Esoterik released their latest album, Alchemy, in March. Dubbed as pagan-synth, this US duo of Allison Eckfeldt and Brady Bledsoe, have created an album which has mystical folk tendrils, spliced together with electronic synths and rhythms. It is beautiful and danceable with a spiritual centre, calling back to a time when our ancestors were more in-tune to the world they walked in and the earth was far more listened to. So we decided that it was time to ask the band themselves about the new album and Esoterik.

Welcome Esoterik to the druidic grove in which Onyx thinks deep and perplexing thoughts.

The project, Esoterik, came into being in 2013, so how did it all happen?

Allison: I’ve felt a strong pull to create music, perform live and tour since high school but never had things line up to where it could happen… I ended up asking Brady if he would like to join together in a project after I had tried out as bassist for a different band he was in.

Brady: My musical tastes have always been all over the place and love creating soundscapes in different genres. Allison and I were sharing some of our favorite artists so I decided to take some of the elements I love most about those and just push it through my normal songwriting process to see what happens. I showed her a couple of demos and before we knew it, we had enough material to call it an album.

What were you both doing musically before Esoterik?

Allison: I was mostly playing on my bass guitar on my lunch breaks from work… and singing/recording covers of artists I was inspired by.

Brady: Directly before, I was playing in a project with some friends that I guess you would call Power Pop and also doing a lot of solo gigs with my acoustic, a synth and a looper pedal. I’ve dabbled and participated in projects across a wide array of genres over the years and I think that’s something I’ll always do to scratch the creative itch.

People might not know that the band is comprised of a husband/wife team. So, do you find it easier or harder being married to your bandmate?

Allison: I’ve only really known this formula so I can’t comment on if it is easier or harder… It isn’t hard though; It’s a lot of fun. It’s work too just like anything else you would like to improve upon. Lots of practice, listening, learning and growing. I’ve taken part in a lot of team-oriented projects so I approach this band the same from the same professional standpoint

Brady: I don’t know who told you that, but it’s a secret that was not to be revealed. In all seriousness though, I find it much easier and it’s pretty magical to be able to share the experiences of life on the road. You often hear about musicians having trouble being able to maintain relationships due to a lifestyle that requires a lot of traveling so problem solved there. In my opinion touring is one of the most gratifying and difficult things you can do as a musician and it can wear on you after a while. However, there’s a bond that forms out there in very little time and strangers become family. That experience with my partner is only amplified each time we get out there. I also always know where to find her when it’s time for rehearsals.

How do you both contribute to the creative process of writing songs?

Allison: I usually will write lyrics and pass them to Brady… I have my most fun sprinkling in ‘off the script’ takes during vocal recording however. The song starts to form its’ shape and I get really excited to add in flare where it feels right.

Brady: Our songwriting process varies depending on how inspiration strikes but it usually starts on an acoustic guitar with me working out chords or a melody that pops into my head. Once I have a general arrangement that seems solid, I’ll then go into the studio and start transposing and building out the skeleton. For lyrics or vocal melodies, we usually bounce ideas off each other or Allison may have lyrics already and we clean them up to fit the phrasing with the music.

Your latest album is “Alchemy” and alchemy was the precursor to modern science but still very much in the pseudo science realm, mixed with ideals of magic, and this reflects the album for me. Magical with its roots deep in the earth. What does the album mean for you?

Allison: It’s a journey to reconnect with myself. Take back all the pieces of who I am that I had let get away from me… The songs are introspective, empowering and full of affirmations. This album to me is basically a diary of my past three years doing shadow work. Un-learning and re-learning to live again.

Brady: The concept of Alchemy has transformed and evolved over time but regardless of the focus, the fascination to me from a physical perspective would be how the elements from the earth interplay with our bodies, which are also composed of some of those elements. The practice also plays well into the realm of spirituality and the power of intention. The process of making music to me feels very alchemical with taking ingredients that have a very defined character or texture alone but when combined created something unexpected and seemingly new. The individual songs on the new album have been crafted with purpose and intention to represent the element or compound titled.

Each of the singles on the album were also released as remix EPs, with guests doing each mix. Could you please explain why you decided to go this way and who you invited to do your mixes?

Allison: We invited a lot of our friends and acquaintances to join in on the single releases. We thought it would be a really fun way to send the songs off into the world. I’m really happy with every track and it was so beyond amazing to be able to listen to everyone’s own take for which direction they wanted to take the soundscape into.

Brady: The way people listen to music is constantly evolving and regardless whether or not as an artist you have a preference on how your music should be consumed, I feel like you have to give your music the opportunity the most airtime you can and spreading those releases out with additional content is sometimes the only way to reach who really wants to hear what you’re creating. In terms of the artist selection, we’ve been lucky to cross paths with a lot of talented musicians over the years and it’s a very tight knit community where you start to lean on people you trust and respect.

Some are very big names, so was that both exciting and nerve wracking?

Allison: Everyone who agreed to take part in our project we have met on tours and through mutual friends. Fortunately, nothing was nerve wracking because everyone who took part, I feel very calm around. I’ve never felt judgment from these individuals and have only had good conversations with them. When you can fully be yourself around creative partners, really beautiful magic can flourish.

Brady: It’s always a bit nerve wracking for me no matter the artist, but also super gratifying to hear your music re-imagined and often elevated to another level. There are a few remixes on the EPs where I seriously contemplate whether their interpretation is actually a better fit than the studio track, which is a great predicament to come across. We are really grateful and honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with such amazing artists and even better to call some of them good friends.

The latest single is “Tria Prima”, which in alchemy is represented by a three sided triangle and is the bringing together of three elements. Can you tell us about this concept and about the music video?

Allison and Brady: Tria Prima takes listeners through the underbelly of the mind and highlights the importance of self-awareness and the balance necessary between mind, body and consciousness. Our minds can be a very ugly space to explore and will run wild if left to their own devices. The mind is flawed by design but with focus and intention, freedom from our self-imposed shackles is possible and always waiting.

If you had to pick a track off the album that would be your favourite to play live, which would it be?

Allison: Salt; I really look forward to performing this one live… The vocals are so fun; and there’s such a variety of moods I get to tap into. The whole song really paints such a nice atmosphere for me to vibe with.

Brady: I would have to say Tria Prima, it’s very high energy and I love the dual vocals.

The cover art for the album is really quite exquisite! Who created it?

Allison and Brady: We had a photo session with some very talented artists Neisha T. Ford and Eugnell, who specialize in what I’d call modern Renaissance style shoots. We didn’t really have any direction on cover art at the time, but after seeing the proofs we knew that one in particular just had a feel that was striking and timeless. We collaborated with another amazing artist, Vlad McNeally (Kallisti Design), who has designed for pretty much everyone in the business and he knocked it out of the park with bringing the vision to life.

For 2 years, Covid has created havoc with the music industry, especially with touring. How did it affect the recording of the album and also your ability to play live?

Allison: It benefited the recording process; as we were stuck home the entire time. We had all that extra time to record and just be creative in general. Performing live was nonexistent during the pandemic…so we had no live shows for quite some time except performing for friends. I’m really looking forward to hitting the road once more. Being able to do live shows is such a huge part of the lifestyle that it feels really uncomfortable when I can’t make those in person connections with listeners.

Brady: It was absolutely wonderful from a creative perspective; we were able to finish up the last half of the album without any distractions. We’ve actually only played a couple of shows in almost three years now so we’re really jonesing to 1) be able to perform for an audience and feel that energy exchange and 2) play a new set with the tracks from Alchemy.

Your style was described by a fan as dark pagan, I feel due to your earthy tones rooted in a darker past, would you agree with that interpretation?

Allison: We were coined ‘Pagan-Synth’ by a fan on YouTube after ‘Spirits light the way’ was released and I instantly fell in love with the term. Blending spiritual, spell rooted songs with synth. In the future, as we grow with our sound; I would like to blend more Folk pagan into synth heavy beats. I would like to find a way to blend in some progressive guitars as well.

Brady: We definitely resonate with a pagan path and for me, it’s really about our connection with the earth. When we take time in nature, we feel more connected to everything and that goes a long way for anything that ails you. Some of that inevitably bleeds into the music we create from a lyrical standpoint. However, there’s nothing ancient sonically in what we’re doing at the moment so it may just be a marriage of the two.

What music/bands, first got you into the alternative scene?

