Pennsylvania based, TheNumber H has dropped the EP, The Conditioning, on May the 27th, with Lost GlacierRecords. This is their second dark electronic EP release, which, in true industrial style, they are using recordings of everyday noises and fusing them into into these techno and bass influenced tracks.
Straight off the bat is “Nothing“, sexually charged industrial beats, that build up and breakdown, lulled by her vocals. Industrial bass is beautifully used to full effect in “Grief“, with science fiction overtones, the electronics in a juxtaposition of being smooth and abrasive at the same time. “Tell Me” is a techno whirlwind with glitching vocals, designed to build you higher with those rhythms and then you are plunged into the dark depths of “MissMe“, which gave me goosebumps.
“Hideous Dream” is in no way terrible to listen to and in fact delightfully works its way through your senses, the electronics implanting themselves into pleasure centres. Last track is “Undone“, ominous and foreboding as it builds to a whirling techno synth vortex, that collapses only to take you an unwinding journey.
Erotically charged, surreal and sublime. The low spoken vocals, not quite disinterested, drawling out, cutting into your skin. I think I could easily listen to The Number H all day, if I am being perfectly honest. She has an amazing flow that grabs you with the intensity of the music. Loss, intense sorrow and hopefully healing, now you have The Conditioning,.
Be afraid, be very afraid for they are out there in you garden, under the stairs and in your saunas. We are talking GNOMES and they apparently are trying to ruin your day. For years, there have been voices in the wilderness, warning us of the peril. One such soothsayer is TFG, formally of the Finnish band TONTTU, whom is spreading the word via the medium of music but also in this interview. Before reading, find yourself a safe place, a soothing drink, a second set of underwear and snacks because you are in for an education about our ancient enemy —-> the pointy hat vermin. Flamethrowers and gnomes and kangaroos…..oh my!
Welcome to Onyx, Tonttufindergeneral Hanz-Baal (later on referred as TFG). You will be happy to know that the windows and doors will be bolted for the entirety of this discussion, so there are no pesky intruders. We even checked the biscuit jars for infiltrators.
Well thank you, nice of you to acknowledge that there is huge demand for my wisdom. Bolted doors and windows let alone removed eye lids and tongue are a great start, my absolute approval for taking those necessary measures. I would burn that biscuit jar but that’s just me… Being known for nuking couple of backyards does miracles for one’s reputation!
So, how may I help you? Let me guess, you might have some enlightened questions about the gravest of issues: Gnomes and all around gnomishness destroying our way of life and the planet itself. I bet this is about those particular issues and I am more than happy to oblige, we might even talk about Anti-Gnome / Pro-Gnome Muzikk/zakk while we are at it and if I feel praised enough. To protect and to burn:
Let us start.
Soooo, TFG, when did you become aware that Finland has a severe gnome issue?
Gnomes are everywhere and Finland is part of that everywhere so there you go… Also that horrid enabler Santa lives in here so that also is a huge warning sign…
But gotta say the core crew of TONTTU lives in the most happy township of Finland and our country being often selected as the happiest country in the world… I must say that Anti-Gnomen can make the difference! But it was all different before we came to play: Everyone was drinking and sulking and committing murders and suicides and thingies like that, abominous. They praise us as national heroes nowadays and gotta say they just might be right at that.
But yeah, vigilance is always the key when noticing things other (lesser) people often miss.
How did you find out about the gnomes and what their mission is?
When stumbling on the first hardship in life: My milk was a bit too warm to my liking and the biscuit was a bit on the softer side… I realized instantly that there is no other reasonable explanation to that than gnomes! No way around it. And oh boy was I right, as usual I might add.
After careful studies I proved my theory right and now the majority of scientists approve my thesis as the ultimate truth… At least those scientists I approve of, but they are far better than those other ones I cannot stand so there is no comparison at this point.
The final truth is that gnomes cause our every hardship without a reason of a doubt, there is no denying the science behind that phenomenon.
Their mission? To liberate us from our existence, to gnomify us, to drive us into extinction or help us to do it ourselves… They are the pure evil unlike us people with our caring and helpful attitude. we could do nothing wrong even if we tried to, gnomes on the other hand praise greed and money and care nothing about other species let alone this planet, pthui…Oh how much I despise them and their vile ways!
Gotta say after telling my sophisticated ideas some might consider me as totalitarian Phantom, you know that lovely story about that heroic chap wearing blueish spandex outfit beating up bad guys? Ah, if that was the case I only got that Ring of Evil as I do not seek for good people to bash (only those doing the gnomes’ deeds or being one of em), even though I am intrigued to hit them with that Good Mark Ring so that I would remember them later on – I am sure my comrades would approve that idea. But flamethrower and gnomes are good enough for me. Yeah, some may see me a bit “totalitarian” but I myself see me as an extremely liberal nice fella, a hero if you will, who is up to nothing but good ideas, for example the final solution for those gnarly little pointy hatted critters – who on earth would oppose that?
You created the band TONTTU, which literally means gnome, in 1994. Did you think the war against gnomes would be going on for this long?
Not quite sure of the year but thinketh it was a bit later, but who cares anyways! Our first “Kabouter Dämmerung” was released early 1997 or late 96 or something in between but the first version of “Saunatonttu” came into existence somewhere between 94-95 so you are not that wrong.
The official TONTTU as a project came to fruition circa 95-96 with me and Petja and in the studio Toby was added into mixture. But who cares about exact years, gnomes invented time anyways and we must resist their schemes with all of our strength plus additional 27 percent – at the very least. Next in line was our second ep “Gnomedrome” including remixes from the first one and our first martial ditty “Taisteluni.” That one is a beast made with excellent taste, for the most part politically correct…ish.
Then Petja got kidnapped by gnomes and we do not negotiate with them so… Out with the old and in with the new: “Some” time passed and we continued with new crew including brilliant Großinquisitor Rudolf Von Deer and with some compositionary help from High Commander Hephzipah later on. Fun fact: Rudie was in da house when we came up with Saunatonttu way back when so this move made perfect sense. This crew came out to be the core for later TONTTU-endeavours. We released “Nekrognomekon” (with those 2 older eps and brand new ep “Der Zwergenhammer” in 2013) and then made our first full length / long ep “Anti-Gnomen Divisionen 4 (Mastering the fine art of gnome eradication)” 2014 – that was the first one through that lovely label Panicmachine. Brilliant album by the way, very hateful and lifts one’s spirit to the max and beyond!
Enough of this subject, I think.
TONTTU was meant to be just a nice little military special operation but it turned out to be total war. Gnomes did not surrender, submit or just die so they gave us no choice. We are just making this world a better place for everyone and in the process some MAGGA may occur. Not clear enough for you? Make Anti-Gnomen Great Again that means but I would even go as far as to say MAGGS meaning Make Anti-Gnomen Greater Still! Glorious, even if I say so myself.
