The Derision Cult was the original working name for the solo project of Dave McAnally in 2014, which became pared down to just Derision Cult. Beginning of December 2022 saw the Glitch Mode Recordings release of the EP “Mercenary Notes Pt. 1“, a guitar laden, industrial powered ride with both political conviction and questioning the moral compass of big money corporations. McAnally has friends in many places it seems having some big name talents fleshing his music out with vocals/guitars, mixing, producing and mastering. What does this mean? Great production, thumping beats and a sound that could give Ministry a run for their money. So now you should read ahead and find who these big names are, what are the outside influences and did McAnally really use his wife as a taco consuming lab rat? Mmmmmm tacos…… and don’t worry, Dave ate tacos as well.

Welcome Dave back to Onyx, though now under the guise of your project, Derision Cult. 

Thanks!  Yeah between this and Sys Machine its been a busy couple of years! 

Originally titled The Derision Cult, you started this all around 2014. What originally inspired you on this solo musical career? 

Derision Cult really came a long ways since 2014 to this EP!  But it goes back further than that for me. It all started when I was in bands and working on different projects in the mid-90s. Then I took a bit of a break and ended up in Chicago for a while. I always knew I’d get back into making music, and I had a few false starts between 2004 and 2014. But in 2014, everything just fell into place and I knew it was time to start playing again. I was getting out of the triathlon and ironman scene, spending more time at home with my daughter, and just feeling like I had something to say through my art. Around that time, I was also seeing how corporate social responsibility was being twisted and used as a marketing tool by companies, and I felt like I could use my music to shed some light on that. And as I’ve been working on Derision Cult, I’ve really honed in on my message and vision for the project, especially with the release of Mercenary Notes. It’s all about using my art to make a statement about what I learned in my professional life which I feel follows in the footsteps of my musical heroes.

Previously, in an interview about your newer project, .SYSmachine, you hinted at the fact you were working on music for Derision Cult. Would this be the now released “Mercenary Notes Pt. 1”? 

Yeah, I hinted at it in that interview about .SYSmachine, but now I suppose I can officially confirm that Mercenary Notes Pt. 1 is the result of those early sessions with Sean Payne!  We started working on these tracks back in December and January, and it’s been an awesome experience collaborating with a producer for the first time on Derision Cult. Sean and I are planning to keep working together on all sorts of projects in the future.

The current single is “Deaf Blood”, so why was this chosen and what does it mean for you having the likes of Chris Connelly on vocals and Joy Thieves on remix duty?

“Deaf Blood” was the perfect choice for the current single because it really captures the essence of Derision Cult and what we’re all about. It’s got rock/metal sound with some Killing Joke vibes, and it was an absolute honor to work with Chris Connelly on vocals. I’ve been a fan of Chris’s work for a long time, and I was really blown away by the Joy Thieves’ album American Parasite and where it seemed like his headspace was on that. I thought Chris’s voice and lyrics would be perfect for being part of this particular story, and I was right. It was also a dream come true to have Reeves Gabrels from The Cure and David Bowie’s band playing lead guitar on the track. He’s been a huge influence on my playing since the 90s, and it was amazing to work with him and hear those leads up close like that!

For the remixes, we’ve got both Joy Thieves and Martin Atkins on board, and I’m really happy with how that came out.  Joy Thieves went for a dark and emotional vibe, while Martin Atkins turned it into a crazy rollercoaster ride. Plus, he recorded live drums on his infamous black Pearl kit, which is the same one he used on all those classic Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Pigface, and Killing Joke albums.  It was really cool to have both Chris’s current drummer from Joy Thieves and a drummer from his past with Martin Atkins working on the remixes, and I think it adds an extra layer of depth to the single.

You also sold a cassette version of the “Deaf Blood” single, with the added extra of hot sauce…was it hot enough for the single, who came up with that idea and did you get to have some?

Releasing the “Deaf Blood” single on cassette was a total spur-of-the-moment decision, inspired by labels like Brutal Resonance who are putting out cassettes exclusively. It’s been a while since I sold a cassette, probably since 1997, so it was a lot of fun to put this one together. I’m really happy with how they turned out. As for the hot sauce, that was just a happy coincidence. When Chris sent over the lyrics with the title “Deaf Blood,” I immediately thought it would be a cool name for a hot sauce. As it turns out, my friend Chris Bengston owns a hot sauce company in Kansas City, so we started working on some recipes together. Chris would send some to me and Sean and then we’d test them out with our wives.  We tested out a bunch of different ones and ended up with a garlic-flavored sauce that has a medium heat level. I didn’t want to make something that was too hot because no one would actually enjoy it, but I liked the fact that we toasted the brown sugar, which gave the sauce a black color. It’s really goth, and it’s great on chicken and jerky-type meats. We sold out of the stock we had on Bandcamp, but it’s still available on Common Descent Provisions’ website. If we go through those and the response is good we’ll do another run. It was really cool to see people buying them as Christmas gifts and everything!

