We are delighted to bring you Onyx Music Review’s first interview and we are lucky to have Mach Fox of the industrial band, Zwaremachine, give us some of his time for a Q &A to talk about the new album Conquest 3000, the changes in the band and how current events are affecting them. Zwaremachine describe their style as minimal hypnotic industrial body music, which is raw, hard edged and rhythm filled with cyber punk themes.

ZWAREMACHINE

Mach, congratulations on the new album, Conquest 3000.

This new album sees Zwaremachine now as a three piece, where as previously it was a one man solo project. How did this come about?

Hi and thank you for interview and helping us get the word out about Zwaremachine and the new album. I had always intended to present Zwaremachine as a live trio with myself on vocals/synthesizer and 2 other members on electronic percussion and additional synth. Since I was using sequencers and drum machines to program and write the songs in the studio I also made sure that I could perform solo if others were not available so that is when the solo shows would happen. Over the years Zwaremachine was able to perform as duo or trio when friends were available and we could do minimal rehearsals since many of the parts were sequenced for live performances. This was great as no one had to commit to my band full time and I could have rotating members of my favorite musician friends fill in. Basically I would just need some musicians to help bring the studio recordings to life on stage. I was only booking a few shows each year from 2012-2016 and not very active with the project.

In 2017 I decided I wanted to write and record the “Be a light” album and find permanent members to
tour and record with so over a couple years I was able to try out many members while writing, arranging and performing songs that became the first full length album for Zwaremachine. At first it was difficult to find others committed to rehearsing and learning arrangements for live shows…I was able to record all parts in the studio but I had the goal of having the instrumental arrangements performed as on the record. At this point my main goal for the band was a s a live performance vehicle for these songs and I felt the album should sound like the live versions. In 2019 I finally solidified the line up I’m thrilled to have Dbot on bass guitar and Dein Offizier on drums/percussion.

With one of your band mates, Dein Offizier in Europe and then the virus bringing travel to a halt, it must have been quite an effort to write and record Conquest 3000. How did you get around these obstacles?

Digital recording technology, sampling and being able to record ourselves in home studios and rehearsal rooms played a big part in the recording sessions on this album.

Luckily I was able to travel to the Netherlands in January 2020 to record Dein Offizier drum parts on the demos that Dbot (bassist) and I had worked up in the summer of 2019.. I would have loved to get Dein Offizier into a proper studio with an engineer to record his drum parts but it just was not possible at that time and with our schedule for album. I must say that he worked so very hard on that session and we were able to record 12 songs in 6 hours in a rehearsal room that we rented at Popschool Parkstad in Heerlen,NL {Netherlands).

The 2 other producers we worked with on the Conquest 3000 album tracks were Planktoon (Sweden) and D.Corri (Ireland). We were sharing tracks via internet which is fairly common these days but also means the collaboration process is much different than being in same studio together. This also added to the longer time to produce this album as everyone has busy lifes outside of the band project. Overall I feel that it gave the album sound a uniqueness we may not have got if I was the only producer involved and I very much love what both Planktoon and D.Corri contributed.

How did you end up incorporating Dein Offizier and D-Bot into the band?

I had performed some solo Zwaremachine shows early 2019 in Europe and Dein Offizier was a mutual
friend of Kitty Sommer who does management/booking for the band so he was at one of those shows
since they are both located in the Netherlands. We later met online and I was intrigued by some of his
pictures where he was playing drums and performing in festivals with his underground percussion group at the time. We had many of the same musical tastes and he looked like a complete badass with his big metal brazillian surdo drum so I asked if he would like to join Zwaremachine on electronic percussion. He agreed to play with us and thru some discussion he expressed he would rather play his own drums instead of samples on an electronic drum pad which was an idea I had never considered but made sense as I had already added a live bassist and felt it could be another way to present our “electronic rock band” differently than so many in the current industrial/ebm genre.