If at some point all the nations decide to declare me as the most benevolent supreme leader, which I obviously already am at some level, I will humbly and most gracefully accept. If that is to happen I will make sure to make this world such a safe place that no one will even dare to think otherwise, you know I am begin to feel quite sentimental here, just thinking of all the torches and pitchforks we can carry in all of those joyful little hunting parades we will arrange and what not!
Everyone will have to make some minor sacrifices and naturally some will have to compensate for others but in the end everyone wins as some fortunate ones even will have the splendid opportunity to become martyrs for this sacred cause – no greater glory! Where is those darn fanfares when we need them? Execute those slackers responsible for this humiliation! Ummh… Sorry, just got a bit carried away but hey, everyone would agree with me in the future if not for now… As you were, ahem.
Be as it may: “Gnomes may come and gnomes may go but Anti-Gnomen lives forever.” You all reading this might like to have a motivational painting in your wall saying that, if I may say so… And soon it will happen anyways…
What is your official designation in the band and other band members, who are obviously not gnomes?
If talking about late TONTTU core crew: *Tonttufindergeneral Hanz-Baal: Vox, Lyrixx, all around bossing around – initiative so to speak. The propagandist. *Großinquisitor Rudolf Von Deer: Muzikk, Mixx, Mastering. *High Commander Hephzipah: Composing, (later on) Voxx.
You might like to check those involved in Gnostrogoth separately and naturally Freiherr was in our two latest albums, bless him and his suspicious beard!
In these newer projects with TFG (TONTTU) I do what I always do: Lure people in starting the project usually, make lyrixx and voxx and spam it around afterwards. usually my name is to be found in the title featuring, but there is also projects with “proper” name like Wake Island Rail, Hollow Columns…
How did you and your comrades in arms come together against the marauding hoards?
With the core crew: Nothing like old comrades fighting side by side in this horrid but necessary war! So first we knew each other and then bought a shared second-hand flamethrower. Nothing like old friends singing kumbayah while covered in gnomes’ blood! Comrades that joined later on are mostly the spoils of social media that I got lured into my boat (called “MeHtzGnomz 1.”) The blessed filter of Anti-Gnomen, yes.
Your sound has been most eloquently described as anti-gnomemartialindustrialneofolkmetal. Would you say this was fairly accurate?
Well as I invented it I do most certainly agree!My ideas more than often “rule” and are “hip.” Been talking to some wretched souls and quite many do in fact think that it really is the word to describe our muzikk. I do not encourage people to disagree, but still. We do mix those musical elements with solid message, thus it depicts the sound and idea most definitively.
How does your music translate into fighting the gnome scourge?
Not quite sure what you mean but as usual that does not prevent me from giving my opinion! But if I got you right our music is highly militant and martial to raise the spirits of future martyrs! Also our lyrics give some nifty tricks how to get rid of those pesky little wankeroonies and/or tells tales about their schemes. If you ever have stumbled on our neverred “Tonttujen Kestit: Jälkiruoka” (from AGD4) that might just explain everything… It is quite graphic little ditty to say the least. I think it is one of our most praised endeavours to this day.
All our digital albums include line by line translations as do our videos, so I advice everyone to see what the lyrics are all about. Not for the faint of heart I might have to add.
TONTTU are on the UK label Panicmachine. They seem like a nice bunch. Do they believe in tricky gnomes, how do they help in the war and does the UK also have a gnome problem?
Panicmachine – I love em, they have been nothing less than supportive to the max and I think our synergy is more than great. It is symbiotic relationship, I would say. Of course they do believe in those bearded mothergnomers and they have seen the benefits of Anti-Gnome Muzikk in practice protecting their HQ by listening our musikk 25/8 . UK has a huge gnome problem! Pip-pip cheerio for the past glory of that land, sad to say… Maybe they will wake up at some point and notice, that being a wanker or a tosser is not the way to keep the country great, but we will see. Gnomishness is what gnomishness does and it can be conquered if there is will to do so… But there are ways to convince common people to bite their own legs so gnomes do not have to bother… Media and social media can do wonders when people are eager to believe the gnarly whispering voices of em turtoidian gnomes.
Must say they have got great bands though, I find Midnight Configuration and Chaos Bleak as very Anti-Gnomen, for example… Not to mention Fear Incorporated (will mention them every gnomin’ time I will get the chance and most probably even if not).
Your first ‘proper’ album came out in 2013 called Nekrognomekon, so how do you feel your sound has changed since this album and did you get any feedback from the gnomes?
Well hard to say as it contains 3 of our first eps but when we reached the martial sound of “Taisteluni” and continued that idea with the 2013 ep “Der Zwergenhammer” with the new crew I think we found our way. Basically the same recklessness is there all the way but maybe we focused on certain style of perfecting it. Adding High Commander into the mix in the next release brought some more classical take into it and there we were… Thinking afterwards “Riimuja ja Tonttuja”-album kinda was the ultimate showdown for that style and shows what polished Ant…metal might be like.Rudie really took that to extreme s and we got some great feedback. Freiherr von Gargamel joined us on that album and looky looky his specialities: Violin, Viola, Recorders, Tin whistle, Mouth harp, Baglama saz, Mandolin. Highly folkish and finely tuned!
Our last album Gnostrogoth was done quite differently and it sure involved same elements but the approach was quite different, we were more like doing a jukebox than solid, integral release.
Feedback? Hahhahahah, you gnomin bet! Finnish gnomesian media hated it and that is one of the main reasons I decided to go on! First positive reviews came from that questionable character Mr. Gullotta / Brutal Resonance and from respectable P. Emerson Williams / Intravenous Magazine – yes, the very same Williams I learned to know after this review… Anti-Gnomen goes a long way.
Also heard couple of gnomes commenting it and it went like this: “EEEÄÄÄÄÄÄRRGGGGGHHHHYYYYYYYY…..GHRLGURG!” Not quite sure if I got it totally right, but found em dead afterwards and that made me realize the potential of our muzikk.
Most recently members of TONTTU have been involved in collaborations with other artists. Can you tell us how you came to recording with Australia’s Captain Kangaroo?
GENERAL Kangaroo SGS, ahem! What a lovely little hippity-hoppity that unsung hero is! I think I have got Mister Rowland from Disjecta Membra to thank for it if my memory serves me right, thinketh he mentioned about a nice kangaroo he ran across while on tour. That nice kangaroo also happened to be fierce and relentless roaming around the wastelands of Aussieland… Also that blessed creature was hating gnomes like no kangaroo before, it appeared we got along just fine him praising my… Ummmhh… he must have praised something I am sure… And me admiring his slick moves and blistering hatred towards gnomes, not to mention his balalaika skills! Blaa and blaa and we ended up doing couple of collaborational dittys first as music videos and in the end released as an… drums… EP!!!!! You would not have ever guessed that, huh? It came through No Devotion Records and includes couple of smashing remixes, you must check that out.
You also have collaborated with many of the acts signed with Panicmachine, most recently, EPs with Phobos Reactor. I must ask, what was going on to make these EP?!