The first single off “Mercenary Notes PT.1”, is titled “Bastards Of The World”, which was written after a work-related promotion encounter. Can you tell us about it? 

“Bastards of the World” is all about how people’s good intentions can be turned against them. I’ve seen this happen in campaigns I’ve been a part of in the past, and it’s a tactic that works all too well. Just look at someone like Andrew Tate, who says outrageous and offensive things that enrage one group of people, but his actions make him extremely popular with another group.  

A few years back, I was approached by a gun manufacturer who wanted me to help them sell a training rifle that looked like an AR-15. But instead of marketing it as a safety gun, they wanted to target ads to gun control advocates and wind them up about the audacity of a company that would make an AR-15 specifically for kids. They had data showing that every time the Daily Show or other left-leaning media outlets talked about guns, there was an uptick in ammo and gun sales. So, it made more sense for them to piss off gun control advocates and bring the gun to market rather than positioning it as a safety tool. I decided not to take the project, and as far as I know, the gun never made it to market. However, it did inspire me to write “Bastards of the World.” There’s a sample in the song that says the key to business is tapping into the irrational organs, and unfortunately, that’s often the case.

It made me feel a little ill to my stomach to think that companies that make vast amounts of money selling items like this, use these horrible actions to increase their sales. How does all this affect you personally, especially as a parent? 

As a father, it’s scary to consider how my kids will grow up in a world that’s so different from the one I knew. They’ll be bombarded with messages, stories, and media that are crafted to manipulate their emotions and get certain reactions. When I was growing up, it was one thing to be told that using a certain brand of deodorant or drinking a certain beer would make you more appealing to the opposite sex. Now, my kids are going to come of age in a society where even the news is meant to make them feel a certain way, and the products they use will try to guilt them into thinking they’re immoral, racist, sexist, or misogynistic if they don’t buy them or trust their narrative. There’s a new level of anxiety and mistrust in society that kids who have grown up with the internet will have to face, and it’s crucial that they be savvy enough to recognize when and how their emotions are being exploited and distinguish between what’s rational and what’s not.

Sean Payne of Cyanotic not only appears on the EP but the label, Glitch Mode Recordings, is owned by Sean. how did you end up signing to Glitch Mode and we are gathering you and Sean are pretty tight friends?

I’ve been a fan of Cyanotic for a while, and when I was looking for production help for the new Derision Cult album, my friend Gabe Wilkinson introduced me to Sean. Since he lives in Chicago, it was easy for us to hang out and take our time working on the tracks. Sean is a great guy and we’ve become good friends. We hang out at the Glitch Mode headquarters and at shows at The Metro in Chicago. I also enjoy working with Brad Huston, the guitar player in Cyanotic, who engineered a lot of the EP. We have a lot of fun geeking out about guitar stuff.  With Sean,  I think our different approaches to writing music – I’m more focused on riffs and hooks and he’s more interested in vibes, feels, and grooves – really come together well on tracks like “Slaves Rebuild” on this EP. Overall, it’s been a great experience working with Sean and the team at Glitch Mode!

Payne and Connelly are not the only big name you have on “Mercenary Notes PT.1”. Can you please tell us about the others and what it has meant to you to both professionally and personally?

It’s been a real pleasure to work with some of my musical heroes on “Mercenary Notes PT.1.” Having the likes of Chris Connelly, Joy Thieves, Reeves Gabrels, and Martin Atkins contribute to the EP was a dream come true for me, both professionally and personally. It’s been amazing to see how their unique talents have shaped the sound of the record, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know them as people during the process. Working with Sean Payne as a producer has also been a fantastic experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with him and his label, Glitch Mode Recordings. And finally, it’s been a joy to work with Jim Marcus on the artwork for the EP. His understanding of my vision for the project and his ability to bring it to life visually has been a real highlight for me. Overall, “Mercenary Notes PT.1” has been an incredible journey, so I’m thrilled to share it with the world!

