My first introduction to KMFDM was through the trail blazing album ANGST in 1993, out on the Wax Trax! label, though this pioneering techno/industrial/EBM group have been around in one form or another since 1984. They are about to drop their latest album HYENA and the 24th of August saw the release of the first single of the same name.
The guitar work, though heavy, has a certain twang to it… you can almost hear the jingle of the spurs… but those guitars purr under the vocals of Konietzko, pulsating and driving home the savagery of the world. Always the rhythm building and lulling, yet always pounding on. The female vocals are a nice finish to the tribal ending
This could be where KMFDM meets Mad Max on the plains of the Wild West (pew pew) and African animals (and that was before I saw the new logo on Bandcamp). They are riding across the badlands, in a world where there is much turmoil and danger. Now one could say that this might not be a typical KMFDM track…..but then honestly you are kidding yourselves if you think that. The big guitars are there as well as Sascha Konietzko’s rasping vocals, the electronics and that high energy dance floor rhythm. KMFDM is doing it again, but with “HYENA“.
Machina ad Noctem are a fairly new label and their area of expertise lay in electronic music. With this in mind, as of the 11th of July, their first release ever, was in the form of a compilation, titled Dreams Out Of Joint: A Tribute To Philip K. Dick, Yes, this is 26 tracks, inspired by the science fiction genius of Philip K. Dick, who penned many classics including Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, which of course became the movie Bladerunner, that has been a huge catalyst of inspiration for many electronic/industrial musicians. Of special note is the fact that the first half is dedicated to Dick’s short stories and the second to the novels.
With so many tracks, we thought maybe we could give you a taste of this. Edge of Decipher with their track “Frolix 8“, is a cyber journey through realms of space and light, mysterious and a constantly evolving adventure or Chrono 87 doing “2 Weeks On Mars“, light, delicate and with changing rhythm signatures. There is “A.M.O.D” by beepeater with tis tortured experimental electronics, Ran Kirlian unveiling the ambient track “Time Out Of Joint” which is like the final cooling death of a star or ∑V∑RYTHING with “Ubik OpeningCredits” that has a wonderful soundtrack feel to it that suddenly falters in the middle to then pick itself up again.
There are tracks that play for nearly thirty minutes, tracks with beeps and whistles to give you the impression aliens are trying to communicate and other tracks with music so quiet, nearly imperceptible at first until you start to really listen. Soundscapes and beats and everything in between. If you enjoy experimental ambient music or just love old fashion sci fi movies to the more modern, then I think Dreams Out Of Joint might just feed your imagination. The beauty is not always human and we dream of Philip K. Dick.
In the dark alleyways, underpasses, subways and clubs of Chicago, you might run into the Glampire pack of Plasmata, lead by Trent Jefferies. 2021 saw the release of the five track EP “Portraits Of Pain” which we reviewed back then and now Plasmata are releasing three remixes off the EP, starting on the 23rd of August, with the single “Leviathan” which has been given the treatment by William Faith (Faith And The Muse, BellweatherSyndicate, Christian Death).
The guitars swirl in a vortex lifting you higher and higher, a solid wall of twanging wonder which compliments the vocals utterly. There is even the added whip like beats in this (which was a thing in the 90s and made me giggle a little). Faith’s playing is sparkling and reminds you what a great guitarist he really is, while Jefferies vocals going from growled to sensually smooth, are just the jewel in the track.
You could knock me over with a feather with this mix. It retains the basis of the song but it literally has become the monster, beautiful, guitar filled and hauntingly sinister. The original was a industrial hybrid and Faith has turned the track into the gothic maelstrom. Good grief. Love it. You need this in your life.
If in the mood for a little gothy post-punk, then we have the happily titled, “Everyday A Fresh Atrocity” from the Candy Coffins. Released on the 23rd of August, this five piece from South Carolina, are whetting your appetite for the October drop of their second album, Once Do It With Feeling.
The lead guitar chimes out with the rhythm backing up and the deep bass building up the beats with the drums. The synths definitely add an air of the The Cure, but lead singer Lathren does not try to emulate the iconic Robert Smith, rather choosing to give his own style, which is laid back and plaintive.