Phobos Reactor is not signed to Panicmachine, I kinda dragged them there with these collaborations, you can find their magnificent original stuff from here: https://phobosreactor.bandcamp.com/ They are from Germany by the way and I love to work with them, always a pleasure. We have done 4 eps so far and so proud of them all. The most notable thing is that only one of them is “openly” Anti-Gnome Muzikk, our latest classic #FOLITWIBG. Heheheh, you were brave enough to review it, my highest regards for that! Utter coolness. That was the only one with me only and PB – others also showcased my dear collaborator HCH.
“Enneuni”-ep was Finnish spoken word with short stories, fables if you will. “The Daily Torture of the Commonplace” and our our earliest collab “A Dream Within A Dream” are in English viewing this world through slightly sardonic lense. Ah, goode olde world views in there, gnomes not mentioned but more than present in these ones.
By the way we did a little project within a project in Gnostrogoth album as Phobos Reactor was inside TONTTU and damn did they provide or not! Spoiler: They did.
As for collaborating with actual Panicmachine artists must mention Veil of Thorns and P. Emerson Williams (he also makes all the groovy cover art for us, kudos!) We have made one ep “012333” and that was surprisingly for No Devotion Records-label. Other collabs include for example project Gnomenblut single also with Dean from Bleeding Raven / Gnostic Gorilla. There will be more different collaborations in the future rest assured,
We have released numerous projects featuring myself under the name TFG (TONTTU) in Panicmachine and the story is always the same: Panicmachine seems more than happy to release my collaborational endeavours and I drag more and more willing victims in there. Bless their dark hearts. Gotta salute especially my Norwegian comrade Ron of Simplefixty, skål!
The gnomen seem to bring people together, even if they are a blight on the world, don’t you think?
How can anyone sleep while gnomes are not burning? Need is must and people with any brains see the necessity of joining the cause or perish in flames of the all devouring gnomishness. Anti-Gnomen is really the greatest filter for human character, hands down. I very rarely get disappointed with people engaging with The Cause, naturally some gnome sympathizers try to sneak in from time to time but that just improves our defence systems. Praised be!
Did you quote Midnight Oil when you referred to burning gnomes while people sleep and are they part of the underground fight?
They stole that from me and without a trace of shame adapted that for their own evil deeds! Should have gotten paid because of that but being the generous person I am I let them get away with it… For now… That is just because they are talking about burning and I just cannot be that angry with them because of that. Soft spot and all that.
One of my favourite movies in the Swedish vampire movie, Frostbitten, where one of the teenagers stabs a vampire with a garden gnome (death by gnome). Are vampires and gnomes natural enemies?
Vampires are in fact nothing more than mosquitoes that has been possessed by gnomes so that incident must be just some perversed vision of some horrible Swede! It is a gnome eat gnome world after all so everything is possible in the end and I know cases where gnomes and their collaborators are just having obscurious fun by playing dead / killing each other. We must remember that dying enhances their red magikk so they can have fun and reap the benefits at the same time. Damn them and their weird ways! Vampire movies and literature are very popular, yet another example of how gnomes redwash media and try to gain the status where people see them as a desirable form of being, like accepting someone pulling your teeth one by one… Damn humans being so gullible, we will remember THAT kinda sympathisers when the tide turns…
What bands or artists got you into music BFG (Before The Gnomes)?
Oh Lordy, that is a tough one… Those leading straight to Anti-Gnomemartialindustrialneofolkmetal as follows: Laibach and Skinny Puppy (always!), NON, Keuhkot (Finnish avant-garde), Two Witches, Blood Axis, King Diamond / Mercyful Fate…Add folklorian truths, some political insights and some tasteful humour + what ever sounds good at the moment = You are set!
Been listening to music all my life and got sweet spot for hippie/heavy time: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc… Then again early metal like Judas Priest. Black Metal like Emperor and Thorns, Isengard and Storm… Not to forget Urfaust. Hahahahha and must not also forget Venom, Celtic Frost and the almighty Triptykon! At some point really liked neo-folk, even though it is a chess game for some highly gnomesian things. Same goes with martial industrial that I music wise enjoy immensely, acts like Puissance with extremely sardonic lyrics, ooooh…
Naturally darker electro/industrial like Ministry, Leaether Strip (ooooh, Science for the satanic citizen sure is close to my heart), Front 242, all those greats. From the goth side of things Sisters Of Mercy and Christian Death with Rozz…
Cannot remember all of them neither have I enough space to name them all but my opinions sure trump all the questionable scientific facts or what not alternative truths! If someone disagrees may that scoundrel negotiate with the business end of my flamethrower, enough said.
What musical acts do you enjoy now?
Laibach! Hahahahhahah… I think in the later spectrum I would have to mention Fear Incorporated and everything else Sir William makes like Dark Sinfonia, Gnostic Gorilla (especially their fantastic album “St. basil’s Asylum), Korpituli & Iku-Turso (Finnish black metal)…
I am not too keen to find new music, but sometimes comrades really bring some seriously neat stuff to my attention. I also often find myself listening to comrades’ bands like Choronzon, Sounds Like Winter, Harmony Garden etc… Couple of newer acts I really do enjoy: Wargasm (UK) and Bloodywood – heheheh, new school Nu Metal! Got soft spot also for Linkin Park, Mushroomhead etc. so nothing new there.
But all the old ones usually stay there and add couple of bands to the list there and then. No matter of the genre as long as it is good. Talking about hard to define everyone should listen to Rummelsnuff, that man is a hero in my eyes (and ears)!
How may others join you in the war against the pointy hatted little beasties?
Hmm, respectable question indeed but all this makes me wonder whether your intentions are pure? Maybe you are collecting classified information for your little friends? Let us believe you for now, but consider yourself warned…
Kill a gnome, heck, kill two while at it! Resist all gnomishness, burn your sauna down and/or make/listen glorious Anti-Gnome Muzikk and force other people to do the same. There are many ways and you will find yours if you want – the main thing is to stay alert and be suspicious about everything and/or everyone. Loose lips cost human spleens so be sneaky whatever you choose to do.
Do you think they will ever join forces with the Norwegian trolls, and could there be a black metal/industrial album on horizon to combat them?
Some forms of gnomes have (d)evolved from gnomes like we inform for example in our song “Peikosta tontuksi.” So answer is probably so. We have in fact made couple of red metal dittys found from our album “Gnostrogoth.” W.V. Obscenvs Tomtenkopfff kindly provided us with couple of splendid tunes while joining us with the last TONTTU-album. Maybe we will visit those glorious moments with my feat-stuff later on, let us see. Something may be in the works.
What are you going to get up to in the future and will gnomes be involved?
To extinction and hell if people are not repenting and making the change needed! SHTF and TEOTWAWKI is upon us and we can hear gnomes laughing escorting us there! Behold: We are all doomed! Oh… You meant future projects… Ummmh… But I won’t take my words back as they are the truth and the wisdom.