There is also slated, a second EP, “Mercenary Notes Pt. 2”, to be released this year, so are you able to spill the chilli beans on what and whom we can expect?

“Part 2 of ‘Mercenary Notes’ is on the way and we’re excited to bring some new surprises to the table! Originally, we started with a dozen tracks and decided to split them into EP’s for a more digestible listen. We’ve got a few potential collaborators in mind and we’re heading to Sean’s studio next week to pick up where we left off with them. The tracks on this EP are a continuation of the first, but with a more abstract and universal theme. We’re also incorporating more non-industrial elements, with one track taking on a bluesy feel inspired by musicians like Albert Collins and Buddy Guy. There are also hints of old-school outlaw country on some tracks, and we even broke out the telecasters on one. We’re still deciding on the final tracklist, but there’s one song that has an industrial twist on the style of Johnny Paycheck and Waylon Jennings. We’ll see if we can make it work!”

I often think artists and especially musicians, that are worth their salt, reflect the world as it is, not just the nice bits but the gritty humanitarian side as well. Do you feel this something you agree with that industrial music can be very political?

Definitely!  I think art should reflect the world around you and in many cases, that won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. Industrial music has always been political, and I think that’s because of its punk roots. The industrial scene in the 80s was especially political, and I think that’s a good thing. Politics in music can be controversial, but I think most artists who choose to express their views through their music are willing to accept that their listeners may not always agree with them.

For me, Derision Cult isn’t necessarily political in the traditional sense of being right or left or one political issue or another. It’s about thinking for yourself and being your own filter for what’s objective and what isn’t. Whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, my message remains the same: we all live in a world where our views can be manipulated and shaped by others if we let them.

Overall, the EP is powerful and driving but do you see a silver lining behind this rage?

“Mercenary,” the final track on the EP, serves as the culmination of all the rage and intensity that precedes it. It sort of summarizes the chaotic times we’re living in, where it seems like decades can happen in the span of just a few weeks. But I do see a silver lining behind all this rage. We have the opportunity to witness and be a part of a true renaissance period, one that has the potential to bring about incredible technological and scientific advancements. While it may be scary, it’s also incredibly exciting to think about the possibilities that lie ahead. The people that will  cure diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS, and even terraform new planets are already among us. We’re no longer just created in the image of a higher power; we have the power to create our own gods.

Soooo, you have done the hot sauce, what would you really love to be able to offer fans next? Will it be the can of gothic black beans to go with the chilli sauce?

I have no idea how I’d pull it off but I think what I’d really love to offer fans next is something more immersive. Something that goes beyond just buying a CD or a shirt. Maybe something like a virtual reality experience that really puts you in the world of the music. That would be really cool and there’s a lot of directions that could go.  And as far as the can of gothic black beans, hahaha well I’ll have to give that some thought. Maybe we can collaborate with Common Descent  and come up with some sort of gothic chili recipe. That could be a fun project. But honestly, I’m always open to new ideas and exploring new ways to connect with fans and give them something unique and memorable. So who knows what the future holds!

Thank you for your time Dave!

Mercenary Notes Pt 1 | Derision Cult (bandcamp.com)

Derision Cult | Chicago IL | Facebook

It is always a blow to fans when a band calls it a day. Germans, X-Vivo have decided to announce that due to a myriad of reasons, this creative outlet has run its course. But they have agreed that they go out with a bang, rather than a whimper, so to that end, they have released their final single, the very aptly named “Nothing Left To Say“.

This last track has a quality about it that reminds me of Linkin Park, not only musically but lyrically. The ebb and flow of the song, the losing pieces of one’s self, so as not to deal with the subsequent pain.

Before they go, you can see off X-Vivo by going to their Bandcamp page, because this track is name your price. And if unfamiliar with their industrial rock music, this gives you a chance to check out what you were missing.

https://x-vivo.bandcamp.com/track/nothing-left-to-say

https://www.facebook.com/xvivo?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Imagine a world where people didn’t judge each other by the colour of their skin, nationality, creed/religion, sex and sexual orientation…. we sadly don’t live in that world and it feels like it slipping further from our sight. This year saw the overturning of an important American law, Roe Vs Wade. A law that gives autonomy of a woman over her own body and her reproductive cycles. The Joy Thieves, on Armalyte Industries, have released the maxi single “6 To 3“, on the 25th of November, which happens to be International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to remind people that this is a boot on the neck of the female half of the world. There are three new tracks and seven remixes.

