Ireland’s pMad has released a single, on the 31st of August, called “Sisters“. PaulDillion is pMad, a member of the bands The Suicidal Dufflecoats and The Greeting, now turning his hand to this solo post-punk, gothic inspired project.
There is a pervading, shrouded veil of seriousness and mourning. The shoegaze dirge of loss and bereavement penetrates all, with the guitar work driving in the nails of sorrow and Dillion’s vocals low in reverence.
“Sisters” was created in reference to loved ones, who have past away far too early, leaving others to grieve them, but also to be thankful for being in their presence. It’s nice to have a track that both highlights the sadness of death and also wants to say that every moment counts. It shows a deft hand to be able to express yourself in a track like this. So, pMad encourages you to hold your “Sisters” close, even if it is just in your heart.
James Lees’ project, Ghostwoods, began in the Covid lockdowns of 2020, gaining members and releasing an EP. Based just outside of Brisbane, Ghostwoods is back with a new single, “Terminal Bliss” and with the rather exciting news, that they have been signed to the label 4000 Records. Lees provides drums, MarkAngel on electric guitar, Karl O’Shea on bass, Andrew Garton & Andrew Saragossi sharing the duties with saxophone/clarinet/flute and James Halloran & Rohan Seekers tickling the keys/synths.
There is a finality to “Terminal Bliss“…. it could be slow and steady beats or the saxophone that wails its discontent with the world. The guitar strums its way gently through the demonstrative sax, courting the piano along the way, wending until its ultimate demise.
In contrast, “Brighter Soon” is a more ethereal affair, creeping beautiful darkness, echoing in pulsating loops of electronics that caress your ears, luring you into another plane of existence. The piano hypnotically runs up and down, keeping you rooted in the here and now.
Dark electronics, fused with jazz sensibilities, makes up “Terminal Bliss“, while “Brighter Soon” is a sophisticated track, that catches you off guard with a certain degree of crystal clarity. As always, Ghostwoods paints emotion filled pictures without words or boundaries. The best bit is that in the new year, a new album should be ready.
US five piece, Candy Coffins, have released the second single off their forthcoming album, Once Do It With Feeling. The single is called “Seaside Girls” …… not the regular place to find night creatures but then these days, who can tell.
Those beach babes with their long legs is a rock classic however in this song, it seems that only horror can be found with these pin-ups, as they drown you in their world. There is a taste of the vocal punk styling of ElvisCostello in the beginning and seemingly always the jangling whirlwind of guitars sweeping you up, and bearing you off, while the piano dutifully lights the way.
The vocals are great but the guitar work really seals the deal, layered, giving a rich texture to “Seaside Girls“. Maybe they are the human equivalent to the Greek mythos Sirens but you are safe listening to the dark attraction via the Candy Coffins.
When I received the new Bow Ever Down single, “Undercover“, I thought, oh yes, I’ve heard about this. Have to say I was not prepared for it to be so big as it is. I mean it’s generous enough to be called an EP. Kimberley Kommeier with her co-conspirators, John Ruszin III and Wess Fowler (Silence In Machine) have created a synthpop driven collaboration with an interesting crew, whose talents lay from darkwave to industrial.
There is the delicate and yet forceful “Trail Of Tears” that features Silence In Machine and produced by Ruszinthe III, which is followed with the electronic overhaul by replicant rme remix of “Burn You Alive“, off the previous album Let It Burn, released in May. Fiction 8 and The Bleak Assembly have created The Cure like “Slow Down Time“, full of wandering guitar and beautiful sadness with Kommeier’s vocals. Next is the slow and melancholy dirge of the Spungee written track “Human Emotion“.
Okay…. now we come to the cover version of Madonna’s “Oh Father“. I am not the biggest Madonna fan and the name didn’t ring any bells until I heard it, jogging my memory. Ah, yes, so you have the original cover with the music supplied by Artificial Zero which is a far more industrial interpretation. There are nine…. yes 9… remixes for your listening pleasure, from a plethora of talent giving their spin to this track, from acts like SysMachine, Addambombb, Raygun Girls and others. Oh, you want to know what they sound like? Well then you might just have to go to Bandcamp and give it a little spin
History Of Guns (HOG) has been around in different incarnations since the mid 90s. A gothic/future industrial group, they caught the ear of goth guru, Mick Mercer in the early 2000s, and he named them as an act to watch. We last heard from them in 2011, and then they went on a hiatus. Come 2022, HOG have a core three members plus the drive to create under the moniker again, which brings us to the latest album, Forever Dying In Your Eyes. DelAlien (vocals) and Max Rael (keyboards, programming) are the two original members joined by Jamu Knight (guitar) and the new release is full of future punk angst, loathing and screw the world attitude. Max, never go the full Marillion, I think Jamu deserves extra cake/beer and if you want to know why, then here is an interview…….