I wonder if The Cure and Echo And The Bunnymen are influences for Candy Coffins, because from where I stand, they remind me very much of these bands. In any case, even in the deep south, post-punk can be found and it is sounding good!
I literally made my head hurt thinking about what post post-punk is… Anyway, so we will tell you about Melbourne group, Leaching, with their debut single “Radiate“. It was released on the 18th of August and it is the epitome of post-punk style, with the extra bonus of two b-sides which are not exactly b-sides… but we will get to that..
There is something so simple to the music that transports me back to the 80s. Maybe it is the guitars or the staccato drum beats from the machine or the fact the synths swirl in the depths below the guitar or it could be the echoing and slightly aloof vocals in “Radiate“. The second track is a cover of the Go Gos track, “Automatic” written by Jane Wiedlin. Leaching’s version actually might be faster than the original and it is far more filled with the sounds of electronics, which flow nicely. “Commit Then Redefine” is the last track, tortured and twisted around the guitars. A funeral dirge worthy of the Pornography era Cure.
So “Radiate” is the announcement that Leaching has arrived, “Automatic” is there because maybe this was a defining song for Steven Smith, who wrote the other two tracks and pretty much plays all the instruments on this recording as well as the vocals. September sees their first album, End Themes released on Spooky Records, so “Commit And Redefine” is a preview cut to entice you. Are you enticed yet? We rate this single ‘I woulddefinitely go to the pub to hear them live!‘ just on the strength of listening to “Radiate“.
In recent times, the name Josie Pace has been popping up in our social media news feed and suggested YouTube watching. She is the epitome of a punk riot girl, looking to knock you on your arse with her no nonsense, industrial rock music and style. Pace, after a raft of singles, has signed to Negative Gain Records, released her debut album, IV0X10V5 and is about to go on tour with Aesthetic Perfection and GENCAB, so there is no better time to talk to Josie about what has lead up to this point.
Josie Pace, welcome to the Onyx Thunderdome, where alt music reigns supreme.
You are from Detroit City, home of Motown Records and Alice Cooper but to name a few musical wonders that have sprung from there. Did this have a huge influence on you throughout your childhood?
Detroit sound has definitely influenced me throughout my entire musical journey. Glenn Frey in The Eagles was a huge writing influence on me. Growing up listening to them shaped the way that I structure my songs. A lot of Motown, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, influenced me very young as well. I remember my entire family jamming in the car to “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder when I was maybe 7. Small moments like that really solidified my desire to be an artist. Another Detroit band that has influenced me quite a bit is Jack White continues to create fresh, unique, and meaningful music. He has even influenced a lot of my newer songs as well.
What is the alt rock/darkwave scene like in Detroit?
The dark wave scene, while still a bit of an underground genre, is small but strong. I feel we are very dedicated here in Detroit and we all know how hard it is to get to the next level, so we help each other in any way that we can.
Josie, you posted a video on YouTube, which was seen by Musician/producer Ken Roberts and since then you have forged a musical partnership with him. What is it like working with Ken and how do you complement each other?
Working with Ken really took off from the beginning. He has been in a few successful bands in the past and I trust him with situations that I am unsure of because of his experience in the music industry. We became very close friends and I can now practically read his mind! We always bounce ideas around and work together to create new music that really pushes the boundaries of not just the genre we are in but pushes the boundaries of art itself.
Do you find he pushes you to delve further into your craft?
I’d say he definitely thinks much higher of myself than I do. Even though staying humble is important, it is also important to give yourself credit where credit is due. Ken believes whole heartedly in my abilities whether it be writing, playing guitar, performing live or shooting photos and music videos.
There have been a number of singles released before the album and 8 of them are on your debut album “IV0X10V5”. Your original tracks seem more synthpop based and become increasingly brash and abrasive, embracing a punk attitude. Do you feel this is true for yourself?
