Mmmm, okay. A new single from a project called omyügen which is titled “come with me” (yes this is all in lower case). Where does he come from and where is he going? Yeah, I have no idea because he is not on Facebook nor Bandcamp and don’t feel like playing stalky stalker currently but I will tell you that his music is of the post-punk and darkwave persuasion, with production by slxxshy.
The vocals are pretty trippy, like tape that is being eaten by a tape-recorder making it both interesting and creepy. A mantra to how the world in general is screwed up and that omyügen will show you the light. There is a constant hypnotic tune on guitar, playing in the background, lulling your senses into a false sense of security while the vocals invade your brain. The synths are there as well, adding to the wonderfully happy lunatic asylum feel that everything is burning….and that is completely okay.
MATT HART has been crafting his own science fiction world with music, over the last few years. A dystopian world, visited by alien machines whom have no interest in terms of peace but rather to overrun the planet and rid it of the human vermin. The machines lower the temperature to suit their needs and force the original inhabitants to burrow into the very ground to escape the tyranny and also keep warm as a global ice age ensues.
This brings us to BELOW THE TERRA PT.1, the latest of HART’s album releases, which follows the human’s plight as they scramble to ensconce themselves deep underground, though this is surviving, is it living? The three singles that have so far been lifted, give you a good gist of what this album is about but also a feel for the general earth crackling ambiance in the thumping rhythms, bristling electronics and, of course, HART’s howling, gravelly and often defiant vocals.
Techno married to an angst ridden industrial abrasiveness, each track telling its part of the story, such as “THE LAST RAVE” which is the humans coming to terms that their numbers are dwindling and this might be the last hurrah or “TO THE CORE“, where humanity is digging to escape and the machines can be heard in their triumph. All extremely catchy and very dance floor friendly but I noticed this album has less of a guitar influence and a lot more synth. Why may you ask? Well, I did just that, plus a few other burning issues…..and a word to all aliens, don’t mess with MATT HART because he will totally fuck you up, stone cold….
Welcome to the rabbit hole MATT HART, our domain. In case of alien robot attack, the exits are here —>, <—-here and under the dining table.
Matt, you are a pretty busy guy. Your paying day job is a musician, you have DJ’ed at London’s Slimelight Club amongst others, you have your own Twitch DJ channel, recording and playing live gigs. How do you fit all this in and do you like to be this busy?
Honestly, I’ve no idea how I fit it all in! I’ve got a lot of energy and so I guess keeping this busy is a good way to burn it all off, but I definitely know how to relax too. On the promotional side, my awesome wife helps massively with that – networking, sending my music out, keeping my bio and FB updated. She’s highly organized and I’m a complete creative, so it’s a good balanced system we got going. Also, with my job, I’m travelling on a coach/train often so that gives me opportunity to put my headphones on, turn my laptop on and just plug in and write. Some of my favourite tracks came from using “on the road” hours to focus.
So talking about recording, your new album BELOW THE TERRA PT. 1 is a corker! How long do you think it took you to write and record it?
Thank you! BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 took around a year to write, in a slow process as stated above – about grabbing time here and there while travelling. All the other busy hasn’t allowed me to write much faster! That said, when I’m on a roll I can write a track in a few days! It’s just getting that space time to do it! Hmmm, guess that gives me some food for thought, if I cut all the other busy things out, just think how quickly I could get music done! But, but, I do love the other things I do too, balance, right!
Do you find song creation an easy thing or would you say that you find it a painful process at times?
It’s generally easy. I have quite a good template process that I can dive into and start creating quickly, however, sometimes writers block does strike and I just can’t get anything down. When this happens, I know to just walk away and give myself some time. Stepping away from something gives you opportunity to gain fresh perspective on it. I’ve also found a great way to get past a hurdle is to work on someone else’s music, so I really enjoy doing remixes for that reason.
BELOW THE TERRA PT. 1 is part of a much bigger storyline. Can you tell us about this apocalyptic tale you have envisaged?
Technically, BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 is a sequel to my album TERRA 3808 (Nov 2019), which was about the war on the machines. This album, BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 is about humanity surviving in the icy wastelands of 3808 and below the machine overlords on the surface. Being as this is a PT.1… there’s going to be more to the story, just not sure what that will encompass as yet.
Have you always been a big fan of science fiction?
Yes, as far as I remember, I have. I love the Matrix and the Terminator movies. I think I watched the Matrix so many times I wore out the vhs! I’m particularly interested in machine worlds, and how/what that means for humanity. Could we survive, are we headed to that future? Machines already run so much of our lives, and there’s different ways to measure the positive/negative aspects of that. I’m also a huge fan of the Halo world: books, game etc and definitely the visuals – you can likely see that in my album artwork a bit.