Welcome to the portals of light and darkness which are situated in the Onyx lounge room for convenience. Not sure what exactly they do, but they make a great lighting effect for parties.
HOG: Thank you for having us! We love a good portal. We’ll try not to get distracted by them.
History Of Guns has been around in one form or another since 1996. How did it all kick off for you guys?
Max: Del and I were both recruited by a madman called Stagger Lee into a band called Pre-Hate Machine and History Of Guns kind of evolved out of that…
Del: History Of Guns was something I had been looking for, for years. It all started in a pub over a chat to a stranger about his painted Sisters of Mercy jacket. We got talking and a few weeks later he introduced me to Max in another pub. We then spent every weekend in the studio, often all day, and often all night. We have boxes and boxes of tapes from those days that would take years to get through.
What was it like for in those heady days of youth (and excess as the 90s seemed full of that), playing to large crowds and pulling the attention of one Mick Mercer?
Del: We had some amazing times, and you don’t just walk away from that… When we started gigging, that was bloody great for me, the adrenalin buzz, WOW, I was being me for the first time and have never remembered a gig, not because I was pissed or anything like that but because that moment in time seemed to separate itself from reality.
Max: It all seemed so limitless. Jamming, partying, clubbing. Looking back, we could’ve maybe tried to things a bit more seriously earlier on, but we were having such a great time just playing and staying up all night talking. Playing Whitby Gothic Weekend was a highlight and the Futurepunk events in Camden in London. We have a lot of love for Mick Mercer, he’s supported us right from the beginning.
Do you think there has been a change in the goth/industrial scene since then?
Max: That’s a tricky one, as there’ve been times when we’ve been more involved in the scene in the UK than others. It’s sad there’s less clubs around, but then we’re not as young as we were… being out late-night clubbing isn’t compatible with having a family. We used to go to every Whitby Gothic Weekend, and keep meaning to get back there, but it’s been a while. It’s great that Joel’s running the Goth City festival in Leeds. I’d love to go back to Wave Gotik Treffen again in Leipzig. I guess thinking globally, we’re even more out of touch than we are here in the UK so not best placed to comment.
Del and Max, you are founding members. What is it like for you both to have been involved in this project for this amount of time?
Max: We’ve been through so much together over the years, both in the band and in our personal lives. When we don’t see each other for a while, I have to remember that Del’s internet persona on Facebook is very different to the Del I know in real life. Like many long-running double-acts we love each other, but we argue and fall out a lot. Things can escalate really quickly. We’ve both made many mistakes over the years, and at some level blame each other for History Of Guns not having been more successful or making any money. Basically, I do all the work, and then Del criticizes it, and I don’t take criticism very well and get upset, and then Del calls me a snowflake, and I say he lacks empathy, and it goes from there… But then these days we make up pretty quickly. I think Jamu wondered what he’d gotten into when he first joined.
Newest member is guitarist Jamu. How was he lured…into the fold so to speak?
Jamu: Del knew I was a guitarist and by hook or by crook, we ended up trying to start a project called “Mystery of Graves”. After hearing the sort of stuff I could do he called Max, and he popped over with his ivories, and it kicked off from there really, but I was very, very drunk after that…
Del: It always happens in pubs and clubs, people find out you’re in a band and they tell you they can play. Well, I have often given people a chance and met some bloody laughable characters that probably in their mind could play, and Max and I have paid studio time and just looked at one another, no words needed! Jamu is a strong character, he’s likeable so I gave him a go and he blew my mind, so I rang Max and said you have to hear this, and so that was that sorted! I think if we get to spend more time in the studio he will let rip more. I think he holds back (don’t tell him I said that… Oh damn! Odds are he may read this interview!)
Daniel Vincent is a member of Decommissioned Forests with Max but also appears on the new album. Can you tell us about the these shadowy fellows in the background?
