….And talks about the new album, bad band names, our shared love of Bobby Gillespie.. . .. . and a whole bunch of other shit with Kate and Simon from Bitumen.

Ever wanted to paint and draw? Because Bitumen do. They want to paint your world dark and draw you into an electronic, shoegaze-y industrial bliss that feels like it could become the soundtrack to the best nightmare you’ve ever had at any second. I seriously can’t get enough of this new album of theirs, their sophomore effort, Cleareye Shining, which I should mention is out now [as of the 26th November 2021] on Imprint Records, who clearly have good taste if they’re signing bands like Bitumen.

Bitumen are: Kate on vocals, Simon on bass and drum programming, Bryce on guitars and Sam on guitars and synth. They’re originally all from Hobart but one by one they made the pilgrimage to the greener pastures of Melbourne. They’re good people. I know this because I got on the phone with Kate and Simon for over an hour talking about our love of Primal Scream, The Birthday Party and so much other crap because I was drunk ….More on that later. For now you have to understand that if you like any genre on the darker or heavier or more electronic side of things you should check this out.

It’s just satisfying on so many levels…or layers. You can’t get away from the layers to these songs. The mix job is fantastic, giving room for every part to do it’s thing and blend perfectly. The album starts with their second single Paint and Draw, followed by Moving Now Now Now, which is my new favourite song right now now now. There’s 7 more songs after that one, making it 9 tracks in total on the album. There’s not a single wasted second, every track could become your favourite. The last one, Luxury Auto is another stand-out in my opinion. It starts with this minor second guitar motif that kicks in the suspense and tension, and the part relentlessly weaves in and out of the rest of the track; by the end you realise that it’s been going on the whole time and the only conclusion you can draw is that it was definitely the right thing for them to do. And as a closing track, it leaves you wanting more. Always good.

So they’ve released two singles so far, and both have accompanying videos. Out of Athens was the first to drop, even before the album came out. It’s a great first single – it captures attention by simply being a banger of a tune. The video features Kate dancing in front of a flashy-starry backdrop while Sam laughs at her and she tries to keep a straight face and not trip over the microphone cable. Although you wouldn’t know about that if I hadn’t just told you – Sam’s off-screen. Being, um, supportive I guess? But their rationale for the video concept is totally on-point “The internet likes dancing girls”, as Kate tells me. She isn’t wrong, from my observations at least.

Paint and Draw is the second single, and the better song in my opinion. The band agree with me. “Drop the better single second” Kate says. This track is more complex than Out of Athens; starting with a pulsating bass line before kicking into gear with layers of guitars that build the verses to the most perfect of zeniths before crashing back down into the suspense and tension of the choruses. The video is great too. This one features Sam in the lead role, and there’s a bit of a story going on in this one, although I forgot to ask what it was all about because I was drunk. But it starts with Sam, who is sporting a very fancy leather jacket, loitering by a Telstra Payphone until he answers a call on it, 1980’s style. He tells the caller that he’s on his way. Right now. Then he jumps in the car and there’s ghost lady when he gets to what I assume is the place where he said he was on his way to. Sam seems like a bloke who knows when he’s in over his head, and he makes a bolt for it. I would have done the same. Ghost lady was asking some pretty personal questions for a ghost I’m assuming Sam has only just met. And she has an umbrella. Although how did she have his payphone number if they were strangers? It all raises more questions than it answers, so I have to go watch it again to try and make sense of it all. *watches video again* Nope, gonna have to keep trying. Let me know if you figure it out.

In a clear example of practice making perfect, the production values have increased markedly from 2019’s Discipline Reaction when compared with the new one, Cleareye Shining. Not that Discipline Reaction isn’t worth your time – it totally is. It’s just that Cleareye Shining is a massive leap forward both int terms of production values and songwriting craft. Yes, Discipline Reaction is a pun, but it’s one that both the band and myself agree holds up even after the three years that have elapsed since it’s release.

Anyway, like I said, I caught up with Kate and Simon on the blower recently. Kate and I built a rapport over Bobby Gillespie straight away as I knew she owned a Primal Scream T-shirt with the Screamadelica album cover on it, as I saw it in the promo photos the band kindly sent me.

Johnny Ryall : Kate, I notice in your pictures you’re wearing a Screamadelica T-Shirt: that is fucking awesome..

Kate: [laughs] Yeah, I got that at um, there’s this like, I don’t know if you have it in Queensland…there’s this like, discount kind of store called [inaudible] and they have like just the most random clothes, I think that like, they’re one of those shops that buys stock from other shops that are closing down…

Johnny Ryall: Oh yep.

Kate: So like a real random mix of stuff and yeah I was in there once and they had like a rack of the…I think it was like the ’94 Screamadelica Australian Tour.

Johnny Ryall: Yep…

Kate: And I was like “This is sick, I wasn’t at the show, but I can have the T-shirt!”

Johnny Ryall: So ah, you’re a bit of a Primal Scream fan I take it?

Kate: Oh absolutely, yeah.

Johnny Ryall: Oh same! How good are they?

Kate: Oh! So good! I love Bobby Gillespie…

Johnny Ryall: Same!

Kate: I love their whole trajectory as a band…

Johnny Ryall: It’s been fascinating hasn’t it?

Kate: Mmm, yeah, because they’re [sic] like transitioned into being a more dance kind of band while still being…I don’t know, still being the guitar-y kind of rock band that they’ve always been.


I could have talked about Primal Scream all day, and while we did carry on that conversation a little longer, I’ll pull myself back into line in this, the editing part of the writing phase, so that we get back to concentrating on what we were supposed to talk about.

Johnny Ryall: So what are we drinking?

Kate: I’m drinking aspirin in a big glass of water because I went out last night and I’m hungover [laughs]

Johnny Ryall: [laughs] Now you know the best thing for that is to have another drink, don’t you?

Kate: Yeah, well, yeah. I’ll get there.

Johnny Ryall: Oh well, no pressure from me. I’ve been drinking since 9am, but I’m a madman.

Kate: [laughs] Truly?


Of course it’s true. Then I remembered we were doing a ‘band interview’…and thought I should talk about ‘The Band’….like as in Bitumen, the band I was interviewing two members of.

Johnny Ryall: I really love your band, I just found it randomly about a month ago; I was watching RAGE….and I was like, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS REALLY FUCKING GOOD….. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS BAND!

Kate: Oh man that’s so good. I’m glad RAGE paid off for us.

Johnny Ryall: Yeah I’ve got to ask, how did you manage to get them to play it, like is it an easy thing to do, or….?

Kate: Um, I think because we’re part of that Flash Forward program, where like the City of Melbourne gave like bands a bunch of money to make an album like, through COVID times.

Johnny Ryall: Oh really?

Kate: Yeah so we got like, like they’re pressing the album for us and they like um, yeah gave us money to make the videos and shit; it was an excellent deal for us.

Johnny Ryall: That is super cool!

Kate: Yeah! And they had like, sort of their own PR people working for all the Flash Forward bands, and I think they had a hook-up at RAGE.

Johnny Ryall: Oh ok…..

Kate: Yeah, they just sent it off and..I’m really surprised it got on but….

Johnny Ryall: Well, it did.


Johnny Ryall: So how did you come up with the name Bitumen? What’s that about?

Kate: Good question; I think we were like we wanted it to be one word, we wanted it to be kind of, something industrial. I think the earlier there’s a lot of things that like…like we had a gig booked, our first show coming up, and we still hadn’t decided on a name and we just kind of like got stuck on bitumen and were like oh yeah, fuck it, Bitumen, like ….

Johnny Ryall: Yeah,

Kate: We didn’t think about it too hard. I think I even like, we were practising at Simon’s house at that time, in his shed and I think he had the like the fridge magnet letters and I think I put it on the fridge one practice.

Simon: Really?

Kate: Yeah, on the side of the fridge, and like we were….I think AstroTurf was also tossed up….Thank god we didn’t go with that!

Simon: Yeah!

Johnny Ryall: Yeah, nah I think you went with the better option there.

Kate: Yeah for sure. And oh that was the other thing: We thought it would be funny that Americans say it wrong, like they say “Bit-oo-men”

Johnny Ryall: Do they really?

Kate: Yeah cause they just call it asphalt, or whatever.

Johnny Ryall: Oh yeah they say “ASS-Fault”.

Kate: Yeah, yeah, and like “Bit-oo-men.” I’ve heard like a couple of times when we’ve got played on like American radio if you listen back they’re like “the band Bitoomen” it’s just…. I don’t know. It cracks me up every time

Johnny Ryall: Fuckin’ hell, some people, you just can’t help ’em hey?

Johnny Ryall: What is everybody’s role in the band?

Kate: I don’t play anything else [aside from singing] but we sort of are very collaborative in that we, like, write the songs together…

Johnny Ryall: Yep, yep…

Kate: Simon, you do more than it says on the piece of paper [press release]

Simon: Yeah, I guess. I mean I play bass and then do a lot of the drum programming….

Johnny Ryall: Oh yeah…

Simon: But with input from everyone else as far as drum programming…. and synths as well.

Johnny Ryall: Oh yeah cause I noticed you didn’t seem to have a drummer, um and I said to myself that’s sensible because I haven’t been able to work with a drummer in years, you know, I just can’t do it. I use drum machines…

Kate: well it makes it easier to get around

Johnny Ryall: yeah well that’s it – no lugging the shit everywhere

Kate: yeah totally

Johnny Ryall: yeah drum machines are pretty light! Yeah! So who else is in the band?

Kate: We’ve got Bryce on guitar, and Sam also on guitar


Then I asked them something about getting around Australia to tour, and they said this:

Simon: Brisbane have been so nice to us, I have to say.

Kate: Yeah…

Simon: I think Brisbane is our second home in a way.

Johnny Ryall: Really? So it even beats out Hobart?

Kate: Yeah…. we’ve played some really fun shows in Brisbane, I mean..yeah..

Simon: I think that people in Brisbane get what we do a bit more maybe it’s a bit of that kind of small town, Tassie thing.

Johnny Ryall: Yeah oh we are basically an overgrown country town..it’s yeah it’s who and what we are.

Simon: Yeah well we’ll be doing some good shows up in Brisbane when we get a chance to tour I think.

Johnny Ryall: Please do! I can’t wait to see yous, I’m spewing that I missed you last time but you know, I just didn’t know that you existed then..yeah, my bad I guess.


Johnny Ryall: What artists made you decide that “fuck yeah, I’m gonna be a rock n’ roller?”

Kate: I guess like ..when we first started…our tastes have changed a lot in the last..however many years we’ve been a band…how many years have we been a band? Six years?

Simon: Six or something, yeah

Johnny Ryall: Since 2016 according to your bio! So yeah you’re getting up to your sixth year now.

Kate: Yeah, so when we first started we were all absolutely like….The Birthday Party..

Johnny Ryall: The Birthday Party! I fuckin’ love The Birthday Party!

Kate: Yeah yeah all that like yeah, the Melbourne goth-y, punk shit and then like that was probably Sam and Bryce and me, were very obsessed with that.

Simon was like, you were a bit different

Simon: Yeah, maybe a bit more like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, heaps of Godflesh….

Johnny Ryall: Ah yep, all good bands!

Simon: Long time Justin Broadrick fan, so anything that Justin Broadrick does I’m very into…I think personally that I feel like I follow his trajectory and like…

Johnny Ryall: Yep –

Simon: Maybe almost in reverse in terms of like getting into dub driven techno and gabber, but [in] 2016 we were very much goths.

Anyway we talked about a whole bunch of other cool shit but that will have to come in Part II, because if I don’t at least pretend that I have a deadline on this article then Bitumen will have a new album out before I’ve even told you to go and listen to this one. Anyway it’s late and I’m drunk and tired and cranky, so don’t fuck with me. Just go onto YouTube and listen to Cleareye Shining by Bitumen. And love it as much as I do. I know you want to.

Bitumen | Facebook

Cleareye Shining | Bitumen (bandcamp.com)

Just when you thought it was safe again to go near the water, Sea Lungs have returned with a new single, “Lighthouse Noir“. I swear on a bottle of gin (it is only good for swearing on) that these guys are getting better every release. Maybe they are getting into their groove or finding their sea legs but whatever it is, they should keep doing it. The new single conjures up visions of Sexgang Children with a little pinch of The Virgin Prunes and wrapped in the ever perfectly spine tingling vocals of Lennon, eerily sounding ever so like Rozz Williams. A story of madness brought on by loneliness and extreme melancholy, a heay toll that brings on suicidal thoughts while the wonderful guitars smashing down like waves on the rocks below. “Lighthouse Noir” is out on Mantravision Productions, so we though there is no better time than now to talk to founding member Jarrad Robertson about the band and how they are navigating the waters of the music scene.