As TONTTU is done and dusted in the most glorious way I will continue my path with smaller projects with other musishuns, a ditty here & ditty there featuring TFG (TONTTU)– basically having a good time and getting more time for eradicating actual gnomes, you dig? Some projects are hibernating as gnomes seem to bother those trying to collaborate with me – wise of them but very annoying for me not knowing if we ever get there with all the projects… Well, I can only do my part if others provide what they have promised too. Dunno whether this or my next Finnish EBM-collab (about chilies and stuff) is out first, but it will be a blast – like the joyous last project with Exemia, what a brain melter that was!
Yes, fighting gnomes is essential and I will never abandon that – needless to say of course. Do remember: Everything is always about gnomes, one must only stay vigilant enough to spot that. The golden rule states: “If you have got the slightest of suspicion: Eradicate!”
Must not forget that The Book is coming! It may take some time, but “Gnomeus Gnomeficarum” will explain everything and then some, with my trusted comrade TJB Morrison as the main author and P. Emerson Williams illustrating it nothing can go wrong when telling about my glorious tale! Huzzah!
Thank you TFG for your time and good luck in fighting the good fight!
Thank you to you too, may gnomes never slurp your spleen or worse (if that is even possible). T’was a pleasure indeed and keep up the good work.
PS: If you ever want to feel the joys of martyrdom just give me a nudge!
So, Brutal Resonance have threatened us with a good time by releasing, on the 27th of May, the new EP, OutOf Time by Her Noise Is Violence. With cool artwork by Psyklon Industries, this is the first EP to be dropped on the Brutal Resonance label for Her Noise Is Violence.
“For this EP, I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and work with sounds I seldom do as Her Noise Is Violence. I borrowed a lot of ideas that I normally use with my other project, Funeral Pyre – but I also allowed myself to just be immersed into the theme as a whole. Nuclear war, the end of civilization, living in the Kali Yuga, etc. I wanted to go more for feeling vs dance-ability and DJ friendliness. I guess this is a hybrid album of both my style as Her Noise Is Violence as well as being a part of Funeral Pyre.” – Her Noise Is Violence
Think big, bringing in the “Nuclear Age“. A wall of deep electronic sound and twinkling synths that resonates in your chest, while we wait for midnight. So 60s sci-fi at the end. “Pale Horse” could be the foretold one of the apocalypse and this grinds into your brain with wavering electronics and rhythms trying to punch through. It is glorious in it technical coldness. There is a certain amount of frustration with the title track, “Out Of Time“, because….well…it’s a beat out of timing. Good grief, just being slightly out of step does weird things to my brain. Add in all these rather pleasing popping and scratched tones which makes it both fun and torturous all in the same piece of music.
Amazing heavy beats assault your ears, in an Asian style emoting Bladerunner track called “Stolen Dreams“. It circles and becomes almost an sickly sweet instrumentation, while the context of war wends words around it all. The last track is also the single, “Apathy“, which was released prior to the EP. It is apt to end with this track, as it spirals downwards, rivulets of time lost to the aether..
There are beautiful synth lines woven throughout each track and as such, are like glass catching the light, while the darker industrial thunder sweeps you up in it’s grip, squeezing the rhythms into your core. Her Noise Is Violence has a techno savvy, that she mixes with synthpop nuances and harsh industrial noise…. it is a wonderful thing and if you don’t listen, then you are going to be Out Of Time.
Brutal Resonance have signed, Philadelphia’s Her Noise Is Violence, to their growing list of acts. With her soon to be released, first EP with Brutal Resonance, Out Of Time, coming soon, the first single, “Apathy” was dropped on April 15th, 2022. Her Noise is Violence is making a name for herself as a creator of industrial music with dark techno.
The beats and electronics rotate around your head, maybe in a state of confusion or a mind infected by a malaise. A male voice says everyone is dead and if they were dead, what would you? Deliberate and slow fuzzing rhythms plod on until….nothing. A sudden stop.
This is a lot more sedate than her normal fare, but as the artist herself explains, ‘Apathy’ is a chilled-out tune, it’s the last track on the EP and what I wanted to convey is the feeling of, well, apathy.‘. With this in mind, we await the EP and more of those beats with Her Noise Is Violence, plus get a load of the awesome artwork by Psyklon Industries.
What do you get when Mexico meets Finland? The single “Verenkiertohäiriö [Circulatory Disorder]” is the outcome. Mexico’s Exemia in conjunction with the Fin, TFG from TONTTU, have thrust into the world, this single on April 13th, 2022.
An merry dance you will get from this track as it bursts to life in all the vocal ferocity TFG gives to his performance, while Exemia simply kill with the amazing electronics that assault your senses. The whirl of angst and synths is a brilliant cacophony.
Industrial beats definitely make this feel so utterly alive and ripple under the skin. Great aggro-techno industrial music is often hard to get just right and this definitely ticks all the boxes. It is out on Bandcamp for name yourprice if that helps curry your fancy, but most importantly….. beware of the gnomes and their nefarious ways.
Those who like their industrial, dance music, will be familiar with the name Simon Carter for his solo work and also his collaborations with Studio X. He has since left the label, Alfa Matrix and joined forces with German chanteuse, Fabsi, to create Simon Carter and Fabsi. Their first album, The Bitches Potion, was self released on March 20th, 2022.
This album has everything going for it. The single “Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen)” is dance floor candy, even at seven minutes long. In fact, most of the tracks average out at six minutes each. The single, “Beautiful Destruction” is a great track and “Pink Queen” is absolutely bombastic with its deep, pulsing techno rhythm. The amazing and creepy, “Nanobots (Are You My Mummy?)” is a little gem of industrial techno, only to followed up by the thumping “This Is Only A Test“. That is only a selection of the eleven original tracks and all could be played at a club easily.
As a lucky bonus, you get seven remixes, including the likes of Matt Hart, Moaan Exis, Teknovore and Ruinizer (Jay Ruin). The Teknovore remix of “Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen)” is brilliantly smooth and menacing at the same time, while the Moaan Exis remix of “The Witching Hour” has a wonderful, crunchy texture to it. “We Are The Witches” is given a nice helping of heavy electronics by Matt Hart, who touches them up in all the right ways and the Ruinizer version of “Pink Queen” feels like a free fall of deranged rhythmic delights. The other mixes are done by Carter, under the guise of his other projects and they are just as note worthy as the guests. For goodness sake, checkout the Narconic version of “Hex Hex” as you really need to hear it
The Bitch’s Potion will beguile you as it traverses and incorporates so many styles of dance music. Techno, industrial, rhythmic noise and trance, whilst the vocals of Fabsi entrance you. This is one magical elixir that one must imbibe to get the full heady and intoxicating taste. Talking of mystical things, Simon and Fabsi were generous in giving us some of their time to talk to us about their supernatural musical powers!