6 To 3” is the raising of female voices, the anger is palpable and is joined by the grating guitars and throbbing electronics. This is women forcing you to hear their grief that they are entitled to an opinion, entitled to be sexual beings, to choose for themselves and no government should be able to take that away. There is a heavy Ministry taste to the track “Property” and yes, the premise is that women are becoming simply chattels or possessions, to use and abuse, because in the end, what does it it matter if girls and women die, as long as bible bashing half wits can sleep at night. Through the use of voice clips, we have the heavy, subordinate noise of “Power Through Discipline“, the calm spoken words in complete contrast to the musical onslaught. Remixes by Stoneburner, Eva X, StabWalt and The Joy Thieves, give you more honey for your money.

Now people might say that this only applies to North America….but does it? The US is a first world country and many look to it, copying the laws and legislation. Others will see it as a chance to have power over females, pushing back hard earned rights, reducing women to simply vessels to please men and push out babies without thought for the wellbeing of the female, mental health aspects and keeping many in abject poverty. We stand in solidarity with our sisters because if it can happen there…..it can happen anywhere. All monies made are going to the National Network of Abortion Funds but more importantly, this is keeping the subject in plain view and calling it for what it really is. Slavery and child abuse. Support The Joy Thieves and amplify the message.

6 To 3 | The Joy Thieves (bandcamp.com)

The Joy Thieves

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyThieves

https://www.instagram.com/thejoythieves

French duo, The Shadow’s Gone Out, are sounding the Final Alarm, an EP released on the 23rd of September. From Tours, Nourtier Julien (drum, samples) and Enault Anthony (bass, samples) are bringing the instrumental industrial to you.

Sped up ragtime frivolity, followed by industrial tribal rhythms introduce you to the single ”Pills“. It is angry and voluminous, see-sawing with bridled near contempt. Welcome to the crazed circus of “Sous La Pluie” which means in the rain, as it climbs from peak to peak, gathering strength with the military cuts pervading the rising pressure. “Final Alarm” is the last track, full of foreboding and the promise of annihilation, klaxons calling out and military chatter join the ferocious drumming and underlying bass.

Always nice to hear a real drummer in the industrial scene, as it adds a richer tone to the music, especially when joined with heavy bass. There is a strong military feel induced by the samples as The Shadow’s Gone Out seems to be issuing an ominous warning. So beware the Final Alarm.

Final Alarm | The Shadow’s Gone Out (bandcamp.com)

The Shadow’s Gone Out | Facebook

https://www.instagram.com/tsgo_officiel/

Riveting Music are a US label, whom have decided to make a stand and with the help of a whole bunch of artists, created a compilation of twenty-one cover songs, all previously recorded by powerhouse women of pop/rock. The recording of this compilation is in reaction to the overturning of the historic Wade Vs Roe and the degradation of a woman’s rights to have autonomy over her own body.

There are three singles off the album consisting of The Joy Thieves robust kick arse version of Pat Benatar’sLove Is A Battlefield“, Laurie Anderson’sThe Day The Devil” by The Blue Hour, which I think is much better than the original, and File Transfer Protocol with their rather stunning recreation of Eurythmics’, “Here Comes The Rain Again“. Of course there are plenty more musicians and their cover versions to encounter here and most of the song’s originate in the 80s, going into the 90s, so there is a chance to find music you do or don’t know, as well as checking out current electronic/industrial musicians.

All money raised will go to the Global Fund for Women but not only that, it is about raising the profile of this subject and saying that this new trend against the rights of women is not okay, because if this is happening in a first world country such as North America, then how long before other countries decide to go down the same path? My body, my life. So fucking Regulate This!

Regulate This! | Riveting Music (bandcamp.com)

Riveting Music | Facebook

In recent times, the name Josie Pace has been popping up in our social media news feed and suggested YouTube watching. She is the epitome of a punk riot girl, looking to knock you on your arse with her no nonsense, industrial rock music and style. Pace, after a raft of singles, has signed to Negative Gain Records, released her debut album, IV0X10V5 and is about to go on tour with Aesthetic Perfection and GENCAB, so there is no better time to talk to Josie about what has lead up to this point.

Josie Pace, welcome to the Onyx Thunderdome, where alt music reigns supreme.

You are from Detroit City, home of Motown Records and Alice Cooper but to name a few musical wonders that have sprung from there. Did this have a huge influence on you throughout your childhood?