Aaarrrghh…. welcome Jarrad Robertson of the band Sea Lungs. Come sit in the wadding pool with our pet kraken, whilst we talk of tales and scrim the shaw with Onyx.

Seeing as you are no land lovers, can you please introduce the crew.

Sea Lungs is made up of Andi Lennon on vocals, Dase Beard and Micheal Johnson share bass duties depending on the tracks requirements ( Dase does the noisy guitar bits too), I play the  guitars and cover the drums (both live and programmed) and Ant Banister provides the production skills and throws some keys in when needed.

Now, not all of you live close to each other do you? How much harder does it make to construct your music?

I’d say it has taken some of the strain out making the music. I write the main composition of each song and then send it off to each of the guys to do their thing. We all just do it when we have time, and with the understanding that it gets done when it gets done. That takes any pressure out of trying to create something to fit a deadline. It would be nice to get in a room and hash them out though at some point. Micheal and I live 10 minutes from each other, yet due to recent lockdowns and family commitments we haven’t really had much of a chance to jam.

You are all in the darker alternative scene, so how did Sea Lungs come to fruition?

In early 2020 as lockdowns were beginning and live music stopped I decided to record some stuff at home, as countless others did. But it was a bit unsatisfying so I reached out to people I’d met while gigging with my previous band and asked for help to fill the songs out. Apart from Micheal, I’ve only ever met the other members once or twice so it felt like a long shot. Luckily everyone I asked said yes and now we have my perfect lineup. The bands we are all from make music very different to the SL stuff so it’s a place to experiment.

Sea Lungs is a rather curious moniker and I am wondering how did you decide upon it?

Like so many band names I borrowed it from a song title. It’s the name of my favorite Baroness track. But it felt right in what I wanted the project to represent. At the time when the idea for this project first popped into my head I was going through a rough patch with my mental health. I found that seeing the ocean, even if just from my car while driving home, would clear my head and allow me to breathe. So it just fit. When I started writing with Andi, without me telling him the name, he took the lyrics in a nautical direction so it seemed it was destined to stick

Your latest single is Lighthouse Noir, which is a rollicking and crazed sea shanty. Between the guitar work and Andi’s vocals, this is a hybrid beastie, a cross between Sexgang Children and Virgin Prunes with that sing song manner at times. How did the band go about writing this little epic?

The main guitar part for the song was a kind of guitar warm-up, or even subconscious tick kind of thing. I’ve been playing it for years just as a thing I do everytime I pick up my guitar. Anyway I got a new guitar pedal and as soon as I played the warm-up it just sounded like something from an old mystery film. After fleshing it out I got the mental image of a thriller set at a lighthouse. This is the only time I’ve actually passed an idea for a narrative on to Andi and he dived on it. He is a master at spinning tales and the lighthouse idea was definitely in his hitting zone.

The artwork for Lighthouse Noir is bloody awesome. Bilge away and tells us who created this masterpiece?

An artist called Nikko who I’ve had a few dealings with now drew this up for us. He does amazing work and I could not be happier with it. I said ‘hey, can you do a lighthouse?’ and that was the total of my input. With just that tiny bit of info He ran with the idea and nailed it. He can be found at @nikko_s_den on Instagram for more info.

Your previous single Piss Up A Rope is a far different creature, bringing attention to how very few take advantage of the many. Can you tell us a little more about this premise?

Again, Andi has to take all the credit for this. We like to look at the idea of Empires, both past and present. While these days there is less of conquering foreign lands and taking colonial possessions, there are still empires being built at the expense of the masses. It unfortunately seems that now we willingly provide the means for these billionaires to do as they please and applaud them for it. But a tech giant taking all of your information and selling it or a multinational crushing small business should not be idolized. There is no comparison to the atrocities of historical empire building, but I’m sure horribly exploited workers the world over may see some parallels.

With three singles released, are you guys looking to keep going this way or release these tracks on an EP or album?

The goal is definitely to release something in a longer format and to get something physical out into the world. That’s hopefully in the works for later in the year.

Mantravision is the label Sea Lungs is with and Ant Banister also does the producing, mixing and mastering, which may we say is excellent and with that in mind, how did you get involved with Ant and Mantravision?

-I have only met Ant once when his band Sounds Like Winter (which also features Andi) came to Melbourne and played on a lineup with my previous band. We got chatting and liked each other’s music. After I decided to begin Sea Lungs his name was top of my list to collaborate with. Luckily he liked the demos I sent him, or he has been too polite to turn me down so far.

So is music for you a more political thing or just whatever inspiration hits you with?

Andi and I both share a love of History and take a huge amount of our inspiration and ideas from it.  And the most fascinating parts are usually the most horrible. I think it’s a very common human trait to be drawn to diabolical tales, viewed from far enough away to not get blood on your shoes. There is no joy to be taken from it, it’s more just finding out what our species have been capable of and hoping we don’t repeat the horrors. And it seems that all of it has political ties so I guess it’s unavoidable.

I’ve always thought music should be a bit dangerous, a little uncomfortable. If you can listen to an album and not be left with questions or have been shifted in some way then what is the point? We aren’t necessarily making any blunt political points with our music but there are morals, like any good tale. How would a person react to the isolation of a lighthouse keeper’s work? Or in the case of “Piss up a rope”, how much wealth is enough, and at what or who’s expense?

Will we be getting a tale of swashbuckling pirates? Nay we do not want it but rather need it!

-I’m sure at some point there will be a mention of pirates, but probably not in a positive light. The romanticised idea we see of pirates from the age of sail is pretty far removed from reality. That being said my kids would love it, so maybe if this project fails and I move into children’s entertainment.

What music influences do each member bring with them?

One of my favourite things about Sea Lungs is the varied musical backgrounds we come from. Although we all kind of meet on the post-punk front we have all done very different things previously. Andi brings the Death-rock and punk vibes. Dase has played noise rock, post-hardcore, doom and sludge. Dase and Micheal both go pretty far down the experimental noise rabbit-hole too. Most of my influence is drawn from grunge, alt rock and a bit of metal so I guess when we throw it all together it makes for an interesting brew. Ant, besides being a local post-punk hero,  loves all things synth and electronic so I’m trying to lead him astray by giving him heavier music to work on. But there is a strict no synths policy in Sea Lungs.

Do you think at some point you will all get together to do some live gigs?

We are currently working out when that will be possible. It’s definitely going to happen, it’s just a matter of maybe outsourcing parts to people based in Melbourne or Sydney if we can’t all get together. But it will happen.

Speaking of live gigs, all of you are in other bands. How has covid affected your ability to play live and be creative in your other projects?

For me it stopped me in my tracks completely.  Pigs of the Roman Empire released an EP just as the lockdown began but never got to launch it live. Not long after due to expanding families and work/ life balance we decided to call it quits. The last gig I played was in November 2019, which was the gig I met Ant and Andi at. Those guys are back playing shows with their band Sounds Like Winter which is great, and Dase is playing shows occasionally too, but for 2 years in Melbourne at least the live scene was dead. It’s regaining some momentum now but everyone is kind of holding their breath a little.

If you could be any famous seafarer (real or fantasy) who would it be?

While the idea of sailing the world is captivating, from everything I’ve read it is also terrifying and was for the most part extremely dangerous for numerous reasons. I’m not sure I’d be cut out for it. I think leading an expedition in the age of exploration, like Magellin or Drake, would have been quite an experience, but these voyages usually came at the cost of hundreds if not thousands of lives.

What will the seafaring Sea Lungs be getting up to in the future?!

Writing and recording more tracks. We have a few up our sleeves that we will be working on for a physical release in the next few months. Other than that just trying to stay as active in the musical landscape as possible.

Avast ye salty dog. Thank you for swabbing the decks so to speak young Jarrad and giving us insight into Sea Lungs. The kraken enjoyed very much nibbling at your toes and don’t trust the mermaids on your way out! Crafty wenches they be.

Music | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

JE T’AIME have made a big impact since they released their first single “The Sound” and their self titled album in 2019. With their guitar fused with synth led style of gothic rock, they dropped the second album PASSIVE in February of 2022. My official word is get it because it is good. There is dboy on vocals/programming/synths/bass/guitar/ bass with Crazy Z. programming/synths/bass/guitar and Tall Bastard on guitar/bass. Sooo, we thought it might be time to get to know these Parisians a little better and what better way than to ask a few questions.

And for the record, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells is dangerous and alluring Tall Bastard. Take all due care and precaution and immerse yourself in the sexy juggernaut beast that is JE T’AIME.

Welcome JE T’AIME down the rabbit hole, into our boudoir, all black and velvety! Just ignore the cobwebs….

You are based in Paris, so how did JE T’AIME come into being?

dBoy: The idea of forming a band came to us during a party, while drinking an excellent French red wine. We had been talking about music for hours when we thought that instead of talking about it we should make it. The main idea was to make the gothic audience in Europe dance. “The sound” was the first song written by the band

Why the name JE T’AIME? Is it a bit weird having people tell you they love you all the time?

dBoy: It was at this same party that we came up with the name of the band. In the early hours of the morning, after finishing The Sound, we were so happy, and drunk, that we couldn’t stop saying: I love you, mate.

Crazy Z. : and the funny thing is that people can’t stop to say “I love JE T’AIME !”. Is not it meta ?

Many people outside of France will say they don’t know any French gothic/darkwave/coldwave bands until you start listing acts like Corpus Delecti, Brotherhood Of Pagan, Asylum, Cemetery Girls etc. Can you tell us about the alternative scene in Paris?

dBoy: Today the French scene is full of great bands. I’m thinking of Blind Delon, Vox Low, Team Ghost, Jessica93 or Rendez-vous for example. But this was not the case a few years ago, the French rock scene was really bad, except for a few rare exceptions. It seems like we’ve learned to finally play music properly, or at least copy the English a bit better.

Crazy Z.: I think France is more open to alternative music and alternative underworld since recently. We had great bands before, you mentioned them, but they just were under the radar. Large platforms like Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music have their disadvantages, but also they help in sharing more easily music between countries.

You gained a very strong fan base after the first album, which was self titled in 2019. What was it like for you to have that sort of reception and did it put pressure on the band to follow up with an equally impressive album?

dBoy: It’s true that we were lucky to receive a good reception with our first record, and so much the better. I don’t think we were under that much pressure to write the next record. We had a lot more time because of the pandemic, which is why we decided to release a double album. We wrote so many songs that we liked that it was too hard to choose which ones to put on the record and which ones to throw away. But to be quite honest with you, yes, the second album is a rather difficult exercise.

Tall Bastard: The pressure didn’t come so much from our audience but more from us. To deliver the same sound without repeating ourselves. But also to make sure that everyone of us are happy about the songs, hopping that they are good enough so that we don’t have to compromise.

Crazy Z. : To be honest I can’t imagine that each new album will not come with some kind of pressure. I often hear guys with some bullshit theories saying “you will see, the second one is the hardest” or “the third one is the one which confirm or destroy a band !”. Come on man. Each album, from the very first one to the true last is a new adventure, and we have to put more and more efforts each time in it.

2022 has seen the release of this much vaunted second album, PASSIVE and it really is a gem you should be proud of. Why was there a three year break between these two albums?

dBoy: Oh, thanks you. We wanted to take our time, everything goes so fast these days, it’s also good to leave a little time for the audience, isn’t it? It’s good to give the audience time to get into the songs. And then there was this damn pandemic that slowed down the whole world. No more concerts, no more meeting the public, no more parties where we all danced together. The only thing left to do was to write music, so we kept on writing, hoping to be able to release this record in a better time.

Crazy Z. : It really was no break for us, as we spent the 3 whole years in working on it. It is just the time we need to create, record, produce, prepare it. Moreover it is a double album, the first part is PASSIVE, and the second part AGRESSIVE is foreseen in October.

PASSIVE will be followed up by the next album already titled AGGRESSIVE. Can you tell us about this next album and how is relates to PASSIVE?

dBoy: Passive-aggressive behaviour is a set of so-called passive attitudes that indirectly express a hidden hostility that is not openly assumed or remains unconscious to the subject. Each disc contains ten songs about our hero from the first album. He has grown up but is still as stupid as ever. This whole story, this trilogy, is about the Peter Pan complex and the difficulty of being a good lover, a good husband and a good father. The strangest thing about it is that none of the three of us are fathers. But… we do have great sex, apparently.

