A project called HOSTILE ARCHITECT was launched just over a year ago, with Brisbane based Mitch Kenny, finding himself being picked up by local radio programme, Dark Essence with Josh Guinan, followed hotly by international shows such as Scott Durand’s Dark Indulgence and then being signed by the recently created label, Brutal Resonance Records with Steven Gullotta at the helm. Most recently the debut album LOWGRADELIFE was released and the ARCHITECT’s first venture onto a live stage, in a showcase of Brisbane industrial acts called Factory Reset.

LIVE AT FACTORY RESET

Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Onyx, Mitch Kenny.  We have been watching your progress since the first single from HOSTILE ARCHITECT was released with great interest and now there is this wonderful debut album.

Did you find the process of creating LOWGRADELIFE easier as you went along and is it a different mind set than writing singles?

Hey Del, thanks for having me! It’s actually funny, I started the project with the express idea that I wanted to release a serial album in small chunks and never actually compile it into a full release. But that was when I was fully expecting to release the music into the aether and have no one really listen to it as per what I was used to with my other project; so much so I didn’t even intend to have separate social media accounts for H/A (HOSTILE ARCHITECT). Obviously I changed tactics a little bit when people started getting behind the project and I realised I should probably take this a little bit more seriously than I wanted to at first. You can see it most prominently in the title track, the original single version of the track is fairly static and more EBM influenced but after releasing “SEMTEX” and it being my most popular track I knew LOWGRADELIFE needed to be retooled to include the elements that drew people to “HOSTILE THEME” and “SEMTEX“. It’s definitely been a learning process!

You also belong to another electronic act called Abelisk. What or who drew you to electronic music in the first place and what was the inspiration to go solo with H/A?

Abelisk has only been a two person project since the most recent EP, before that it was always a me thing. Some of the songs on my first album were written when I was still in high school so for me it’s something with legacy, but only for me I guess. That was really the biggest thing that made me want to get a new project going with H/A, it was just super nice to not have my own expectations and plans weighing me down. H/A was just me trying to make the music I was into at the time and not really worrying if it fit a self imposed ‘brand’ that no one but me gave a fuck about. To answer your actual question though, I think the stuff that got me into electronic/industrial in the first place is a bit generic but definitely NIN or Marilyn Manson. Project’s like that really got me into the idea of rock and roll mentality with weirdo extra instrumentation and strange FX timbre.

It is always hard to pin down influences but who do you feel now gets your creative juices flowing?

I definitely wear my influences on my sleeve with H/A I think. The whole project was born out of frustration that I couldn’t connect Abelisk with an audience so it was a bit of a back against the wall fuck it attitude that had me specifically targeting a genre that I thought I could have fun with and then cosplaying as bands I like in that genre. The best example of that would probably be “EVERY FOLLOWER A BOT”, which was my best attempt at ripping off the vibe of a Blush Response song. It legit sounds nothing like Blush Response but I’m not too bothered because it ended up being one of my favorite tracks on the LP; who really cares if I didn’t hit the mark exactly. I think I’ve settled into more of a groove with the H/A sound now anyway, I know what I’m aiming for when I start a new song more so than a year ago. Likely the next single will be in the vein of “SEMTEX” and “HOSTILE THEME but have more than one stanza of repeating lyrics which might be a nice change of pace!

It must have been thrilling to hear yourself on local radio and international podcasts. Brisbane in Australia isn’t a huge city but how do you percieve the local music scene?

Legitimately getting airtime on Dark Essence Radio back in June last year was an earth shattering experience for me, it definitely gave me the confidence to really go whole hog with this project and helped connect me with everyone else in the scene here, honestly I wish I got out of my own bubble much sooner! Getting to work on remixes and having people remix my work has been really rewarding too, everyone’s in the same ballpark of interest so it’s super easy to get something going and the results have been universally awesome in my opinion. The ‘Ozdustrial’ scene has a seriously bright future and I just can’t wait to see what some of the local Brisbane projects have got up their sleeves coming out of these uncertain times.