In the fall of 2019 we finally met in person and had our first rehearsal where I knew he was a perfect fit when I saw him aggressively pounding his drum and mouthing the words to our songs from the set…and just hours after that first rehearsal we were in France for our first show of the Zwaremachine & Vuduvox ElektroTanz Tour. Dein Offizier and I did that tour and those shows as a duo since Dbot could not make it and it was a pleasure and honor to share the stage with him every night. It was just like he had always been in the band and I really appreciate his hard work and confidence for that tour. That is really trial by fire and he has only become a great friend and bandmate every day since then.

I did not ever anticipate to have a live bass guitar in Zwaremachine but Dbot had already been a member of early Zwaremachine live line ups on synth and electronic percussion and had also played bass in Mach Fox band from 2006-2010. I was considering a Mach Fox band reunion and we were talking about getting that band back together in late 2018 when I decided to ask him instead to play bass for Zwaremachine. He agreed to join and we released our first recording together as Zwaremachine in December 2019. It’s great to be on stage and write music with him again and I want to point out that half of the songs on Conquest 3000 were from instrumental tracks originally written by him. He is such an excellent musician and brings influences from other genres which is always welcome when we can blend that into our expanding sound.

We know for you, Zwaremachine is very much a live act with a huge accent on the visual aspect. Are there plans for live gigs again with your fellow bandmates or will you lean towards using platforms like twitch currently?

I do love the idea of presenting a visual that compliments or contrasts the music whether it is bringing
some old CRT monitors in road cases to glow on stage or building custom microphones and other stage dressing/set elements. I originally got into video art and VJ work as I wanted Zwaremachine to be strong audiovisual band in the style of Severed Heads, Skinny Puppy, Clock DVA and many from that period that matched the visuals with the music to give the audience a bit more of an experience live. We do plan to perform live again and the visuals and stage dressings/sets will depend on whether we travel to Europe or U.S. for first tour and shows since it is not always easy to bring that extra gear.

When shows and tours were first cancelled and I would get requests for online festivals and streaming
sets I originally turned those down as I wanted our live shows to be experienced in dark venues with
large and loud sound systems with a crowd…but as time went on I accepted that this could be a cool way to present our show without having to haul all the gear! Since I am also a VJ and video artist I was able to use multiple cameras, video mixers, hardware effects to present something special that I hadn’t seen others doing and with a bit of editing and post-production we ended up presenting about 10 unique livestream sets which I am proud of. The only downside to that was we were not able to have Dein Offizier with us live but we managed to record footage and he can be seen on the screens behind us for portions of the set.

During a recent interview, you expressed that you would like to bring guitar into the Zwaremachine sound. What is the influence for this?

The guitar was my main instrument for my earliest bands and it’s an easy instrument for me to express melodies and texture. I still want Zwaremachine to be driven by heavy electronics but recently I have been using guitar for some remixes and on a new side-project so I feel it might become present on some new Zwaremachine songs. Most likely it would be loaded into a sampler for live shows as I can’t be fussed to keep tuning it!

The guitar I use is a Roland Gr707 that is also a “synth guitar” which allows me to play a synthesizer or
sampler via midi from the strings of the guitar so it can be blended with a synth or any sound desired.
I also love that the guitar can be placed in the mix with synthesized instruments to make this sound that can still seems futuristic today. This idea to make hybrid electro-industrial rock is probably influenced by my favorite Wax Trax label records and this sound was hinted at in our Ripping At The Fabric EP where the synths were often treated like guitars and there was plenty of sample editing in the production. I have also been making some awful sounds with modular synthesizers that could be looped and used in future
productions.

Your moniker, Fox, is a nod to the original singer of Ultravoxx!, John Foxx, who is also an inspirational figure for Gary Numan in the electronic scene. How do you feel that people like Foxx, Numan, Frank Tovey of Fad Gadget etc have influenced your sound and who currently do you find influences you now?