Industrial music lends itself so well to this genre, do you think that is another reason you are compelled to perform this style?
I was always a fan of heavy metal and industrial metal but I think as I started clubbing in London I was influenced by the harder dance floor sounds of EBM and dark electro and found myself gravitating in this direction more strongly. Being able to write and perform industrial music, basically as a solo artist (though I have an excellent live guitarist Jerome Badoux) has allowed me to have control over the whole process. The bonus of creating without hardware, provides a different type of freedom — will mention again about all my travel, so this works for me. That said, I regularly record the guitar parts and wouldn’t give up any of my guitars hanging on the wall – I just don’t use them as often as had done in previous years. Sharp edge sounds and aesthetic, what’s not get onboard with!
This album seems to less guitar based and becoming more electronic focused. Was this a conscious thing because the machines have taken over?
Haha! Great observation and comment, but no, it was driven from a place of not having my guitars readily available to me, during a lot of the writing process for BELOW THE TERRA PT.1. Writing solely on a laptop allowed for the focus more on the electronic elements. However that’s a really interesting point that I hadn’t really thought about! I was also wondering that since the humans have spent all their time simply working to survive and get away, that they too in a way have become machines, shadows of their former selves in the current situation…… Society certainly has become less of a military faction and more of a resourceful entity but there is definitely still humanity residing inside them. It’s actually a theme I’ve been batting around for writing new stuff, and in another vein, that as they band together that their humanity actually becomes stronger, as they actively work together.
Which track off the album did you enjoy recording the most and why?
To be honest I really loved what I did with LAST RAVE! I set out to write a heavy club track and I totally feel I achieved what I was going for. I had it in mind that I wanted it to include guitars as well, as I’d intended for it to be done live with my guitarist, Jerome – so it has an extra heavy chug chug sound to it. It was just fun writing a classic rave-centric track that was heavy at the same time. Am also quite pleased with the video produced for the track. It’s footage from appearances at Elektro Vox and Resistanz festivals, both in April 2022, London and Sheffield respectively and premiered on Communion After Dark – wowza, right! If you want a glimpse of the kind of energy I bring to a stage, it’s a good video to watch. It’s up on my YouTube >>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1VrlDE2gaDJJJfMjGqo4UQ/videos
Covid is such a bugbear for live music currently. Are you doing or going to be performing live shows?
So, since the UK came out of lockdown I’ve had a few gigs/festivals as noted above and recently I opened for Leaether Strip in London and the weekend of 9 th July, I performed at a post-apocalyptic festival a could hours outside of London called Road 2 Ruin. Talk about a fitting environment for me! Wasteland crew and fire, it was incredible. Up next, in chats about a small gig in Scotland in August, tying that into some holiday time up there. But I really want to start putting some good focus into writing new music for the next album…… I’m really pleased with how tracks from BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 fit into my live set though, heavy, driving and really danceable – great elements to a gig!
You did a brilliant remix on Simon Carter & Fabsi’s new album and you have been popping up as a guest mixer on many other tracks. Who else have you remixed recently and is this one of those things that makes you really happy?
I do really enjoy doing remixes. Sometimes it’s the perfect break from your own music too. To be honest, I’m not a fan of recording vocals so when I get someone else’s vocals on a track to remix I jump at it! I love reconstructing other bands tracks and making them different, often giving them a more dance floor sound. Recent ones out are the Synapsyche “Silvertongue feat Danial Graves” and the Antibody “I Don’t Understand” remixes! Haven’t seen this done by anyone else (so feel quite innovative about it), but I’ve got a page on my Bandcamp where I list all the remixes I’ve done (a compilations page too). Think it’s a great way to cross-promote and the list of artist names I’ve worked with is impressive and I’m proud to have worked with them. There’s more I’ve done, that haven’t been released as yet — but watch that page, things just waiting in the wings
Your world is invaded by crazy alien robots and the only way to stop them is by being the ultimate DJ and up loading a song into their collective hive mind. What do you up load and why?
John Cage – 4’33. Don’t give them anything to feed off. Just silence.
What is in the future for MATT HART?
As I said I have a few MATT HART remixes for other artists to come out and I have the first remix from BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 coming out very soon… ABSOLUTE ZERO (ROTERSAND classic ride rework) releases 26 th July, 2022. This is a real banger, it’s entered the DAC (that’s the Deutsche Alternative Charts https://www.deutsche-alternative-charts.de/) at position 4 and that’s mega mega!