Covid has really caused a lot of heartache for musicians and those whose livelihoods are connected to the scene, however do you think there have been positive outcomes as well if any?

I’m hoping that when everything starts getting back to normal the music scene in general will bounce back. Factory Reset the other week was a good indicator that people in Brisbane definitely want this kind of music out there and are willing to support it when they can so hopefully it was a good litmus test for future industrial/EBM/dark electro gigs in our sleepy little city. I know Metalcore in Oz is having a bit of a moment right now with seriously amazing albums coming out what feels like every week since the start of 2020 so I’m hoping the isolation and the rapidly approaching end of the world will do the same for niche goth dance music.

You just had your debut live show which we have to say was most excellent. What was this like for you and how do you perceive live events in the future?

Thank you so much for saying so! It was definitely an experience that’s for sure. I think I’m just very lucky I was in an extremely supportive environment that was happy to overlook the myriad technical issues I had during the set. I know we joked in person about it being an impromptu harsh noise remix but damn in the moment up on stage my brain was definitely melting down that I couldn’t do anything to fix the problem. Overall it was a really great experience and I know where my weaknesses are now. I can take that back to the studio and prepare for H/A Live 2.0 which will probably involve a laptop that was made this decade!

We can’t finish the interview without asking who is the ARCHITECT and why is he so HOSTILE? Is this a character or a side to Mitch Kenny and WHY IS HE ALWAYS YELLING?

Yes, definitely, ‘THE ARCHITECT’ is a character! People seem to always think I’m yelling too but honestly I always envisioned it as more of a ‘constantly above speaking volume Ohgr impression’ mixed with the way The Board speak from the game Control. The more weird and detached from normality the character seems on social media the funnier it all is to me. Not sure if other people find it as fun as I do but I plan to get more into the character angle on future releases so I hope it doesn’t turn off too many people. 

Thanks so much for your time Mitch and we wish you all the luck in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/HosArchitect

https://abelisk.bandcamp.com/music

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/music

POP. 1280 is a novel by Jim Thompson, published in 1964 and it contains a tale of deceit, coercion and murderous intentions. POP. 1280 is also a three piece band from New York, who have revealed their single, “Brennschluss“, from their imminent new album, Museum On The Horizon, which is on the label Profound Lore Records.

POP. 1280

The beginning is intriguing with it’s sequenced drum machine and synths, but then they dragged me in with those guitar chords. The vocals from lead singer, Chris Bug, are bleak and flow into the dirge of the guitar, whilst the drum machine forges on regardless. The synths almost paint a soundscape behind all this, vast and a little dark. A narrative, describing a kind of first-contact-gone-wrong, influenced in part by Fiasco by Stanislaw Lem, is how POP. 1280 explains the lyrics.

It is hard to quantify POP. 1280’s sound. It is most certainly post-punk that reaches back to Joy Division and like Joy Division, what seems abstract is completely danceable, yet that industrial/noise is also there. Maybe that’s the point that they are not in a pigeon hole and there is something satisfying in that. Brennschluss is German for end of burning. This normally refers to when a rocket is in flight and reaches the point when the fuel runs out or is cut off, leaving the rocket to the mercy of only gravity. POP. 1280 have definitely not reached the end of their fuel supply and you should definitely check out “Brennschluss“.

https://pop1280.bandcamp.com/album/museum-on-the-horizon

Pop. 1280 | Facebook

June saw the release of the debut single, “Rose + Crown” for AMMO as a solo artist. AMMO, located in Los Angeles, has previously been in bands such as Black Flamingo and currently with Brass Box, as well as pursuing artistic outlets such as film making and photography.

AMMO

The title track starts with a lonely guitar which is highly reminicent of start of the New Model Army piece, “Wonderful Way To Go“, though that is as far as the similarity goes. This is light and airy, with jangly guitar within an epic swirling sound scape. AMMO’s voice sits comfortably at the centre, luring you to sit and listen longer. This is shoegaze without the brashness of overt walls of noise.