Those artist and many others were using electronic sounds blended with acoustic instruments and
experimenting with production and effects in a very creative way often due to the limitations of equipment or lack of rules. The whole DIY and punk music stuff happening the same time was what gave me the ideas to try things on my own and try to make sounds that I wanted to hear. Those bands mentioned also had strong images attached and really stood out for me first for the music and also for being great live performers.

A current influence would the industrial and dark sounding electronic music I hear being made and
especially when it’s done well with modular synthesizers. Modular synthesis can produce sounds that I
have never heard before and that really excites my inner circuits as a musician and a lifelong fan of sounds. Check out TL3SS – Murkwhip or ENDIF – Falling Into The Sky for good examples.

Thank you for your time and hoping to hear more from Zwaremachine in the future!

Thank you for the interview and we will stay in touch!

http://www.zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/conquest-3000

http://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine

Mach Fox for the last decade, has been the man behind Zwaremachine, however Conquest 3000 is the first album where the act has become a three piece. Fox (vocals, synths, programming), based in the United States, joined by D-Bot (bass guitar, vocals) whom is also based in Minnesota and Dein Offizier (drums, percussion), who hails from Europe. D-Bot had played previously with the Mach Fox band and for a number of years playing live with Zwaremachine.

Conquest 3000 is a mixture of re-recorded tracks that have appeared on previous EPs and singles, as well as four new tracks. The tracks like ‘International Hero“, that appeared originally on the Ripping At The Fabric EP, have had subtle changes to the sound. My focus however is on the four brand spanking new numbers.

ZWAREMACHINE

The cybernetic track, “Toymaker“, flows with hypnotic synth lines and gritty vocals. About, not only enhancing human bodies but also replacing everything that no longer works, creating a human like doll.

For my money, “Parasol” is the best of the new songs. It has this late 70s, early 80s inspired funk sound, mixed with with the more modern vision of Zwaremachine. It is a seamless dance number about a world, where the atmosphere has been destroyed and the population is protected by an umbrella. Science fiction or a portent of science fact?

A serious Suicide Commando vibe with “Zero Containment“. There is great energy and hooky synth lines that sparkle and drag you in. A song about one fire that can’t be stopped and it could be about the burning up the dance floor with this track.

There is one place that authority and corporations cannot control us.. our dreams. The last of these new tracks is “Until Tomorrow” and it is about the sovereignty of the mind. Love the chimes that ring out in this angry and punchy number.

Already, you can see the influence of the newest members in Zwaremachine, which are only going to push these guys into good places if the latest tracks are anything to go by. Zwaremachine was already a cutting edge, industrial act, experimenting in their sound. Would highly recommend listening to the new tracks from Conquest 3000, to get a taste of things to come!

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/conquest-3000

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

While we wait for the release of the much anticipated Attrition album, The Black Maria, Martin Bowes has given us a second single to immerse ourselves in called “The Alibi“, which was recorded, mixed and mastered at The Cage Studios in Coventry.

A child’s musical, wind-up toy, plinks away the warbly wedding march of “Here Comes The Bride“, by Wagner. The ensemble warms up before we are plunged into the warped electro world of Attrition, accompanied by violins, piano, guitar and cello. The ladies sound like angels and Bowes forever is the devil, gutterally vocalising in your left ear. A mix of soprano and spoken word with maybe some gypsy inspiration that drive home the chorus.

Cannot help but think that a woman who might not be the perfect bride but the perfect alibi, possibly is a major temptress. Bowes is always pushing his art, combining elements that clash and grate, yet also end up complimenting each other. As we await the new album from the avant-garde electro-industrial juggernaut that is Attrition, taste the forbidden fruits of “The Alibi“.

https://attritionuk.bandcamp.com/album/the-alibi

https://www.facebook.com/ATTRITIONMUSIC

Kieren Hills aka Dorfpunk Tapes, is somewhat of an Australian renaissance man. His love of underground fare means he performs in more than his fair share of bands, from crust punk to goth, though his punk attitude shines through all. One of his incarnations is his one man, industrial punk act called Schkeuditzer Kreuz. In September of 2020, the EP Give Me Nothing was released.