The London based band, History Of Guns, has us “Running In Circles” for the newest single off the soon to be released album, Forever Dying In Your Eyes. The trio of Del Alien (vocals), Jamu Knight (guitars) and Max Rael (synths, programming) are giving you a slice of their punk inspired gothic/industrial world.
In true punk modus operandi, the vocals of Alien are so at odds to the music, a wail of disconcerting gravity amidst the sea of the throbbing drum machine and scintillating futuristic synths of Rael. Into this mixture, Knight’s guitar work stokes the fire that makes this track of doubt and questioning burn.
“The story of our lives never goes in a straight line from birth to death. Sometimes we get stuck, and it feels like we’re not moving at all; or worse, just endlessly running in circles, like dogs chasing their tails, and you feel like you’d do almost anything to break out of it.” – Max Rael
The video for this track looks pretty slick, with the guys transposed into the everyday world. “Running In Circles” is like looking at two sides of a coin at the same time, the dark with the light in perfect harmony and Alien’s singing like oil drifting across water, not mixing so much, as colouring the music.
2009 is when Australia’s goth rockers, IKON, released the album, Love, Hate And Sorrow, and last year was the band’s 30th anniversary. Elenor Rayner is Robots In Love, ex-Aussie now based in New Zealand and she has taken the fourth single that was taken off that album, “Torn Apart” giving it an electronic makeover in the form of a remix, that came out on the July the 11th.
The beginning bell like notes herald something a bit special and those tones pepper through the track, giving it a mystical effect, in stark contrast to the electronically altered vocals, metallic and slightly cold. The bass heavy beats kick in, drowing in sorrow, while the vocals come clean, giving the song an ever more keenly felt expression of sadness.
When I compared the original to the remix, it was surprising how much more emotion Rayner pulls out the track, as well as making it sound almost like a different song. IKON have always made amazing music and Robots In Love has really capitalised on this talent for songwriting, polishing “Torn Apart” with an electronic pearl essence shimmer.
Seven Federations is the industrial brain child of Todd Ruzicka, whom is also behind the project ImmuneSystem, and he recently released his latest album, Bengamin. The album ranges in musical inferences, from the big time band swing in the title track “Bengamin“, to the futuristic “Captain Sicilano (First Federation – Italian Division)” and even the taste of a Latin mass in the interlude “Ite Missa Est“. Most of these tracks have a heavy accent on the guitar, which drives through the music, pushing it on and giving it teeth. The album was mastered at The Cage Studio, in Coventry by Martin Bowes of Attrition fame. So, with this in mind, we thought we would ask Todd a few questions about Seven Federations, the album and does he have the power of time travel…. yeah you are going to have to read on to find out.
Welcome to the Dominion of Onyx, Todd Ruzicka of Seven Federations, within the Thunderdome, though currently it seems more like an echo chamber.
Your current project is, of course Seven Federations but what was Todd up to, in the years before this project?
Since 2005, I’ve been heavily involved with my project, IMMUNE SYSTEM, which I started while I was living in the UK. IMMUNE SYSTEM was more electronic than “industrial” and I had a bit of success with the releases and with placing some tracks in indie films. But around 2018, I started feeling like I had painted myself into a corner, musically. I felt like I needed a total change and that change was SEVEN FEDERATIONS. Now, with a bit of hindsight, SEVEN FEDERATIONS doesn’t seem like such a seismic shift away from IMM SYS, but it was the shift in my mindset that I needed to feel “creative” again.
Todd, you live in North Dakota. What is the dark alternative scene like in North Dakota?
I don’t know. I don’t think it exists but, even if it did, I doubt that I’d be invited to the party. However, we are fortunate to have a really wonderful underground radio show in Fargo called Adam’s Archive on 89.1 FM. Adam, who is also a good friend of mine, plays some of the coolest and darkest music you’re likely to hear on the airwaves. Both IMMUNE SYSTEM and SEVEN FEDERATIONS get some airtime on his show and it’s been quite a help.
When did you first get caught by the industrial/electronic bug and decide this was something you wanted to try?
I think it was probably when Pretty Hate Machine came out, although I had also really become enamoured with Depeche Mode by that point. But PHM really hit me sideways. I hadn’t been exposed to super dark, harder electronic music like that. I had heard some Skinny Puppy but, honestly, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it at the time. Pretty Hate Machine combined song structures that I could relate to, but used a whole different sonic palette. And then, of course, The Downward Spiral just changed the game entirely and I caught “the bug,” as you say.
Who would you say are your musical influences… the people and acts that got you into the music?