Allison: That’s pretty hard for me to pinpoint… I grew up on ‘alternative’ 70’s music and then around 2002 (I was 12.) One of my older brothers, Kyle, burned me a mix CD with Static-X, Fear Factory, Drain STH, Black Sabbath, Gravity Kills and others. The two songs I would put on repeat off of the CD were ’Sold my Soul’ by Zakk Wylde and Drain STH ‘I Wish’. The Zac Wylde song brought me a lot of peace and comfort when I was no longer able to see my older brothers until I was around 16. Just that opening guitar of the track hit me right in the solar plexus. Some of the lyrics I really felt deeply but the melody itself was so healing to me. The Drain STH song felt like the anthem to my existence during my early teens… The lyrics really spoke things I couldn’t vocalize. I found myself going back to that track when I was in a really low spot.

Brady: My first taste of the scene was in the early 90’s and was mesmerized by the melodies and catchy hooks of New Wave and Synth Pop artists like Depeche Mode and New Order. Although when I started actually composing music I was on a steady diet of grunge and industrial, I knew I’d always come back around.

Are there any acts or albums that you are into now?

Allison: I absolutely love Eivor, I’ve seen her twice live and I am in absolute awe of her creativity, vocal range and overall musical portfolio. I own all her CDs and feel such a deep connection with what she writes. I’m also in awe of iamamiwhoami; I can listen to their albums front and back without getting tired of a track… I usually listen to them while I’m drawing or painting. Each track hits me right in the heart.

Brady: There’s so much great music right now thanks to the downtime everyone had with the pandemic. A couple that come to mind though are Haex and Pixel Grip. They both have such a unique spin on the ground that others have walked before. One’s heavier and one is more on the dancey side but I highly suggest checking those two bands out!

If you had the gift of creation with alchemy, what would you want to create with this power?

Allison: Alchemists created such a wide variety of things chemists still use to this day… When really thinking about the question I suppose I wouldn’t be concerned with creating anything in particular. I would instead be more interested in learning and experimenting through trial and error… and from that point pinpointing exactly what path I would want to explore. I would like to spend more time learning from knowledgeable sources about Prima Materia as I think a lot of ideas could be answered there. Carl Jung had some interesting takes on alchemy actually if anyone else is interested in learning more.

Brady: In the literal sense, I’ve always been intrigued by mortality and ways that we try to avoid the inevitable so the Elixir of Life would be my creation. Like much of history though, I think there’s more metaphors in ancient practices than literal so we could very well have that gift and already created that with this album.

Dark pools of still water were considered sacred places where gifts were given to receive both luck and information. What do the dark waters tell you about the future of Esoterik?

Allison: when reading your question, I actually had a memory pop into my head… My kindred spirit Christian and I were doing a ritual by a natural waterfall at night. The waterfall is in Oklahoma at ‘The Sacred Valley of the Gnomes’ (Runestone park.). The waters at the base of the waterfall were pitch black and the forest surrounding had very little light… I offered an expensive Labradorite ring I loved and Christian offered a prize procession of his own into the dark waters to the old Gods. We sat in the darkness together under the starlight. After a bit of time had passed in silence, we both at the same time locked eyes in the sky above something otherworldly I’ve sworn with Christian to never elaborate on. The gift the dark waters gave me that night told me that the Gods will keep me and protect me, guide me and direct me. They told me magic is real and that all I need to be is open in order to receive it. I’ve held this close as my guiding light.

Brady: Much like the dark waters that present an opportunity for reflection, I believe the knowledge and intuition we seek is already within us if we’re able to focus and listen. It’s still hard for me to get too carried away with planning far out in the future. As we have come to realize through an event like the pandemic, those plans can change at the drop of a hat. My focus these days is on the one thing I can control and that’s to continually create music and art that excites me. I feel like if I can keep that going, everything else will fall into place with much less effort.

Thank you for both your time and the music!

Pagan-Synth. – ESOTERIK (

Esoterik | Facebook

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 (

Lia Hide

LIA HIDE | 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.



TurboWave is the metal crossed with electronics style that Seattle band, Dual Analog describe as their musical sound. They very recently released their debut album. Lust, Worship And Desire, so there seemed no better time to talk to the two originators of the group, Chip Roberts and Kurtis Skinner, about their turbowave genre, origin story and of course about the new album.

Dual Analog, welcome to the Onyx rabbit hole of reality versus the Id. We hope you will enjoy your flight with us as we traverse dimensions.

You are from the Seattle scene in Washington. What is the alternative scene like there?

Chip: The most popular original groups are metalcore or singer/songwriter acts, but there’s a growing goth/darkwave scene coming up. The climate in the Northwest lends itself to dark, brooding music. Unfortunately, the “Seattle scene” of the early 90s kind of typecasted this whole area it has taken a while to move past that as a city. It’s been almost 30 years now, it’s time to move on!

Let us clear something up. You describe your musical style as turbowave. One of the Onyx cats is called Turbo as well, however he does not write music in the style of new wave, industrial and metal (though he does disappear for large lengths of time so who knows). Can you explain your style a little more?

Kurtis: Personally, I like to branch out to different genres to see what I can do and what will work. A “Dual Analog” song to me would have drum machines and/or acoustic drums, some guitar, vocals, and various synths, as well as possibly some orchestral and sound design elements.

Chip: Saying it’s “synthwave metal” puts us in a difficult spot, because if it’s not synthwave enough, people get uppity. Similarly, if it’s not metal enough, people get uppity. We knew it had to be a “wave” genre of some kind, but we didn’t want to paint ourselves into a corner. Plus, “turbo” makes me think of the Judas Priest record, which incorporated heavy metal guitars with keyboards and drum machines.

Kurtis: We just like to combine interesting grooves and melodies into a more or less traditional song format.

Chip: The songs off of “Lust, Worship, and Desire” comprise just one portion of our catalog; we have lots of different kinds of songs from danceable, gothy affair, to straight up pop. We wanted something that hadn’t already been defined so that we could stretch out a bit.

What were Chip Roberts and Kurtis Skinner up to in the Seattle music scene before joining their collective super music powers together?

Chip: We were playing together in Perfect Zero, but I was also playing or subbing in cover/tribute bands in the area. I played lead guitar in a Prince tribute, which is how I met Libby B.; she sang backup. I was also playing the casino circuit with a female fronted funk/RnB cover band.

Kurtis: In addition to Perfect Zero, I was and still am composing for various independent films, mostly shorts.

We gather the name Dual Analog, has something to do with the fact there were two members originally in the band, so how did you guys become involved with each other and create this project?

Chip: Kurtis and I have known eachother since elementary school. We started our first “band” in 7th grade, broke up in high school, and then reformed in college. We played in Axis of Symmetry and Perfect Zero, both of which erred were melodic death metal. After playing the Northwest metal scene for a few years, we found, if you were a metal band, that there wasn’t a ton of room for innovation; it’s very black and white. We put out an EP with Perfect Zero before dissolving the band; it had just become too much compromise and damage control. However, Kurtis and I still wanted to work with eachother, and we were sitting on some very strong material for what would have been the second Perfect Zero record.

Kurtis: Right after Perfect Zero ended, we got together and discussed how we each wanted to go forward musically. We had the same ideas of what we wanted to make, and so the beginnings of Dual Analog started.

Can you tell us who else is part of Dual Analog?

Chip: Kurtis and I are the primary songwriters and recording musicians. All of the instrument parts you hear on the record were written and recorded by the two of us, but we have some of our backing band members helping out on harmony vocals throughout the record. The live backing band is Sarah Anne Campbell on drums, Lindsey Ferrari on backup vocals, Libby B. Franklin on backup vocals, and Alika Madis on guitar. Sarah and Alika do live backups as well; it’s a really powerful and strong group of players.

Lust, Worship And Desire is your debut, after releasing six singles. Did you feel it was time to put out an album or was it planned this way?

Chip: We had an EP written, tracked, and sent off for mixing, but the person we sent it to for mixing and mastering flaked on us. During that waiting period, we wrote a number of songs that we were excited about, so we decided to shelve that EP and just make a full album of all-new songs.

I have to say I really like the mix of modern electronics with vocals in Golden Temple. Do you have a favourite track off the album?

Chip: I like every song on the record, and they’re all a little different from one another, which I love, but the song I’m the most proud of is the title track “Lust, Worship, and Desire.”

Kurtis: I like some more than others, but I’m very happy with “Among the Living”. It’s also one of my favorites to play live.

Four of the six singles made it onto the album….what happened to Neon Dreams and Wasteland?

Chip: “Neon Dreams” was more of a soft open that we put out to give people a sample of our new project. Originally, I had it arranged with acoustic drums and 7-string guitars, but we decided to do just the electronic version as a single. We had floated the idea of putting out the heavy version for the album, but it didn’t really fit with the rest of the songs musically or lyrically. Live, that song always goes over really well, especially with the guitars added. “Wasteland” was kind of similar in that we thought about putting it on the album, but it just didn’t fit with the rest of the material.