Tall Bastard: For me this is one album. The songs were written during the same period . We put out two albums cause there was not enough space in one record for 20 songs.

The tentative release date for AGGRESSIVE is around October, so is this album mostly finished?

dBoy: Yes, this double album has been completely finished for six months now.

Crazy Z. : How frustrating is it to have it since months and to not release it! But yes. Both have been pro-cessed and finished in the studio together.

Photo Marion Parfait

If you had to pick a song off the latest album that you felt epitomized JE T’AIME or is a favourite, which one would it be?

dBoy: I love them all, really. I’m not saying that to sound pretentious, it’s just the pure truth. As far as the sound of the band goes, I think of Lonely Days because this song is the sound of JE T’AIME.

Tall Bastard: recording and playing a song that feels like a pornography song was an old dream of mine so i will say Another day in hell.

Crazy Z. : Well, I probably have a special feeling for Stupid Songs. That makes us a real Trinity with different minds, and that is our strength.

What bands or acts first got you into the scene?

dBoy: Michael Jackson was my first crush, I was living with my parents in Atlanta (Georgia) when he released his album Thriller, what madness. As far as wanting to perform with a band, it’s definitely Gun’s N Roses. Duff Mac Kagan, my god. I immediately wanted to play on a huge stage so I could run around on it with my bass on my lap.

Tall Bastard: I’m not sure I want to talk about my first crushes because they are honestly terrible. But everything changed when I heard Shake The Disease from DM. My first musical shock. The Cure came two or three years later with Holy Hour and its bass line. The song that make me want to play music. I then learn to play Boys Don’t Cry and Where Is My Mind from The Pixies and i considered myself a mu-sician haha! Crazy Z. : I’m a little younger than those two old geezers. My slaps in the face were Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins. It makes me learn the guitar too. And it makes me learn it so badly..

Who or what are you listening to now?

dBoy: Our album PASSIVE, on repeat, to learn the lyrics. I’m getting tired of it. And I really liked Anila’s latest album “The Loom”, and Vlure’s latest EP “Euphoria”.

Tall Bastard: Mike Oldfield! Is that dangerous?

Crazy Z. : I am discovering MXMS. Their song Gravedigger is turning me mad.

Going forward, what does the future hold for JE T’AIME such as recording, tours etc?

dBoy: We are hoping for as many concerts as possible, even if the situation in Europe becomes somewhat unstable. We are also preparing the release of our fourth video clip of the album, the song “Dirty Tricks”, directed by Quentin Caffier.

Crazy Z. : We have around 20 gigs to comes, from France, Belgium, Switzerland to Germany, Austria. You can check all of them on our website jetaime-music.com. And we are on the highway to the second part, AGGRESSIVE. But keep listening in PASSIVE until then, they are strongly linked.

Thank you for talking with Onyx and we can’t wait for AGGRESSIVE.

Crazy Z. Thank you mate!




Once there was an EP that was recorded and then it was unable to be finshed for reasons. Many years later, the siren whom created the EP, Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp, was given the opportunity to complete it. This is very much our luck as well, as Sidhe is a wonderful eclectic mix of cabaret, sexiness and sprinklings of darkness. Justine has been a part of the New Zealand dark alternative scene since the 90s but this EP marks the lady being independent of a band, so we spoke to her about the EP, what she has been up to and find out a little about the Kiwi music scene!

Welcome/kia ora Justine, down in the Onyx burrow where we currently have an infestation of fairy folk… do be careful as they occasionally bite.

You have been involved with the New Zealand music scene since the 90s, with acts including The Gael, Flinch, Pulchritude, DiS and Artemisia. Most of these bands were involved in experimental, dark ambient styles. How did you get into this scene?

I socialised with many of these people in the 90s and we all had a similar desire for the darker and more experimental. We listened to much of the same kinda music. I have always been fairly confident socially, you could say, so I showed what I could do and it unfolded from there.

Justine Album Shoot

What was the gothic/industrial/darkwave scene in New Zealand in the 90s and 2000s? Is it similar today or have things changed?

Vastly different nowadays. Back then we were the stragglers of the 80s: the children of boomers, where we were not really acknowledged and kinda felt raised by radio and tv. So the music in the alternative scene (not limited to goth etc.) was a kinda purging of what was repressed in us. It made for some very interesting material; very raw in many ways. Nowadays I am not seeing much of this from the younger lot… I guess they have their own voice. Social media has changed things a lot. And the days of the old 4-track and analogue reel-to-reel that were always highly coveted now sit collecting dust in forgotten corners, holding memories and unfulfilled dreams. I quite liked the 90s “misfits” that wandered about looking for gigs to go to it felt quite supportive, and felt like we were kinda healing or medicating each other with music and booze: very much dysfunctional, but at the time was fun. There was however the shadow side that era came with, which was quite vampiric and deeply unhealthy. I needed to extract myself from that, so I left

The EP, Sidhe, was recorded in the early 2000s but then it was kind of forgotten about? How did Sidhe get resurrected and who was involved?

No, never forgotten about I assure you. Its state of incompletion haunted me. I would see that hard drive that was biffed in a box every time I would go looking for something and it would tug at my conscience – my obsession with tying up loose ends – I don’t like unfinished business. Then one day like an answered prayer, Josh Wood contacted me out of the blue, asking if I would be interested in doing some vocals on his EP. I was chuffed because I liked his work back in the day and was only too pleased to help. In return, he offered to help me with my EP when I was ready. He understood the bullshit that surrounded the temporary cessation of my project, and wanted to see it done. Very good guy: straight up and ridiculously talented. Another talented friend, Bryan Tabuteau in Wellington, also offered to assist. I gratefully accepted their help, and so here we are.

The style in Sidhe is different from what you were performing with other bands. Was this because you had more autonomy creating with long time friend Iva Treskon or were trying out something different?

Yea, so I was getting bored with the randomness of the other projects. Although I enjoyed these projects at the time, I suddenly started to feel like I was a bit of a puppet and wasn’t given much license to do what I wanted. I always wanted some structure and a degree of slickness – not too slick, mind you. Iva and I moved to Auckland in 2000 from Christchurch to carve out a new life together, and he is a very good drummer. I mean, the dude is crazy talented at a lot of things and drumming is just one of his natural abilities. He liked my singing and we would jam regularly in our tree house in Tītīrangi with the tūīs surrounded by native bush. His drum n bass break beat style with my drones, loops and vocal style created a lovely kind of landscape that had a nice balance of structure and experimentation. It was fun, and it happened very organically. We were highly motivated creative beings and we got a lot of creativity out back then collectively. We inspired each other. In fact his art still inspires me some 20 plus years later.

The single Red Room has been picked up by radio and streamers. You also had fellow New Zealanders, The Mercy Cage do a fantastic remix and in 2017, you recorded the single, Walking Ghost Phase with them. How did you make their acquaintance?

I met Josh Wood briefly in Auckland at some Goth gig in the early 2000s. I think he was based in Tauranga back then. I am not sure we even spoke to each other; just acknowledged each other in our introverted way. I was super impressed by The Mercy Cage and I guess my voice made a positive impression on him.

He did a huge amount of work on my EP and I asked him if he would like to do a remix of one of the songs with complete creative license. He chose Red Room and yes, he did a fantastic remix.

Justine Album Shoot

My favourite track is the wonderful Stanley’s Only Hope, a duet with Michel Rowland of Disjecta Membra. Your vocals complimented each other so well. Michel mentioned he had re-recorded the vocals after many years, so can you tell us about this song, your friendship with the delightful Rowland and is it inspired a little by Nick Cave?

I met Michel years ago, playing some shows together between 97 and 98. I was in Flinch then, and he was in Disjecta Membra, and we have been friends ever since. His voice blew me away when I first heard him sing, I was astonished. I love it. Deep and rich… I like how he seems to masticate words when he sings, and they come out kinda different, his own and yet otherworldly… hard to describe.

As for Nick – we both really enjoy Nick Cave and I think for me it’s almost impossible not to have Nick influence me creatively on some level. I wrote that song deliberately to be sung as a duet and for me there was only ever one person who could sing Stanley’s part and that was Michel. I am glad he agreed to it. Our voices do go well together. I think that’s a lot to do with getting where each other is coming from. Quite intuitive… instinctive.

You seemed to have a break from the music scene, so was this intentional?

Yes and no… Life and its twists took me down the path of motherhood, among many other distractions, both unwelcomed and welcomed.

In 2015 saw you starting to appear on recordings again. Was this the start of a return to singing for you?

Yes, dipping my toes back in, gently. Curious to see if I could still sing… seems I could.

What music or bands brought you into the fold in your youth?

As a child, early Simple Minds, early U2, Bowie, Clannad… then from 14-ish Nick Cave, The Church, Bauhaus, New Order… then latter teen years came Diamanda Galas, Swans, Skin, Jarboe, Dead Can Dance, PJ Harvey, The Breeders, Bongwater, The Specials… many more, but those are front of mind.

What or who do you listen to now that inspire you?

Still most of the above. I do like Weyes Blood, and Big Black Delta have a couple of decent songs that I return to.

Justine Album Shoot

Are there plans for more music in the pipeline due to the reception of Sidhe?

I hope so. There are some discussions about some collaborative work. For any solo stuff, not sure… I would like to, but perhaps not on my own completely.

We honestly hope to hear more from you and so do the fairies! Thank you/ char for your time!

You’re welcome. Yes, indeed the fae are never far from me… never far from us.

Sláinte! Kia ora!

Sídhe (EP) | Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp (bandcamp.com)

Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp | Facebook

𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞 Ó 𝐆𝐚𝐝𝐡𝐫𝐚-𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐩 (@justinesidhe) • Instagram photos and videos

Alexander Hallag (@themusicistalking) • Instagram photos and videos

The Neuro Farm have been in existence since 2011 with founders Rebekah Feng (vocals, violin) and Brian S Wolff (vocals, guitar), later joined by DreamrD (drums, percussion) and Tim Phillips (keyboards, textures). This gothic quartet released the concept album Vampyre in 2021, with the tale starting in a grand ancient acclaim with the father of vampires, “Cain“. It follows a woman who is tricked into becoming a creature of the night eternal but struggles with the loss of her humanity and leaving behind the husband she loves. The bloodsucker that sired her, acts as a despot, so she gathers the others like herself to over throw this King of Vampires and then ascends to become Queen. Throughout, there is drama and dark beauty. Feng’s vocals are gorgeous and really give each track such profound grace. You can hear her classical training and “Vampyre” is a perfect track to showcase not only her violin playing but the vocals. Wolff is no slouch with his singing either while Phillips abilities on the synths has enriched their sound and DreamrD is the beating heart that holds it all together. A goth rock odyssey that could only happen when you have a group of talented musicians.

I think the moral of the story is in the end there is a little bit of Cain in each and every vampire that stalks the world from the shadows. So, we decided to have a chat with these ephemeral creatures that make up The Neuro Farm before the break of dawn and find out about this latest offering and what makes their synapses spark…..

Welcome to the psych ward where we conduct aptitude tests looking for Onyx’s new Renfield!

Brian: Thanks for inviting us in. 😉

The name of the band comes from Rebekah being a neuroscientist and Brian’s interest in neuropharmacology. How did the band come together?

Brian: Rebekah and I met in grad school at Georgetown University working on PhDs in neuroscience. We both had solo music projects going, and somehow didn’t know this about each other until a couple years after we first met. But we did eventually find out, and it turned out our projects were fairly similar, so we started a band. It wasn’t very serious at first, just kind of a fun spare time thing, but we got much more serious about it in 2017 when Colin joined and we started working on our Descent album.

Rebekah: I agree, the band was more like a fun side hobby at first, and was nothing like what it is now. In a way, The Neuro Farm only became a real band when we met Colin in 2017. Colin brought our rhythm section to a whole new level. The 3 of us played shows for a few years with quite a few bassists, but we had wanted a synth player for a very long time. Tim is one of the best synth players around. We had wanted to ask him to join our band for the longest time. To our surprise, he said yes! With Tim joining the band last year, we were able to create all these new sounds for Vampyre. We are now the Neuro Farm 2.0! 😀

Neuro Farm is based in Washington DC, so can you tell us what the goth/industrial scene is like in the nation’s capital?