The ‘b’ side is “Total Recall“, written originally by Adrian Borland of the legendary 80s British, post punk band, The Sound. It was already a wonderful track and AMMO brings a sweetness to it. A song of longing and being out of time, that is achingly beautiful, especially with the knowledge that Borland suffered mental health issues which eventually lead to his suicide.

Along with drummer, Alex Posell, a former bandmate of Black Flamingo, who helped co-produce and record, AMMO is creating lush sounds that may at first seem bleak, but warm the soul. Mourning Sun Records, which is AMMO’s label, plans to release a future album called, The Great Chaos however the meantime enjoy “Rose + Crown“.

https://musicbyammo.bandcamp.com/album/rose-crown

https://www.facebook.com/musicbyAMMO/

Based in Portland, USA, four piece, DIE ROBOT, are definitely a band to keep an eye on. They have toured with some fairly big name acts and their latest single, “Talk City“, was mastered by Robert Scott from Joy Thieves Productions.

This will certainly catch your attention from the beginning, starting with the beat, to the electronics drawing you in. The guitar work is meaty and the vocals are the icing on this commentary of the current state of media. So do you believe everything that is said to you via information corporations that have their own agenda? The synth line on this is killer.

Was it done on purpose that when they sing, talk city, it sounds like toxicity? Rather clever play on words. This is a banger of a tune, that romps along nicely before giving you a small rest, then galloping off again. It’s music with a social conscience that reminds me a little of another band, Die Krupps. Definitely check out DIE ROBOT with “Talk City“.

https://dierobot.bandcamp.com/track/talk-city

https://www.facebook.com/dierobot

https://dierobot.net/

From Brisbane, Australia, three piece group, Killtoys, have released their single, “Funerals“. This alt rock/post punk band consists of drummer Beven Bancroft, bass guitar player Stav Tsolakides and vocalist/guitarist Mick Bristow, who have been playing together in different band incarnations through the years.

Where oh where to begin. It’s rock but it’s dark and foreboding, giving a Black Sabbath feel. A bass heavy start with Bristow’s light, and let’s be clear, slightly creepy vocals, beckoning you to join the nightmare vortex of the dead who live on. So it’s a bit metal and yet there is a huge undercurrent of glam with its sing song, gothic ambience, that swells and lulls to drag you under its influence.

Have to love the fact that they sound bigger than the trio they are but also that Bristow does not follow the normal vocal technique of growling out the lyrics to this style of music which has to be said, is refreshing. The guys are definitely finding their groove and hopefully soon, an album will grace us but in the meantime checkout KilltoysSoundcloud where you can find the dead and dirty, “Funerals“.

https://m.soundcloud.com/killtoys

https://m.facebook.com/killtoysband

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the industrial/metal group, Deadlight Holiday, who in March, have hit us with the new single, “Blood //Body“. This single isn’t connected to an album.. yet, but with the trio having released their debut in 2019, we suspect it won’t be long before another graces us.

DEADLIGHT HOLIDAY

From the opening cords, you know this isn’t going to take any prisoners, with that heavy nu metal guitar sound, made famous by Korn and Machine Head, mixed with a political message. An observation of the climate, where governments incarcerate children and wage wars their own innocent citizens, who dare dissent against agreeing with status quo.

The remix , featuring ex pat Aussie, Zoog Von Rock, is full of the turgid, snappy electronic goodness that Angelspit is known for. Zoog has injected a cutting, cold, hard serrated edge into this track, making it wonderfully sharp and dirty. Love it.

The third track is an instrumental. It reminds me of the vinyl 12″ mixes that were huge in the 80’s that often had the pure instrumental track of the single.