Max: Daniel Vincent is best known for The Resonance Association (which I’d heartily recommend to anyone who likes instrumental music that pushes genre boundaries). I’m lucky enough to have been friends with him for many years. He’s been into the guns world and jammed and collaborated with us before and just about survived, we’ve remixed each other, and Del guested on vocals on a TRA track some years back.
Also, we have Jason Knight who used to play guitar in Deathboy and was our live drummer for a bit, and then our long-term collaborator and my oldest friend, Gary Hughes, who has, I think, made an appearance on every album we’ve done. We’re very lucky to have Bob Barker back for the artwork. Bob, alongside the stunning photographer Scott Wylie, was responsible for the artwork for our third album, “Acedia” that I’m naked in, so we know we can trust him.
The new album is “Forever Dying In Your Eyes” and it has been 11 years since your last full release. How exciting was it to get the new album out and what prompted you to do so?
Jamu: The album “Forever” was, I thought, supposed to be an EP, but we just kept writing more stuff, it grew into what we have released. I personally am very proud of how it turned out.
Max: When I came back to music after taking a break to do a horribly demanding college course, I was going through phases of enjoying playing and writing but kept found myself questioning everything, and doubt is poison for trying to mix or finish anything. I kept questioning what was our motivation for releasing new music. There had to be a valid reason and I wasn’t sure what it was. It’s not like we’re doing it for the money, and posterity is just as vulgar as money. And if it’s for validation or hoping for good reviews to prop up a struggling ego or hoping for a little self-esteem boost then that’s all wrong. History Of Guns has always been a universe co-created by Del and I that we invite other musicians to join and then we create a world together. Sometimes that’s just for an afternoon jam session that never gets heard after the session, but sometimes we create a world and feel some kind of urge to communicate it outwards to see if it connects and lands with any listeners out there. It’s been a while, but, “Forever Dying in Your Eyes”, is our latest communication to the outside world.
Del: Bloody life gets in the way. What are we doing? Why have we stopped turning out music like we used to? Depression? Work? Relationships? Society in general? Who knows but they are all my enemy that stops me doing what I want to do.
Your last release was “Whatever You Do, Don’t Turn Up At Twelve” which came out in 2011. How do you think your sound has progressed between these two albums?
Max: The wheels were coming off after the collapse of the “Acedia” tour and the rest of the band quit. Looking back, we should have stopped and taken some time out, then maybe split the album 4 material into two separate EPs as we were very much disintegrating and falling apart as I was trying to finish it. I pushed on past breaking point to get the album done and decided to include our own collapse as a key theme of the album. At some level I knew it was destructive, there’s a lyric that goes, “these songs aren’t making you better, these songs are making you worse.” I couldn’t get sober vocal takes, so after many exasperated tries I decided to include the drunken takes as part of the disintegration, which in retrospect I don’t think I’d do again.
Our two most successful albums have been the first and third, “Flashes of Light” and “Acedia”, and although one is electronic, and the other is full 5-piece band, they’re both focused in one coherent style of music and self-contained, whereas albums two and four genre-hop and are pretty chaotic to listen to. For the new album, it was clear we should try and focus again. Ground ourselves with a solid foundation which could either be a final album, or a starting point for a new chapter. This was made a lot easier by having Jamu on board, it helped us form a solid sound and style which I was able to take into the sound design stage for the album. In keeping with the theme of communication, the vocals and lyrics are quite prominent in the sound design, to get that sense that the whole piece is intended as a communication.
“You Wanted To Live” was the first single off the album, which is a very heavy and dark affair. Tell us why you chose this as the kick off track for the world?
Max: “You Wanted to Live” seems to be doing really well out in the world and we’re proud of it. The origins of the song were created by Daniel Vincent for an idea he had for a possible The Resonance Association / History Of Guns collaboration eight or nine years ago, but Del and I were in a bad place (again!) and it took a long time for us to actually do any work on our side of it. Before Jamu joined, we had a session just the two of us in Bishops Stortford with a bottle of vodka and this was the only thing we had to work on, and that’s when Del improvised the main lyric, then we wrote the verses together.
There’s a nod to Wendy O. Williams’ suicide note in there. After the session we went back to Del’s house, and I remember the night ended in a very bleak and dark place, and we didn’t see each other for a while after that. The track became very important to us as we both went on to suffer through some very difficult times, and we’d play rough versions of this track to each other when we were particularly struggling, so the track became an anthem for us, a reason for carrying on. It had to be the first single we released if we ever managed to get back to releasing anything again.