Welcome to the darkside of Onyx. where we have a no gremlins past the front door policy. So please empty your pockets of all little munchkins but feline familiars are most welcome and will get complimentary tickles.
How did Simon and Fabsi meet and become the fabulous Simon Carter & Fabsi?
Simon: It was during the beginning of Corona and we met in a few Twitch streams, we found our music tastes had a lot in common. The very first collaboration came about when Fabsi left me a rude late night voice mail and I used that as a sample at the end of a joke/comedy track called “Oh Yeah”. It wasn’t long before we thought we should try and do something a bit more serious together! The ‘Simon Carter’ bandcamp page was never meant to be serious, it was my playground for silly tracks and deliberately horrible artwork! Whilst I’d never take myself too seriously… Since (and including) the “Beautiful Destruction” EP I am taking the tracks with Fabsi more seriously and hopefully that shines through in the quality of the music and can also be heard in the later releases on that bandcamp page.
Fabsi: We played some online games together and he kept recording bits of me and made silly little songs. So we thought let’s do something proper and I recorded the vocal for “Beautiful Destruction” with my iPhone and he challenged himself to make as many different versions as possible with spawned the “Beautiful Destruction” EP. That worked out so well that I bought a proper mic and we decided to try and make a full Album together.
Congrats are in order. The album is pretty mammoth, so how long did it take to create?
Simon: I think it took around 12 months to complete, the lockdowns due to Covid allowed me a lot more studio time than I’m used to and as is often the case when a project is new and exciting I had a lot of motivation and inspiration for it from the get-go.
Fabsi: We started straight after releasing the “Beautiful Destruction” EP, which was released exactly 1 year (to the day!) before the “Bitches Potion”.
Has covid interrupted your ability to play and record or did it allow you more time to do things?
Simon: I think we can say that Covid helped launch this project! A glimmer of something good in an otherwise sad and unfortunate time for the world.
Fabsi: Was not a problem from my side as I was recording from Germany. I had time for a new project because I couldn’t go out much here due to the restrictions.
There is a witch house and witch theme throughout, why did you go with beings of the magical arts?
Simon: We can blame Fabsi for that theme, I’m fairly certain she is a witch… but it’s a great theme and a fantastic concept which I’ve really enjoyed embracing, her witchyness is a huge part of this project.
Fabsi: The witchy idea came from me. I get a monthly witchy subscription box and I was so inspired by that and I still am. So there is more to come. We both love watching series and my favorites are those with magical or supernatural backgrounds/topic. I’m also a big Harry Potter fan!
The single Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen) is this huge, trance.techno track that feels like it is looping over and over again, with Fabsi’s vocals in German over the top. Is it about spells and you must be pretty pleased the way it turned out?
Simon: I’m super pleased with this track, it was one of the first to be finished and I knew we had something special, I knew it was a bit of a banger and I think Fabsi sounds best in her native German. Even though it’s a long track, I just knew this is the one for the music video. It’s interesting you should mention Trance as I do have a bit of a background in that scene from my Narconic project but this new techno sound is something I’ve only recently started to explore.
Fabsi: It’s mostly a translation from another track on this album “We Are The Witches” and as German is my native language It was a lot easier for me to record that vocal than some of the others.
Where did you film the video as it looks like it is in the middle of nowhere?
Fabsi: The video is filmed near Frankfurt (Germany) next to a forest. It’s a 2 hour drive away from where I live.
Is someone a big Dr Who nerd? Nano Bots (Are You My Mummy) has to about the episodes where it is WW2 and there is a child walking around in a gas mask asking Are you my mummy. (And now he’s stuck in my brain again)
Fabsi: Maybe it’s me. That’s my favourite Dr. Who episode, with captain Jack Harkness and Rose, they are a perfect combo. During corona, I was reminded of those children with the gasmasks.
Simon: When Fabsi shared this idea and I hunted the sample down (in fact we watched the episode together!) I initially thought there’s no way this will work in a track, no matter what genre I try. I’m pleased to say my initial thoughts were wrong and it’s turned out to be one of the most popular tracks on the album.
Time to fess up. Three of the remixes are done by Simon projects aren’t they?
Simon: Aha yes! I think you’re the first person to realise this! Sometimes I want a break from the hard pounding techno beats and rhythms so I mess about with the vocals and often produce something entirely different, when that happens (and we deem it good enough!) I put one of my other projects down as the remixer.
The other four remixes have been done by other great musicians Matt Hatt, Tecknovore, Ruinizer and Moaan Exis. How did you get these guys onboard?
Simon: Myself and George (Teknovore) go waaaay back so that was a no brainer for me. Since he departed PES0.1 and started Teknovore I knew he was developing a really unique and special sound and I wanted him and only him to remix what I believed to be the best track on the album Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen). Matt Hart & Ruinizer are fellow Brits who were returning remix favours for me, whilst Moaan Exis was someone I approached after hearing some of their tracks and thinking they could come up with something juicy for us.
I have been watching a lot of the European and British electro/industrial scene people and you guys are so supportive of each other both in terms of helping each other out and morally there for each other. Does if feel that way to you?
Simon: We do like to put on a united front! The world has changed so drastically since Corona and that has affected the scene greatly too. Surprisingly my biggest support still comes from Australia, Canada, the US and Mexico but since this release I have been receiving a bit more interest from Europe including my homeland, the UK. It’s a small scene and I’m very much inclined to support and help out as much as possible where I can.
Fabsi: We both have our qualities and they match perfectly together. We can help each other out and support each other where necessary. It’s crazy that other people can see that and mention that about us. You really need someone you can trust 100% that has your back for doing such a project.
Simon, you are well known for your musical creations with Australians, Studio X and you were both on Alfa Matrix but recently you seem to have struck out on your own, so can you tell us a little about this?
Simon: That’s right, myself and Studio-X released 3 albums, 6 EP’s and 1 single, all on the Belgian record label Alfa Matrix and we both had respective solo projects on that label too. Those were crazy days when I think we both had more time and the creativity was just flowing like a river. We’re still good friends and who knows if they’ll be more in that direction in the future, I am certainly one to never say never. The record label discussion is an interesting one. Since releasing this album a few offers have come in for this project. I’ve never touted this, Narconic or my Humans Can’t Reboot projects to a record label. I know a record label would give us greater exposure but the world is a very different, constantly evolving place these days and I feel happy in the knowledge that I have 100% control in regards to every specific aspect of these projects, their distribution and their futures.
Have you played live yet under the guise of this project or is this going to be something you consider taking live, into the future?
Simon: We have definitely spoken about this, I think it’s fair to say I am more keen on this idea than Fabsi! I’m currently in the process of re-decorating and moving but once that’s done then who knows.
Fabsi: We haven’t played live yet or planned any concerts. But you never know what the future brings.
What music got you into the scene?
