on a sonic wave and echos throughout the whole piece. Do you have a strong preference for the night or darkness? You might suffer from “Nychtophilia” and the track is sexy with a soaring chorus about those that inhabit the shadows. “X” could mean a kiss in this spine tingling track. Smooth and slick with the breathy chorus. In the next number, a short instrumental, truly feels like it is on a precipice and maybe that is why it is called “The Fall“. We hit the last track, which is the retrospective “Climbing Up The Loneliness“. Such a superb balance of vocals with the haunting instruments backing up the lament of never being satisfied,

This is perfect darkwave music. Expressive, melancholy with great bass lines and lyrics that grab you by the heart strings. Throughout there are the wonderful guitar lines that ring out and the synths that create a beautiful synergy. I love Oreste’s vocals, a really strong singer who seems to very competent in his role. Each track has this beautiful dark crystal sound to it, smooth and clean on the surface but smoky beneath that shine. Estetica Noir’s This Dream In Monochrome” should be on your have a listen list, so what are you waiting for?

Estetica Noir | Facebook

https://esteticanoir.wordpress.com