KIEREN HILLS – SCHKEUDITZER KREUZ

This is your “Warning” that starts with a nationalistic anthem of a non existent, fascist state. It smacks of Laibach as it launches, hammering into your skull, the staccato beat with wailing siren. The warning is about a population devoid of control, will find others to exert power over to prove they exist.

Metallic industrial rhythm heralds in “Amerika:, a song written in the time of the Trump presidency and on a personal computer that had no working ‘C’. The angst of watching the erosion of rights, injustice and wholesale lies are ground out by Hills.

Consumerism drives economies, drives environmental destruction, plunges many into poverty and leaves many always wanting what they do not need. Greed is the theme behind, “But What If“. Screeching electronics, contorted in the fervour before the final meltdown.

Traitor” is a slower track in some ways with an electronic sludginess like sonic glue, however surprisingly does speed up with a near psychedelic overdrive.

Final track, “Give Me Nothing” is the equivalent of Edvard Münch’s The Scream, a cry to escape the tragedy of life. Not necessarily escaping through death but no longer plugged into the machine that pounds away with fuzzy fury.

It’s a little gem of an EP and gets better every play. It is punchy and doesn’t pull any punches about the state of society in general but then it just wouldn’t be punk if it didn’t have something to say. Should you ever get the chance to see Schkeuditzer Kreuz live, take it. The experience will blow your mind but in the meantime indulge in Give Me Nothing on Bandcamp for name your price.

https://dorfpunk.bandcamp.com/album/give-me-nothing-2

https://www.facebook.com/SchkeuditzerKreuz/

We are going to go back to December of 2017 to revisit the electronic EP, Wavelets. Released by Secant Prime, a US based artist who’s first release was in 2010 with the Wavelets EP that is made up of 5 tracks ranging in length.

Imagine a sound of impending doom. It could be “Jacobi Elliptic Function“, a sonic dirge of undulating pandemonium of both electronic noise and human. Named after the mathematical equation that describes the swinging of a pendulum and also the design of electronic elliptic filters. There is always this low, one could almost say near feeling of dread and as the piece continues, it develops that crunchy experimental texture before becoming nearly atonal again.

Dirichlet Convolution” is a mathematical function using binary operation as well as the title of the next track. It is metallic and sharp with no room to be otherwise. The machine in its computations will churn out its screeching answers that it rhythmically hums to itself. You hear a child lost in the noise, maybe a victim of the problem solving.

The next concept is slightly beyond my understanding but ‘Montgomery’s Pair Correlation Conjecture” is about equations that include the possibilities of finding zeros. The music has a sense of being out of touch, much like my understanding of the maths. Echoes, whispers and perhaps the intermittent ticking of a clock, all completely out of sync with a buzzing sonar like beat. At seventeen and a half minutes, this is the EP’s longest track but the lulls and build ups will keep your attention.

Hankel Transform” is the fourth track and I can’t even describe this therorum but I can tell you the music swirls, as if in a vortex, sucking everything towards it, mixing it all as it flies past. The garbled voices add to the sense of imminent implosion at any moment.

I looked up “Fourier Bessel Series” and saw the words an infinite series expansion on a finite interval…..pursed my lips and exhaled. A slow build up of soundscape and rhythmic nose, more ticking like time is getting away from us and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. Constant, infinite and yet finite

in some ways this is my nightmare music, based on high level maths, however this works for Secant Prime. Maths is clinical and exact, with no grey areas. And many like myself find the idea of working out these therorum terrifying. The music is not comforting, stark and bleak, devoid of human warmth. A clever use of experimental noise to create ambient, nightmarish soundscapes. Wavelet is available on Bandcamp currently for name your price and other forums.

https://secantprime.bandcamp.com/album/wavelets

http://www.secantprime.com

Always difficult to get band members together at times and for some, well, some make music in between different countries. The lads from Gomddam Memory released their first single this month and are based between Norway and the UK and “One Last Job” is the name of this debut.

næringssorg & memory ade

They lie, they lie‘ and there is no question that those in power never tell the truth, while they pillage the earth of its resources and leave those most at risk to suffer because it doesn’t make good business sense to do anything else. There is a plaintiff cry for the the world and the atmospheric feel of the experimental music seemingly, semi-teetering on an abyss, in an off kilter way.