Rebekah: Under the polished suit-wearing facade of Washington, DC, there’s an unexpectedly active underground goth/industrial scene! I bet everyone thinks they have the best goth scene, but I really do believe ours is special. Everyone is genuinely kind and supportive of each other. We have Vanguard and Dark & Stormy, which are both amazing dance parties. If you ever visit DC, you’ll have to come to one of these! Another super cool thing that happened in DC is the emergence of Procession Magazine. It was founded by our pal, Chris Canter, and has grown into a super popular print magazine in the US. So definitely check them out!

Your music is heavily based and influenced by vampire lore. What is it about this genre that inspires your music and creativity?

Rebekah: Vampires are misunderstood. They are often portrayed as monsters to be slayed. But they have memories of humanity and are tortured by eternity. They have loved and lost, and can be a bit jaded as a result. We wanted to tell the vampire’s story from their perspective, and that became the story of the album.

Brian: Vampires are also about power. Power is something they crave, something they covet, something that sustains them, but at the same time it’s quite literally a curse, and something that estranges them from those they care about. It’s great symbolism, and fun to explore from a songwriting perspective.

Congratulations on your latest album release, Vampyre, which comes with a story-line. Can you elucidate and give us a bite of what this epic tale is about?

Brian: The album begins with “Cain”, a song about the biblical figure who was cursed by God to wander the earth for eternity as a vampire. The main story is set in modern times, and the heroine of the story is made a vampire by an evil man, an egomaniacal cult leader who is the subject of the song, “Purity”. But as she grows to hate her maker, she lures vampires away from him and makes them loyal to her. Eventually, she slays her former master in the “Midnight Massacre” and declares herself queen. Mastermind ends the album saying the kings and queens aren’t really in charge, asking, who is the real mastermind? Then in a subtle touch I’m probably a little too proud of, you hear the theme from “Cain” start to play, answering the question.

Rebekah: Right before “Midnight Massacre” there’s a pair of songs, “Vampyre” and “Mortal”. Part of the tragedy of becoming a vampire is the inevitable farewell to their mortal loved ones. “Vampyre” portrays the difficult choice of breaking the bond. And of course, “Mortal” is the story told from the mortal lover’s perspective. You sense more of a trace of humanity in “Vampyre” before she abandons her humanity in “Midnight Massacre”.


How important was it for there to be a story-line for this album and who was the one to come up with the idea?

Brian: Rebekah came up with the vampire theme by writing the song, “Vampyre”. We had a few songs already written at that time, but we realized we could easily form a story about that vampire character, so we decided to turn the whole thing into a concept/story album. The song “Cain” was actually originally written about the Norse god Loki, but we adapted it into a song about the world’s first vampire.

Rebekah: It’s more fun when an album reads like a book rather than a collection of loosely-connected songs! We first came up with the song “Vampyre” and built a whole storyline around the vampire. There’s a cult, a love story, a rebellion, and the takeover in the story. We added the origin story of the biblical Cain, the first vampire, because we do everything from start to finish. That’s how we roll! 😀

DreamrD: Fortunately, during the pandemic, we had the time available to devote to the project. Making and releasing albums is a tremendous amount of work under any circumstances, much less a concept-based undertaking that communicates a compelling story. We’re familiar with what effort is involved though, because our 2019 release “The Descent” is also a concept/story based album.


I believe Vampyre is your fourth studio album. How do you feel your sound has changed since that first release in 2011?

Brian: In 2011 it was really just a side project with Rebekah and me, and pretty amateurish. You can definitely hear us develop with each album, with the songwriting and production improving considerably over time. And we added Colin for “The Descent” (2018), which improved our sound pretty dramatically, and then added Tim for “Vampyre” (2021) which once again gave our sound a huge boost. I feel like we’ve found a really great lineup for the band now where we all contribute a lot to the sound, and we really like working together to make music we’re all proud of.

Rob Early of 11 Grams/Retrogram did a great job mastering Vampyre, so how do you know the fabulous Rob?

Rebekah: Haha! You know Rob too? Isn’t Rob a great guy? A few years back, we played a show at Black Cat in DC with Red This Ever (another great band from our area) and Rob was the synth player at that show. We started chatting then and have been good friends ever since.

Brian: Rob was absolutely fantastic to work with, and just a great guy as well.

DreamrD: Rob also happens to live right down the street from me so we’re neighbors as well, though we only recently discovered this fact. Knowing this, I’ll be dropping by his place often for a spare cup of baking powder or sea salt. 🙂

Rebekah, you are a trained classical violin player. Does this make it easier or harder to integrate into a rock style for you?

Rebekah: Like everyone else, I grew up playing an acoustic violin and didn’t even know about electric violins until later in life. As you know, classical violin training focuses more on techniques rather than artistic expression. I get bored easily, so perfecting my technique or playing sheet music was not as fun. I’ve always been more interested in creating new sounds and coming up with my own music. Fast forward to 2010, I bought my first electric violin and the world of effect pedals opened up to me. The rest is history. 🙂 Now I have so many effects pedals and somehow keep acquiring more. So, to answer your question, integrating violin playing into a rock style actually felt quite natural. It was meant to be! 🙂


The whole band comes from a lot of different musical backgrounds. What are the bands that influenced you all in your youth?

Brian: My biggest influence growing up was Pink Floyd, who gave me a deep love for the concept album. And Dave Gilmour was probably the main reason I decided to learn guitar. Otherwise, the way Radiohead writes and arranges their songs has definitely been a big inspiration for my own songwriting over the years. And I love how Portishead had a really cinematic vibe to their music, which is something I’ve always pursued in my own music.

Rebekah: I was actually really into classical music when I was a kid. My first cassette was a piece by Schumann. I got it when I was 6 and I remember being moved by the music. String harmonies still give me goosebumps. Then there’s Bach who made me fall in love with Baroque arpeggiation patterns. Nowadays, I notice that I incorporate these influences when I write music without realizing it. If you listen to the song, Vampyre, you’ll see what I’m talking about. 🙂

DreamrD: Having come up in the 80’s (think “Freaks and Geeks”) a lot of pop music and MTV in particular were inescapable. So all of that rubbed off on my musical interests at the time, and much of which I still enjoy. The Police, Devo, Missing Persons, Duran Duran, Ministry, The Cult, Prince, and The The were all bands that really captivated my youthful ears. I recall much later seeing Cirque du Soleil for the first time and being impacted by the music, but also just the overall performance and theatrics, the creation of distinct show characters, the acrobatic and physical prowess, and the fantasy of it all. It was impressive and stuck with me as an elevated piece of artistry. The Blue Man Group show also made a similar impact from a unique live performance perspective, as did U2’s Zoo TV tour in the 90’s. Amazing productions! Unrelated to musical influences, but with additional personal insight, DreamrD is a nickname that’s been with me in some form (DreamR, Dreamer, Dreamer-D, etc.) since my teens and just never went away. It works in a musical/band/performance setting, however my dearest Mum still calls me Colin. I also answer to “schlagzeuger” for our German followers since we seem to be making inroads there. But maybe Australia is next for The Neuro Farm to really infiltrate? 😉

Tim: I became a fan of Duran Duran in the early 80’s and when I saw a live performance on MTV, I saw Nick Rhodes behind a glorious stack of synths and computers and I knew instantly that I wanted to be him. My tastes expanded when I got into Pink Floyd and early Peter Gabriel solo albums, but hearing The Cure’s ‘The Head on the Door’ was the moment I wanted to compose songs. This also led me down the college and alternative radio path and fell in love with Depeche Mode, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead then enforced the fact that writing and performing music was the path I wanted to follow.


What do you find yourselves listening to now?

Brian: Honestly, a lot of the same stuff I was listening to in my youth. But I’ve definitely had a recent focus on post-punk and industrial stuff like Joy Division and NIN. I like listening to all kinds of different music, though I think pretty much every genre has good stuff in it.

Rebekah: I go through phases with music. There will be weeks when I listen to Chelsea Wolfe nonstop. Then there are other weeks when I listen to a lot of German bands, Rammstein, Eisbrecher, etc. Currently, I’m in a Sigur Rós phase. They are going on tour this year and we all bought tickets to see them, so I’m quite excited about it! The ONE band I always come back to is Radiohead. They are incredibly creative and the music is both beautiful and so interesting!

DreamrD: In the “smaller band” realm, I have been enjoying Ritual Howls who are based in Detroit. They have a dark, mechanical, and minimalist quality to their sound but that is also infused with a Western twang to it. “Turkish Leather” is a good full-album starting point for their music. In the “bigger artist” category, I typically stop whatever I am doing if I hear Johnny Marr’s solo work come on or also Interpol (Antics!). Those sounds just never get old to my ears.

Tim: Other than revisiting all of the music I grew up with, I find myself listening more and more to bands like Deftones, Mew, Sigur Ros, and 65daysofstatic. Even side projects of some of those bands are in my heavy rotation such as Crosses (Deftones) and Apparatjik (Mew).

Due to the pandemic hitting us from 2020 to 2021, how has it affected the band? Did it make some things harder/impossible or other things easier?

DreamrD: The pandemic initially impacted The Neuro Farm by shutting down a planned 2020 tour and obviously separating us physically from gigging and hanging out together, etc. But we made a point of staying active and productive. The time away from performing really cleared the way for the Vampyre album to be our sole focus and brought it to completion without any particular pressure of time or imposed deadlines. It felt good to embrace flexibility and to be able to adapt to the unexpected.

What are the future plans for Neuro Farm?

Rebekah: Venues are opening back up in DC, and we recently began to play local shows somewhat regularly. When we wrote our “Vampyre” album, we had envisioned an almost movie-like storyline which warrants music videos. We are in the process of making them and hope to finish those this year. In April 2020, we were about to go on our first east coast tour, which didn’t happen for obvious reasons. So touring domestically is definitely on our agenda. Also, we’ve been gaining popularity internationally, so touring in Europe and maybe Australia is something we’ve been talking about as well.

If you were a character out of the role playing game Vampire The Masquerade, what clan would you be from and why?

Brian: My real life might most resemble Nosferatu because I’m reclusive and I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. But screw that, I want to be a Toreador because they’re much more attractive, and I want to be attractive, dammit!

Rebekah: I think I am a Tremere because of my day job. I wish I knew magic. But hey, science is like magic, but based on empirical evidence! 😀 Supposedly, Tremeres are hated by many. I hope that’s not the case. 😦

DreamrD: I would probably be part of the Ravnos. I’m often a little restless but also prefer not to fight about things when a smoother, more charmed approach can achieve the same or better result in life. 😉

Tim: I was going to say I’d lean heavily towards Ravnos, but we can’t have TWO charmers in the same band, right? I’d go with Malkavian as I can be a bit of a joker and may be prone to hallucinations when I’m hungry 😛

Thank you for being my willing thralls and giving your time to this experiment.

Brian: We have been enthralled. Get it? Because “Enthralled” is a song on our album. 😀

Mwahaha congratulations Brian, you are the new Renfield.



When US band Sunshine Blind came to prominence in the gothic scene in the early 90s, it also heralded a new resurgence in bands and music of this style, making it an extremely exciting time. Caroline Blind was the front woman for Sunshine Blind and after a hiatus, returned to the scene as a solo act and also a member of the experimental project Voidant. We spoke to the gracious and lovely Caroline about life, friends and of course the music.

Caroline Blind,  a warm welcome from the Onyx rabbit hole. 

You first started out in the band, Sunshine Blind. What drew you to that style of music and how did the band form?

Hi. I was well into the style of music before I started the band, of course. I was looking to submerge myself into it more, by going ahead and playing it, and not just listening to it. Probably what made me really go for it was seeing actual people where I lived doing it. Listening to bands from some far off place is one thing, but actually going to a show and seeing friends, or friends of friends, in my neighborhood having a go at forming their own bands and writing their own music, was the thing that made me realize that I could do it, too. 

I put an ad in a local music paper, looking for a guitarist, and I  met with those that responded. I found CWHK, it turned out he literally lived around the corner from me, but I didn’t know him then. We started working on songs, and the mix was right. We formed Sunshine Blind, and played together for 13 years. A million tour dates, and 3 albums later – it took us all over the country and beyond. 