When first working with Ken, we decided that releasing singles and a music video every few months was the best way to gain momentum in the industry. It took a few years to really dive deep into the genre and to try new things and create songs that pushed the envelope. While I love all of the songs, when we decided that it was time for a full length album, I knew that not all of the singles would make the cut. I’ve grown a lot in my art and in myself throughout the years and I wanted the album to be something that was true to my journey. I dove deeper into my writing and pushed myself lyrically. I feel like the album is a more mature reflection of myself. It has a clear sound and each song resonates with me on a personal level.
Two singles were recorded with Sammi Doll, “Perfect Replacement” and the cover of the iconic Placebo track “Pure Morning”. You both sound like you bounce off each other brilliantly, so how did you end up recording with Sammi?
Ken and I are big fans of IAMX and decided, while working on “Perfect Replacement”, that it would be great to collaborate with someone new. We simply sent her an email. Honestly, a lot of the collaborations and the cool things I get to do, were just because we asked. Sammi sent an email back and was ecstatic about collaborating. After meeting up with her and recording the song and music video, we all became good friends. So when we started work on the Placebo track “Pure Morning”, we called her up again. It seemed like a perfect fit and the message of the song, female friendship, really manifested in the music video (especially the bloopers!). Sammi is an amazing friend and such powerhouse and she is so much fun to work with.
Negative Gain is a well-respected label in the industrial scene. How exciting was it to be signed and releasing your debut album with them?
I was extremely excited to be signed with Negative Gain. Being signed to a label was one of my life long goals. After a few Zoom calls with Roger and Micah about possibly working with them, the family oriented approach to their label was something that really stuck with me. I will divulge that when they had agreed to sign us, I was teary eyed. All of the hard work was coming to fruition and it was a big deal for me. I love working with them and we all push each other to our fullest potential.
For me, I got the feeling, the overall theme of surviving against the odds. What does the album mean to you?
I feel like the album, to me, really encapsulates throwing out your doubts and growing from past mistakes, definitely surviving against the odds like you mentioned. It was only after I had finished the album that I noticed a theme, but I feel like that gives it it’s authenticity. I write as a form of therapy so it only makes sense that the years I have been working and trying to push forward in the music industry, came out in my songs.
Which track would you say is your favourite or best represents Josie Pace?
Man, the track that most represents myself? All of the tracks have pieces of me nestled into them. But I’d say the most raw of them that really captured how my head and my emotions take form is “Vicious”. After the sudden and tragic loss of my close friend, Alyse, I wrote everything that was in my head. Every night that I stayed up crying, I wrote to express my grief and my sadness, my emptiness and my confusion, my anger and my acknowledgment that she was taken too soon, too young, too violently. “Vicious” although it shows how much she means to me, it also shows my vulnerability. I was reluctant to release it or to even record it at all. Not only because it was physically hard for me to get through without choking up, but also because it shows a side of myself that is raw and hard to manage at times. “Vicious” is quite literally my emotions through a very hard time in my life.
What music was the gateway drug into the industrial rock scene?
I’ve always been into rock, no matter what kind of sub genre. I listen to everything and anything that feels authentic and stirs emotion. The Industrial Rock genre really catches my interest especially approaching it the way that we do. Creating a heavy electronic based sound from songs written on acoustic guitar is a challenge and it also creates a strong song no matter what genre you change it into. Industrial is very messy and heavy but it is also purposive and precise.
Who do you listen to now that gets your blood pumping?
Recently I have found myself listening to Alice in Chains. His voice was so iconic and the song structure is so different. I can really learn a lot from their songs. Other than that I am listening to my own album to prepare for my first North American tour with Aesthetic Perfection and GenCAB. If I don’t get excited listening to my own music I’m doing something wrong.
Did you miss performing live during the depths of the plague (Covid)?
Without a doubt. During covid we obviously all had a moment (or ten) of uncertainty and fearfulness of what the future holds. I remember at the beginning of 2020, I hadn’t gone to the studio for at least two months. I remember just siting in my writing room and kind of realizing that the future was so unknown that I had a bit of a breakdown. Obviously, after picking myself back up, I decided to hit it harder and I recorded the rest of my first album “IV0X10V5” and we filmed 6 music videos. Even while doing all of that I missed performing live. The human aspect of performing live can’t be matched, I love getting to meet new fans and feeling the energy of the crowd. It is my favorite part of the artistic process.