Gomddam Memory isn’t going to be for everyone and yet it is an interesting project. They did make think that this is what it would sound like if an industrial machine that ate the Candy Skins and I’m not sure if this says more about me or them. Have a listen to the eco industrial tune “One Last Job“.

https://gomddammemory.bandcamp.com/releases

https://m.soundcloud.com/gomddammemory

https://m.facebook.com/GomddamMemory

Last year, Normoria released the EP, Voyages and at the end of January, this single, “The Judases” was let loose. Based in both the USA and Sweden, they describe their sound as, ‘a fusion of many elements: primarily dark electro and rock/industrial‘. 

An interesting take on the concept of karma and what happens to those who are friendly to your face but would happily trip you into a bottomless pit. ‘What goes around, comes around‘ is the shouted chorus of affirmation. It graduates in fury with the non stop beat.

I would have to say this song probably does well live due to the fact its a stompy number that they can also yell back to the band in the throws of jumping around. From what I’ve listened to, Normoria are passionate about the environment and their fellow humans. Will you follow them to the land of Normoria, to where “The Judases” are not allowed?

https://normoria.bandcamp.com/album/voyage

https://www.facebook.com/normoria/

HOSTILE ARCHITECT is Brisbane based Mitch Kenny and he is quite the busy industrial bee, with his second release on Brutal Resonance Records, out on the 28th of February. The single/EP is called “:LOG. 3:: SEMTEX“, which comprises of the single, an extra song and a remix of the single.

HOSTILE ARCHITECT – MITCH KENNY

SEMTEX” is a type of plastic explosive to give this number context. The concept ‘your body is a collapsing temple, your body is not yours to give‘, seems to imply that to become free, you must destroy that which holds you to this plane. As always, there are the nice full body beats that are guaranteed to get you moving and that signature sound Kenny has incorporated.

The instrumental piece, “MACHINEGUNCONTROL” goes for over seven minutes and yet you won’t notice the length of this number as it belts along. There is something quite delightful in listening to crystal clear, percussion lead music.

The Null Cell remix of “SEMTEX” is smoother and yet seems to end up swirling in a mind blowing vortex of ominous tone. It is reminiscent of old school industrial with those rhythms but still ultra modern.

The production is great, nice and crisp, a perfect mix by Null Cell and another great release from the HOSTILE ARCHITECT who is soon to unleash an album. In the meantime there is “:LOG.3:: SEMTEX” to keep you keen and whet your appetite.

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/album/log-3-semtex

https://www.facebook.com/HosArchitect/

https://www.facebook.com/nullcell/

https://www.facebook.com/brutalresonance/

February will see the release of Ontario artist, Herr Nox’s second album, Where Shadows Fade. Nox explained to us about his style, “I find myself (going) into strange musical territories. Too heavy for some, too soft to others. But I try to venture into more experimental waters so I guess that’s expected“.

HERR NOX

Welcome to “Doomsday“, which is the first track off the album and our introduction to Norwegian, Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone. Have to admit sax has never sounded so smooth to me until now. Munkeby for the record is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist as well as a singer, songwriter and producer in both the jazz and metal scenes.

Where Shadows Fade” is not only the title track but also the first single to be released and quite deserving so. Munkeby’s saxophone delightfully duels with the guitar in the interludes, especially helping build up the tension for Nox to hit you with his vocals.