The album has a premise or a storyline running through it. Can you tell us about the boy and his search?

Chip: After receiving an unsolicited kiss from a, seemingly, complete stranger, he sets out to become actualized sexually. Taking the affection as the one thing missing from his life, he devotes his existence completely and utterly to attaining physical perfection and achieving enlightenment through sex. He practices asceticism, studies the ancient, lost art of lovemaking, and worships the goddess who gave him a taste of what he was missing before disappearing. I liken the concept to a “coming of age” story.

It is said that this is an ideal based in Buddhism, and is this a lesson learnt?

Chip: Now, that would be a spoiler.

I also noticed that a lot of the synths create chiming bell like sounds. Was this a preferred addition or a way to tie in the karmaic storyline?

Kurtis: I can’t speak to the storyline, but for me the bells add an interesting organic element and has contributed to how we define “our sound”.

Chip: In terms of whether the sound is intentional or incidental, I think it’s a chicken or the egg scenario. Certain songs need a certain sound, and certain sounds bring a certain song. I’ve always felt that every song we write has a “setting,” some kind of visual backdrop that pops into your head when you hear it. Songs like “Among the Living” or “Pantheon,” for example, feel like a Tibetan monastery. “Dynasties Behind” makes me think of a hot summer afternoon in Angkor Wat. When a certain setting comes to mind, I just go with it and the rest comes together pretty quickly.

There seems to be an 80s retro feel to the music, especially with the synths and the vocals. Would you say this is the era that influenced you the most?

Kurtis: I listen to a lot of modern electronic music, which has a lot of 80s influence in it these days, so I think that’s more what I was going for – a modern version of these types of sounds.

Chip: In previous projects, I always sang tenor. That kind of voice works at times for this kind of music, and you can hear it in a few songs on the record, but the rounder, more baritone flavored vocals just kind of found themselves into the sound. It wasn’t a foresight driven decision to say “I’m going to try to sound like Depeche Mode” or “I’m going to make this one more like Duran Duran,” it’s just that the music lends itself to that kind of vocal style. As we got more organized and focused, I had to get back into voice lessons. As I learned more of the proper technique, my voice just sort of naturally changed. It was kind of odd since I had always tried to sound more like Sebastian Bach than Roland Orzabal, but I like the way my voice sounds now, and I can still sing like Bas when I want to.

What music and bands inspired you to get into the music world?

Chip: KISS and Bon Jovi were the two biggest ones starting out.

Kurtis: Chip was basically the first person to introduce me to music, so KISS and Bon Jovi, but also AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses.

What bands/acts do you listen to now?

Kurtis: I’m all over the place, so this is always a hard question for me. Rufus du Sol is one of my favorite bands right now, but also Above & Beyond, Porter Robinson, Lane 8, This Will Destroy You, Lights & Motion, Halestorm, Dance with the Dead to name a few.

Chip: I’m listening to whatever my girlfriend has playing in her car. Lately, it has been mostly Wu Tang Clan and LaRoux. I’m getting into some Fates Warning right now and also stumbled across this obscure New Wave band called “Zee,” particularly their album “Identity” from 1984. Sounds kind of like Dead Can Dance, but poppier.

If you met Buddha on the road would you ask him the meaning of life, kill him or have a beer with him?

Chip: A cup of tea.

Kurtis: I would ask what he was doing sitting on the side of the road.

What is in the future for Dual Analog?

Chip: Hitting the promo as hard as we can and lots of meetings with promoters. We have a video for “Into the Unknown” coming out in May, then we’ll be shooting another video for the title track “Lust, Worship, and Desire” around late July.

Kurtis: Also, tons of new material, we have no shortage of ideas. There will be a lot of music coming from us for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for astral travelling with us today. Glad to see no one became motion sick or became spiritually lost.

Lust, Worship, and Desire | Dual Analog (

Dual Analog | Facebook

If you search the name Elenor Rayner, you can be quite overcome with the amount of musical acts and bands she is involved in. Most recently, she released two singles for her project, Robots In Love as well as a remix of the JA/VI track, “Good Cocaine“. We were fortunate enough to be able to speak to the delightful Elenor about the music she has been involved in, what she is up to now and ….oops we may have created a monster. If you want to know how then read on!!

Welcome Elenor Rayner, the creative mind behind Robots in Love, to the Onyx mainframe, which is far dodgier than the holodeck in Star Trek and tinged with the macabre.

You started your musical career in Melbourne, Australia, but you now live in Dunedin, New Zealand. Are you a Kiwi or an Aussie, as inquiring minds want to know?

I was born in Australia but I now have New Zealand citizenship. I adore Dunedin. It’s a creative, eccentric place with more musicians per capita than anywhere else in the country. Everyone plays in 3 different bands and they’ll put on gigs anywhere. I do keep a keyboard at a friend’s place in Melbourne though, so I can pop over and play shows.

Elenor, you have had a varied and successful music career, which we’d like to touch on. Soulscraper was the first industrial band you were in, starting in 1991. That must have been a really exciting time to be getting into the scene?

The technology at the time was so exciting. To be able to sample anything and change it however you like was mind-blowing. We sampled a lot from movies, especially sci-fi, and playing those mangled cinematic sounds live through huge PA systems was really satisfying. 

In fact, I met up with the other Soulscrapers last week and we talked about playing shows later this year. We’re all keen to play those songs again.

The next big thing was The Crystalline Effect with Pete Crane, which started in 2002. Pete definitely has a darker take on electronic music, so how do you think working with him affected the way you write music and is there a chance we might hear from The Crystalline Effect in the future?

The Crystalline Effect released 6 albums I think, so it was a prolific period for us. We wrote two songs before we even met. We used to send cds through the mail because we both disliked the sound of mp3s. I really enjoyed the subtlety of Pete’s programming, it was amazingly delicate and there was room for me to experiment with vocal melodies and harmonies. Some of those songs are incredibly beautiful. I still listen to them.  Maybe one day I’ll do a show with all my bands on the line-up.That would be a rollercoaster of emotions.

Recording for yourself as Sobriquet and Sobriquet Nation, how different was this for you as opposed to writing and making decisions with a band?

In a band there’s a lot of compromising. Probably most bands do this, but I remember developing a theory that the singer should have the ultimate say because they’re the ones who have to really believe it. With Sobriquet, being on my own I learnt a lot, delving into the tiniest detail of a song and tweaking it until it’s perfect. Nowadays on about a quarter of tracks I am the producer, on a quarter I am the vocalist and on half I do both. On the ones where I do both I do tend to talk to myself. Vocalist-Elenor says to Producer-Elenor: “we need a dropout there”.

In 2019 you released the haunting album, July, under your Sobriquet moniker and before that, in 2018, another album, My Very Essence. You are very prolific, as each album has around 15 tracks, so do you find the process of creating music easy?

Yes, I do find it easy, and it is essential to me. I’m not very good at talking about feelings so I tend to pour everything into songs instead. It’s like: “I can’t say this to you, so here, listen to this song”. All the main events of my life, and my friends’ lives are there for anyone to hear.

This brings us to your project Robots In Love. 2017 saw you drop the 5-track self-titled release followed by various singles, including two new tracks in March of this year, the slower ‘Wish’ and the bass heavy hitter ‘The Raven’ (which actually made think of Paul Raven Killing Joke/Ministry). Can you tell us a little about these tracks?

Usually, I produce the music first and then when I listen to the song, I figure out what it’s about and the words come into my head. The Ravens is stompy and quite upset. It is about dementia. Wish is sad and resigned and it’s about inequality.

There was also the rip snorting dancefloor remix of the JA/VI song, ‘Good Cocaine’, that you recently let loose. What was it about this track that spoke to you?

As soon as I heard it, I could relate to the feeling of love lost. It’s a universal thing but I loved the melody and the sadness in JA/VI’s vocal. I kept the vocal as it was and added the music. I think smashing your emotions out on the dancefloor is a healthy thing to do. I really enjoy playing that song live, it definitely gets everyone moving. I’m glad it’s getting airplay.

Is creating remixes under the Robots In Love name a new thing for you and how much fun do you have reimagining someone else’s music?

I do quite a few remixes each year. The next ones coming up are for Tiny Fighter, a Swedish band, and IKON.

I never have a pre-determined idea of what I’m going to do, I just start and see what happens. One cheeky thing I like to do is alter the melody of the vocal somewhere in the song and add harmonies. Cellmod added harmonies to one of my vocals in a remix of “How I Get Out” and I thought it was great and wished I’d come up with it.