It’s a ripper of a song and the passion of Zoog makes the remix just a thing of angsty beauty. You can find Deadlight Holiday on Bandcamp, so partake of their “Body//Blood“.

https://deadlightholiday.bandcamp.com/album/blood-body

https://www.facebook.com/deadlightholidayband/

Warm Gadget was last heard from in 2015 when they released their EP, Hallomas III, after the 2014 album, Brides. These industrial/metal musicians from Bend, Oregon are back with a new single, “New Industry“. Members are Tim Vester on vocals, lyrics & effects and Colten Tyler Williams on guitar, bass, synth and pretty much everything else.

WARM GADGET

This is definitely heavily saturated with big guitar noise and a harkening back to the late 80s and early 90s when the industrial landscape was being rearranged by bands such as Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and KMFDM. The order of the day was to bring in the heaviness of metal riffs with the harsh electronic noise of the industrial scene and Warm Gadget have drunk the ambrosia from the well, so to speak. Vester almost growls his vocals like he is snearing at the world while Williams powers through with not only the guitar but the dark foreboding synth that holds this all together.

There currently is no video but none the less you can easily check out the single on Bandcamp, which is name your price. Warm Gadget kept me thinking of the song “Warm Leatherette” and Fad Gadget which aren’t bad connotations and electronic tangents. Check out Warm Gadget’s, “New Industry” and await the impending EP to hit.

New Industry | Warm Gadget (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/warmgadget/

Now have you ever just had thoughts like ‘I wonder if Jacksonville group, Batávia have friends…..?’. Well now I can definitively answer this question as YES! And so we have the release of the mega remix album, out on Tigersquawk Records, strangely enough called Batávia And Their Friends. A plethora of mix master goodness from the band themselves and other guest artists.

TERRI & ED CRIPPS

You will find remixes of original tracks “The Absinthian“, “Scab Mask“, “Step 13“, “Ab Intio“, “Fields Of Gray” and the cover of Duran Duran’sAll She Wants Is“.

How to review a remix album? *screams into the void and then composes one’s self* Due to there being multiple remixes of the same tracks, I thought it best to compare the styles.

There are four remixes of “The Absinthian“, beginning with the Grendel version which keeps the light tone of the original, incorporating a calypso feel. Second version is by Beta Virus and this track becomes a different electronic beast with a pulsating beat. Then there is the techno funky bounciness of the Green Fairy mix, which seems to be a collaboration of Batávia and the Joy Thieves. The last mix of this song is done by Ghstprxy, which starts off simple and slow, seemingly wandering until you are hit with blocks of driving guitar.

Three mixes of “Scab Mask“, with the first by Batávia and you can’t help but love hearing Terri tearing it up and having her vocals stuttering in staccato to the music. Mach Fox of Zwaremachine has his turn at this piece, bringing a more sinister ambience, with a heavier industrial sound. The last “Scab Mask” remix is by Microwaved and you notice the metallic rhythm and off kilter, repetitive synth in the background while the guitar powers on through.

Step 13” gets the treatment, first with the Hell mix by Spankthenun and if you know Spankthenun, you will know these guys love their old school EBM and giving it teeth. The next two versions are by Batávia and they create a cyber age delight for the ears in the first and the Haunted Halfway House mix which really does have an eerie sound to it.

Two mixes of “Ab Intio“, with the first being a nearly dreamy, echoing siren reworking by Insatiable Void that has a church like trance quality. And the other by Psyence Fiction is delicate as it is metallic, which may sound like a strange brew but it works so well.

The Batávia UHF mix of “Fields Of Gray” starts with half tuned in news and ads, then meanders through those fields.

The remix of “All She Wants Is” is damn chunky. The guitar is the centre piece instrument with twangy beats bringing up the rear. This is the Synrix remix in all its glory.

Like so many modern remixes, the songs are often taken into new and varied territory and the artist reworking the stems, injects a part of themselves, making it unique. This creates amazing collaborations. Batávia And Their Friends is no exception. You won’t get bored of hearing the same song because in essence it’s no longer the same song…. but it is. This is brilliant and let’s face it, just for the cover alone! That’s a completely amazing retro photo featuring the quirky and yet entirely lovely Terri and Ed Cripps. Batávia for the win. If this makes you a bit hungry for more, please check out these artist’s pages below…..