Detroit sound has definitely influenced me throughout my entire musical journey. Glenn Frey in The Eagles was a huge writing influence on me. Growing up listening to them shaped the way that I structure my songs. A lot of Motown, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, influenced me very young as well. I remember my entire family jamming in the car to “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder when I was maybe 7. Small moments like that really solidified my desire to be an artist. Another Detroit band that has influenced me quite a bit is Jack White continues to create fresh, unique, and meaningful music. He has even influenced a lot of my newer songs as well.

What is the alt rock/darkwave scene like in Detroit?

The dark wave scene, while still a bit of an underground genre, is small but strong. I feel we are very dedicated here in Detroit and we all know how hard it is to get to the next level, so we help each other in any way that we can.

Josie, you posted a video on YouTube, which was seen by Musician/producer Ken Roberts and since then you have forged a musical partnership with him. What is it like working with Ken and how do you complement each other?

Working with Ken really took off from the beginning. He has been in a few successful bands in the past and I trust him with situations that I am unsure of because of his experience in the music industry. We became very close friends and I can now practically read his mind! We always bounce ideas around and work together to create new music that really pushes the boundaries of not just the genre we are in but pushes the boundaries of art itself.

Do you find he pushes you to delve further into your craft?

I’d say he definitely thinks much higher of myself than I do. Even though staying humble is important, it is also important to give yourself credit where credit is due. Ken believes whole heartedly in my abilities whether it be writing, playing guitar, performing live or shooting photos and music videos.

There have been a number of singles released before the album and 8 of them are on your debut album “IV0X10V5”. Your original tracks seem more synthpop based and become increasingly brash and abrasive, embracing a punk attitude. Do you feel this is true for yourself?

When first working with Ken, we decided that releasing singles and a music video every few months was the best way to gain momentum in the industry. It took a few years to really dive deep into the genre and to try new things and create songs that pushed the envelope. While I love all of the songs, when we decided that it was time for a full length album, I knew that not all of the singles would make the cut. I’ve grown a lot in my art and in myself throughout the years and I wanted the album to be something that was true to my journey. I dove deeper into my writing and pushed myself lyrically. I feel like the album is a more mature reflection of myself. It has a clear sound and each song resonates with me on a personal level.

Two singles were recorded with Sammi Doll, “Perfect Replacement” and the cover of the iconic Placebo track “Pure Morning”. You both sound like you bounce off each other brilliantly, so how did you end up recording with Sammi?

Ken and I are big fans of IAMX and decided, while working on “Perfect Replacement”, that it would be great to collaborate with someone new. We simply sent her an email. Honestly, a lot of the collaborations and the cool things I get to do, were just because we asked. Sammi sent an email back and was ecstatic about collaborating. After meeting up with her and recording the song and music video, we all became good friends. So when we started work on the Placebo track “Pure Morning”, we called her up again. It seemed like a perfect fit and the message of the song, female friendship, really manifested in the music video (especially the bloopers!). Sammi is an amazing friend and such powerhouse and she is so much fun to work with.

Negative Gain is a well-respected label in the industrial scene. How exciting was it to be signed and releasing your debut album with them?

I was extremely excited to be signed with Negative Gain. Being signed to a label was one of my life long goals. After a few Zoom calls with Roger and Micah about possibly working with them, the family oriented approach to their label was something that really stuck with me. I will divulge that when they had agreed to sign us, I was teary eyed. All of the hard work was coming to fruition and it was a big deal for me. I love working with them and we all push each other to our fullest potential.

For me, I got the feeling, the overall theme of surviving against the odds. What does the album mean to you?

I feel like the album, to me, really encapsulates throwing out your doubts and growing from past mistakes, definitely surviving against the odds like you mentioned. It was only after I had finished the album that I noticed a theme, but I feel like that gives it it’s authenticity. I write as a form of therapy so it only makes sense that the years I have been working and trying to push forward in the music industry, came out in my songs.

Which track would you say is your favourite or best represents Josie Pace?

Man, the track that most represents myself? All of the tracks have pieces of me nestled into them. But I’d say the most raw of them that really captured how my head and my emotions take form is “Vicious”. After the sudden and tragic loss of my close friend, Alyse, I wrote everything that was in my head. Every night that I stayed up crying, I wrote to express my grief and my sadness, my emptiness and my confusion, my anger and my acknowledgment that she was taken too soon, too young, too violently. “Vicious” although it shows how much she means to me, it also shows my vulnerability. I was reluctant to release it or to even record it at all. Not only because it was physically hard for me to get through without choking up, but also because it shows a side of myself that is raw and hard to manage at times. “Vicious” is quite literally my emotions through a very hard time in my life.