Sometimes I do remixes of remixes. For instance, I remixed the first Human Confusion single, ‘Overwhelmed’, then I decided I liked it as an instrumental then I accidentally found myself singing new words and melodies to it so now there’s a completely new song.

Will there be an album coming out soon?

Yes, and there’ll be a variety of styles on it. I’ve written a few Goth Trap songs lately.

You describe your sound as ‘darkly beautiful, emotional, melodic electronic music’. What is it about this style of music you love? 

The emotion is the main thing for me. Songs are like little capsules of things you need. If I’m sad I will listen to a song like “Equilibrium” and by the end I’ll be back to equilibrium. Magic.

You are involved with David Thrussell’s Snog as a live member. Please tell us what that is like, and is it utter insanity?

I’ve been playing live in Snog for 23 years. Even though the song topics are as serious as you can get, David loves humour and so do I, so being on tour with him is great fun.

I’m looking forward to the Snog shows in Melbourne and Sydney supporting PWEI.

When you were young, what bands and people inspired you to get into industrial/electronic music? 

I remember going a lot to a club called Thrash and Treasure in Richmond, Melbourne and jumping around to music there like Nitzer Ebb and Young Gods. I liked the dual bass guitars of Denial and Pre Shrunk and I remember being very happy when I discovered bands who had both bass guitar and electronic bass. 

Who inspires you or makes you happy now in musical terms?

I have a few other projects which I really enjoy. My band Human Confusion consists of me doing all the programming and Miriam Leslie the vocals. Her voice is like warm salted caramel sauce and her lyrics have a twist to them. Our first single “Overwhelmed” has a line in it – “I tried setting fire to it, but it burned too bright and took the bridges with it”. We’ve almost finished an album.

I like doing vocals for DevilMonkey. Our collaboration “Deluxe” is my favourite song. Live, I play a combination of the original track and my remix. It’s a powerful way to end a show.

An artist called Dead Caldera released their first single last year which I listen to all the time. I keep asking them to release more. The intricate programming of Sirus excites me. And anything Ehsan Gels creates is always satisfying.

What sort of robot would you want to be, if you could choose between a replicant as seen in Blade Runner or a cyborg, with your memories and personality downloaded into it, like Ghost In The Shell?

That is a good question. I always thought I’d be the little sad boy in A.I. but now you’ve got me thinking – I could be something really innovative. I will ponder that. You may have created a monster 🙂

What do you see in your electronic dreams for the future of Robots In Love and Elenor Rayner?

I always just feel a need to create more music. I have three new band members of Robots In Love and that’s been great. We can play live some of my older songs like “July” now, and they bring their own interpretations. Also, it’s fun to have others on stage to jump around and interact with.

So I just see more songs, more releases, more gigs and endless moving around of sounds on a computer screen to make sure they make me feel.

Thank you, Elenor, for joining us in this electric dream.

Music | Robots In Love (

Robots In Love | Facebook

The end of last year saw the Athenian’s, Siva Six, release DeathCult, their fifth studio album, which came out on the label, Alfa Matrix. There were two years poured into the creation of this stunning album and the tracks are amalgamations of synths and beats with classical elements, all tied up with Z’s guttural vocals. It is a truly beautiful opus on the dark delights that await those that pass the veil. The lovely Z spoke to us about DeathCult and what makes Siva Six tick.

Welcome to the downward spiral that is Onyx! Please ignore the harpies, as they are grumpy because we put them on a diet.

You released your first album, Rise New Flesh, back in 2005. Did you ever think Siva six would still be releasing albums in 2022?

Z– Hell no… we thought we could have a good ride for approximately 10 years but as always, making plans is a part of reality. The other parts are a complicated equation, nevertheless I feel proud of what we have achieved so far. I assure you, it was not easy starting an Industrial/Dark Electro band in 00’s in Athens /GR

Can you tell as how the band started back then in Athens?

Z– We where just a couple of youngsters full of dreams and love for music, we had a hunger for life, to explore, to create, to do it our way. We started very young, we should have been around 15 years old when we had our first gig, trying to play some hardcore/punk/metal stuff. As soon as we got into Goth and EBM a whole new great world appeared and we wanted to be part of it. Since then we spent countless hours on the project and with faith, love and will, we made it happen.

You guys are also involved in the Greek metal scene as well, so when the band first started, what was the industrial/metal scene like back then and do you think it has changed?

Z– Along the way and more precisely, during our demo days, we were offered to play keyboards in 2 of the biggest Greek bands, me with SepticFlesh and Noid with Rotting Christ. Although our skills were not that great, I guess they loved our looks lol…Seth from SepticFlesh, once said that you guys look like pinheads son’s…,as for the Industrial /Metal scene, it was great back then, everyone wanted a piece of it in their music. Rob Zombie, Manson, NIN, Rammstein, that was the heydays of that scene and sure we were enjoyed it as well. Yes, its not a trend anymore, you hardly hear the good stuff with the exception of 3Teeth and a few more I guess…

Photo – VAIA

November 2021 saw you release your fifth studio album, DeathCult. It took 2 years for you to give life to brilliant album, so what took so long?

Z– Thank you for the compliment! I have been hearing it a lot about “DeathCult” and honestly puts a smile on my face. It always takes too much time to do an album that I am happy with. It takes me more than a month to do the pre-production for 1 track. I was into some deep personal shit, living in Leipzig at the time and it was hard for me to focus. We changed producer and that was not an easy one to deal with, especially when you work with a certain producer for 15 years

The 2 year wait was well worth it. You said in an interview that you enjoyed the work of Erik Saite. What was it about Gnossienne No 1 that inspired you to incorporating it into the mesmerising track Ghost Dance?

Z– I love Satie’s work, its utterly unique. His works are simply haunting, so..all in all, I was obsessed with his track, “Gnossienne No1”. I wanted to do a cover of it and here you go…. It was the hardest track to deal with and it took me 2 and half months to finish the pre-production. From a point and on, I started to be delusional, thinking that Satie is punishing me because he was still not happy with my outcome. I was desperate hearing it over and over again and for many hours per day. I was stuck, hearing his piano theme in a loop, it was killing me mentally until I found a way out and finished the song. Totally happy with the final result and hopefully with Satie’s blessings. Definitely a track that has a great feedback and brought many on our ship

The album is all about death, from serial killers to the after life. Can you tell us more about this?

Z– Death and Life, that’s the total balance and opposition at the same time, although both part of the whole that is existence. In this album I chose to focus on Death, it felt more like kin at the time… so I dove into its ocean, tried to understand a bit more. I twisted the angle. I watched and I asked to learn more. I think I did. Death is vital. Death is a path. Death is the transition. Death makes life unique. Death is all around us. Our societies, since day one, worshiped Death, not in a good way….its easy to understand that if you look carefully. Which is the god we mostly obey to?…it’s Death. We hate, we take advantage of others, we step on our friends, lovers, colleagues, we will do anything it takes to fulfill our desires and twisted plans. We think we control our lives but we are mostly nothing more than just the pathetic servants of Death’s lowest quality…the vain and ignorant, close minded tourists of life’s miracle.

What is it about the grotesque and macabre that inspires you and your music?

Z– More or less that’s what has always attracted me in music, The grotesque and the Macabre. My music heroes were drug addicts, alcoholics, outcasts and dangerous, damned and the tracks that I was turned on, listened to, were always the one’s that made me feel otherworldly. I cannot really put it in a frame, as a music and lyric creator, its just a feeling and when I hear it, it rings in me, I know that I am where I want to be.

You recorded the album with Dinos Prassas, also known as Psychon, who mixed and mastered DeathCult. Can you tell us about working with Psychon and what he brings to the Siva Six albums?

Z– Psychon has also done the production on this album besides Mix/Mastering. We have known each other since the early 00’s. We met at the rehearsal studio that Siva Six and his band was rehearsing at the time. He is a great guy, very talented, easy going and skillful sound design wise. Meanwhile, the timing to do another album with our ex producer was not a good one, so I talked with Psychon. I asked him to do a couple of demos and when I heard with what he had come up with, I heard the ringing in my ears….Psychon brings all of his positive and artistic aura in our music, working along side with his big orchestras, guitars, basses and the rest of the weird stuff he is into. We love his work and final touch he did in “DeathCult”.

George Klontzas of Teknovore spoke to me about how much admiration he has for Siva Six and was super proud of the cover you guys did together of Save Me God. This seems like a close friendship.