Who came up with the video for “You Wanted to Live”?
Max: That would be our fabulous video director Video Rich from Round Window Media. He also did the follow-up video for “Running in Circles”.
Your second single, “Running In Circles”, has pretty raw vocals. There seems to be a lot of angst in the album?
Del: The reason for the vocal was it was taken from a live jam that was borne at that moment. It was not a good time for me and I wanted the vocals to reflect that man’s pain. Sometimes I listen to it and cringe and wish I re-did them in tune, but would that pain come across? Who knows?
I know Max is very influenced by Coil, but who, musically, have you found influenced you into creating History Of Guns in the first place?
Max: I only got into Coil after we’d already been doing History Of Guns for eight years or so! I think Del and I originally bonded over Killing Joke, Pistols, PIL etc. Stagger Lee was very into Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Itself and looking back now I can hear all these things in our sound. Going back to Del’s flat after those early rehearsals was the first time I’d properly heard Sisters of Mercy, Alien Sex Fiend, Bauhaus etc. There were also plenty of bands we didn’t agree on and would argue about.
Will HOG be playing live any time soon?
Jamu: I do love the live experience with the guys, and hope we get out there again on the back of this release.
Max: It’s a tricky one. As Jamu says, we’d like to. Ideally, we’d take out a full 5-piece band on tour but that’s a lot of rehearsal time when we don’t live that close and have to juggle jobs, families etc. I guess if the right offer comes along, we could hopefully look at getting a band together and doing a couple of dates.
Who is the motivational force in the band and is there the mopey goth type?
Max: I do everything, and Del complains about it… Jamu tries to keep the peace between us!
Do you guys enjoy the recording experience?
Jamu: The recording process was quite a challenge as bit were recorded all over the place, along with lockdowns, bankruptcy of various studios we went to, it was hard to get a lot done in one hit, but next effort I’m sure we’ll lock ourselves into a studio for a week, with more beer and cigarettes than would be deemed healthy and smash out another kick-ass sonic battering ram.
How do you go about writing these tracks for the album and is it easy or a labour of love?
Max: Most things come out of jamming, so writing is easy. Writing and playing are the fun parts that I absolutely love and the reason why I do music. Recording, mixing, releasing an album and doing all the promo involves a lot of work that I like a lot less, which is part of why it’s taken so long. We’re very fortunate to have Michel from UTM Music Group onboard this time around running the promo. We talk about maybe getting someone else to record and mix so I can just focus on the playing and writing, but then I’m a bit of a control freak and probably need to work a bit harder on letting go of some of the responsibility as it can get a bit overwhelming sometimes. It’s why being in Decommissioned Forests is such a joy for me, because Daniel (Vincent) is the producer, and I don’t have to stress over it.
How much of your own life experiences and moods inhabit these songs?
Del: For me personally, all of the songs I have written, are bits of my life. I try to play with words so it’s not too painfully obvious what the song is about. That’s for the listener to decide. We did a song called “Conspiracy Theory” that sadly did not make it to the album just before the PLANDEMIC started. I’m sure you can see why! The music to it is bloody good, so I’m re-writing the lyric to make it a lot broader because let’s face it, you can’t keep up with this shit show musically, so I think its best just to point at the obvious and let the listener decide.
Max: We’ve always been interested in exploring the human psyche and the human condition, starting with ourselves, and then seeing what’s relevant to others. For me, and Del would disagree with this, but I think in many ways the last track on the new album, “Eyelash”, is a culmination of everything we’ve tried to do up to this point. Part of Del’s genius is to open up and access a completely subconscious layer of his own psyche whilst we’re jamming and improvising, and sometimes quite extraordinary things come out. So again, I’ve kept the original vocal from the original jam because it’s completely open and honest and raw. When he sings, “I hate me” it feels to me like we’ve cut through all the nonsense and construction of self and personality and reached a very core, often hidden part of the self, which I think everyone has to a greater or lesser degree, that part that hates themselves… and finding that, and shining a light on it, for us, for everyone, is one of the reasons why I’m in this band and have released this album.