What music was the gateway drug into the industrial rock scene?

I’ve always been into rock, no matter what kind of sub genre. I listen to everything and anything that feels authentic and stirs emotion. The Industrial Rock genre really catches my interest especially approaching it the way that we do. Creating a heavy electronic based sound from songs written on acoustic guitar is a challenge and it also creates a strong song no matter what genre you change it into. Industrial is very messy and heavy but it is also purposive and precise.

Who do you listen to now that gets your blood pumping?

Recently I have found myself listening to Alice in Chains. His voice was so iconic and the song structure is so different. I can really learn a lot from their songs. Other than that I am listening to my own album to prepare for my first North American tour with Aesthetic Perfection and GenCAB. If I don’t get excited listening to my own
music I’m doing something wrong.

Did you miss performing live during the depths of the plague
(Covid)?

Without a doubt. During covid we obviously all had a moment (or ten) of uncertainty and fearfulness of what the future holds. I remember at the beginning of 2020, I hadn’t gone to the studio for at least two months. I remember just siting in my writing room and kind of realizing that the future was so unknown that I had a bit of a breakdown. Obviously, after picking myself back up, I decided to hit it harder and I recorded the rest of my first album “IV0X10V5” and we filmed 6 music videos. Even while doing all of that I missed performing live. The human aspect of performing live can’t be matched, I love getting to meet new fans and feeling the energy of the crowd. It is my favorite part of the artistic process.

Can you tell us about the live shows you are now involved in?

I am absolutely ECSTATIC to announce that I will be joining Aesthetic Perfection and label mate, Gen CAB, for the American Psyco Tour starting in October! We are playing 40 dates throughout the US and Canada. This is my first tour and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

If you could pick one Michigan musician (dead or alive) to record with, who would that be?

I would have to pick Jack White. He has done so much throughout his career and he has constantly pushed the envelope and broken boundaries of genres while keeping a very dirty Detroit feel.

What is in the future for Josie Pace?

While I am preparing for my upcoming tour, I am also working on an EP with new music videos as well. Obviously another full length album is on the way in the future as well. I am hoping to jump the pond when it comes to playing live. Getting to Europe would be a dream.

Thanks for rocking with us Josie!

IV0X10V5 | Josie Pace (bandcamp.com)

JOSIE PACE | OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Josie Pace | Facebook

Negative Gain – Obey the Noise

Negative Gain | Facebook

Seven Federations is the industrial brain child of Todd Ruzicka, whom is also behind the project Immune System, and he recently released his latest album, Bengamin. The album ranges in musical inferences, from the big time band swing in the title track “Bengamin“, to the futuristic “Captain Sicilano (First Federation – Italian Division)” and even the taste of a Latin mass in the interlude “Ite Missa Est“. Most of these tracks have a heavy accent on the guitar, which drives through the music, pushing it on and giving it teeth. The album was mastered at The Cage Studio, in Coventry by Martin Bowes of Attrition fame. So, with this in mind, we thought we would ask Todd a few questions about Seven Federations, the album and does he have the power of time travel…. yeah you are going to have to read on to find out.

Welcome to the Dominion of Onyx, Todd Ruzicka of Seven Federations, within the Thunderdome, though currently it seems more like an echo chamber.

Your current project is, of course Seven Federations but what was Todd up to, in the years before this project? 

Since 2005, I’ve been heavily involved with my project, IMMUNE SYSTEM, which I started while I was living in the UK. IMMUNE SYSTEM was more electronic than “industrial” and I had a bit of success with the releases and with placing some tracks in indie films.  But around 2018, I started feeling like I had painted myself into a corner, musically. I felt like I needed a total change and that change was SEVEN FEDERATIONS. Now, with a bit of hindsight, SEVEN FEDERATIONS doesn’t seem like such a seismic shift away from IMM SYS, but it was the shift in my mindset that I needed to feel “creative” again. 

Todd, you live in North Dakota. What is the dark alternative scene like in North Dakota?