Z– Its an honor and I am glad to hear George’s feelings about us! We have met a couple of times in Athens & Edinburgh. I don’t really get excited by collaboration offers, my time is limited but when he offered to me the singing position in his Dark Soho cover, which is one of my all time favorite bands, I immediately accepted! I am happy and proud at the same time for the final outcome.

Photo – VAIA

Which song do you think you are going to really enjoy playing live?

Z– I will totally enjoy to play live again dear, since it has been 2 years and a half since our last gig, so all in all at this time, what really matters to me is to get back on the stage which I feel the urge to do so but “Ghost Dance” is the one I really can’t wait to experience on stage.

Talking of live music, how has covid affected the band as far as touring and are there any plans to do so soon?

Z– Some gigs in Germany & Greece were cancelled or postponed, we had no gigs for the last 2 and a half years. Lets face it…it’s a disaster. A ray of light has come in at the moment, so we will take the chance to do 4 live shows in Greece and hopefully our agent will sort out some gigs in Europe but its way too much complicated at the moment, since the line up bills and tours are full with the 2020 schedules. It’s sad but at least, since we get this feedback on a daily basis, that “DeathCult” is our best album so far but unfortunately the doors are not opened as wide as it would probably be pre-covid era.

You have toured with some legendary acts, so who was the most fun?

Z– We have shared the stage with some really great bands indeed. Tuske Ludder are great and funny people. We have became good friends with Hein from Theatre of Tragedy. Type o Negative were such a good people and Clan of Xymox are very cool and funny, I love Ronnie and we used to hang out a lot.

What music and bands got you into the EBM/industrial scene?

Z– I think it was mostly Ministry in the very early 90’s, Aphex Twin, Front 242, Einsturzende Neubauten but at the time the whole scene was on a launch and so many new bands were going out with a bang!

Who really gets you excited now about music?

Z– Without a doubt NIN and Trend Reznor projects, Chealsea Wolfe, 3TEETH, Wulfband, Perdubator, Soundtracks

Right at this moment in time, you have the ability to teleport to a beautiful sunny beach with blue waters or a gloomy cemetery full of mausoleums and famous artists……. where do you choose to go and why?

Z– If the cemetery would be the resurrection spot of a few of my favorite artists…. I would definitely wanted to be around and chat with them…. if not I would rather enjoy the sea thinking of them.

What is in the future for Siva Six?

Z– Our contract with Alfa Matrix is over and we have started some demo’s but as usual, it will take time to finish the pre-production. To be totally honest with you….I have no idea. There is too much mental strain all around us and the times we live in seem relentless. Hardships and setbacks are on the daily menu on everyone’s table. We will do some shows hopefully…and we will take it as it comes, you know..thinking a lot about the future does not really make sense, good things or bad things will happen or they will not.

Thank you for the dance while Chaos has her way with the world and thank you for your exquisite music!

Z– It was my pleasure and honour dear Adele ! Thank you.

DeathCult | SIVA SIX | Alfa Matrix (


SIVA SIX – Official Website – News

BlazerJacket were releasing a single on the 25th of February and never thought they would be releasing “Get Out” featuring Dirty Bird 13, while their home country, Ukraine, was facing invasion from Russian forces. The irony now is that a song which was about leaving abusive relationships is now a call to remove the invaders and free their home. We were lucky enough to be put in contact with Denis and Hybri Mod, who answered our questions. Those questions where it doesn’t say who answered, are a combined answer that they both agreed on in unison. If you haven’t checked out their thumping industrial track, this is our suggestion that you should.

Welcome to Onyx, where the streets have no names… because we removed them all.

You are based in Ukraine, so how are things for you both currently?

Denis: I am in Kyiv, trying to lead a normal life, only with the addition of two options – “try to survive” and “fight”. Of course, life has changed a lot … Daily rocket and artillery shelling of cities, constant air raids, daily evidence of attacks by Russian soldiers, murders of children, rape of women… It makes me very nervous and I struggle every day. And in all these conditions, you need to find additional sources of income, because things in online commerce, in which I work, are not going very well at the moment for obvious reasons. But I am in Kyiv, trying to lead a normal life… which will never be the same again

Hybri Mod: I am in the west of Ukraine right now. There are almost no explosions here, it’s relatively calm, definitely compared to what is happening in southern and eastern parts of the country.

Can you tell us the premise behind the two brothers the band portrays?

In 2020, we released an album that tells the listener a story of two brothers from a distant galaxy who protect the Earth from the most dangerous creature in the world. You can find out more by reading the album description on the Bandcamp and listening to the tracks in the correct order. We tried to convey the atmosphere not only through music and arrangements, but also through dialogues between the tracks. Also, since the release of this album, we have strictly adhered to our images on stage.

You recently released the single Get Out which is about domestic violence. What inspired you to write this track? Also you released this single as your country was at the beginning of being invaded by Russia. Do you find the timing ironic and has the song taken on a new meaning for you?

Denis: These two questions are directly related, so I will answer two of them at once.

Personally, I have put a similar meaning into this song before. Before writing this song, I had a very big fight and stopped all communication with a former friend. The reason was the bullying of the Ukrainian nation and pro-Russian sentiments. For me, this is a particularly sore subject since I was forced to leave my hometown due to the occupation by pro-Russian terrorists and Russian special forces in 2014. Therefore, the phrase “Get out” is addressed to all abusers, whether they are “friends” or Russian occupiers.

Hybri Mod: At the time of the process of creating a track, I treated it simply as nostalgia for the 00s of the industrial/dark scene, the bands to which I often listened in those years.

If first, I put one meaning into “Get Out” lyrics, then on the day of the release, I revised the message of the music and dedicated it to against Russian aggression represented by Putin.

Can you tell us about your association with Dirty Bird 13 and how they became involved?

Denis: Yes. I am Dirty Bird 13 🙂

I started the project with my classmate as a duo in 2009, but after 2013 I did it alone, gave it very little time, and a couple of years ago I played my last gig with Dirty Bird 13. So technically I’m “dirty bird 13” at the moment.

Yes, it’s strange to release a collaborative track with myself but let me explain.

I started writing the track itself back in 2012 in Horlivka (Territory in the east of Ukraine, which since 2014 has been under the occupation of Russia). After a long time, sorting through information from old media, I found the draft of this track and decided to finish it together with Hybri Mod. We managed to create something completely new for the BlazerJacket.

Since the track is a bit different from our usual sound, we thought it would be fair to credit “Dirty Bird 13” as a co-writer.

Hybri Mod: I was just a fan of Dirty Bird 13 before I met Denis. It’s always been a great interest for me to participate in the creation of a collaborative music. And although it happened within the whole BlazerJacket band, I’m very glad that my old dream came true officially.

You are heavily connected to Comic Con Ukraine, so can you tell us about this?

We have been residents of the Comic Con music scene since the very first festival in 2019. We maintain good relations with the organizers and other residents of this festival and are always happy to entertain visitors with our shows and performances.

Is this a part of your creative outlet?

Since our lyrical characters in BlazerJacket are mystical aliens from a science fiction novel, we think we are directly related to the “Comic Con” culture.

If you could be any comic or anime character right now, who would you be and what would you do with your superpowers?

Denis: I want to be an “iron man” to end this war as soon as possible.

Hybri Mod: I don’t know exactly who I would like to be, but definitely with an unkillable skill 🙂 It would be possible to single-handedly change the system in which we all live and build something new, where life and human rights are above the interests of global corporations.

I realise it is hard to talk about the future currently but what are you looking forward to in the long term?

We were planning to speed up the release of our tracks and videos. But now we do not know what will happen after another air raid. Let’s see what happens, but we are not going to give up our music.

Music | BlazerJacket (

BlazerJacket | Facebook

It has been a little while since we heard a brand new Christian Death album, but all that changed with the May 6th release of Evil Becomes Rule, on the French record label, Season Of Mist. Valor and Maitri gave you a taste by dropping the first single “Blood Moon and it was a taste of something very warm and familiar. Most of the new album is like that, like the smell of heady incense that takes back to another time and place. Indeed, Evil Becomes Rule is very reminiscent of the mystical, swirling late 80s Christian Death vibe. Valor Kand was gracious in answering a few questions for me and I found I had made a faux pas. I had not realised that they had toured Australia in around 2008….and sadly my only defense is that I was spawning at the time. However, no time for regrets, as time and tide wait for no man, and there is only Christian Death.

Welcome to the darkside of the moon where Onyx has the occasional beach holiday!

Your last new studio album, The Root Of All Evilution came out in 2015. Is it a good feeling to have Evil Becomes Rule finished and what prompted you to create the album?