There’s a lot of talk in the press and society currently about these alleged “culture wars” we find ourselves in, and people questioning the toxicity of things and then seeking to censor or “cancel” things that might be difficult or don’t hold up to a new standard of ethics. But, and this is just my personal opinion, to me that’s going about it all backwards, and censorship is never the answer. The only way to get to a world with less hate and more kindness, empathy, and respect, is to understand that hate, and to stop running from it or trying to just shut it down; we need to allow ourselves to feel it, and only then can we start to heal it. Ultimately, a lot of hate for others stems from an initial hatred of the self.
If History Of Guns were to record an album of cover versions, what would you choose?!
Max: We always used to say in a snooty, pompous voice, “History Of Guns are not a covers band!” But then we did some covers so can’t really say that anymore. I’d like to anything bleak in a minor key perhaps that doesn’t come from the goth/industrial world… maybe “Chelsea Monday” by Marillion.
Jamu: I know Del doesn’t like covering other artists, and I’m not overly keen on covers myself, mainly because I can’t be arsed to work out how the songs go.
What is in the future for HoGs and you good gentlemen?
Max: We have an electronic album which is done musically but just needs a couple of vocal takes to finish called, “Half Light” which is kind of a sequel to our first album “Flashes of Light”. Then I think, if we continue, we’ll build on the writing relationship we’ve started with Jamu and really push things and see where that takes us next. We’ll improvise and jam and experiment and it’ll form into some kind of shape without us trying to consciously make anything preconceived. We’ll keep pushing ourselves to keep evolving and keep trying new things and go in new directions. We sometimes talk about doing a follow-up to our most successful album ‘Acedia’ to be called ‘Anhedonia’ but I’m not sure we, or anyone else, is ready for us to go back there just yet.
Thank you for joining us in our existential crisis, which we never rush because, honestly, how can you enjoy a crisis in a rush!
HOG: We are one big existential crisis, but if there’s one thing that anyone can say about us, it is that we are History Of Guns. Thank you very much for having us, it’s appreciated.
The album PASSIVE, is a gift that keeps on giving, with JE T’AIME releasing the single “Blood On Fire“, with a music video. The album is out on ManicDepression Records and Icy Cold Records, and it it always interesting to see what this French goth rock trio are doing.
The video depicts a girl in a never ending cycle of drinking and partying, though she doesn’t seem to enjoy it all that much, with the single as her theme track on a cassette walkman (oh my…. do people still use those?). A song about self destruction, all set to a fast pace rhythm, those bright synth lines and post punk, jangly guitars.
It is a slick looking video, beautifully shot in the streets of Paris at night and the story line fits in perfectly with the music. It is a really good little track, bouncy and lively musically, dark lyrically. Have a listen to “BloodOn Fire” and get a bit of JE T’AIME in your life.
Danish electronic artist, John R. Mirland, is back with a new album, Motor Romantik, under the guise of his solo dark/synthwave moniker, M73. Mirland is also known for his other musical labours such as Mirland, AmTierpark, Mirland & Larsen and I could go on about his forays into rhythmic power noise, synthpop, Eurodance, techno and even black metal. September the 1st, saw the release come out on the Læbal music label.
The super cool “Take It All” with electronic vocals, graces out ears. The synths are lovely as the techno leeches through the synthpop cracks. Mirland’s melancholic vocals are at odds with the bright and glittering keyboard lines in “Wrong” and this leads into the stellar “Obsessed“, with its piano intro that breaks into a Eurodance style hybrid, which is a lot of fun. The sliding electronics in “Vampire” entrance your senses, a story of a vampiric type that lives off the fear and sadness of others. “Inside You” gives a glimpse of Mirland’s deft talent with industrial noise, crafting it to fit into a darkwave form, with fuzzed tones and glitched rhythms. Also pretty creepy and maybe about a parasite with lyrics like I’m inside you Wearing the perfect disguise.
The title track “Motor Romantik” is just a fantastic techno influenced track, which means the beats are free flowing and the vocals are low, luring you into the futuristic world where everything has been engineered, including humans. I wonder if “Empty“, is about mental health, burning bridges and spurning those who love, unreasonably destroying everything. The vocals reflect the emotional hollowness of a life that has no purpose. “Empty” was originally released in 2021 as a single.