I first remember hearing you sing on the compilation Masked Beauty In A Sea Of Sadness (1994) with the song Crescent And The Stars. That whole CD was full of some great bands. Sunshine Blind broke up as many bands do when they hit a certain point. You must look back of that time with some whimsy but do you feel being a performer under your own name suits you better now?

That was a good compilation…. I don’t look back with whimsy, doing the band was my life, my purpose,  and was wrapped up with the personal relationship- CWHK and I were married, and we had kids. 

We divorced in early 2000’s. Realizing after ten years that doing our music was really only my dream, and not his, or at least, not anymore, was a serious break that totally shook me- The band had been my identity. Our identity, I thought, but things changed. I really didn’t know where to go without his half, I didn’t know who I was anymore without being “Caroline of Sunshine Blind”.  

I had been very dependent on him for  music production, as well, so I knew I would have to learn that part of it if I wanted to continue to make music, so in 2016 I took some music production courses. The first time I recorded a song in Protools by myself, rough as it was, I cried.  I was able to express myself again through music, and I felt I had years of anguish to process/ express!

Music has always been a collaboration for me, with someone I cared deeply about. I feel personally that the music is boring if I do it all myself, it’s better as a collaboration, I need someone to bounce ideas off of, to compliment and blend with,- music needs a ying and a yang, it’s a conversation. Doing music “by myself” is not something I even want to do. Just doesn’t appeal to me. So of course when people offered to help, I jumped at the chance.

I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me that I could work with new or different people, probably because “why would I want to?”. But in the end I was forced to. When people offered, and I took them up on it. I found It was EXACTLY like going from being married, to ‘dating again’.  Can be exciting, full of promise, and then, maybe transitory, and you can get your heart broken. You can work very superficially, or you can get into a very strong connection with a collaborator. Very hit and miss. I’m learning to rely on myself to be the constant thread through it all, since I guess I’m the one with my own vision, and I don’t wish to give that away ever again.  Does it suit me? No idea. I just have to express myself, and follow where it leads, as I always have done.  I know that some great music can come from when you are going through things and have real emotions to express, and I’ve been having some real emotions about my new working form/ collaborations (!) , so I feel my music will have that intensity that I’m drawn to, in music I listen to, and probably people will be able to relate/ connect to my music because of that, too.

As you said, you have been creating music again. With several singles released, you then dropped the album, The Spell Between in 2020. The list of people you have on the credits is fairly impressive, so do you think you have found some of your tribe, so to speak, who mirror your own need to make music?

That’s a good question. I am really driven to do music, to live a life in the music industry. I do not feel like some the people I have worked with in the past 6 years are so driven, no. People have moved on. There are a few who are always working on something, or doing as many shows as they can, or out there creating things, but some people maybe ‘used to do it full time’, and maybe stopped, or just do it sometimes, or on the weekends or something… you know, they have lives (lol!), maybe kids, big jobs, who knows, not me. Doesn’t really matter to me.  I’m here to work on music. That’s my fun, it’s my therapy, how I self actualize, work out my karma, whatever. It’s the lens I see the world through. It feels like the point of my life, I guess,  -and the thing that was neglected for a bit there, so feels AMAZING to be back at it, and IN it.   The people I’ve found to work with, are just friends, old a new. I’m happy to be hanging out with them whether we do music or not, because we share a history and/ or a scene. I’ll travel across oceans to see a show as happily as I will to play one, I just like being a part of the industry and scene, and expressing my art in it, when I get the chance. It feels like home to me. So yes, I’m back with my ‘Tribe’. (Which is coincidentally the title of a song I released recently, that I had some of the greatest guitarists in this scene help me with!)

I see you caught my drift. The song Tribe was re-recorded and as you said released as a single. How was it hearing this song refreshed and does it take on new meaning for you now?

Tribe was a song we wrote with Sunshine Blind, but never recorded in the studio. I always felt it was a quintessential Sunshine Blind track- a torrent of riffs and guitars, a soaring and powerful vocal, I wanted to get it done in the studio and put it out.   I was able to get the full Sunshine Blind lineup; CWHK on guitars, William Faith ( Bellwether syndicate, Faith and the Muse)  on Bass, and Geoff Bruce ( Sunshine Blind, Faith and the Muse) on Drums, to record their parts for it and send me the files. I had Gordon Young in Edinburgh mix it with my other solo album tracks, and we put it on my solo album “The Spell Between”.  

But my solo album was mostly grooves and acoustic guitar, after I released the album, I wanted to showcase “Tribe” on its own, where it’s power would stand out. Just rock/ electric guitar music.

My solo album had been very limited by “what I can do on guitar” , which is “not much”! lol!  Giving free license to someone whose language is guitar, was kind of what I had been looking for- making something that was more than the sum of it’s parts.  I was so thrilled.  I contacted Mark Gemini Thwaite directly, and he and Ashley Bad got busy on a remix which turned it into an extended club mix for the dancefloor, and that was epic! 

I started looking in to getting remixes done. This was during the pandemic, and lots of people who play guitar live for touring acts were grounded with no work. Many of them turned to doing studio work for hire, and it was perfect timing for me. I got connected to Andee Blacksugar of KMFDM though my PR company, and he did a remix.  To your question, yes, it’s very weird to hear someone change a song you agonized over and wrote and recorded to be “just so”.  But it’s also fascinating. You can get some “why didn’t I do that?” or “that’s a really interesting spin!” The remixes can make you hear the song in a whole new way, for sure. 

Finally, my friend Michael Clark had produced some work with Ben Christo (gutiarist of Sisters of Mercy), and since The Sisters were a big inspiration when we started Sunshine Blind, I thought who better to work a song that was pretty much made for the style? Ben knocked it waaaay out of the park- he added backing vocals and sped it up even more, it just rocks harder than anything I’ve done in a long time, and I am fully here for it, and ready to take that inspiration and run with it.  Warm up is over, no more acoustics…next album will be some serious riffy guitars, which was where I started in the first place. Looking forward to getting back to it. Gotta thank those guys all, for reminding me what is possible. I’m very inspired.

I saw Ben Christo last play with Andrew Eldritch and Mark Gemini Twaite with Peter Murphy and David J (Bauhaus 40th Anniversary of In The Flat Field). Both are amazing guitarists. The pandemic has not been kind to the music industry over the last two years but it has also forged some dynamic and strong friendships borne of the desire to create and connect. How has covid affected the way you approach music and did this inspire you to go ahead with Voidant? 

Covid hasn’t really affected my music too much.  Since I did whole “restart as solo artist” a few years ago, it’s been a lot of “working from home “. I started my solo thing  just by myself and a computer/ home studio, and then when I started working with my first collaborator, Rich W.- (guitarist from The Wake (US)), we were 2000 miles apart, and traded files back and forth. When I started working with other people, like Wolfie ( Guitarist from Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, who I also do that electronic music project called “Voidant” with), who is in Leeds, England, and Gordon Young, who mixed and mastered my album from Edinburgh, Scotland- it was the same, all online, trading files. I did eventually meet them all face to face at least once or twice, before the pandemic, but writing and recording is a bulk of the work I’ve done, so far, in my “comeback”, so no, covid hasn’t affected that part at all. Working with Rich, him introducing me to Wolfie and the relationships I have started and sustained through both of them, started and evolved just like they would have in real life, they just happened through talking and working online, thanks to the internet.

As for shows; I was just starting to play out live before the pandemic, just getting a live band together,  I was lucky to have Dave (from) The Dramedy play bass,  and George Earth ( from Switchblade Symphony) play guitar for me, for some live shows in 2019. 

We only did a few shows, but we traveled , but we had some ADVENTURES!  

Our working together was kind of a long distance thing, as well, -they were both in LA and I was in San Francisco ( 400 miles apart).  I would drive down to rehearse with them once or twice a month. 

Since the shut down, I’ve moved back to my original state, New Jersey, which is 3000 miles from LA, so it’ll be hard to keep working with them. My move wasn’t Covid related, I had been planning it since before the pandemic. I was sick of San Francisco, and I wanted to be home, and closer to the UK, too.  When I thought of moving, I figured I would find people out here on the East Coast to play with, but THAT has definitely been hindered by the Pandemic. I can’t get out to go to the clubs and see people and  who is still around New York and NJ that could play for me. 

I hadn’t originally planned on finding people in LA before my move, and playing shows with them, but the need arose and it just happened!  lol!  Sometimes you just have to go with things that happen organically, even if they aren’t what you planned or how you planned it, if it’s working for you, why not follow it?  And people loved meeting/ seeing George and Dave, it just worked, and we had lots of fun.  My band Sunshine Blind did a tour with Switchblade Symphony back in 1997, so George and I have memories and history that go back a while, it was great to reminisce and work together again, this time in the same band!

 I just booked my first post -pandemic show for this coming July- I’m headlining one of the nights of Goth City Leeds festival in the UK. I am worried about how Covid will affect it, but I went over to the UK this past Halloween for a music festival ( to attend, not play), so I’ve travelled in a pandemic time, I should be able to do it again. Fingers crossed. 

You mention the Leeds goth festival and I know that Wolfie Wolfenden will be looking forward to catching up with you.  Will he be getting on-stage with you and can you tell us about this friendship across the sea?

Yes, I met Wolfie though Rich (guitarist from The Wake (US)).  Rich and I started working on music together, he was my first collaborator as a solo artist. I was recording some cover songs, Swans “God Damn the Sun”, and such, and I wanted to cover “Heaven” by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. I didn’t know at the time that Rich knew Wolfie. Rich and I worked out a version where Rich played a Baritone acoustic guitar, and I sang, and we made a decent demo. Then one morning I woke to a message from Rich saying he had sent the demo over to Wolfie.  I was horrified, because I’ve not had good experiences in meeting my idols up until then ( see: https://www.mtv.com/news/1434098/sisters-of-mercy-slag-bands-for-being-too-goth/  wherein Andrew Edlritch almost single handedly ruined our career back in 1997 by throwing us off an opening slot for The Sisters of Mercy show in Philadelphia, PA. The fallout made our record company fold, and left us stranded in California, on different coast from our usual recording studio.) 

Fortunately Wolfie is a very personable guy, and he loved the demo, and was flattered by it. He said it almost made him cry. I asked him why later, if it was a bad memory for him, and he said no, that it was a super happy memory, so maybe it was just bittersweet. In any event, Rich asked Wolfie to play on our cover of the song, and he did. So there are two cover songs on my CD where I have the original songwriter of the song playing on the song with me singing. ( The other is the cover of The Wake’s “First”, because Rich played guitar on that for me.)

So Wolfie is great, we got to chatting through the internet, and after a while, he asked if I would sing on an electronic project he was working on. I said, “Of course”, and he sent it over. It became the song “Death to Sleep” which is on my solo album, “The Spell Between”.  

Very different style and working style for me, but I love what we came up with. After this, he had more songs, so we started working on an EP/ Album. He would send me the files, I’d write and record my vocals and send them back. So we’re working partners now, as well as friends.

 In 2019 I went to England to see James- (bass player from The Wake) – he had a new band, ‘October Burns Black’ , and they went over to play a show at the Tomorrows Ghosts Festival in Whitby, England.  

While I was over there, I stopped in Leeds, and Wolfie let me stay at his place, and took me all around Leeds for the grand tour, which included stories of himself and all the bands that came out of Leeds, and where they played and lived back in the day, the Sisters, The Mission, The Lorries, March Violets, the Rose of Avalanche, etc. Great stories!

We worked on our electronic album, and it came out under the project name “Voidant” last year.  It’s pretty experimental, but there are some great tunes in there! It was a good exercise in songwriting for me, trying different styles, etc, and I’m pretty excited about it.

I went back to England, to the Whitby Festival again in 2021. The Wake were supposed to be playing  but the pandemic made it too hard to get Visas, so I was very sad not to see my friends playing there, but I had a hotel booked from the previous year, and decided to go anyway, because of pandemic fatigue! I went over, and I stayed with Wolfie again on my way there, we had a great time catching up and playing music then as well, before I headed over to Whitby.

I have asked Wolfie to join me for this show in July, we can do some Voidant songs and some Lorries Songs, people should get a kick out of that. The hometown of the Lorries and all…. I’m looking forward to it!

When I interviewed Wolfie, he had this to say about you. “She stayed with us and she’s a really big fan of Zakk Wylde and I can see he’s a terrific guitar player although his music isn’t something I would listen to but there is one Zakk Wylde song that we both agree on that we’d like to do a cover of in a 4AD kind of ideal and it’s this song called Spoke In The Wheel which I think is a fucking great song because you know it’s a really great song”. The burning question is, is this going ahead because I want to hear this?!