“The Root of All Evilution” is the story of “EVIL on Earth” from the time of and as mentioned in the Emerald Tablets and as referred to in the Book of Enoch (one of the sacred books NOT included in the Bible, by decree of the newly formed Roman Church’s Council Of Nicea in 325AD) then up to the present time. “Evil Becomes Rule” on the other hand, is the story of Evil on Earth from the present and on into the future.

It is seven years between studio albums. Was it an unconcious thing or planned to have that break?

“The Root of All Evilution” was actually released in the latter part of 2015 as I remember. We had a late start on getting to work on “Evil Becomes Rule”, actually 3 years later, in the latter part of 2018, due to touring and other commitments, however, we did not get to finish most of the tracks until a year later. At the end of 2019 we were still laying the final tracks a month later, then the Plandemic hit. Then all our plans fell apart, touring, the record release, etc. It was not until The Spring of 2021,another year and a half later, that we and the label were in a position to roll out new plans. But then we were confronted by massive delays with the pressing plants of vinyl’s and CDs around the world. First we were told September 2021, then December and then finally January 2022 before manufacture could begin, ultimately leading to a Spring 2022 release.

So please tell us what is “Evil Becomes Rule” is…… or rather what it means to you.

Originally we were calling and announcing the album with the title “Evil Become You” a double entendre. Albeit how Evil on Earth has consumed “YOU” the individual and that also how the elite wear their Evil proudly like a fashion statement and how very becoming they feel they look.

Although the album lyrics actually predicted the world of plight we now exist in, we were caught by surprise at how soon it happened. So, as our story had then morphed into the past tense and the rule of law in the world had also morphed into MORE rules, we then morphed the title into Evil Becomes Rule.

Who played on this album?

Myself (Valor) Male vocals and multiple instruments

Maitri Female vocals bass guitar

PAO (of the band Kaonashi) ON drums

Guest guitar: Chuck “Chains” Lenihan (of the bands CarnivoreAD, Genitorturers, and The Crum Suckers)

Guest male vocals: KWA B (a West African artist)

You have already announced a US tour for the album. Will you be extending this to other countries as well?

Other than the Spring 2022 USA tour, we also have a European tour in August/ September 2022 then we directly jump back to a USA & Canada September/October 2022

Last year was pretty big for you guys as well, what with collaborating with the label Season Of Mist and releasing the four volumes called The Dark Age Renaissance Collection. What prompted you to collate the Christian Death albums?

Our catalogue has been spread out over dozens of labels, around the world, over the years. We decided it was time to consolidate, re-group, re-master and re-package it all into one label “SOM”, one of the few a labels we have come to trust and love.

Christian Death have a huge fan base across the globe that just seems to keep growing. Do you find that both amazing and humbling at the same time?

I have been both amazed and humbled since the very first album and the very first tour.

Valor, you were born in Australia. Have you ever thought about bringing the band out to play to the tropical goth?

In 2008 or maybe 2009 we played shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as New Zealand. We had a great time, thoroughly enjoyed the shows and the people. We sat with kangaroos and were offered roo tail meat. We hung out at the home of and spent time with a poisonous snake handler/reptile keeper and drunk tea with several deadly Aussie poisonous species within feet of us, free roaming. We took pictures with Koalas. We got high with fans back stage in Melbourne and I filmed exotic birds in Brisbane, we also did other fun but unspeakable things.

You did an unplugged version of David Bowie’s Quicksand from Hunky Dory in honour of his passing.

Yes we did but it was not unplugged, it is a full on studio recording. It was fun and as of today we finished the video for that song which you can find here:

What impact did Bowie have on you?

I always admired how everything David Bowie did was different from the next thing he did, always something new. That is the legacy I have inherited from him.

I always ask, who were your musical heroes and bands that made you decide to get into music scene?

Having been born into a family of musicians, grandparents down to parents and other family members, I started playing multiple instruments at the age of 4 or 5. Family members were and still are my heroes.

I like too many artists to mention and despise even more.

Who or what inspires you or you enjoy listening to?

Usually, I do not listen to anything in particular, except in passing, or as it passes by my ears. The entire world is my inspiration, mentally, physically and spiritually. So when I need to hear something, I create it.

So if you were able to look into the murky depths of a crystal ball, what would you see in the future of Christian Death? Eight balls are also acceptable but not runes because that’s cheating.

Firstly, as I understand it, soothsaying with runes is non practical, as it is told in the ancient European traditions; the future can take many paths thus any prediction can be only relative to the path. Secondly, I hardly think many people are able to draw an image of events to come, other than those who manipulate and steer the world at large where they want us to go and d,o or those who see behind the veil, past the smoke and mirrors and the gifts of bread and circus

Thank you for your time and thank you for the music.

Thank you for your time


Season of Mist Records – Metal Label (

Eric Oberto hit the industrial/electro scene recently with two singles, with one spawning a remix release. Add to that, the fact that both were picked and used for both a horror TV series and horror movie, which Oberto also had roles in. Eric is no stranger to the music world either. In the early 90s, he was a member of the very successful industrial group Tungsten Coil. As you can imagine, the singles are dark and filled with gritty electronics, so with that in mind, we bunkered down for a nice chat, a cup of tea and waited to see if our time had come.

Welcome to the secret panic room here at Onyx Eric, where we like to rock ourselves to sleep after a day of dealing with the bright outside world. Do you like our fairy lights with nightmarish decor?

Thanks for having me! The fairy lights are a nice touch, and the nightmarish décor reminds me of my lair. It’s important to have the comforts of home when doing an interview. I must say that I do try to avoid the bright outside world as much as possible- that’s where you run into all those damn humans! LOL!

You have had synesthesia all your life, a condition that causes people to see music as colors. How has this impacted on your creating music? Does it enhance, impede or both?

Yes, it’s had a major impact on my music and life in general. First, I need to explain the degree of my synesthesia. For many people it’s an association of colors to characters, like if they hear the number 9- they see the color green (or something like that). My particular case is considered extreme; I see sound as moving three-dimensional colors, shapes, and patterns as I hear it (in real-time). It’s like having a second vision that’s going on in my mind simultaneously with the vision I process through my eyes. It’s a lot of input to handle at once!

Synesthesia is what really made it possible for me to write music. I don’t really understand music theory, the math of music, or anything like that. I paint animated musical pictures/films with the vibrant color-drenched pallet of mentally generated insanity. I know that’s a mouthful, but that basically how it works. It definitely enhances my music-making process.

As far as impeding goes, that falls onto the rest of my life. It has made traditional classroom style learning almost impossible for me. I also have dyslexia, and when you combine those two conditions together it’s almost impossible to concentrate long enough to input (and retain) information. Reading, taking tests, studying- all of it is a challenge for me. The reason that music works for me is because that kind of data input seems to take over my brain and it blocks out all the outside distractions. It’s as if the music and synesthesia combine into one euphoric experience that instantly becomes more important than anything else in that moment.

You have been in industrial bands since you were 16 years old, which lead to you being in Tungsten Coil, your first successful band. Can you tell us about your time with Tungsten Coil and how it affected your music?

Those were crazy times for sure! I was 18 when Tungsten Coil was formed, which was right after my first band- Reign of the Coven had broken up. It’s also at the tail end of my fight with cancer (synovial chondrosarcoma), which almost cost me my left leg and nearly my life. When you combined those elements together it created the perfect storm of drive and determination, maybe even obsession. I was an angry young man with nothing to lose! So, Tungsten Coil really became the vehicle to drive my message of “FUCK YOU” to the world. My future was uncertain, so I knew I needed to make my mark as loud and as fast as possible. I teamed up with John Miller and Tungsten Coil was born- Detroit style!

We took an aggressive approach by playing a bunch of shows right out of the gate, which included partaking in some big festivals and showcases (which included two major events @ at Club X in the historic State Theatre (now Fillmore Theatre) – Xtasy ’94 & The Nocturnal Fest, by Nigel Productions. Our efforts shook up the Detroit Industrial/Goth music scene and gained us a solid fanbase! The following year we made a surprise move to the live music capital of America- aka Austin, Texas. By 1996, we played our first Texas show at the infamous heavy metal club- The Back Room. This show put Tungsten Coil on the Austin, Texas music scene map overnight and launched us into the spotlight. Tungsten Coil became a staple of the Austin Industrial/Goth music scene. We showcased multiple years at the famous South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. We gained a strong regional following through a relentless touring schedule over the years.