Since I’ve been a drummer for as long as I can remember, my first influence would have to be Buddy Rich. I grew up with his Swingin’ Big Band live album. But pop and rock always resonated with me more. I LOVE Billy Joel. Except for his “doo-wop” phase. (Billy Joel Doo Wop sucks.) And you’re in Australia, right? I always loved Colin Hay and Men at Work. I have to admit I also loved 80s glam rock when I was a teen and that made an imprint on me, for better or for worse. And then later, I got way into heavier music but always had a love for metal with a hint of industrial that also had a GROOVE. I think that’s important. So much of what we term “industrial” music is full of cool SOUNDS but no there’s no real SONG to speak of. You need both. And again, Trent Reznor became a hero of mine, in the way that he could marry musicality with a real knowledge of digital sounds and soundscapes.
Todd, your first album, “The Arrival”, was released in 2019 and far as I can tell, this is the first offering under the banner of Seven Federations. What inspired you to create this project?
“The Arrival” was the first record, correct. It was fairly ambitious, as it’s a concept record but not so “concept” that you can’t just enjoy the songs on their own. It’s sort of a modern gnostic storyline about drawing down the Demiurge and the events that occur with the main character. Without getting too mystical, “The Arrival” almost literally wrote itself. It really just appeared, one song at a time. And apart from that, I barely remember making it.
You have released your newest album “Bengamin” and the origin of this name is Hebrew. Why Bengamin, why a buzzard/vulture on the cover and is the buzzard, Bengamin?
Bengamin is the Buzzard of the Apocalypse, mentioned periodically in the Old Testament and referenced heavily in Revelations. He has the gift of prophecy. He can also tap dance.
The track “Bengamin” seems to have a swing/boogie feel to it. Was this intentional?
Yes. I imagined it almost as a soundtrack to some scene in a honky tonk bar somewhere on the outskirts of town.
The track “Brickface” is getting a lot of airplay. What do you feel about this track appeals to people?
I think it’s just a catchy, anthemic track that gets stuck in your head a bit. It’s sort of custom-built for an arena sing-a-long . . . in my MIND.
Overall, the album has that harder edged guitar sound to it. Is this a preferred musical element?
It is with SEVEN FEDERATIONS. If there was one thing I was going for with this project, it’s a much heavier, guitar-based sound. That’s probably the main element that separates it from IMMUNE SYSTEM.
MartinBowes of Attrition fame, mastered the album at his Cage Studio. What was it like for you having Bowes do this for you and why did you choose Martin?
I’ve been very lucky to have had two of the biggest names in industrial music master my tracks: Martin Bowes and Jules Siefert, both in England. It’s just a sense of being in good hands with them, and knowing that they understand this style of music. And they’re both super-easy to work with. Even though they’re both big names, they are still open to suggestions from the Peanut Gallery; i.e. ME.
One has to wonder if you have a time machine, as you state that “Ite Missa Est” was recorded live in 2030, in Prague…..is there something you aren’t telling us?
Time travel has long been an interest of mine and I’ve had a fair bit of success with it.
Who do you get a kick out of listening to now?
Mostly “Yacht Rock” artists: Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Air Supply. That kind of thing.
What is in the future for Seven Federations?
Promotion of the new record, considering the next step for new music and having a long talk with myself.
Onyx is proud to bring you the world premiere of Australian/US collaboration, Sequential Zero’s latest single, “Fourth Sequence“. Freshly minted from the Mantravision secret lair….somewhere in the remote barren lands of Sydney. This is the, strangely, fourth single from the group made up of Aussies Ant Banister (Sounds LikeWinter, Sea Lungs, Luna Module, Heatwave and DeF FX) and Colin Gallagher (Burnt Souls) with Bruce Nullify (Orcus Nullify) who is based in South Carolina. Due to distance, when the guys play live, AdrianLeppard (Xerox, 1978) steps in for Nullify.
There are two tracks on “Fourth Sequence” with the first being, “The Last One To Fall“. Such a nice build up up to the vocals by Banister with that wandering synth and noticeably there is a heavier guitar sound through this track. Definitely has an early Bauhaus sound with more electronics. Second track “Endless Night And Day” is the far more electronic piece bordering Gary Numan mixed with new wave Duran Duran and good helping of gothic noir, while Nullify’s guitar breaks into the music like a chainsaw, giving you a see-saw effect. This is also the first time you hear Gallagher singing in the chorus.
SATO AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS is an ancient prayer to the universe to save the world, invoked in “Endless Night And Day“, while “The Last One To Fall” refers to the sweeping emotion of loneliness in the modern era, even though we are more connected through electronic devices than ever before, but find it hard to connect to actual humans. Both tracks are brilliantly executed, however for me, they work on a deeper level of memories and music that I have always loved. Beautiful post-punk tracks, drenched in synths and guitars, that I dearly want people to hear.
