Going 40 Octaves Below with Drake Moore – Interview

40 Octaves Below is the industrial project for Canadian Drake Moore and the newest album is MetaVerUs, released in January of 2023. This is the third studio album from 40 Octaves Below and is packed with a whooping fifteen tracks. The theme that ties this together is that the global network of media are creating mass misinformation, which in turn creates mass hysteria and hysterical populations are easier to control, never thinking to question why their rights are dwindling. The music itself is intense, with driving rhythms that you can easily lose yourself in, and dance to. So, we thought we better talk to Drake about MetaVerUs, that is about everything versus us, the average humans, and ask him all the important questions about this album, his collaborators and why it took thirteen years for 40 Octaves Below to release the first album….

Welcome Drake Moore to the desolate isle that is Onyx.

Hi Onyx. Pleasure to connect.

Your first album, “Digital Fracture” came out in 2019, but on the Bandcamp blurb, you mention that it was 13 years in the making. Can you please explain what you meant by this and what the culmination was leading up to the first release for 40 Octaves Below?

It’s a long story that pre-dates the current technology that allows most people with a decent workstation and DAW to produce music. It began with Propellerheads’s Rebirth software and lead into Reason later which resulted in a very nasty little release entitled “Sick Machine” under the name “Gore-Tek”. The ability to evolve beyond this was hampered by perceptual roadblocks, denial and a steady downward spiral into addiction. A lot of music was produced in that period. Some half finished, a lot of it just not very good. It was an ongoing mess of consumption and composition. The trick was the trap of thinking the substances were providing an expansion of mind which would result in brilliant musical output. And we were very dedicated and productive with the amount of garbage produced. A new awakening and sobriety came around 2010. It took seven years of stone cold sober before we could begin composing again. Around the end of that seven year period, the move into physical hardware made all the difference and things were really flowing.

Are you a native of Vancouver, in British Columbia and how do you think this has influenced your musical sound as well as the way you view the world?

We are from the Toronto area originally and have been on the west coast (on and off) for over 20 years. The earth magnetics are different out here and it has an effect on the people. Time elapses and is perceived in a slower manner. It had that effect on us and was where the love affair with electronic sound began. In a creative sense and also through community gatherings like live shows and raves. Music was huge on the west coast in the 90’s. Compared to then, today is a bit of a dead scene for live music. It is a challenge to optimistically perceive the world post global tyranny which tends to overshadow. Screaming at the top of one’s lungs is a release but is hard to gauge the spread. Love seems like a good answer but most days we just want blood.

Is there much of an Industrial scene in Vancouver and how do you find yourself relating to the scene?

The industrial scene here is largely a small group of DJs who keep the dance going. It’s a goth, fetish, dance type thing with not much in terms of local industrial bands. We’ve been trying to crack into the local DJ sphere and have found little to no response. The DJs in Toronto like Dwight Hybrid, Live Evil, DI Auger, Anthony (H) and others have been very supportive and are all about elevating Canadian talent.

“MetaVersUs” is your 3rd studio album, which came out this year. Did you find this album easier to write than the previous two, especially with the world starting to emerge from the Covid cocoon?

Our eyes opened wide when the evidential truth of 9/11 hit home. That was a great veil un-lifting and like taking that dreaded “red” pill. Since then, we’re constantly looking over our shoulder and striving to keep our own mind free from the programming. “MetaVersUs” is a lot more blatant in its message but is still harping at the same themes from the previous two albums. At this point, it’s all been said ad nauseam. We perceive the logic in the evil. Logic however has failed us as has science. We are now staring into the face of madness and the new physics. The production was a little slower as we share a single vessel and are forever honing new knowledge into practice. What comes next will be of a new skin entirely.

I have to say the title is a rather clever. Was it always going to be “MetaVersUs”?

Since Meta’s inception (under any previous name), is has always been against the people.

There are 15 tracks in all, so was it a conscientious decision or did you just find that those tracks just worked together?

We work mostly with Elektron gear these days (a trio of the Analog Four, Octatrak and Analog Rhythm). The first two albums were eight core tracks and that was primarily because the Octatrak (which is used as the master sequencer) has the capacity for eight songs in a given project. In a live scenario, it seemed optimal to have the tracks within one project per grouping to address the time lag of load time in switching projects. In approaching “MetaVersUs”, we wanted to create something larger and ended up chaining arrangements together within the same song and later breaking things apart for production in the DAW. This was a strategy used to create some sense of continuity as well. The number of tracks in the end was not entirely planned. At least not consciously.

Do you have a favourite track or tracks, off the album that you are proud of?

Not sure that there is a favourite. Each track expresses a deep feeling. Although it may appear there is a lot of anger in the expression, it comes from a tremendous love and want for humanity to do better. “Echoes” features a selection of samples taken from YouTube posts by our very dear late friend Raven Rowanchilde (Love and the Muse). That track is special. Raven had a lot of wisdom to share with the world and we wanted to present a sample while honouring her. Our collaboration with our good friend DI Auger on the track “MthrFckr” was a collaboration first and was a lot of fun to work on. “What If” was a last minute track and also a collaboration with EKaterina from Passion For Hypnosis. Both DI Auger and Ekaterina are a pleasure to work with and those tracks are unique in their own ways.

This latest album is a commentary on the current state of the world. What were the major ideas and statements you are making in “MetaVersUs”?