Tungsten Coil was featured in numerous music compilations, released multiple EPs, and two full-length albums- REACTIVE and ALPHA & OMEGA. Along the way we were nominated for and won multiple awards, including an AUSTIN MUSIC AWARD for BEST INDUSTRIAL BAND! Our final performance was a SXSW showcase at Elysium in 2008, where we shared the stage with Goth legend- Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. It’s a shame that Tungsten Coil’s heyday was before the current social media frenzy, because a lot of those great memories were never captured on film. Which also might not be a bad thing too, because of all the crazy/excess partying we did! We were just as hardcore off stage as we were on stage! My adopted saying was: “Born in sin, come on in!”, big props to Andre Linoge (my favorite villain!) from Stephen King’s- Storm of the Century. Anyway, it’s probably a good thing that some of those incriminating memories, stay memories! LOL!

You gave away music for a while to *checks notes* eventually create your own financial management company….. that seems awfully different to writing music. Did you enjoy the financial hustle?

It was a completely different life, and one I had never considered prior to living it. Yes, I did enjoy it! It was exactly the kind of life change that I needed at that time. I was 100% the underdog- I barely graduated high school, only went to a semester of collage, and had absolutely no experience in the financial industry. However, I did have a ton of common-sense life skills and business savvy because of my tenure in the music business. Money always made sense to me and once I understood the lay of the land, there was no stopping me. I really enjoyed the challenge of overcoming all the odds that were against me, it was a rush! I also liked being one of the good guys in an industry full of dishonest greedy pricks! I’m happy to report that during my career (which lasted over a decade), I never had one filed complaint of any kind! That’s rare in the financial industry!

I had my own financial management firm with a beautiful office in a high rise, and an awesome city view. I had the cars, the house, the suits, the money, and all that stuff. But after a while I lost my affinity for the business. I remember exactly when those feelings hit me. One day I’m looking out of my office window at a storm rolling in over the Dallas skyline, and I realized that I wasn’t happy anymore. I had already achieved all the goals I had set my sights on, and I had nothing left to prove to myself. I knew that I had to find my way back to music and find it fast! So, I sold the company to my business partner and never looked back.

You had the onset of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss which affected your synesthesia. How have you overcome this obstacle?

In 2021, I finally found a path to create music using my one good ear and filled in the gaps of the broken ear by making use of several modern computer software tools. These tools allow me to visually identify frequencies that I can no longer hear, and I’m now able to visually see the stereo field where sounds reside in it. I also discovered a device that allows me to independently EQ the left and right sides of my headphones. This device gives me the ability to boost all the lost hearing frequencies in the right ear; to fill in the missing gaps. The right ear is broken, completely distorted, and plagued with massive tinnitus. However, by amplifying all the frequencies independently, it tricks my brain into thinking that the correct hearing information is being received (even though it isn’t). The end-result is that it allows my synesthesia to kick back in somewhat, and I use my previous songwriting experiences to fill in the gaps. These amazing tools didn’t make me whole again, but they do provide a new path forward to pursue my musical dreams. Now, against different odds and obstacles, I’m writing the best music of my career (at least I think so). This hearing loss handicap has pushed me to continually prove to myself that I can create art no matter what obstacles get in my way!

Has this changed the way to listen to music, the way you compose or even the style of music?

Everything has changed! It’s been hard for me because I blindly relied on my ears for so much. One of my favorite things to do before I went deaf was to sit in the dark and listen to music with headphones on; the images that my synesthesia created were more exciting to me than any film I’d ever seen! Unfortunately, that wonderful experience is no longer a part of my life (so depressing). I can’t process the info in the same way anymore and my heart is breaking as I’m answering this question. Sigh… Let’s move on…

Your first solo single was the atmospheric Darkness Never Lies, which is also featured in the movie Amityville Cult. What is the premise behind this track and how does it feel having it in a movie?

It’s about the inner voice inside each of us, the voice of truth that attempts to thwart the lies we tell ourselves and others. Fear is the basic emotion that gives birth to lies. It’s about people going through their lives and telling people what they want to hear to avoid confrontation. Not taking risks for fear of failure, injury, or death, and not going against the grain for fear of rejection (you get the point). In daylight (or while living life), so many people just go through the motions, find meaningless distractions, and convince themselves that they are really living. However, at the end of life, in their final darkness, all lies will become final regrets- Darkness Never Lies!

It’s an awesome feeling to have a song in a film, especially when you get the entire credit scroll! People’s perception/treatment of musicians and bands can be a strange thing. You tell someone that you have a new song or album and the say “cool man”. You tell them that you have a song in an internationally distributed film that’s also available in Walmart, then they say “congratulations, I’m so proud of you”! Weird, right?

Eric, you are also a cast member in that same movie, and I read you are writing scripts and looking to produce/direct. Why have you decided to pursue these artistic directions?

An absolute yes! Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can compose music again, I’m climbing every Mt. Everest I can get my boots on! I’ve always wanted to do some acting and I love movies. So when that opportunity came up I jumped on it. Now I’ve thrown my hat into the ring in several aspects of the film industry and I’m loving it! I even started my own production company- Tungsten Coil Productions. I’m just about finished with the script for my upcoming film- Sleep. I’m so excited about this film, it’s a crazy mindbender of a trip! I’ve got my work cut out for me on this project though, I’m playing three roles, directing, producing, editing, and composing the score. We are hoping to start filming in the fall.

Erik Gustafson of Adoration Destroyed did an up-tempo remix of Darkness Never Dies. What was it like hearing your work through someone else’s ears so to speak?

It was awesome! Erik and I go way back; we played a bunch of shows together back in my Tungsten Coil days. He was in Terminal 46 and Lust Murder Box. I already knew firsthand what Erik brought to the table, so I had total confidence in his abilities. It was fun going through the process with him and I mastered the song with my producer- John Robert Craig. I’m very proud of the final outcome, it’s a banger for sure!

Closer Than Ever Before is your latest single release and again it is going to feature in a movie. I feel the theme for the track is about aging and getting closer to the end of expiration. Can you tell me about this track?

Yes, I’m stoked to have this song in the upcoming theatrical release film- Malibu Horror Story! It’s a badass horror film and it’s truly an honor to get placement for the entire credit scroll again. I love this film so much that I jumped on board the project as an executive producer as well.

Yes, you’re on the right track with your interpretation of the song. I’ve always been focused time passing by and running out ever since I had cancer as a kid. Facing your mortality as a kid will do that to you, and now being in your forties and starting over in the entertainment industry will make you hyper-focused on what time you have remaining as well. The message I wanted to convey in that song was this: Every second of every day, we’re closer to death. What are you doing with the time you are given and are you living your life to the fullest?

Are there plans for an album?

Right now I’m focusing on singles; it just makes sense to me at this point in time. The music industry today doesn’t appear to have the attention span for an entire album. Hell, it’s hard to get people to listen to an entire song without them being distracted by their fucking phones!

I do want to release some albums on vinyl after I build up my catalog with some more songs. I want to put out a series of vinyl with a few songs and a bunch of remixes on each release. Maybe a full album in the future, you never know.

If you were in a horror movie, what character would you want to be? The screaming victim but ultimate hero, the wise elder who knows the backstory but now is earmarked to die, or the evil stabby killer?

That’s easy, The Evil Stabby Killer!

What is next for Eric Oberto?

Right now I’m going to continue to release new songs and music videos every few months. I’m also going to keep pushing my way into the film industry in the forms I mentioned before. Finally, I’m going to focus on doing music for video games. I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve, but that’s enough of a workload for now!

Thank you for joining me in the room where no cursed things happened ever…. I think 🙂

Thank you for having me, I had a bloody terror of a time! As a final parting thought, I do think some things may have been cursed in this room. Just saying…

Dammit Janet! Breakout the sage!


ERIC OBERTO | Facebook

If you are lucky to be acquainted with Alexander Leonard Donat, you would know that he has to be one of the most busy people in the alternative scene. He works full time, family and on top of that, works on multiple music projects, both solo and with others. This interview was originally written for the Vlimmer album Nebenkörper, Alexander has released in this time, an album with the Fir Cone Children and another solo project ASSASSUN with the album Sunset Skull, which we will discuss in another review (and there was the sound of your reviewer banging their head on the computer because Donat can put out albums faster than she can review them).

Alexander Leonard Donat, welcome to Onyx for this interview about your project, Vlimmer.

You have been releasing music under the moniker, Vlimmer since 2015. How did this project come about?