That is the plan, though we haven’t begun yet. When we were together in Leeds at Halloween, Wolfie and I started talking about what songs we’d do next, and that cover was one. When I got home, I was at a Black Label Society show about a month later, and I took a little video of Zakk playing ‘Spoke in the wheel’ live, and sent it to Wolfie to show him how Zakk changes up songs live, to show how we could change it up. So, we’ll see how it turns out. I am a huge Zakk fan, I’ve gone to tons of his shows, they are good fun, and he often has great bands on the road with him, that I also enjoy. I’ve been to so many shows, that Wylde’s road crew recognizes me, and they say hello when they see me!

Can’t wait to hear your version. Wolfie also mentioned that it might be on a new EP. EPs seem to be popular again. What music did you grow up on that would influence your getting into the industry?

I like music with actual emotional intensity, in pretty much any genre. I usually dislike pop songs, or music that is just for filling space or just for dancing. I’m attracted to darker themes and moods. My history of musical exposure goes like this: started with the Beatles, and music from the UK has always been a theme for me from there. Being from New Jersey I was exposed to a lot of Classic Rock, Heavy Metal and Southern rock, so I have all that, but even there, the classic rock from the UK stood out for me, like Pink Floyd, Judas Preist or Led Zeppelin, not US bands.  As a kid in the 80’s, I loved New Wave, but really New Wave, like New Romantics (UK), not like Madonna (US). My other recurring theme is guitars, guitarists, and guitar based music. I liked a lot of music that had synths, but bands with guitars is what I like. Grunge, Hardcore, Metal, indie bands and ‘120 minutes’ Alternative music in the 90’s, I liked. That’s where I first saw bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Swans, The Bolshoi and a bunch of the more trad goth bands, too: The Mission, Love and Rockets, Peter Murphy. I knew some people at university who were in Goth Bands, and by the time I started looking for a band, I knew that was the way I wanted to go. 

Currently there is a post-punk/coldwave/darkwave revival, with a lot of interesting acts like Twin Tribes, TRAITRS She Past Away to name a few. Are there any particular bands in the current era that you hear and think, yep I can get into that? 

No, not really. lol!  The new bands I’ve been most excited about in the past few years are/ were: Sometime the Wolf, October Burns Black, Bootblacks and Auger. Like I said, it fit doesn’t have enough guitars, it probably won’t be on my list. 

Sometime the Wolf broke up, but Drew (lead singer) has a new project called “All My Thorns”, and Drew is about to be the new Singer for Sweet Ermengarde, too, so looking forward to that. Also, October Burns Black is about to drop a new album, so that’s coming up… I think Auger are probably the youngest/ newest band on my list. Love ’em to bits. Saw the lead singer, Kyle, do a solo set last Halloween at the Marquis Masquerade party in Whitby, unbelievable, that guy.

Have to say I really like Tommy Olsen (ex-Theatre of Tragedy) from October Burns Black’s, other project, Long Night. He is such a polished guitar player. And Auger, we have reviewed before and they have so much talent going on there. In July, as you said, you have Goth City in Leeds, but what else does the future hold for Caroline Blind?

Oh yes, I love Long Night, and all the bands associated with October Burns Black. All the bands Simon Rippin ( Fields of the Nephilim) plays for : Grooving in Green, etc.  I was sad Tommy didn’t come over with OBB when they played Whitby, so I could meet him. Gordon Young ( Dream Disciples, Pretentious Moi, Children on Stun) filled in for him.  

As for the future, right now the only things in current works are getting ready for, and playing the shows this summer, I have a song due for a Compilation of covers next month, and Wolfie and I have a tentative plan to do more Voidant work. I have a couple songs that I need to cobble together for an EP for this year or next, but I’m brainstorming how to do them, who to do them with, etc. I like to have a rough idea to begin with, start putting things in place, and then something will happen and the last pieces will click, and I’ll know exactly what I need to do… it’s that “preparedness meets opportunity” thing… I’ll see it,  and then I know exactly what I’ve prepared for, and it works really well, though not always on a timeline I think it will, but the ends are usually worth it. 

Is there anything else you want to touch on or feel I have missed that we should cover? I have enjoyed reading everything immensely. Otherwise, I can say – Thank you ever so much for the talking to me and giving us some of your time. Can’t wait to hear what comes next! 

No, I think we covered everything, Thank you!


Music | Caroline Blind (bandcamp.com)

Music | Voidant (bandcamp.com)

Caroline Blind | Facebook

Voidant | Facebook

With the new j:dead EP, Visions of Time now out on Infacted Recordings, we thought we would have a talk with Jay Taylor about his project, the EP and whatever else tickled our fancy.

Jay Taylor, welcome to the descent into darkness that is Onyx.

Let the descent commence!! 

You released the brilliant new single, I’ll Wait and though it has a heavy dance beat, it seems a very full of longing in the lyrical content. What was the inspiration behind the song?

Thank you! The whole of the new EP was written whilst we were all in lockdown, and I think it is fair to say that we have all felt a sense of “longing” over this time period with restrictions. In terms of my own writing style, I do like a mixture between ambiguity and direct content as when I listen to music myself I enjoy having my own take on what I hear and what it means. That for me is half the fun in connecting with a song – you connect with it on your own level. So in this case the longing can be connected to anyone or anything you love or enjoy doing. In my specific case, my partner lives in a different country and it has been extremely hard realizing you are no longer in control of things that affect your emotions.

Gone were the days that I could simply “hop on a plane” and see her, and if you wanted to do that there was a very clinical process to follow. Not a normal process or feeling to have when you just want to see someone! The overarching theme in I’ll wait, is “if” we can all wait for things to change. Again this theme is throughout the whole EP and provides its title – Vision of time. Time can change everything for the better, worse, or for change’s sake – and we have no control over this.  

So, would you say that covid has had an impact on the new EP Vision Of Time, as well? A lot of the lyrical content is about time,  waiting and unable to move forward.  

In short yes – but for the better and or worse depending on how you look at it. Personally my life has changed a lot over the last few years, and then this was compounded with being stuck inside. Now, my mantra for j:dead was that i would always keep writing, i would take every opportunity if i could see benefit in doing it. So obviously I have had huge amounts of time indoors where I wanted to feel productive – creating music filled this gap for me, and is now part of my weekly life, and I really do enjoy it.

The overall “time” concept for the EP isn’t so much about being “unable to do things we want” – although that is one of the emotions encapsulated within it. But, I have come to realize that over time anything that you believe couldn’t happen in a million years – could happen! This break in normality I think has shocked our perception of time, and time can change things in our lives and we have no control over it. I myself like to be in control, but I have had to deal (like everyone else) with the punches and gifts that time provides. I’m trying my best not to pun a Forrest Gump quotation here, but you never know what is around the corner.    

In the dark of space,  no one can hear you scream, so puns are acceptable. In that vein,  was it also covid that drove you to make a video with a bunch of dummies?

Ah the pun gate has been opened!! Yeah covid did play a small part in having dummies in the last video. But I have a great partnership with Mark from Mondo-Cheapo who does all my video content. Mark has a great visual mind, and with the location we were using, covid restrictions alongside the images of “replicants” it seemed fitting to have these “unfinished replicants” in the video. Mark and I are currently working on ideas for the next single/video, as i want to ensure that each single release had visual content alongside it 

The Teknovore remix of I’ll Wait is stellar and the Lights Of Eurphoria version is beautiful. How did they become involved?

I was very pleased to have these talented artists contribute to the single release! So George (TeknoVore) and I had been working together on some collaborations for some time. Obviously, shortly before I’ll wait was released TeknoVore and j:dead released the collaboration track Tearing me apart. I really enjoy George’s production work so I just had to ask him about a remix for I’ll wait. Hopefully in time everyone can hear some of the other tracks we have been working on as well – as there is more to release. The Lights of Euphoria remix came via Torben from Infacted. Torben has been a big supporter of me since I signed with them and it was a real pleasure to have them take on my track as well. Lets hope you can hear j:dead return the favor to them in 2022! 


We would love to hear those remixes! You also have more guests contributing mixes to the EP, including the wonderful Rotersand and Nature Of Wires. Does it feel a little mind blowing to know these people and have them remixing your work?

Well, 2022 will be a very busy year for j:dead releases. I already have a further 8 songs which in some way feature j:dead fully complete and waiting release dates plus another 3 in the works or due to start. On top of this I am already in final production stages for my 3rd release which hosts 7 original j:dead tracks. I have been constantly working on music and working with other artists which I really do enjoy. I have been in this scene since I was 17 years old, and what really blows my mind at times is the diversity of people behind the artist name. I think gone are the days of “fan-boy-vibes” when it comes to working with most artists (as i either know/met them or know them by association), but it is an amazing feeling knowing that j:dead is being accepted amongst them.  Each remix on the EP is fantastic in its own right!

Talking about Torben Schmidt and Infacted Records,  what is it like signed to a label with someone at the helm who is so well respected in the electro-industrial scene? How has it affected you as an artist?

The biggest thing for me with Infacted/Torben is knowing that I have someone who has my back. Since the very beginning Torben has always been so supportive of my music, and from that moment has made sure I have a platform to continue making and releasing music. Without a doubt this has allowed me to open doors and reach a wider audience than I would have been able to on my own. There are many artists doing things on a DIY basis at the moment and for some it really works for them.

But for me, I want to use my time in the most creative way possible. Don’t get me wrong – I have to do a HUGE amount of my own “admin” work when it comes to releases with marketing and so on. But I am a big believer in having a great team around you who have experience. Everyone who I work with is better than me at doing what they do. This gives me more time to focus on writing as well as living my life (with a full time job, 2 young children, bills etc etc). I’m proud to be an Infacted artist – and I owe a lot to Torben for believing in me.  

Often artists don’t get the support from labels that they need to grow, which is possibly why Infacted are so respected.  Also that many fans don’t realise that most acts in the gothic/synth/industrial cannot make enough money from the music they create and it is a labour of love for them and a catharsis, would you agree?

I think it’s all about balance. Putting the sole responsibility to grow on one side of the business relationship will never work. Not unless someone has a HUGE amount of money to throw into marketing – and then the artist most probably ends up in debt to the label anyway and has to pay it back. Everyone has a responsibility to play their part, and if everyone is moving in the same direction with the same level of effort then you can achieve better “results”. This is how it is working for me at the moment and something that I strive to continue.

Torben will always be respected because he is honest, hard-working and trusts his instincts – by far he is a person which you feel like you want the opportunity to work with. Yes it is very hard for any individual to make a living from music alone but i think it depends on a range of elements – but most importantly your own personal choices in regards to the life you want to lead. For me, I want to ensure that i don’t have to worry about money or question myself in regards to how i spend it. Therefore a “9-5” job works for me because i know how much money i get each month, i know how many hours i have to work, and I don’t have to be concerned in finding the “next contract/invoice etc”.

I believe (and there ARE good examples of this) that if anyone wanted to live off a life in music they could. But it would have a big impact on their lifestyle as well as having to diversify what they can offer to people. I see many artists offering their talents for mixing, sound production, mastering, video editing, artwork etc etc etc. And these people deserve huge credit for achieving their goals through hard work – but long gone are the days where you make your own music, it sells and provides you an income to live off. Also I do think that “audiences” are becoming more aware of this as well.

Social media and DIY artists have flooded the interwebs with their own personal stories and goals. This exposure goes beyond the artist/ band name – as the people themselves become the brand. And when people become the brand, audiences become more aware of the mechanics behind the band name. As for j:dead, I make music because it makes me happy. If it makes others happy along my journey then I couldn’t ask for much more than that.    

I have to ask,  you said you have two kids… do they like dad’s music?

Yes the kids love it! Music is a big part of their lives and they enjoy all types of music. They usually are the first set of ears to hear any song I write, as I play it on the car stereo on the way to school etc. It’s helpful to know you have a catchy chorus when a 6 and 4 year old can sing it back after hearing it once. My favorite part of the kids listening to my music is the “misheard” lyrics. J:dead songs in my house usually get referred to by their misheard name!

Honestly, who doesn’t like a misheard lyric or two to spice things up. You said earlier that you started your career in music quite young, at 17 and in this time includes working with Tactical Sekt and Tyske Ludder. How do you think being in these acts has helped you grow as a musician?