Can you tell us about the live shows you are now involved in?
I am absolutely ECSTATIC to announce that I will be joining Aesthetic Perfection and label mate, Gen CAB, for the American Psyco Tour starting in October! We are playing 40 dates throughout the US and Canada. This is my first tour and I am so grateful to be a part of it.
If you could pick one Michigan musician (dead or alive) to record with, who would that be?
I would have to pick Jack White. He has done so much throughout his career and he has constantly pushed the envelope and broken boundaries of genres while keeping a very dirty Detroit feel.
What is in the future for Josie Pace?
While I am preparing for my upcoming tour, I am also working on an EP with new music videos as well. Obviously another full length album is on the way in the future as well. I am hoping to jump the pond when it comes to playing live. Getting to Europe would be a dream.
From the island of the long white cloud, what could be better than one musical Muse? Me thinks two and we are bringing you the premiere of the new single “Walking On Air“, from New Zealand songbird, Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp’s EP, Sidhe, with the extra added bonus of the remix done by ex-pat Aussie and Robots In Love front woman, Elenor Rayner, whom is a master of the mix.
Both version are available, with the original in the style of SiouxsieAnd TheBanshees from the 90s, reflective and flowing with an emphasis on the beats, delicate and questioning.
This remix takes this track and makes it ten times sexier, looping, gliding and constricting like a boa snake. The Rayner version is smooth and yet full of reverb and hard edges as well. Sensuous and tantric until the end.
The original is sweet but the remix takes this song to a new level of va voom. Still slow but with more purpose and the ability to give you goosebumps, due to how electrically stimulating “Walking In The Air” has become. These two Muses are a worth every penny to be heard together.
FabrikC is Thorsten Berger from Germany, and he has joined up with the UK’s Jay Taylor of j:dead, to create “High Time (Chinese Takeaway)“, which was released on August the 19th, on Stay Beat Productions. But hang on uno momento…… many moons ago, FrabrikC had an aggrotech track called “Chinese Food“. Coincidence? I think not, as this seems to a modernised and vocally weaponised version, hence the Chinese Takeaway byline.
Taylor is screaming and cajoling us magnificently, sweetly singing to you before slapping you vocally around the ears. The music definitely has a far more smoother feel to it, less static filled but still rhythmically hard hitting and punchy.
This is guaranteed to fill a dance floor with happy campers of the dark kind, just as the original did. It is a really nice mix of vocals versus electronics and Berger’s ability to re-invent this track, married to Taylor’s singing talent is a winner. So if you like Chinese food, then “High Time” to get some Chinese Takeaway.
Melbourne’s Roles, are about to release their debut album, There’s A Space, as of the 1st of September. In the lead up, they had a sign up induction and people were able to access the tracks for free, with exclusive content including videos for five days. Louise Love and Luis Gutierrez make up this lovely duo, and their style is abrasive guitar, married to 80s styled synths and Love’s sweet vocals, that creates a post-punk/art rock explosion. We wanted to know what makes Roles tick, so of course we asked them.
Dear Lou and Luis of the band Roles, welcome to the up side of down and reverse is yet another way to continue on a journey.
Hey Adele! Thank you for interviewing us. Lou here, I am going to answer these questions in first person on behalf of Roles.
How did Roles come into being?
My previous music project was a solo electronic pop-thing called Louise Love. I put this on ice in 2016. Looking back, I can see how personal demons played into this. Pursuing music is a tough road even in the best circumstances. I kept trying to push through, but I burnt myself out with all the trying.
After a while, I needed to be creative again. At first, I told myself I was developing an art-project, not another music thing. But it ended-up becoming a bunch of songs.
Coming from Melbourne, what musical projects were you involved in before Roles?
Luis is originally from Caracas and we met in my home town of Fremantle. We have been in Melbourne for about 7 years, before that we were in Hobart for a while. Louise Love (solo) performed in Melbourne from 2015 to 2016. The act also played in Hobart from 2013. Roles is the first music project for Luis. He did however do visual artwork for Louise Love.