Simon: I’ve always had such an eclectic taste in music but I do recall how I first came to find out about the scene. As a youngster I was really into my cheesy harder dance music and especially the vocal tracks. I’d often go to school with my walkman playing such tracks. I heard some tracks from Force & Styles with a male vocalist (MC Junior) and it blew me away. I’d literally only ever heard female vocalists in electronic music prior to that so I did my research and I found bands like VNV Nation, Neuroticfish, Covenant etc. Ok the music was considerably slower but it was amazing to hear electronic dance music with male vocals and passion! I was hooked form then on and dived deeper and deeper into the scene and all the different offshoot genres the scene has to offer.
Fabsi: In My Teenage years I was listening to a lot of Emo and Metal, but my first gothic or industrial song was “Combichrist – Electrohead“ in about 2008 and from then on I was dragged further into the gothic music and style. I’m always open to other genres too, like Hardstyle or Trance.
Who or what do you listen to now?
Simon: A lot of scene music and I like to see what’s hot, what’s the current flavour of the month and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Sierra, Minuit Machine, Mark Dekoda and Tecknovore to get my techno fix and then I’ll mix it up with something like a bit of Empathy Test because Isaac’s voice is fantastic and they make some really nice synthpop.
Fabsi: My favourite band is “The Birthday Massacre” and I could listen 24/7 to their music. But of course I do not, so the rest of the time I listen a lot to Simon’s music and I like to listen to female voices in the gothic scene. My favourite Podcast I listen weekly to is “Communion After Dark”.
We are trying to decide if you are a witch or a normal person by throwing you in the lake because witches float but someone says ducks also float. What do you do?
Simon: Entirely depends on if I’m wearing my armbands (water-wings) or not!
Fabsi: So no-one would think I am a witch I would turn myself into a duck!
When you look into the magic looking glass, what do you see for the future of Simon Carter & Fabsi?
Simon: a big black void of witchy goodness! I’ve really enjoyed this theme and project and would definitely like to continue with this sound in the future.
Fabsi: I see Simon and me doing a stream together on twitch, when I can visit the UK and hopefully a lot more magical tunes to create and release.
Thank you for joining our timey whimmey magical mystery tour and that enchanting things await you. Not cave fairies though as they little terrors.
In a very short amount of time, George Klontzas’ solo project, Teknovore has come a long way. George has been a part of industrial acts such as Croona, the new Neon Decay and Cynical Existence which means he has a wealth of experience behind him, not to mention a tonne of talent and an ear for the good stuff. Seeing as the new album, The Theseus Paradox was out, we spoke to George about ancient history, mythical heroes and music.
Welcome George Klontzas to the ancient darkness that is Onyx. We have the Moirai in a corner doing their thing and we can just shoot the breeze like the Oracles of Delphi.
How did you originally get into the electro scene?
In my teens I was mainly into Metal but I was also interested in electronic music to a lesser degree. Eurodance was huge at that time, and that was obviously a major influence on the Aggrotech sound. In fact one of the first albums I bought was 2 Unlimited’s No Limits. The real gateway albums for me though have to be the Mortal Kombat soundtrack which introduced me to Fear Factory, KMFDM, Juno Reactor, and the Quake soundtrack which introduced me to NIN. Of course, living on a Greek island before the advent of the Internet not much was available to me and I was just skimming the surface. It was as a student living in Edinburgh, attending Goth and Industrial club nights that I really got into the scene.
There are a lot of goth/industrial/metal acts from Greece, so what is the scene like there in Athens especially and has it changed over the years?
I’m still living on an island (Crete) literally and I suppose metaphorically too in a sense. Sometimes I feel a bit removed from the Greek scene, looking in, so I don’t really feel like an authority that can speak on it. What I can say with confidence is that we are surely blessed to have many talented and multi-faceted artist s and bands here in Greece. Just off the top of my head I need to mention Siva Six whose latest album is excellent as always. I was happy to see recently that Cygnosic are back recording new stuff. Technolorgy are releasing something in April I believe. I’ve been listening to ΦΩΝΟΠΤΙΚΟΝ a lot recently too and a young artist that I think deserves more attention is Saint – I encourage you to check out their album Erga Omnes. Again though, I feel bad because there are so many others I could and should mention and I have to give you props for reviewing and shining a spotlight on many Greek artists recently!
You have been in a few fairly big name industrial acts What prompted you to start Teknovore?
Mostly it was a desire to try my hand at various different styles that I love like Goa and Psytrance, Techno and the EBSM sound that’s emerged out of France in recent years. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to make an album when I started. I was just making all these tracks in different styles, seeing what I could do with them, what worked for me and what didn’t. After I had made the decision that I was indeed making an album I started the process of reworking the tracks so they could have some cohesion as a whole. Many of the tracks on the album are the 3rd or 4th vastly different versions of what I had originally made. Teknovore basically became about not playing it safe and in the end what I found is that the tracks that caused me the most frustration in making are my favorites on the album.
How different has it been for you doing a solo project from being in a collective?
It’s given me a lot of freedom creatively. No rules to follow or guidelines to adhere to other than those I set for myself. Especially not having a singer has allowed me to be much more creative with song structures. Many of the genres I love are instrumental and it makes a lot of sense to me to work with guest vocalists when needed, at least from an artistic point of view. However, from a commercial viewpoint, vocals and lyrics can help the music connect with an audience so bringing in someone on a more permanent basis or even doing taking on that role myself is something I may consider. I’m not leaning in the direction currently but you never know.
Let’s talk about The Theseus Paradox album. The paradox is that if you replace everything is it the same object/human when you first started. Is there a particular significance in the title for you?
I certainly saw the parallels in my own life. I went through a period of introspection a couple of years ago when I decided to leave some parts of my life behind. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago and yet I am. Would my younger self recognize me now and vice versa? This was also reflected in how I felt about the music I was making. What expectations, if any, would there be based on what I had done in the past? How much should I hold on to and how much should I reject or replace? This whole thought process took over in the early stages of making The Theseus Paradox and became the main concept behind the album.
The album is amazing. Where did you even start in creating this debut monster?
Thank you for saying so! I guess I’ve already inadvertently answered this question. I’ll also mention that I invested in a brand new setup before getting started and much of the experimentation in the early stages came from learning the new plugins. That’s also how the cover of Dark Soho’s Save Me God was born which was on the Anachronist single with vocals by Z from Siva Six. A made a couple of covers as a training exercise when I started. There’s a cover of FLA’s Plasticity sitting on my hard drive somewhere. I focused a lot on some aspects that I felt I was weak at in the past like sound design. The right or wrong sounds will make or break a track.
You are on Infacted Recordings with j:dead and you have mixed tracks for Jay Taylor plus he appears on two of your tracks. So when did you ask Jay to do vocals?
Funnily enough the first track Jay and I worked on together, Tearing Me Apart, was originally supposed to be a track for Croona. Fredrik and I then decided to put Croona on ice so it became the J:dead vs Teknovore single you may have heard and the collaborations on my album happened as a result of that. Really I have Fredrik to thank for putting me in touch with Jay as he is a great guy and I really enjoyed working with him. Hopefully there’ll be more Teknovore x J:dead stuff happening in the future.