In 2015 I was in a state of disappointment in respect of the music I had made and how it was received. I guess, you shouldn’t expect anything from the music listeners out there, especially not that they feel the same as you. Seven years ago I released an indie rock album called “Jagmoor Cynewulf” which, for me, was the perfect blend of alternative and pop music. Really, I would have sold my soul for this album, and after four or five years in the making, a lot of time on the road, playing the songs live, and more than a couple of thousands of Euros invested I thought this is either it or I’ll stop making music. It wasn’t it, yet, luckily, I didn’t stop, I’d rather develop a “Ah, fuck it” attitude and go back to the original question: “What kind of music do I really want to create?” I didn’t really have to think about it for too long, the answer was: a bleak version of shoegaze, not the dreamy head-in-the-clouds kind. Dark and hopeless instead. Without any audience I could just concentrate on creating music, and the songs kept pouring out of me – they still do! – it was absolutely revitalizing. Since 2015 Vlimmer has been undergoing several changes in style, and now it isn’t much of a shoegaze-influenced project anymore. Trusting the music reviews, I do something in the darkwave, industrial, goth, post-punk fields. In retrospect, Vlimmer was born out of frustration, and now it’s become one of the most important things in my life.

Before your debut album Nebenkörper was released in 2021, you had released a lot of EPs. What inspired you to produce a full album?

When the songs I wrote kept on coming, I quickly realized an album wouldn’t be enough, and a double album wasn’t an option. Who listens to a 20 track album these days, anyways? With a handful of exceptions maybe, not me. The concept of a series of 5-track EPs sounded perfect to me. Why five, you may ask? The above mentioned “Jagmoor Cynewulf” album was accompanied by an 18-chapter book, an existential narrative, and I simply used the words I’d already written, and – it was more of a coincidence – it turned out one chapter was good for five tracks. It also set the goal: releasing 18 EPs. When I released the first two parts in November 2015 I had already written songs for three more EPs. A couple of months before the final part I, of course, thought about what I’d do after that. There actually was only one option: recording the debut album. I loved the idea of working on that very format after having released 25 EPs in total. Working on an album felt entirely different, you can do so much more than with a 5-tracker. Also, creating an album’s tracklist is one of the most exciting things for me, it’s like a big puzzle. Looking for the perfect position of all the pieces is the part I enjoy the most. I believe that the right tracklist can create something that is bigger than its individual parts. For “Nebenkörper” I had recorded some 20 songs and the process of choosing which ones to put on the album was fun.  

Did you find the format of an album gave you more scope to play with as far as choosing different styles?

It seems even if I try to create something coherent sound-wise, I end up with a product that reviewers see as diverse with no clear genre tags. Still, I’m very satisfied with how I managed to bring my initial “Nebenkörper” idea to life: recording an album with a focus on a brutal, post-apocalyptic, industrial sound outfit, tribal drumming, faster songs – in contrast to the dreamy and often catchy 80s wave pop/post-punk which I had more and more focused on. If it weren’t for my wife, “Meter” which is the album’s most popular song, wouldn’t have landed on the album as it actually seemed too pop-oriented. Luckily, I trusted her and made my peace with it. “Meter” very much belongs to “Nebenkörper”.   

Did you find writing and recording a full album more of a challenge?

No, not at all. Having recorded some 20+ albums with my other projects I am used to either format, albums, EPs, singles… Okay, one exception, so far there’s no double album, ha!

Are there themes that inspire you when you write?

Vlimmer songs are almost always about the human being and their position in society. Living among other people is a constant challenge for everyone, this has even become clearer since the pandemic started. Creating music helps me not to lose my mind in today’s mad world. In general, I am a lucky and happy man, I can’t complain at all, but still, no one is free of the everyday struggles that unexpectedly await you around the corner. Putting negative experience straight into my music helps me getting rid of them.

The latest single Erdgeruch/Space Dementia, sees you using more clean vocal techniques rather than distorted via electronics. Why did you decide to try this style of singing?

That must have happened automatically, as the song is super catchy, even my little kids sing the “Erdgeruch” chorus. Additionally, the arrangement is rather sparse compared to the full in-your-face “Nebenkörper” mix which, in parts, drowned out the vocals. Originally, it was recorded in the same album sessions, but even now that it has had a lot of airplay, I think it would not have fit on “Nebenkörper”. However, I consider putting it on the second album which I will release later this year.

How would you say that Vlimmer has changed since the first release in 2015?

The first 30 or so songs were all based on recurring drum loops which I created with a guitar delay pedal and wouldn’t change at all during a song’s progression. It therefore even had a motoric krautrock feel to it. I also, purposely, didn’t use any hi-hats or cymbals as to achieve a more layered sound result that was intended to wash over the listener without any distracting sounds. When I began including hi-hats it really was a big deal for me as it meant I was ready to write proper songs again which included a verse-chorus structure and more prominent vocals. Suddenly – but indeed accidentally – I had found myself in the goth and post-punk scene which was and still is very supportive.

I have noticed you seem to be involved in a few projects. Can you tell us about these?

In a way, Vlimmer is my main project as it’s the closest to what I like about music. But it wouldn’t work if I hadn’t more projects that balance everything out. Fir Cone Children is my dream punk thing, a mix of punk and shoegaze, here I focus on the experience my daughters make, mostly writing lyrics from their perspectives. In the beginning it was all about naïvety, fun, discovering things, playing, running about, but hey, the older you get, the more you adjust to the world around you, therefore it contains melancholy and occasional desperation, too. In general, I see Vlimmer and Fir Cone Children as a dark/light dichotomy which is necessary for me to keep it all in order. Additionally, Feverdreamt is experimental oriental/electronic music with its own invented language. My latest incarnation is ASSASSUN, a purely electronic creation in the darkwave/synth punk sector. Other projects of mine even include a second member: WHOLE is a mix of indie rock and electronica based in Berlin, Distance Dealer is a pan-Atlantic synth/goth project with my friend Thiago from Brazil.

Do you enjoy the collaborative process as much as being able to do your own thing? Is there a completely different dynamic?

There’s an absolutely different dynamic, yeah, and I fully enjoy it as it allows me to have others decide stuff for me, ha! Don’t get me wrong, I love having full control over projects, songs and their mixes, artwork et cetera, yet it can be a kind of relief to go with what your musical partner has in mind if you know you can trust them. It’s lovely having the chance to do both, though, with a preference, maybe, on doing my own thing because it speeds up everything immensely and allows me to be the productive person I naturally am.

What bands or type of music first caught your attention when you were younger?

I was born into a musical family which was all into classical music. The first bands that made me want to be in a band were alternative rock bands like Deftones, At The Drive-In, Linkin Park, Tool, Jimmy Eat World and Sigur Rós.

What acts and music do you find yourself drawn to now?

That’s a tough one because there are so many. I have my favorite bands, and they usually mix genres because that’s something I enjoy rather than listening to bands that set themselves clear “scene boundaries”. When bands incorporate a certain atmospheric, layered and melancholic or dark sound component, they are most likely to get my attention, no matter if it’s black metal, indie pop or hip-hop. While I enjoy a truckload of genres and styles, I think often it’s a certain indie rock element that has me put on a band’s record on my record player. My favorite bands and artists are No Age, British Sea Power, HEALTH, Radiohead, Flying Saucer Attack, Hood, Trail of Dead, The Hirsch Effekt, Converge, Deftones, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Icarus Line, Xasthur, Motorpsycho, Diiv, Deafheaven, Deerhunter, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Daniel Menché, Sufjan Stevens, Touché Amoré, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Low, Liturgy, Algiers, Aphex Twin, Torres, Bosse-De-Nage, Sonic Youth, ANONHI, Tim Hecker, Nine Inch Nails, Black Country New Road, and I definitely missed some more …

With covid still very much controlling what we do, are there any plans to do anything live with Vlimmer?

As much as I’d want to perform live with Vlimmer there are no current plans of doing so. The song arrangements would require a proper band, and it would need an insane amount of time to find band members, learn and practice the songs, and do the booking. It would also mean less time for writing new songs which is the most fun part of making music.

You also run the label Blackjack Illuminist Records. How do also manage to fit this in and what is it like to run your own label?

Running a record label and making music are my favorite things to do, although I’m super happy with my daytime job as a teacher in an elementary school in Neukölln, Berlin. The latter pays the rent and I don’t need to generate any income with my music which gives me enormous freedom. I probably manage to do both because I need less sleep than the average person and I have an unstoppable urge to be creative. I guess the limited time we have on earth also is a major motivation, I want to at least try to leave behind something that stays when I’m gone. Not that it changes anything when I’m dead, but the feeling calms me in a way, it gives me a purpose which is something we all seek, right?

So with your debut album under your belt, what is in the future for Vlimmer and Alexander Leonard Donat?

I’m finishing up the second Vlimmer full length, “Menschenleere”. It’s different compared to “Nebenkörper”, catchier, less aggressive and menacing – yet with the unmistakably claustrophobic Vlimmer vibe.

Thank you for talking to us!

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