Back in WA, I did all kinds of different original music projects. I started singing in a punk band during my last year of high school and kept going from there. I was never really punk. I used to hang around with a group of punks and goths at high school, but I didn’t know how I fitted in with them. It was the same with music. I spent longer than most trying to find my own voice in my song-writing. It wasn’t until I started electronic music production, that I started to feel even close.
Melbourne is a pretty cosmopolitan place and was hit hard by the Covid lockdowns, this especially so for the entertainment industry. What was this like for you both?
Not being able to play or go to gigs sucked. We are yet to make a profit from music, so we weren’t affected like people who make a living from the Arts. Melbourne has the best live music scene in the country, It was really tough on the venues and they are still trying to recover.
Apart from that, we were fine. Luis was able to keep working from home and he was allowed to go see his horse, so he got through it okay. I got job keeper, which was a welcomed paid staycation. I feel sadness that other people suffered and that lives were lost, but I was lucky and made the most of the experience. Having the world slow down, gave the time I needed to work out a lot of my personal shit.
What is the premise behind the name Roles?
We all play different roles in life. It’s good to be aware of that. It’s also a good practice to ask who or what it is that is playing those roles.
Also, the song writing method means that each song is telling someone’s story, so we are playing that role for a few minutes.
Most of your music is based on audio recordings of interviews and conversations. What is it about this style of medium that inspires you?
Every song lyric (so far) has been created from audio transcribed into text. This is cut-up and whittled down into simple lyrics. Each lyric aims to maintain the original meaning and/or story of the speaker.
This was somewhat inspired by PJ Harvey’s work on ‘Let England Shake’ which explores English history and war-time experiences. I loved the idea of not writing about your own personal experiences. It opens up creative possibilities and can evolve your worldview in the process. This approach also harks back to more traditional song writing; as it was used to convey shared stories and teachings.
Who is the main writer or is it a shared exercise?
I write and arrange the songs, but Luis is a big part of Roles.
Luis is a production consultant on each song, nothing gets to the final stage without his approval. He just gets the sound and I trust his judgement on the music more than anyone else. While I often get cranky when he criticises something, I usually end up agreeing with him and fixing it. He has a good ear and very refined taste.
He is a talented visual artist and contributes to Roles in that way. He also created the VolcaFM synth programs I used for the final arrangements. Learning to play the live synth parts was his first experience as a musician and at performing in front of people. He’s really committed to the project.
I noted that Luis’ playing style reminded me very much of Gary Numan…. does Luis have a small crush on the Numan?
We like Gary Numan, especially his early solo work! Was never a deliberate influence, but we are very happy to sound like him.
How would you describe Roles musical sound?
We describe the sound as post-punk and post-pop. Neither of us are very good musicians, but the song structure is strong. Our minimal approach to the arrangements helps to keep all our earnestness in check.
There’s A Space is the debut album. How excited are you both to get this out into the world?
Very excited. But we are also looking forward to finishing this process so we can focus on the second album release. The songs on the ‘There’s A Space’ are old to us now, but we have to remember that most people haven’t heard them yet. Maybe we should have pretended we just wrote them!
How long did you take in the creation and did covid play a part in this?
The album took about a year to write. But it was about two years until it was recorded, mixed and mastered.
The album was ready at the end of 2019 and scheduled for release in 2020; but life had other plans. Before we strayed from our original release schedule, we did drop a couple of singles from the album. The first of these was Empty Room. That single launch was the last gig we played before lockdowns swept in.
Do you have a favourite child off the album and if so, why?
For Luis it’s a draw between She Was No Acid Head and If I Meditate Enough.
I honestly don’t have a favourite. Sometimes when I’m playing one of the songs from the album, I’ll suddenly hear or understand it in a new way and I’ll fall in love with it all over again.
My favourite song is always the song I’ve just written. So right now, it’s something from the second album.
For you guys, it is fairly obvious that art is just as important as the music as exemplified by your special pre release Roleout. Why is this and what was it like doing the prerelease?