There is something spine chilling in the icy synths of “Crucify“, as they run up and down your spine and a very oppressive tone of electronics that almost sound like christian chant in the background. The cyber world is wonderfully encapsulated in the music of “Perfect“. A cyber stalker or antisocial miscreant, living their fantasy world through a screen. “No Light In Sight” is another track previously released as a single. A drug induced stupor, though deep inside, the electrical synapses crackle still, slowly dwindling away.
There is always the beautiful synth graduations that Mirland conjurs up, running through each track, like silken fingers that shimmer across your skin, while the lyrics are about degeneration, dark lusts, eroticism, lost dreams and a future designed by others. I love that he combines his different music styles subtly to create something that is evocative and utterly enjoyable, either on a dance floor or driving on a dark night, down atmospheric roads. Yes, Motor Romantik is a treat for the ears with M73.
From Paimio, Finland, Eenian Dreams are beckoning you with their newest single, “Beacons (chroma null)“, released on September the 1st. Pauliina (vocals) and T. C. Newman (synths, producing) are the duo that make up this electronic project, founded in 2021.
There is anticipation at the start to see where the piano style goes to and then we aren’t disappointed. Pauliina’s vocals are electronically contorted though this seems to fit the ambiance of the track. There is such pain in the lyrics, a sadness that consumes all in its wake, a promise that there is a point of no turning back. The electronics are sympathetic and swell beneath the vocals
What do you do when all all hope seems lost for a planet that we are destroying? Most definitely write a song about it, because silence is being a complicit accomplice. It is almost like the vocals are the modern world, unnatural. I can see why they call this dreamy music, as it billows and wanders through your ears very pleasantly. “Beacons(chroma null)” are used as warning signals and Eenian Dreams have lit theirs in a beautiful manner.
PURE OBSESSIONS & RED NIGHTS have been in the French scene for well over 20 years, though previously under the guise of PORN, this original incarnation being a far more heavy industrial affair. Most recently, the band released the synthwave influenced album, Let Your Obsessions Run Wild, where every track is so good, they are all being set free upon the world as singles. The 7th of September will be dropping the latest single, “Don’t Let The Night Die In Vain“, with a lush video to go along with it. Of this four piece band, Philippe Deschemin is their lead singer and main writer, so honestly there is no better person to ask about the band, the foray into synthwave style and the new album.
Bonjour Philippe, bienvenue sur Onyx!
What is the darkwave scene like in France?
We have a small but active scene. France was never a country where this kind of music was very successful, but we always had some good bands!
Your project was originally called PORN, which was much more industrial. How did it all start?
I started the band a long time ago in the early 2000s. We were playing a kind of industrial rock, with some glam rock elements. The name of the band was PORN. I am a big fan of The Cure, so it was a reference to the album Pornography. At the time, I did not know how complicated it would become to be visible in the internet…
There was a three-album release about a strangler. What inspired you to write this?
In 2010 I was working on a Sci-Fi novel: Contoyen (a word I invented, made with CONsumer/ciTOYEN (means citizen in French). The main character feels like he is devoured from the inside by an Ogre. I wanted to go further with this “feeling”. Years after, I started to work on this triple album. The main character would be Mr. Strangler, a serial killer. During the first album of the trilogy, about his childhood, he experienced this feeling. And he became the Ogre, with an insatiable appetite. About the name, I practice a lot of combat sport: Boxing, French Boxing, Judo, MMA, Brazilian Jiujitsu. I had some choke specialties, worked them a lot (in MMA/BJJ), so the name Mr. Strangler came to me… I wanted to create a comic-like character. A dude that can be Batman’s enemy!
Since then, you have changed the band name to PURE OBSESSIONS & RED NIGHTS.What was the reasoning behind this change?
It was a nightmare. Our YouTube page was (and is still) ghosted, the Facebook publication restricted automatically, same on Instagram. And sending them tons of emails changed nothing. It’s was a big thing to do, and it was not that easy… At the beginning, I did not know what to do… Then I figured something out with the 4 letters. And the new name came! I was already thinking of a new trilogy or concept/story to work on. And The Night Trilogy came to me! And it suited perfectly with the new name: Pure Obsessions / Red Nights
Philippe, you have said that you are now pursuing a more 80s electronic/synth sound. What is it about the 80s that is drawing you to that style?