Well, in complete honesty I don’t think I would have the life I have today (let alone just music career wise) without those 2 acts and the amazing friends behind them. Anthony from TS took a wild punt on me playing drums for his band. I was young, inexperienced and didn’t even know the genre/scene. But it worked extremely well. Without this my life and the people in my life would be completely different.

The same goes with Tysker Ludder. Both of these acts have trusted and allowed me to grow as a live musician, and embraced my energy alongside it. I have never created any music for either of these acts so I cannot connect my own writing experience to theirs, but like I have said before. You can’t do everything on your own, and via these acts i have met some amazing and talented individuals i can now call my friends – and some of these friends are integral to the overall j:dead final product. And the same goes for my partner as well. We first met when we toured together with Tactical Sekt and Grendel (she played keys in Grendel). I owe a lot to the people who trusted me, as it has made me who I am.  

So what music was young Jay into before he joined an industrial band?

ALL THE METAL!!! I got into metal metal music when i was 14, and throughout my teenage years it evolved into “the heavier the better”. At first it was bands like Slipknot and Mudvayne. Then it was Meshuggah, the it was bands like Decapitated, Car Bomb and The Berzerker. I rarely listened to anything else up until the age of 17/18. I always appreciated dance music – but at the time it was a guilty pleasure. Joining Tactical Sekt helped me broaden and appreciate electronic music. It helped me discover that aggressive or emotional music isn’t just captured it all out guitar riffs and guttural vocals. Metal music is still a big part of my life, and I hope in a way this comes across in my writing style for j:dead.    

So once Captain Metalhead of the HMS Squealing Guitar Riff but since then what you listen to or find yourself drawn to? 

My normal “go to” genres now are a mixture! Pop, dance, Metal, 80’s, Industrial, synthpop, Synthwave, prog. Its safe to say that my musical taste moves within my two main focuses of “Electronic” music or “Guitar/Rock” music, but long gone are the days where I have a criteria of what it must be. In simple terms – if its a good track, then thats what it is. It doesn;t have to fit into many other boxes than that! 

I think you can see that in your song composition now, that your musical tastes have broadened. 
You said you have finished the next EP and already working on more songs.  What is in the future for Jay Taylor and J:dead?

I hope to have another EP out by the end of the year. This will host 7 original tracks as well as a host of remixes again for physical copies sold, plus alllll the collaboration work I have been doing with other acts. I understand this is VERY fast paced for releases and that comes with its benefits, but in all honesty I hope that this pace can slow slightly with the introduction of more live shows. The live element of j:dead is very important to me, and I want to invest more time in this as well as writing. For me as an individual I will continue with drumming for my other live acts as well as continuing to remind myself I need to keep doing things that make me happy – not what is just expected of me.  


J:dead | Facebook

Infacted Recordings | Facebook

Not many musical acts can say they have continuously been creating and performing for 40 years. ATTRITION is one of those groups that have weathered the British music scene since their evolution in 1980, to become a force spoken in hushed tones, passing from an electro/industrial band to being something legendary within the scene. Martin Bowes had been at the helm consistently, throughout all the band changes. He was approached by Sleeper Records to release a special vinyl album to celebrate this milestone. They decided to pick music from the period 1986 to 2004, as this music has never been released on vinyl until now.

This compilation is named A Great Desire, containing ten tracks that can be found on a variety of albums which were all originally only released on Compact Disc, which was crushing the sales of vinyl by the end of the 80s. There are a selection that includes the wonderfully brass filled and brash “To The Devil“, the delicate and sinful “Acid Tongue“, the sexy “Sister Teresa” and the experimental and extraordinary title track, “A Great Desire“. To that end, Martin Bowes spoke to us about the new album and the past, present and future of ATTRITION.

Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Onyx, Martin Bowes.

Thank you for having me!

Did you ever foresee ATTRITION lasting more than 40 years and still making relevant music?

I don’t think I really thought that far ahead in 1980! And I still often get the feeling I have only just started in music… which propels me to make the next album or shows or videos or artwork…. I write music for myself… a cathartic thing… so the relevance I feel is only ultimately for me… but I know other people get something from my music and that makes me smile…

ATTRITION started in Coventry, your home city, which you have never really left and have your studio, The Cage there. Until the 90s, it has a been a city that bore the scars from the Second World War. Do you think in part this has been a catalyst for the sound and imagery of the band?

Well I arrived in Coventry as a 5 year old in the mid sixties, my parents moved here during the post war car manufacturing boom town era. I saw it falling apart in the eighties when the factories closed down (becoming a ghost town, as the song says) and after the first ATTRITION album in 1984 and first european tour (with the Legendary Pink Dots that same year) we all uprooted to London for a couple of years… after which I moved to Holland for another couple…. Coming back to Coventry in 1989. I think the industrial decay of my home town has definitely had an impact on the sound of ATTRITION, but it is also a very historic town…thankfully being restored these days… and that love of history has always been with me too.

Could you tell what influenced you into starting ATTRITION and how the band began?

I was blown away by punk rock in 1977…. It was there for me at just the right time…what an angry teenager needed… helped make sense of the nonsense I could see around me…. And it still does. I had absolutely no musical skill or knowledge but needed to get involved in this… so in 1979 I started my punk/post-punk fanzine “Alternative Sounds” , writing mostly about the scene in and around Coventry at the time, which was a wonderful scene… the Specials and Two Tone being a very famous part of it but there was so much more…. I did 18 issues and a special for the BBC TV Something Else program at the time. In 1980 I finally started to mess with recording sounds and instruments and a fledgling ATTRITION was born…. We played our first few shows in December 1980 as a kind of anarchist/post punk guitar, bass, drums and vocals line up…After those shows we soon started to trade in guitars and drums for synths and drum machines….

February see the release on vinyl of A Great Desire (1986 – 2004), which is a collection of songs from that time that that were released on CDs. It was around 1986 when the CD was coming into vogue and many said that vinyl was nigh. What inspired you to do this release and is it satifying to see these tracks going to the classic and dare might I say, beautiful vinyl?

We have started to have some new vinyl releases or reissues and we were asked by LA/Berlin based label Sleepers records to release this vinyl… they actually chose the track listing which I found interesting as I always do it myself and it was good to have a different opinion. Its wonderful to have music released in any format but of course vinyl is very special…. They have included 2 posters with this too which is something you can only do with vinyl!

You remastered all the tracks at The Cage Studio. Was it a good feeling to wander down those musical lanes of memory and was it a big task to do the remastering?

I have a large box full of all the old DAT tapes from that era and it didn’t take too long to track down the original mixes and master them specially for vinyl this time… I’m really pleased with how they turned out… well I master music here almost every day so I’ve had enough practice by now! Its always a strange but ultimately nice experience… like looking through old photographs or diaries…. I’m happy with the past….

Was there anything that you would have liked to change or did change?

It was more just getting the old recordings to sound as good as they can… and have recordings from different eras and studios sit together well…. I think it worked!

You also run the record company Two Gods which was originally created to release the ATTRITION albums. Since then you have opened up the label and put together some rather interesting compilations. What does running Two Gods mean to you personally?

Yes I started the Two Gods label (taken from the song of the same name) in 2006 when I was releasing music through a larger distributor … so it was all the old ATTRITION albums, and some live and compilations or remix albums at first…I then took it further and digitised/mastered a lot of old recordings from cassette etc for digital only release… it made sense for the recordings that didn’t warrant a physical release but I still wanted to get out there… I expanded this for side projects like ENGRAM and took on some other bands for digital only release… that part was an experiment and I didn’t have anywhere near enough time to market the other bands…I’d thought of it more as a collaboration using my networks… so after a few releases and label samplers I decided to take it back to ATTRITION only and give me more time for me…

Since you released Death House in 1982, how do you think the sound of ATTRITION has changed over the years?

The sound has always evolved and changed…and there has always been two sides to the sound… a more upbeat, rhythmic side to ATTRITION, and I have also been interested in sound tracks… as a visual artist origionally I still see music in terms of pcitures, of landscapes… so I relate to soundtracks… This Death House was the first soundtrack we ever did… in amongst all the “strange” experimental electronic songs we were mainly recording… It was reissued on vinyl too last year and we finally got to perform it live… I got the original line up together for that and we performed it as “Death House Variations” with a new take on it…

Just before ATTRITION came into being, there had been several waves. Glam rock, followed by punk which then morphed in the post-punk. Yet, under all that was this odd electric style being pioneered in Britain by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Clock DVA etc. What bands or music inspired you in your youth?

So many… I first got heavily into the glam of Roxy Music, Marc Bolan, Cockney Rebel, and Bowie of course…then I got into rock n roll in that boring period for new music of the mid seventies… then Punk totally captivated me… politically at the very least…post punk of bands like Kraftwerk, The Cabs, Magazine, PIL and Joy Division influenced the early ATTRITION sound…and then over the years I have taken in more and more influences… as much from life itself as from art….

Do you remember the first live band you ever saw?

I remember it well…it was The Stranglers here in Coventry in June 1977. A good time to be alive.

What acts or bands do you listen to now or find enlightenment in?

So many from the past still…I still listen to lots of old punk records… love The Fall… and over the years I got into classical and neo-classical… and bands like The Prodigy and drum n bass and rap from bands like Public Enemy …I get to hear so much new and “new to me” music in my studio all the time…. It’s all good.

I noticed on social media that ATTRITION has been featured as a exhibit, with flyers, posters and such things in Coventry. How does it feel knowing you are now woven into the fabric of that city?

Coventry is the UK City of Culture 2021/22 and I have been a part of that… my fanzine was featured heavily as part of the Two Tone exhibition here and as part of a Coventry music mural in the town centre… was great to see a photo of me up there… I offer to take anyone to see it when they visit… ATTRITION has featured as part of a Coventry music scene of the early eighties photo exhibition (we played a show as part of that too) and I had some music commissioned as part of a City compilation of bands… Despite living here in Coventry I never had to much to do with the place musically (I had so much of the world to get to) so its been nice to have the recognition now.

You did the mastering for the Thanatos album Covered Country. I am still trying to think of payback to inflict on a certain Kiwi that tricked me into review it (country and I don’t mix). How did you find listening and mastering this genre?

Haha! That’s my old friend Pat Ogl! He used to work for our old US label Projekt back in the nineties and we always stay in touch…. I love his songs! I’m also a Johnny Cash fan so give it a few more plays, it will grow on you!

I know you do a lot of mixing and mastering for others. Has covid affected how you go about playing and promoting with ATTRITION?

Well between Covid and Brexit we haven’t been able to play abroad since we went to Tokyo in December 2019… have been playing some more low key UK shows recently so I’m hoping things get better again soon…I am used to touring all over the place (we have played on 4 continents so far) so I’m missing all of it… I know its been the same for so many bands… promoting isn’t too bad, I can still do that in other ways… and for my studio, I’ve actually had more music sent to me to mix/master than ever, as more bands concentrated on recording.

What plans lay ahead for Martin Bowes in the future and what shall we hear next with ATTRITION?

My long delayed new album, The Black Maria… will be finished soon and out later this year (planning vinyl of course) and I am also planning to release a lot of the older CD only albums we did in special limited runs…. And then I’ll be onto the next album and hoping to get out to play near you sometime soon!

Thank you for so kindly for talking to us.

Thank you for the interview…. Martin Bowes, Coventry, England. February 2022







Washington DC is the town where you find gothic rock duo, Amulet. They released their debut album, The House Of Black And White in 2021 and it has a whopping sixteen tracks on it. Talk about getting more bang for your buck. Stephanie Stryker and MJ Phoenix have created an album full of quintessential inky gloom and a southern gothic feel that will warm the cockles of many a darkling’s black little heart. They remind me a lot of the wonderful Concrete Blonde with that heavy bass and ringing guitar, along with the laconic and unhurried drawl of the vocals, giving it the feel of a night out with Anne Rice’s vampires, in New Orleans, with the heady aroma of wisteria in the air. They have started to also collaborate with other acts and as a result we also have the amazing electronic remix of “Falling Down” by unitcode:machine which should be on high rotation on dance floors and sound systems. So we decided to open up a vein and ask Amulet a few questions which they kindly did between gigs.

Welcome Amulet to the darkside of Onyx.

Amulet is a fairly new project. How did it all come together?

MJ Phoenix: In October 2019, we wrapped a rehearsal with our old band that played a repertoire cover songs. I said I wanted to write a concept album of original music. So three of us from that group began to write songs. As we went through the writing and producing process, Stephanie and I felt it would be better to form our own group, independent of our third member, due to diverging musical styles. He agreed and Amulet was formed!