I don’t know. I don’t think it exists but, even if it did, I doubt that I’d be invited to the party. However, we are fortunate to have a really wonderful underground radio show in Fargo called Adam’s Archive on 89.1 FM.  Adam, who is also a good friend of mine, plays some of the coolest and darkest music you’re likely to hear on the airwaves. Both IMMUNE SYSTEM and SEVEN FEDERATIONS get some airtime on his show and it’s been quite a help.

When did you first get caught by the industrial/electronic bug and decide this was something you wanted to try? 

I think it was probably when Pretty Hate Machine came out, although I had also really become enamoured with Depeche Mode by that point. But PHM really hit me sideways. I hadn’t been exposed to super dark, harder electronic music like that. I had heard some Skinny Puppy but, honestly, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it at the time. Pretty Hate Machine combined song structures that I could relate to, but used a whole different sonic palette. And then, of course, The Downward Spiral just changed the game entirely and I caught “the bug,” as you say.

Who would you say are your musical influences… the people and acts that got you into the music? 

Since I’ve been a drummer for as long as I can remember, my first influence would have to be Buddy Rich. I grew up with his Swingin’ Big Band live album. But pop and rock always resonated with me more. I LOVE Billy Joel. Except for his “doo-wop” phase. (Billy Joel Doo Wop sucks.) And you’re in Australia, right? I always loved Colin Hay and Men at Work.  I have to admit I also loved 80s glam rock when I was a teen and that made an imprint on me, for better or for worse. And then later, I got way into heavier music but always had a love for metal with a hint of industrial that also had a GROOVE. I think that’s important. So much of what we term “industrial” music is full of cool SOUNDS but no there’s no real SONG to speak of. You need both. And again, Trent Reznor became a hero of mine, in the way that he could marry musicality with a real knowledge of digital sounds and soundscapes.

Todd, your first album, “The Arrival”, was released in 2019 and far as I can tell, this is the first offering under the banner of Seven Federations. What inspired you to create this project? 

“The Arrival” was the first record, correct. It was fairly ambitious, as it’s a concept record but not so “concept” that you can’t just enjoy the songs on their own. It’s sort of a modern gnostic storyline about drawing down the Demiurge and the events that occur with the main character.  Without getting too mystical, “The Arrival” almost literally wrote itself. It really just appeared, one song at a time. And apart from that, I barely remember making it.

You have released your newest album “Bengamin” and the origin of this name is Hebrew. Why Bengamin, why a buzzard/vulture on the cover and is the buzzard, Bengamin?

Bengamin is the Buzzard of the Apocalypse, mentioned periodically in the Old Testament and referenced heavily in Revelations. He has the gift of prophecy. He can also tap dance.

The track “Bengamin” seems to have a swing/boogie feel to it. Was this intentional?

Yes. I imagined it almost as a soundtrack to some scene in a honky tonk bar somewhere on the outskirts of town.

The track “Brickface” is getting a lot of airplay. What do you feel about this track appeals to people?

I think it’s just a catchy, anthemic track that gets stuck in your head a bit. It’s sort of custom-built for an arena sing-a-long . . . in my MIND.

Overall, the album has that harder edged guitar sound to it. Is this a preferred musical element?

It is with SEVEN FEDERATIONS. If there was one thing I was going for with this project, it’s a much heavier, guitar-based sound. That’s probably the main element that separates it from IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Martin Bowes of Attrition fame, mastered the album at his Cage Studio. What was it like for you having Bowes do this for you and why did you choose Martin?

I’ve been very lucky to have had two of the biggest names in industrial music master my tracks: Martin Bowes and Jules Siefert, both in England. It’s just a sense of being in good hands with them, and knowing that they understand this style of music. And they’re both super-easy to work with. Even though they’re both big names, they are still open to suggestions from the Peanut Gallery; i.e. ME.

One has to wonder if you have a time machine, as you state that “Ite Missa Est” was recorded live in 2030, in Prague…..is there something you aren’t telling us?

Time travel has long been an interest of mine and I’ve had a fair bit of success with it.

Who do you get a kick out of listening to now?

Mostly “Yacht Rock” artists: Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Air Supply. That kind of thing.

What is in the future for Seven Federations?

Promotion of the new record, considering the next step for new music and having a long talk with myself.

Thank you for joining us in our contemplations!

Well, thank you for having me!