Jay Ruin or RNZR also does an amazing job as well as Neon Decay which is another non de plume for Fredrik Croona. How fortunate do you feel having all these amazing vocalists contribute to your album?
Very fortunate indeed. Fredrik and I have worked on various projects together over the last decade and he’s a great friend. Neon Decay is a new project we’ve been working on that’s a continuation of what we did with Croona mixed with synthwave… so nothing like the track we made together on my album!
I’ve been following Jay’s work since he was CeDigest, you know, the glory days of Noitekk! I agree he did an amazing job and he’s also just released a new RNZR single called Chaotic Erotica. Check it out, it’s gloriously filthy!
The artwork is stunning for the cover. Nikos Stavridakis is the man that created it. Are you still amazed by it?
Nikos and I go back a long way. He’s one of the first people to support me as a musician. When I started putting together The Theseus Paradox it was important to me that I work with people I can trust. When I explained the concept he loved it and was really excited to work on it and that is reflected in the end result. It’s such a powerful and striking image. Just perfect.
What gets your blood pumping now?
Other than making and listening to music, I watch A LOT of movies. Talk to me about horror movies – I can go all day! And I love re-watching my favorite movies with my daughter and introducing her to them so I can hear her comments. It’s like seeing them again with fresh eyes. That’s one of my favourite aspects of parenting – re-experiencing things through her. I’m into gaming too, though I kind of gave it up over the last year so I could focus on music. If The Theseus Paradox sells well I’ll reward myself with a PS5!
If you could be a mythical Greek Hero for a day, who would you be?
This feels like a trick question because almost all of them had tragic ends…but if it’s just for a day I suppose I’d avoid those. I won’t say Theseus as it is too obvious and I’m tempted to say Orpheus because of his legendary musical ability. I’m going to go with an out-of-the-box answer though and say Diomedes, one of the main characters in the Iliad. He is the most valiant hero of the Trojan War who while possessing great fighting ability also displays great wisdom. He fights and injures both Ares and Aphrodite in a single day yet shows humility thus avoiding committing hubris.
What is next for you and Teknovore?
I’ve just finished working on the Neon Decay album so now I can turn my focus back to Teknovore. I’ve got a few ideas about where I’m going with the next release but nothing solid yet. I’d like to get an EP and single ready to release by the end of 2022. Finally, I’ve had some initial discussions regarding some live shows. We’ll see what happens!
Thank you George for running this gauntlet…luckily no sirens were hurt in the asking of these questions!
Thank you for having me and keep up the good work! Calling back to your mention of the Oracle of Delphi earlier I’ll leave you with some Ancient Greek wisdom in the form of the three maxims inscribed outside the temple of Delphi: Know thyself; Nothing to excess; Surety brings ruin
I think there is a lesson in that for all of us……..
Teknovore came into being in 2020 as a solo project of George Klontzas, who was formerly in the bands PreEmptive Strike 0.1 and Croona. The debut album, The Theseus Paradox, is soon to be released on Infacted Recordings, but before then Klontzas is tantalizing us with his remixes with j:dead and a new single which was released on the 25th of February called “Anachronist“.
“Anachronist” with guest artist RNZR (Ruinizer) is…. how do I say this… epically huge. It is literally a maelstrom of incoming pounding beats and a hail of synths. Those agrotech vocals fit this so utterly perfectly. You wonder how the two remixes could actually be any better than this. The Aircraft Bureau’s mix is full of these amazing techno rhythms and swirling nearly imperceptible voices in the background. It builds and is an electronic delight. Wait…. is that throat singing in the mix?
You know you want to hear the XOTOX remix and it does not disappoint. In true XOTOX fashion, this is full of those chunky beats and highly strung keyboards climbing higher and higher. You get lost in that doof doof beat and then sadly it ends. Beyond excited to see another track included called “Save Me God” featuring Siva Six and Z’s voice is so distinct. He isn’t asking to be saved but demanding and taunting. There is blistering guitar work and you hear electronics being used in a lower, far more subtle register, like something old and dark lurking below.
“Save Me God” is a cover which originated with Israeli psytrance/industrial/metal band, Dark Soho and it is really is spectacularly done, while it was a stroke of genius having Siva Six bringing in the raw texture. The “Anachronist” remixes are such tasty pieces of brilliance but the single itself, shines so bright with those massive swelling beats and succulent synths that you can’t help but let it suck you in and away.
Dima Ilyin is one of the people trying to make industrial great again. You may have heard this Russian’s name connected to the project Nova State Machine with Australian Craig Saunders (NOVAkILL) however his original solo act, that has been around since 2009, ULTIMATE SOLDIER, dropped a new album in January of 2022 called Konstruktor (and you don’t get much more industrial sounding than that!)..
The album’s title is also the first song and you will be hit by the waves of static and the female over-voice saying “Konstruktor“. The fusion of bleeps with rhythm that brings you to the angry vocals as the Konsruktor (Ilyin), konstrukts and creates konstruktion. “Control” is success or is it? From the electronic whirs comes the synths and Ilyin’s vocals, stealthily subverting you. A comfortable pace that never lets up nor ever feels out of control…..
The beginning of “Power” almost feels overwhelming in its verbosity. A cyber techno sound with a big ground swell on an industrial level. The more laid back “Lies” is a far more insidious affair as it crawls into your ears, unlike the “Selfdestruction” which is more like a drill to the head with those sharp beats. It is still bristling with angst but “U Gonna Die” is a smooth piece with those synths breaking through like futuristic sunshine.
There is a retro feel to the track “Reload“, as if the sparkling synths had come from the early 80s but the vocals growl over the top to remind you that not is all as it seems in the cyber world. It was Edward Teller who created the hydrogen bomb, who also wished to create a “10 000 Megaton” nuclear bomb which would have yielded 166 666 times more explosive power than the one dropped on Hiroshima. The track is a slightly trap influenced bleak soundscape instrumental, that travels outwards from point zero.
Love from the beginning “Cold Connected” as it is so clean and bright next to the fuzz and vocals. The techno waves within it are easy on the ears and extend to the primal. The space like “Final Mission” is a thing of beauty. Synths layer like falling stars in this bridging, short instrumental before we hit the final track, “Futuresoldier“. This is a great dance track from the ULTIMATE SOLDIER as it races ahead with no fear and no surrender to embrace the oncoming apocalyptic world order.
“Reload” and “Power” were released together, middle of last year as a remix package, which I highly suggest you check out as well. The track “Selfdestruction” reminds me a little of HOSTILE ARCHITECT and I started imagining the whole ULTIMATE SOLDIER vs HOSTILE ARCHITECT de-Konstruktor style…. I can dream! Konstruktor is gritty and grating, yet the keyboards also give this album that beautiful polish and make it fly. A mixture of cyber-industrial with the futuristic synth and techno to offset it, creating the nightmarish new world order.