Stephanie Stryker: Most people say things and don’t do it, but a few months later during lockdown, tracks started appearing in my email from MJ. We spent over a year writing while he lived in Washington, DC and I lived Dallas, TX. Now I’ve returned to the DC area and we have formed a live band!

Are you both from a goth rock background with other previous bands?

SS: Nope, our previous band was a classic rock cover band, and MJ’s bands before that were a diverse mix between funk and rock jam bands. I am a goth/industrial head though, so it makes me very happy to make music that I like to listen to also!

Your debut album House of Black + White has a Southern blues style to it at times, that musically reminds me a lot of Concrete Blonde while at other times there is a post-punk vibe with the bass and percussion. What was the process in creating the album?

MJ: Almost all the tracks started with bass parts. When I write, I let the instrument feel its way to where it wants to go for that song. I also almost always start with bass lines written in minor keys. Once the bass line reveals itself, I play around with guitar parts to compliment. From there, I pass to Steph for vocals, sometimes with melodies and sometimes not. While I wrote most of the guitar parts on the album, many of the final guitar recordings were played by Stephanie’s brother John Taylor, a professional guitarist from Nashville, TN. Keys were added later by both John and I to round out the sound.

SS: This is the first recorded music I’ve done so the learning curve was steep! As MJ mentioned, he would mostly send me close-to-finished drafts and I would record demos for vocals in Logic. I would often write or contribute to the vocal melodies. Two of the songs on the album are written by me, Last Ditch and Witchfinder. With Last Ditch, I sang the whole thing a cappella and handed to MJ for music. With Witchfinder, I produced a musical skeleton along with lyrics and vocals which we both developed the final track from there. After our drafts were done, we hit the studio for many hours of vocal recording, mixing, and mastering!

Did it feel a little ambitious releasing a 16 track album as your debut?

MJ: We actually had trouble stopping. We have many more tracks that could have been made but we had to stop somewhere. Clear Blue Sky was the last track. I wrote it quickly and it made itself very clear it needed to live on this album.

SS: As someone who was a teen in the 1990s, I fully expect albums to have at least 12 tracks (usually closer to 15) in order for me to consider it a full album. My favorite album of all time is Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile, which is a double album. So, I really wanted to give people their money’s worth. These days, an album on Bandcamp is only $7 USD, so for 16 tracks, that’s a damn good deal I’d say! We actually have more tracks that could have made it on there, but we just needed to put a cap on it at some point.

Your music seems to touch some very personal subjects, so are you writing from experience or as an observer?

SS: MJ’s been dumped a lot of times, ha! I wrote my songs on this album from an observer’s perspective. This was my first foray into writing, so I didn’t dive as deep into my personal issues. Writing more and working with MJ has taught me a lot about using music to express that side of my life, as well. Expect more sad, emotional tracks from me in the future!

MJ: While there is plenty of my own life in the album topics, it is also an expression of general dissatisfaction and a comment on those experiences that most people go through. Though mainly about relationships, there are also a few tracks about dissatisfaction with the modern political climate, which again, I think most people can relate to.

You had other musicians play on the album with you and Amulet has been playing live shows, so do you play with backing tapes or do you have a live band to play with you?

SS: We have a six-person live band now! They are not the same folks who played session work on our album, but local musicians from the Washington, DC area. We have MJ on bass, myself on lead vocal, Damian Himeros on lead guitar, Bob Carr on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Alison Freyja on keyboard and backing vocals, and Thomas Grothe on drums.

How did you find trying to release an album during the pandemic and how has it changed the way you do business?

MJ: Not much to compare it to since this is our first album. Since so many people were stuck at home, there is probably more competition than there was. We’ve also had to take a little more time to go live due to the pandemic, but we’ve used that time to build the live band. The real challenge is breaking through the mass of music and other information on the internet and just getting the album into people’s ears.

Our formative music choices often colour our tastes, so in that vein, what acts did you listen to when you were younger?

MJ: I grew up in Liverpool, UK in the 1970s and 80s so I was greatly influenced of the counterculture music of the time. Sex Pistols, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Blondie, Led Zepplin, Gary Numan, punk, new wave, reggae, and funk (even played in a funk band).

SS: I was a suburban 90s mall goth, so I loved the dark alternative giants of the time: Nine Inch Nails, Manson, Skinny Puppy, Stabbing Westward, etc. Graduating high school, I fell in love with David Bowie, Sisters of Mercy, and The Cure, as well as EBM and industrial dance acts like VNV Nation, Apop, Icon of Coil, Covenant, etc.

Whom do you listen to now?

MJ: Amulet! I’m usually writing in my head.

SS: I still do have my old favorites on rotation. When I’m not listening to our music, it’s usually some harsh EBM or aggrotech acts like Alien Vampires, Suicide Commando, Nachtmar, etc. I am really obsessed with Faderhead’s new release Years of the Serpent right now.

What is in the future for Amulet?

MJ: A lot in store! We are building out our live show and beginning to gig regionally in our area. We are also working on two new album concepts: A sequencer and synth-based electronic direction for one (this may turn into a side project) and a more Amulet-style rock album. And who knows, we might write another dark lounge track (yes we did that! Secrets + Lies on Bandcamp). We are also currently working on a remix album for House of Black + White with other collaborators (so far, we are working with unitcode:machine, Red This Ever, and Grendel).

SS: All that, but we are also visual artists! We have several music videos coming up and we will be filming more soon. We also have a catalog of art photography that we’d like to showcase and make available to our fans. I am a graphic designer by day and have a degree in fashion design, so there are a lot of ways I can see expanding Amulet into a wide-reaching artistic endeavor beyond just music.

Check us out on Instagram and Facebook (@amulettheband), we are constantly posting our photography and often I will write poetry as well. Our website is amuletheband.com, we’d love to have you join our mailing list and follow us for updates! Thanks so much for reaching out to us.

Thank you for the music and we hope to hear more music from you soon!


Amulet | Facebook

VAZUM came onto the American music scene in 2018. The heart of the band is made up of Zach Pliska, who planted the dark seed of VAZUM, and later in 2019 joined by Emily Sturm, together creating their own style of gothic rock called deathgaze. In those three years they have put out albums and singles, even dropping a Christmas EP, Vazumnacht. We spoke to these two creatures of the night to find out what lies in the crypt of VAZUM.

Welcome to Onyx.

VAZUM have been releasing music in the current line up, since 2019. How did this project and the band come together?

Zach: Emily and I met in the Summer of 2019 at a local goth club and we bonded over bands like Bauhaus and Smashing Pumpkins. I had a few VAZUM shows planned for the Fall and Emily stepped in on bass. One of the shows we opened for The Genitorturers. When the pandemic hit we got more serious about recording and releasing music. With Emily’s help I finished the album I had been working on, Vampyre Villa. We then set to work on our Halloween inspired album Rated V which was a collaboration where we wrote and produced together. We released both albums in 2020. We realized how well we worked together and became inspired to create music videos, upgrade our recording equipment and continue writing more songs. 

A lot of your music seems to be based around mythical creatures as well as dark forgotten places. Would you agree and if so, what draws you to these subjects?

Emily :I’ve pretty much been obsessed with fairy tales since I was a kid. There was a pretty big chunk of my childhood that we did not own TV in my family. So I was given lots of books to read instead. One of my favorites was a collection of Hans Christian Anderson stories. When I was a little older I got this big thick book called 1000 page book of stories for Christmas. It had Mary Shelley, Poe, Wilde, etc. and that was the beginning of the end. Totally hooked. As a result, those are the themes that still inspire me the most today.

I think in some cases you have empathy for these characters but i also hear that you paint them in the light they were originally painted in… such as vampires being cold blooded hunters of men. Do you think is the case?

Emily: Of course there are many nuanced interpretations throughout literature and legend about the exact nature of a vampire. In our lyrics for the song – vampire – we approach it as a creature that is completely self aware. At once feeling supremely powerful on one hand and yet weakened and brought low by immortality on the other. I was inspired mostly by Anne Rice’s interpretation of vampires (may she rest in peace). The fact that only the very strong willed can even deal with the actual reality of immortality and that most humans that are transformed into vampires are slowly driven insane. Once everyone they knew when they were mortal dies, society changes, that feeling of being out of touch and alone in the world, they then end their vampiric life by throwing themselves in a fire. Most of them never make it past 200 to 300 years old. We wanted to convey that feeling in the song. Being so ancient, tired, yet still lusting for blood.

So Emily, I gather you are the architect of a lot of the visuals in the lyrics?

Emily: We run our ideas off each other. A lot of the times we’ll work on a song together and build on what the other has already started. I gravitate more towards horror and fairy tales and try to tell a story.  I love the visual aspect of the band, whether that’s through videos, photos, artwork or jewelry. 

You have progressed to a more electronic sound while also producing more traditional goth/darkwave. Was this a natural progression and does the material also lend itself to the change in tone?

Zach: We’ve always liked re-working songs. Sometimes we’ll re-work a song and it will turn into a completely different song. With the electronic versions it’s more of a remix where we’re using elements from the original version. It’s fun because we are both fans of electronic music although Emily listens to more electronic than I do. It challenges us to think about things differently and changes our approach. I’ve been more involved with the technical side of producing and engineering and doing the remixes has definitely sharpened my skills. There’s a lot of freedom involved with the remixes, it’s our time to experiment and try new things. And people seem to appreciate the different aspects of the electronic vs rock. 

Some purists say that electronics and the industrial aesthetic don’t belong in the gothic/darkwave genre. How do you feel about that kind of attitude especially seeing as most older ‘post-punk’ bands have used tape loops, synths and drum machines etc?

Emily: I think people that nitpick and try to over analyze styles just don’t have anything better to do.

Zach: I see a lot of arguments online about what’s goth, what’s post-punk, etc. I guess some people enjoy arguing and trying to prove their point. That’s one of the reasons we started calling ourselves a Deathgaze band. We want to differentiate ourselves from all of that.   

As you said, you describe your style as Deathgaze. What for you creates Deathgaze?

Zach: Deathgaze is a combination of deathrock and shoegaze. It’s a way of combining our influences into our own sound. And it’s a production style which we are honing. I like to keep deathgaze in mind as we’re working on new songs and recordings. It helps  us stay inspired and challenged.  The best part about deathgaze is it has yet to be defined. Deathgaze is a new genre which we are shaping as we evolve.  Goth, post-punk, industrial – those have already been defined and established by other bands years ago. Deathgaze is something we can call our own. 

I always like to ask what music influenced you when you were younger? What do you listen to now and find inspirational/pleasing?

Zach: Smashing Pumpkins were my biggest influence as a teenager. I was a product of the 90’s so a lot of the grunge bands and some nu-metal is what got me going as I began playing in bands. Lately I’ve been listening to classical and jazz which I’m gaining more appreciation for. Emily’s early influences were new wave artists like Gary Numan, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Love and Rockets. Lately she’s been listening to Death Grips. 

Covid has changed the music scene in the last two years, with acts unable to perform live, putting out music on Bandcamp, the rise of the EP becoming far more acceptable and online concerts.  How has it affected VAZUM?

Zach: The pandemic set the course for the trajectory we are on now. Beforehand I was distracted with playing drums for other bands. Covid has given us the time needed to focus on VAZUM and what we want to accomplish. We’ve been able to meet our goals of releasing music and videos. We just need to start playing live again and touring. 

You have released quite a few albums in a short amount of time such as Vampyre Villa, Rated V, VAZUM and so on.  Why so many albums in quick succession?

Zach: We enjoy the process from start to end and are honing it in more so we can be productive. We do all the recording and production ourselves so we don’t have to wait around for engineers or other people. I’ve always been obsessive with music whether it’s practicing an instrument or listening to a favorite band. My current focus is on releasing music and keeping a steady stream of content going. I like working on songs in the moment and having a deadline to release them. That’s exciting and adds a level of pressure which we feed off of.

What is in-store for VAZUM and their fans in the future?

Zach: We feel like we’re just getting started and have a lot more to offer in terms of singles, albums, videos and content in general. And when people are ready for live shows and want to see us play, we’ll be right there waiting. I’ve spent a lot of time in previous bands playing live as a drummer and I do miss playing live. I hope for VAZUM to spend a significant amount of time touring. 


VAZUM | Facebook