Bengamin | Seven Federations (bandcamp.com)

Seven Federations | Facebook

End of last year saw the debut album, Blacken The Skies released on Metropolis Records, by the South African band Terminal. The end of June, they released the official video for the track “Godfire” which comes off the aforementioned debut album. It is an epic track with driving guitar, huge drum beats and a bludgeoning chorus that should have you up on your feet and dancing. “Godfire” or holy war, but who is right and who is wrong and when does God’s name mean peace instead of war in the name of religion? The video is full of confronting images of modern warfare but as always it is the music that has last word. So if this tickles your fancy, then you need to check out Terminal’s whole album.

Blacken The Skies | TERMINAL (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/terminal.industrial

Deathline International have been around in the industrial scene since 1991, when they formed in California before releasing their debut album, Reality Check in 1993 on the label COP International. 2022 will see them drop the newest album, Pax Americana, 11 years since their fourth album Cybrid, but before that happens, we have been getting tastes of what is to come from the group in the form of singles. The latest is called “Parasite” which hit us in December of 2021. The current lineup for Deathline International is Th3Count (Christian Petke), SLam (Simon Lam), James Perry [Ashes Fallen], and John Fryer who has a curriculum vitae that might take some people several lifetimes to rack up. His most iconic band was This Mortal Coil and is a part of the super group The Joy Thieves, while riding solo as Black Needle Noise. As a producer he has worked with luminaries such as Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget, Nine Inch Nails, Die Krupps, Cocteau Twins and so many more.

DEATHLINE INTERNATIONAL

The original single version is done by Fryer, the master of mixing and he has made this a far more sinister piece. The synths are just perfection as they roll over the words ‘only in America is it controversial for me to start the programme declaring that global warming is really happening‘.. There is the list of the four horsemen of the apocalypse of which humanity brings closer each passing day to the brink of no return by not finding ways to protect our planet. Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. There is the perfect mix of guitar versus electronic, all beautifully balanced and brutally laid before you with the bones of the future generations.

Stabbing Westwards are stablemates at COP International and the remix by Chris Hall is actually the first version of “Parasite” off the rank and it is so smooth, that Petke’s vocals ooze all over it like the Exxon Valdez. I like the fact it has retained the heavy electronic component and layers those elements with ease so that it just grooves along. They were not lying about the Sonic Assault remix. Electronic blasting beats full of anger and passionately promising to bludgeon you to death like the wide eyed harpy seal you might be if you don’t take notice of Sick Jokes emphasizing the end is nigh. It feels as if is it spinning out of control and imploding towards the end. Again Sick Jokes are signed to COP International

Yep. The production is spot on. The song is catchy. Three versions to keep everyone happy. A plethora of talent. Well that was easy. Listen to Deathline International, reduce your carbon footprint, recycle, re-use and maybe there is a chance to make things just a bit better than just being a “Parasite“.

https://deathlineinternational.bandcamp.com/

Deathline International | Facebook

https://stabbingwestward.bandcamp.com/

Stabbing Westward | Facebook

https://sickjokesnew.bandcamp.com/releases

https://copinternational.bandcamp.com/

COP International | Facebook

Plastic Assault Network (PAN) is a new super group to hit the scene. Founded by singer/songwriter Robert Andrew Bowman (Randolph’s Grin) who has pulled talent from across three continents, including fifteen musicians into his cyberpunk collaboration. Their second single was released in November called “Wall Breaker“.

Walls are funny things. They have been built to keep people safe while keeping others out, then others have been built to hold humans in so they cannot escape. Those are the physical walls but even when they crumble the mental ones remain. “Wall Breaker” is about overcoming all barriers that cause conflict, hatred and bias. The vocals are passionate about the fear used to control the masses. This gets nice and bass heavy, with the electronics swirling and filling every space with sound, making the song come crashing down on your senses.

As you would expect from a project with several studios involved, the sound is seamless and crystal clear production. Have to say it is always satisfying hearing a real drummer smashing it in the rhythm section and this is Jörn Schwarzburger (Randolph’s Grin). Co-producer is Per-Anders Kurenbach (ex Psyche, The Eternal Afflict, Shock Therapy, Dark State, reADJUST, Nine Circles) who is well known for his mixing skills and keyboard wizardry, while on backing vocals duty as well as drums and guitar is Reyka Osburn of Death Valley High fame. So what is next for Plastic Assault Network? I guess we watch this space but it is a rather exciting prospect where they take this. Industrial music is the beating heart of resistance, speaking for those who that cannot.

https://plasticassaultnetwork.bandcamp.com/track/wall-breaker

Plastic Assault Network | Facebook