I grew up in the eighties. My first musical memories came from the mid-eighties. I remember listening to the radio, I discovered Depeche mode, The Cure, Tears for Fears… I did not know the names of the bands. I discovered their name later, when I saw the music videos… It was a “love at first hear”. I still love the era. Maybe it’s a kind of “Madeleine de Proust”.
You have a new album out “Let Your Obsessions Run Wild”. How long did it take you to write and record it?
It took me a year, I think… It was a very natural session. I did almost all by myself. I was very focused, so it was quick!
This new album is all about wooing the ladies, so is this a nice change from writing about stranglers?
I don’t know… but I hope it works!
Many songs have been released as singles. Was it something you were going to do from the start or did it just happen?
It just happened. It was also a way to prepare the audience, and not just drop an album without any guitars! Some of my followers are metalheads. But nowadays, even metalheads like synth music!
Did Covid affect the making of the album?
Not at all! But the gigs were cancelled… I hope we will be back on tour soon!
The new single is “Don’t Let the Night Die Vain” with the official video, out on the 7th of September. Can you tell us about this song and also about the creation of the video?
I think that this single, ‘Don’t Let the Night Die in Vain’, represents very well the essence of this new album. Half alive, half dead, Mr Strangler haunts the nights, and helps people in despair. He appears as a guide – teaching you how to live and how to fight, when you think that all hope is gone. In this music video, a young woman comes to Mr Strangler. She is looking for help, abused by her boyfriend. Mr Strangler gives her some advice, and a useful tool…
We’ve done a lot of music videos with Matteo and Chiara from VD Pictures. They work with great bands – Lord of the Lost, Powerwolf… and Matteo is also a musician. So, it’s kind of easier to work with them, ‘cause they understand the music. The shooting took place in an old paper factory in Switzerland. I wanted a place that looked big, wide, haunted… A place where Mr Strangler could be appearing, like a ghost…
Is Philippe a romantic at heart?
As Mr. Strangler! And Mr. Strangler is, and is not.
Who would you say are your influences for this new sound?
After the industrial rock / gothic metal of the ‘Mr Strangler Trilogy’ (triple album, 2020), and the alt-rock / goth / post-punk of ‘We are the Stranglings’ (2021); I wanted to dive deeper into my eighties influences for this 100% synth-driven album. I produced this new album using vintage synths and equipment: I wanted it to have that very warm, analogue sound, typical of the period. I tried to create something between my eighties influences and my industrial / goth-rock background – synthpop grooves and darkwave ambiances, but with an industrial rock energy. The influences: The Cure, Killing Joke, Tears For Fears, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode …
Would you say this is the music you grew up listening to originally?
I will not have the pretention to say that I do the same as The Cure, Depeche Mode… I am not that talented. I do my thing…
Which modern musicians influence you these days?
I like TR/ST, Boy Harsher, IAMX, Kat VON D, Blakq Audio, The Soft Moon, Empathy Test, Cold Cave… The actual darkwave scene is great
Do you think you’ll ever go back to that heavier industrial style?
How did fans react to the new sound?
Our followers are very open-minded. Even with the Mr. Strangler Trilogy we were not a pure metal/rock band. We always had this darkwave / dark synth side. I was very surprised with the feedback, and it looks like this album, Let Your Obsessions Run Wild, continues to gain more listeners!
Are there any plans to play live soon?
We are working on it! I hope in 2023. I just finished a new album, so we will have more time for the gigs.
In the dark alleyways, underpasses, subways and clubs of Chicago, you might run into the Glampire pack of Plasmata, lead by Trent Jefferies. 2021 saw the release of the five track EP “Portraits Of Pain” which we reviewed back then and now Plasmata are releasing three remixes off the EP, starting on the 23rd of August, with the single “Leviathan” which has been given the treatment by William Faith (Faith And The Muse, BellweatherSyndicate, Christian Death).
The guitars swirl in a vortex lifting you higher and higher, a solid wall of twanging wonder which compliments the vocals utterly. There is even the added whip like beats in this (which was a thing in the 90s and made me giggle a little). Faith’s playing is sparkling and reminds you what a great guitarist he really is, while Jefferies vocals going from growled to sensually smooth, are just the jewel in the track.
You could knock me over with a feather with this mix. It retains the basis of the song but it literally has become the monster, beautiful, guitar filled and hauntingly sinister. The original was a industrial hybrid and Faith has turned the track into the gothic maelstrom. Good grief. Love it. You need this in your life.