Our largest point of vulnerability is the media and the palm sized super computers we are addicted to. Our movements are tracked and our minds manipulated. We are all vulnerable no matter how clever or cautious we think we are. Denial runs thick with addiction. Very little is what it appears coming through the screen. The screens and platforms do not connect us. They are used to disconnect and divide. Who is responsible? We guess that a very small number actually know where the top is. We don’t but it is real and it is happening. We must claim back our minds if we are to survive. We must not divide.

You are definitely making political statements in your music, so do you feel that music is an important platform to create awareness and start conversations?

There is so much division and suppression of truth. It is nearly impossible to convince a robot that it is a robot if that information is not part of its programming. Music is the only platform where we can communicate ideas currently without immediate censorship. That could change but here we are. Anyone who listens closely and disagrees can turn it off. Perhaps through that experience, we have planted a seed. In the end creating music is what is keeping us relatively sane.

Chris Lefort is a classically trained pianist and his project is the gothic/industrial Di Auger from Ontario. He has appeared on most releases, so can you tell us about his contribution to current album but also the relationship you have with Lefort?

We connected with Chris shortly after “Digital Fracture” was released. We immediately clicked and were invited to play a show in Toronto opening for Trick Casket, Phantom High and DI Auger. That was a good show and opened the door for some remix collaborations with new friends. Chris has done a number of remixes for us and they are always killer. It was his idea originally to collaborate on “MthrFckr” which was going to be a single. It ended up on “MetaVersUs” because we thought the subject matter in line with the overall theme. “MthrFckr” is going to be released as a single separately in a couple months with remixes by DI Auger, Anthony (H), Live Evil Productions and 40 Octaves Below. Chris is just an all round great person. He does a lot to support industrial music in and around Toronto. It is a pleasure to know him.

You had guest artists do remixes of your two previous albums, that became their own releases in album form, so is there a plan in the future to go this way with “MetaVersUs” as well?

Yes this is already in the works. A couple surprises in store with this one.

Drake, you also have another electro-industrial project called Mesmer’s Ghost, which seems to have kicked off around 2020, so can you tell us what compelled you to start this separate journey?

Mesmer’s Ghost is a collaboration project with our friend James Seaborne (Innanfrá). We connected with James shortly after “Digital Fracture” and James immediately wanted to collaborate on something. He had this “Mesmer’s Ghost” name concept tucked away for the right time and so we set out to create some tracks. James comes up with these weird little musical journeys which served as the tone for each composition. This was inspiring. James wanted to handle the vocal side of things and leave most of the arranging to us. It is a nice palate cleanser after coming out of the 40 Octaves Below noise tunnel.

How would you say the styles differ from 40 Octaves Below and Mesmer’s Ghost?

Mesmer’s Ghost goes into a little more experimental territory and later works more into the gothic realm. There’s less anger expressed in Mesmer’s Ghost composition and more moodiness. We are a good way into a third Mesmer’s Ghost release that should be ready later this year.

How do you decide which songs you write are for 40 Octaves Below or Mesmer’s Ghost?

Each Mesmer’s Ghost track starts with some derangement of James’s. Anywhere from there ends up ghosty. There’s very little overlap in terms of production. We’re either working on 40 Octaves Below or Mesmer’s Ghost so there is definitely a switch that goes off in the head.

Are there plans to do live shows for “MetaVersUs” and is playing live something you like to do?

We love live. What is most likely to happen (working on the concept currently) is more of a DJ performance. We want to present something that is less structured, more improvised and in response to the audience. The idea involves the construction of a massive library encapsulating all our projects. You will hear little bit of this and a little bit of that and it’s going to absolutely slam. The challenge has been how to vocalize whilst presenting something dynamic instrumentally as a single entity. As the music has become more involved and complex, the live version has honestly suffered. This new approach will address all that.

Who are the bands/acts that really got you into this style/scene?

Music exposure was so limited as a young person prior to the explosion of the internet.  It was all word of mouth or what one picked up randomly on college radio or television video shows that catered to the “unusual” like “City Limits” on Much Music in Canada.  Nine Inch Nails was a welcome punch in the face the first time we heard “Head Like a Hole”. Then there as the “Land of Rape and Honey” Ministry release.  Things were not quite the same after experiencing these artists.  Life seemed more exciting.  Here was something that felt so personal and invigorating.  It was just so exciting to drive around blasting this music that no one else seemed to understand and was just so goddamn good at the same time.  It was validating and left the feeling of not being so alone in a world so different and lack lustre.  Skinny Puppy also played a huge influencing role but was another world that would open up later on.

Now for the fun bit…. you are gearing up to put out the remix version of “MetaVersUs” and you can choose anyone you want to do the mixes, living or or dead, whom would you choose?

Oh shit. Straight off let’s say this list does not include any past remixers. We are blessed to have worked with them ALL and would love to work with them again. Future remixers include Skinny Puppy, Combichrist, Omniflux, Ladytron, Massive Attack, Jimi La Mort, Trent Reznor, Ken Marshall, Jimmy Urine, MXMS and Gothsicles to name a few. A couple of these mentioned are happening…

What is on the horizon for Drake Moore?

More music is certain. Industrial Trip Hop? If we are hit by technology crippling solar flares, tribal drum jams in the forest. Come find us…

Thank you Drake for giving us your time.



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