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/album/batavia-and-their-friends

https://m.facebook.com/officialbatavia

https://www.facebook.com/tigersquawkrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/grendel.music/

http://www.grendel-hq.com/

https://www.facebook.com/betavirusmusic/

https://betavirus.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyThieves/

https://danmilliganmusic.com/joy-thieves-productions

https://www.facebook.com/ghstprxy/

https://ghstprxy.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine/

https://machfox.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/microwavedgw/

https://microwaved.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/spankthenun/

https://www.spankthenun.com/

https://www.facebook.com/InsatiableVoid/

https://insatiablevoid.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/PsyenceFictionmusic/

https://psyencefiction.bandcamp.com/

http://thetemplesofsyrinx.com/

Dissonance is the moniker for Dallas artist, Cat Hall who has been a part of the electronic scene since the early 90’s. With the start of a new year, we are being graced with the new single, “Damage” that features fellow U.S. musician, Melodywhore.

CAT HALL/DISSONANCE

Melodywhore is the musical creator, who to great effect gives us the industrial beats while Cat Hall goes from using honey before bringing the heavier, more masculine and angrier vocals, that dominates this number.

There are no less than six remixes of “Damage” to sink your teeth into. From first to last there is ex guitarist of Lords Of Acid and current band Banishment, Joe Haze, with his futuristic, alien overlord takeover sounds, followed Adrian Halo of Machines With Human Skin with his more laid back and sexy mix.

A bit of 80s electronica arcade style vocals and funky beats with horns is the Steven OLaf mix, then it’s Jon Von Herrmann, also known as Vön On The Spectrum, giving us a swirling and thoughtful version.

Brian Carter of REVillusion does the fifth remix which feels stripped back to bare metal bones and the last remix is by Glenn Kirchner Hinkley which is pretty cool and full of clean synths with a retro feel.

Damage 1st Assault” reminds me a lot of the classic Nine Inch Nails number, “Terrible Lie“. Cat Hall has gone for a heavier, more attacking sound for this single and has a lot of well known friends to do some great mixes for her. So check out Dissonance’sDamage“.

https://www.facebook.com/CatHallDissonance/

https://www.facebook.com/mel0dywh0re/

https://dissonanceband.bandcamp.com/

If you are looking for some experimental ambient music, then possibly we know of the EP you need to hear. Spectrograph released at the end November, their EP, A Giant Leap Of Faith, on Depth Records.

This project began in 2012, combining the talents of multi instrumentalist and vocalist Virginia Bones with Phiorio who is a producer of electronic/dance music, as well as a DJ. They describe their style as post industrial/electro.

SPECTROGRAPH

The tones are low and seemingly, almost basic but the more one delves into “Dmbt“, the more complex and convoluted it becomes with its revolving beats and tonal injections for this instrumental piece.

The single, “Dead Kittens“, is a dark affair. Slow and foreboding with fuzzy electronic pulses and synth keys that at times feel like they are wandering randomly within a space that has been forgotten.

Minimal clicks and whirs in a loop present “A Giant Leap Of Faith“, and there begins a layering effect of sounds. An occasional cymbal, electronically altered vocals of Bones and two notes of a piano creep across this piece, only to be joined by other noises. Strangely enough it never feels overwhelming or crowded and yet there is a claustrophobic ambience.

Last track, “If You Think You Can Fly” seems to convey the most urgency, like it needs to be on the move on a midnight jaunt to who knows where. It is bleak, metallic and wonderful with those odd noises.

Well constructed and rather interesting to say the least. If you don’t get electronic music then this won’t be for you but if you love electronica that push music limits with intelligence, then you should most definitely have a listen to Spectrograph’s A Giant Leap Of Faith.

https://depthsrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/spectrographmusic