It is good to see more women creating music for themselves in the electro-industrial scene and Nuda is no exception. Seattle based, she has previously been a guitarist for Possessed Tranquility and started Nuda in the beginning of 2019, so far with 2 albums under this moniker. June 23rd, saw the latest single, “Trigger“, drop from the soon to be released third album, Stranger.
“Trigger” starts with all those nice reverbing, cycling electronics, before kicking off. There is electric guitar in there but it blends so well with synthesizers. There are wallowing lulls, followed by frenetic movement.
You can hear the old school industrial creeping through but still this is kept in check, throughout this instrumental track. Nuda bends the music to her will giving it a cleaner sound. “Trigger” and the album Stranger, are based in the topic of mental health/illness, stress and rauma.
Lunar Paths is a collaboration between two musicians who were originally involved in the UK gothic scene in the 80s. Both Diane duBois and Kevin Hunter were in the band Cold Dance, and Hunter in Skeletal Family until they broke up in 1986. After losing contact and ending up in different time zones, they rediscovered their friendship and so started a new musical project.
There are loops and subverted sounds in the electronic aether, which take on an almost Middle Eastern atmosphere, The vocals sigh and take you on the journey to another exotic realm, while duBois’s sensuous singing beguiles your senses. The duo’s experimentation with recordings and synths has become this wonderful amalgamation of styles and Lunar Paths’ music definitely tickles those dark sweet spots in your mind.
Portland’s Xibling (Sibling) are a synth lead duo on the experimental edge and on March the 1st, the label Young And Cold Records, combined two previously released EP’s, Yesbody and Maladjusted onto one vinyl. Moriah West and Julian Thieme have so far released four original EPs, plus other livestream material.
“Hello Stranger” exudes the enthusiasm that this band seems to be all about with a rhythm that thrusts you forwards, glitching with the howling vocals replicating a wolfs’s call. The single, “Butterfly Curbstomp” is a brutal space oddity of having your teeth kicked in, with an strangely B52’s feel while “Fold” could have come from the early 80s with its manic robotic intent. To be a model, you might have to be made of “Plasticine” to keep your looks and figure, which is exactly about what this song is about, sung with such passion. “Schadenfreude” or the pleasure gained by someone else’s failure, the male German style vocals in staccato, all over this piece and this mixes so well into “Maladjusted“, with the rap inspired spoken word that melt into beautiful, silken tendrils of singing and who can say no to lyrics like a maladjusted little shit, dropping the bass. There is a slow burn to”Slow Fold“, as it curls around you, fingers digging into your throat.
“Butterfly Curbstomp IV” is possibility what it is like to be on speed in a formula one vehicle, an insane ride for a remix. The darker allure of fetish and sexual angst is “Latex Gloves“, which is going to stalk you with those commanding beats, though this all hits the brick wall in “Vine“, with the echoing, glossy attitude. The bleeps and electronic distortion vie with the vocals for control with “Contract“, while “Puppet” has an air to it like the Siouxsie/Budgie project, Creatures, especially vocally. There is this beautiful synth line that runs through “Reflection” and though the lyrics are not a happy affair but the music itself whirls around you. The last track is one of the title tracks “Yesbody” and it had an amazing vibrancy and a pop like perfection.
Bloody marvelous and such a fun collection of tracks. I love how they manage to pull so many different sounds out of their electronic equipment and it is all about the passion behind the music. You can hear the enjoyment Xibling exude when they play and while they might play electronic music, but they really have a very punk attitude behind it all.
From the British hotbed, of goth music, Leeds, Skeletal Family broke out in 1981 with the single “Trees“. There has been a lot of water under the bridge and the band has become one of the lynch pins of the gothic sound. With a wealth of musical experience behind them, Skeletal Family are gearing up to release a new album and they have dropped the new single “My Own Redemption” with video.
The new vocalist is Anneka Faye and she compliments the Skeletal Family sound so very well, sultry and commanding. The guitar work is haunting in shadowy echos, while the keyboard picks out the tune, adding an extra layer of lilting grimness. The video, directed by Danny Hardaker, is shot in a black & white noir style, with thuggish heavy men and a sleazy underground promise.
So, this is the first call to arms for the faithful and the soon to be inducted, with Skeletal Family’s sixth studio album and “My Own Redemption” is a wonderful introduction to an eagerly awaited release. There is the pervasive Family sound but I like the fact they don’t try to stick to a formula either, just making a beautiful post-punk music with a soul.