John R Mirland has become one of the staple masters of driving, power noise, rhythmic noise mixed with serious techno savvy. We are grateful he took time out to talk to us about the latest Mirland album and all his creative outlets.
Welcome to the weird of Onyx, John R Mirland.
Thank you so very much for showing an interest in my music
Congratulations on Compromise Is Defeat (CID). It is truly a very attention grabbing album. How naturally does it come to you to mix such genres as techno, power noise and harsh noise?
It does come pretty natural the moment I start working on the beat I can immediately hear if this is going in the Mirland-direction or if it’s the groundwork for another project or artist.
I try to be in the studio as much as I can and just work. I’m very focused so I sit down with the keyboard or guitar and just start composing and usually I almost immediately know what the track is suited for:
The hybrid of rhythmic noise and techno/dark trance is a reflection of my own tastes and I wanted to compose evolving yet pounding music. So I’m very conscious about the variations and small details in the mix. The process is very much my own and I’m not particularly dogmatic with regards to what goes where to satisfy genre specific demands.
John, you wrote the album over a period of time and even some of the tracks have been played live. Why did it take nearly four years for CID to come into fruition?
I started working on the album just after the release of the “Antagonist” ep where I felt I’d really hit a spot with my sound. But you know plans sometimes don’t work out.
The gigs I played both around that time and later gave me an opportunity for testing very early demos of some of the new tracks. But at the same time I was composing and producing for Am Tierpark, Emergency Sequence, M73, Negant, Eisenwolf, Bitter Distrust, Mirland/Larsen and later also Gusten and Udpint while producing and remixing other artists too.
I do like to keep busy and have composed around 200 tracks the last 10-15 years of which I believe around 150 or so have been released.
But time went on and I kept working on the side with the sound design for what was to be “Compromise Is Defeat”. I guess at some point I had 30 or 40 demo tracks.
I prefer getting stuff done so I really needed to get this album done. I felt the demo recordings had something but I’d been deep in the process for far too long. So in the late summer of 2021 I finally sat down and dug into the selection and production of what would be “Compromise Is Defeat”. I recorded and mixed the final album over two months and then my dear friend Claus Larsen (Leæther Strip) did the mastering as he’s done for a lot of my releases.
For many, creating music comes from their current situation/politics/beliefs. When you compose music, especially for Mirland, what inspires you to create?
I don’t consciously search for inspiration. My mind is always racing and thinking about new ideas so I keep a lot of notes and record a lot of ideas. When I watch a movie I often make a note of certain interesting quotes or phrases. I believe some of my titles might suggest what lies behind the track but Iike to keep things open for interpretation. I think that’s one of the great things about instrumental music. It’s very much like abstract painting in that regard.
But a small key to the different projects might be: Mirland is often related to space, transhumanism and futurism. In Am Tierpark, Mirland/Larsen and Gusten Claus Larsen writes the lyrics so he defines the content and we never interfere with each other’s ideas. But very often Am Tierpark is about love/the loss of love. In Udpint I write almost entirely about war and in M73 it’s a lot about cold futures and dark erotica. My own lyrics are often written with the intent to create images.
One of your other projects is Eisenwolf… a mix of blackmetal and industrial. Do you think your love of black metal feeds into this use of harsh noise?
Eisenwolf was a side project of the now defunct Negant which also spawned the electro punk band Bitter Distrust with Michael Hillerup of Birmingham 6. I left all three bands a year ago actually.
But yes, I believe my interest in extreme metal in general blends into a lot of my darker stuff. I actually recorded a black metal mini album last year as Udpint and Claus and I released a punk rock album as Gusten.
But my use of noise and experimental sounds also stems from a very early band I was part of called VHS which was a pretty noisy and weird construction. And I’m a sucker for brutal energy whether it’s industrial or metal. But even Eisenwolf had melodic themes as opposed to just a wall of noise.
Mirland is very much a solo thing for you but you do collaborate with many other artists, especially other Danes in the scene for other projects? How do you approach your solo work compared to your collabrotative with say Negant or Eisenwolf?
I try to uncover the potential in any proposed collaboration and then present a few demo recordings for the others involved with the project. When I can’t see any more potential I put the collaboration on hiatus or leave. I don’t like to waste my own or others’ time.
When I work on my own it’s somewhat the same and I’m a firm believer that nothing is supposed to last forever and some projects only last an ep or album. And that’s absolutely fine. I have no problem with leaving a dysfunctional project.
You released on Claus Larsen’s label, Læbel and you have worked with him as Mirland/Larsen as well as producing and mixing each others music. Leæther Strip/Larsen is spoken in near reverance by many in the industrial scene, though those that know him say he is the biggest sweetheart. Did you find it nerve wracking to work with Claus in the beginning and have you found that friendship has grown exponentially, forging something a bit special?
Claus is a very close and dear friend and I consider him family.
When we work together it’s like we have a direct brain-to-brain connection and we’ve never argued even if we may not agree on everything. I’ve learned a ton from Claus. And we’re equally productive and creatively restless.
Which aspect of music making do you think you enjoy the most? As the performer, the producer or the mix master? Or is it a bit of everything that keeps the flame alive?
I love composing and producing and I’m not particularly interested in being a face or a character. I enjoy the stage not for the sake of being the center of attention but for presenting and interpreting my music in a different, loud setting and watching people’s response.
Who were the early musical inspirations that set your pulse running and made you think ‘I want to do that!’?
A: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d like to say something cool and leftfield but actually I grew up with a very broad range of music from Pink Floyd to southern blues to classical, constantly playing at my parents apartment. So I’ve always been surrounded by music and I can’t remember a time not wanting to work with music but for many years my main focus was on painting and illustration.
What acts do you listen to now or find their innovation sucks you into their music?
Currently I’m working my way through a big stack of obscure metal releases on vinyl. But I’m also listening to a lot of newer electronic releases. I like the distanced coldness of Julia Bondar and Rue Oberkampf and the energetic techno of Anastacia Kristensen. I enjoy listening to my friend Kri Samadhi who’s a great psytrance producer. Italo Connection’s “Metropolis” album is an extremely well executed album and possibly one of the best synth pop albums in years. And the funky neo disco of Alexander Robotnick always put a smile on my face.
And then I keep coming back to an old release by a short lived doom/black outfit called Woods of Belial. It has this dark, gritty lo-fi sound that I’d never be able to do myself.
What is in store for John Mirland and all his many, many projects?
A: First of I’ll be playing in Copenhagen on March 5th as a double bill with Leæther Strip. It’s been so long! And then I’m currently working on the follow up to “Compromise Is Defeat” which I hope will be out this year. Working title is “Bastard”. There’s a new album from Am Tierpark out this spring which I believe to be the best we’ve done so far and an Italo disco single I wrote for a Danish singer. I’m also working on a new and so far secret space disco project. And maybe something from Gusten too.
Thank you ever so much for taking the time to talk to us!