Old school new romantic synth graces us in “Black Butterfly“. Nox partners up with Lindsay Schoolcraft of Cradle Of Filth fame for a song about falling for the type of girl who is broken and yet still beautiful. The music goes between driving guitar rock and synth wave but it works so well.

Just the very title of the song, “The Art Of Noise And Silence“, struck as something Japan could have written in the 80’s and it does not disappoint, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Schoolcraft’s beautiful vocals fly above all else, almost unearthly and angelic, whilst the guitars and synths are a cacophony below. This might make the near beseeching Herr Nox, the velvet tongued devil.

It had to happen, the sleazy, sexy sax intro. “Gotta Light?” has that intro and this is an instrumental piece featuring the talent of Munkeby with the sax front and centre, making you think of Casablanca style, cocktail bars, low lit with a haze of cigarette smoke.

Would you “Kiss The Butcher’s Hand” and give them your neck? Maybe some souls would. A good high paced rock’n’roll number that makes great use of lulls for Nox to seductively whisper to you before knocking you back on your arse.

Heads Will Roll” is a much heavier number, growled out vocals by Nox with Schoolcraft in sweet accompaniment. That line alone conjures visions of Alice in Wonderland and her nemesis the Red Queen.

The last offering is “The Burning” and it starts with a sombre cello, joined by strings which brings in the drums and wonderful jangly guitar. Herr Nox most certainly had a flare for the dramatic as this quickly graduates into an episodical that soars with emotion. There are always electronic bits popping up where you might not expect it, which is delightful.

I hear so many influences within this album. Nox’s style of singing runs the gauntlet of David Bowie, Davey Havok (AFI) and Ville Valo, yet it is still very much him singing.

There are classical leanings, rock and roll, gothic rock, 80s electronica and even a bit of glam, all stirred in to make this a rather tasty affair. Where Shadows Fade is new and yet it borrows and reshapes the past influences into something exciting and not a rehash, so I hope you find some time to indulge in Herr Nox as it is worth your time.

https://herrnox.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.facebook.com/Herrnoxofficial/

2020 has brought in big changes for many bands and this includes Minneapolis based band, Zwaremachine. After a dalliance with Brutal Resonance Records, releasing their last EP the band has expanded to now include the live crew as fully fledged recording members and released a single/ remix EP.

The single “Conquest 3000” is the first off the soon to be released album and features Zwaremachine stalwart, visionary & lead singer, Mach Fox, Dbot on bass plus vocals and Dein Officer brutalising the drums.

ZWAREMACHINE

The very nature of industrial music lends itself to political protest and the voice of the underdog, so “Conquest 3000” is a prime example. Especially in this currently climate of fear, disease and corporate avarice, angry dissent voices are needed more than ever. This has a cleaner sound compared to Zwaremachine’s previous singles. With a hard hitting electronic and drum rhythm, this powers along and the synth lines created a smooth juxtaposition. Fox’s vocals are the fired salvos destructively hitting their mark.

The “Conquest 3000X1L3 remix is harsher and in a Ministry vein, yet it has this cyber swirling, wonderous feel to it within the brusqueness.

The near disco beat at the beginning made me smile. The Floridians, Batavia, remix of “Conquest 3000“, shows a gossamer touch, air light keyboards and that damn beat that had me wiggling in delight from the beginning.

Final mix is by Australian act, HOSTILE ARCHITECT., Mitch Kenny knows how to push a song into a new realm. Cyber punk, futuristic and high energy, that keeps you guessing where he’ll take it next.

The new members bring a new and exciting dimension to the direction Zwaremachine is heading. The single is great and is pointing to an even greater album, meanwhile all the remixes are noteworthy in their own right and I don’t think I could pick a favourite. Name your price on Bandcamp so there is nothing stopping you checking out Zwaremachine’sConquest 3000“.

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/conquest-3000-single-remix-ep

https://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine

https://www.facebook.com/brutalresonance/

https://brutalresonance.com/