We wanted to give the album opportunity to connect with people before launching it into the void. We made a 5 day experience of bonus material. Those who signed-up got 5 daily emails linking them to a hidden webpage, which revolved around two songs from the album. Each song came with audio, a music video, a vlog and graphics. There was other art and behind-the -scenes video. It was in the theme of an online ‘retreat’.
It was an ambitious attempt at marketing the album in a different way. We thought we might reach more people by offering them an experience rather than just the album. The modest number of loyal fans who actually viewed the webpages, really seemed to enjoy it.
It was a huge amount of work making all the videos and art, but the pandemic gave us lots of time. Putting the webpages and tech stack together also took a while. We don’t regret doing it and can probably use the videos and art in other ways. We also developed a lot of new skills and confidence which we can take with us.
How have you incorporated your art into the music?
Roles began as an art-project. I brain stormed and researched the themes I wanted to explore, which led me to the audio recordings idea. I eventually realised I wanted to write songs again, but I wanted to do it as an art-project.
I decided to use pre-defined artistic constraints as a way to open up my creativity. It sounds counter intuitive, but it works! Only using transcribed audio for lyrics was one constraint. I then made ten song sketches, using only bass, kick and vocals. For the final songs arrangements, I chose a limited number of instruments/sound and stuck to those.
Both of us also do a lot of video art for Roles. And as I mentioned, Luis does lots of visual art for the project.
Roles is playing live to support the release of the album. How much fun is it to get back to live performance?
We are very happy to be playing live again! We did do a lot of livestreams during lockdown, which kept the flame alive, but it’s not the same. We also love going to gigs as punters, it’s great to be back out at our favourite live music venues.
This is the obligatory, what music or bands got you into the scene?
If we ever get let into a scene we’ll let you know!
But this is more likely a question about our influences. I’m really bad at this stuff. I’ll try, but It’s hard to narrow it down: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Total Control, Sleaford Mods, New Order, Leonard Cohen, Radio Head, Chicks on Speed, Björk, Brian Eno, The Cure, CC Dust, Talking Heads, Anne Clark, PJ Harvey, YACHT, LCD Soundsystem, Bush Tetras, Peaches, Sonic Youth, Adult, Fleetwood Mac, Erase Errata, The Native Cats, Chook Race…I could go on, but I think that’s enough.
Who do you listen to now?
We are really into the local scene at the moment, getting out to watch gigs. So lately, it’s been acts such as Plaster of Paris, Miles Brown, The Techno Biddies, Party Pest, Hot Dog, V, Astral Skulls … tonight I’m going to the single launch for Pretty In Pink.
You find an old suitcase, with a tape reel inside of an interview. Who do you wish it was and why?
My maternal Great Grandmother. She died very young under mysterious circumstances. No one talked about it much, so I’ve always wondered what happened to her. That was back before there was so much awareness about mental health. I think hearing her story could help me understand my own experiences with that side of the family.
What is in the future for Roles?
Roles are currently working on our second collection of songs; the theme of this collection is death. This work mainly involves interviews we have conducted with various people, each song a conversation about death. I even interviewed myself for one of the songs, it’s a banger!
Thank you Lou for being an willing participant in this interview as well!
Painted Romans are Mats Davidsen (vocals, guitar, programming) and Jan Ottar Nystad (synth, guitar) from Trondheim, Norway. They have revisited the single “Formation“, released on the 19th of August, with fellow Norwegian, Karl Morten Dahl of Antipole, remixing the track and Pedro Code of IAMTHESHADOW, producing and mastering
There is that underlying swell of menacing synths below the delicate guitar, with Davidsen’s vocals in hushed reverence. There are more electronics in this version where the rhythm has been brought to a greater prominence. As always, the guitars are dreamy post-punk candy.
It was a nice post-punk/darkwave track before the remix, after the remix it has become super shiny and opalescence. It feels bigger, if that makes sense, like going from a nice flat screen to 3D. This just pops and adds extra beauty to this heart felt track, “Formation (Antipole Remix)” by Painted Romans.