Records has been steadily reinventing itself, expanding its horizons, and
reminding everyone that they are indeed the leading quality independent
dark music label in the field. The first of Projekt’s most recent
and high profile signing’s was this addictive Arizona act, AUDRA.
Having a nostalgic sound that recalls the moods of “Catastrophe Ballet”
era Christian Death, the twisted black menace of Bauhaus, and the seductive
smoothness of Bowie’s glamourous prime. All in all, Audra’s brand
of sedate and smoky Gothic rock is definitely a welcomed comfort to fans
of the early aesthetics. I spoke with vocalist Bret Helm about the
band, their influences, and what they have in store for us in the future.
If you have yet to submerge yourself in the shadowy wonderland of Audra,
here is your chance to catch up on all you missed…
Matthew: How was the band able to successfully avoid the current electronic saturation that is watering down modern Gothic music?
Bret: We drink plenty of water and don’t pay attention to what everybody else is doing. We do our own thing. We started out as a rock band and that’s what we still are. There is good and bad music in every genre. The key is to be a band that writes good music. I can’t offer you a definition for the word “good,” but deep down, we all know!
Matthew: Audra consists of only the two of you. Being that you are brothers, is it more of a strain or a blessing to be able to work with each other in a band?
Bret: Oh, it’s great. We get along really well with each other. As brothers, we have a sense of intuition that doesn’t happen with other people. Everyone always seems shocked that brothers can work together in a band. We shared the same room as kids, even had a bunk bed for a while. We were always close, so when we started working on music, we naturally wrote songs together.
Matthew: Any amusing stories of sibling rivalry that have in one way or another affected the band?
Bret: Hmmm… I don’t have any sibling rivalry stories. We’re not competitive with each other. But, I do have a room full of Bret and Bart stories. In April of 1994, Audra played a show way out in West Phoenix at a sports bar. Wewere opening for this butt rock, metal band that looked like a cross between Vixen, Stryper and Lita Ford. I have this show on videotape! Anyways, the “headlining” band asked if they could use our p.a. system for monitors after we were done with our set. So, being the cool guys that we are, we said yeah. Then we looked down at their set list and there were 35 songs on it!!!!!! We were there ALL night! Robert (additional Audra guitarist) got really really drunk and obnoxious. I spilt a whole glass of red wine on his shirt. Well, after the show, Bart, Robert and I were running around the parking lot and all that I remember was Bart chasing us around the parking lot, throwing dog poop at us!!!! Eeeeekkkk!!!!! Oh, man… I got the stories. We’re a silly bunch of people, so don’t get me started with the stories! J
Matthew: How has the work of Rozz Williams influenced the music of Audra, and in your opinion, what makes him so important of an artist?
Bret: Rozz Williams was a genius and a true artist. In my eyes, he was the underground, David Bowie, always changing and trying new ways to express his art. I just got back from Hollywood, visiting his grave and memorial. His death had a huge impact on me. It was such a dream of mine to sing a duet with Rozz on stage to “Rebel Rebel” or “Sweet Thing.” He left us with an incredible body of work.
Matthew: Did you have the opportunity to meet him before his death? If so, what can you say about him?
You know what, every time that I went to see Rozz there was always
something wrong. Mainly the shows got cancelled. One time,
we were even going to open for him, but the show got cancelled. In
early 1998, I pleaded with our friend Randall of the Atomic Cafe to get
Rozz out here for a show, but it was no use, because he wasn't reachable
and a few months later he was dead. I feel like Rozz was a really
good friend of mine, through his music and his close friends.
"...an opulent elegy to personal turmoil and psychosis, four rhythmic nightmares driven by Bret Helm's somber, rolling vocals and an exquisitely understated sense of the morbid." - Caitlin R Kiernan on "In a Dark Room" review in Carpe Noctem
Matthew: Will Audra be appearing on the forthcoming Rozz tribute CD? If so, what song will you be performing and why did you choose that particular song?
Bret: Absolutely! We recorded “This Glass House,” which is on the “Catastrophe Ballet” album from 1984. We performed it at every show of our “Basement Tour” last September. I chose it because it’s one of my favorite Rozz songs. I love the line, “How many times can I sit through the end of the world?” To relate it to my own experiences, you get sick of sitting around talking with people who constantly talk about their sadness and how miserable they are, when they are perfectly healthy. They are just lazy and feel sorry for themselves. I’ve dealt with a lot of people like that in my life and it has become very tedious to be around them. I mean, if you keep talking about your “problems” and never do anything to help yourself, then I don’t really want to hear about it anymore, because it’s just plain boring.
Thus, the line “How many times can I sit through the end of the world?” Of course, that’s my interpretation of what Rozz intended, but it works for me. Bono from U2 once sang, “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me.” We’re quite a rambunctious group. You have to grow from what you write. If you write something that is sad, that was written at or about a sad point in your life, then you need to grow from it. There are plans for us to record another Rozz song also, but that’s top secret!
Matthew: Fair enough about that top-secret song! <grins> That kind of pitiful attitude you mention seems to permeate the Gothic social scene. Indeed, a lot of people throughout the world act that way, and I am not trying to be too judgmental, but the Gothic scene made it infashion to be this way. Would you agree?
Bret: Well, I would just say that it’s a laziness that people have. I think that a lot of people enjoy being depressed, and it gives them some sort of a status builder. Perhaps, it’s more easily embraced in the goth scene, but I really don’t know. I’ve known people who have nothing to be depressed about, and all they do is talk about what medication they are on, blah blah blah… Like I really want to sit around and listen to that. Talk about fixing the problem and how you’re going to start painting to get some of your emotions out. Tell me about how you’re going to take a dance class. I think that it gives people some sort of topic to discuss, because they feel it’s going to bring them some sort of sympathy. But, please DON’T get me wrong. There are plenty of people out there suffering from genuine sadness, and it’s okay to be sad and depressed, but the kind I’m talking about is the self-induced stuff. I want to see people grow. Everyone has problems. But, it’s what we do to help ourselves that needs attention.
Matthew: Well-said. Well, before I get you in trouble with my questions, lets get back to the music! Your vocals have been compared to Peter Murphy as well as David Bowie. Was there a conscious effort on your part to emulate these singers?
Bret: My voice happens to be in the same range as their voices. You can’t change nature… well, I guess you could with an operation and some hormones, but I don’t want to. Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Neil Diamond, Ian Curtis and tons of others pretty much share the same range. I understand why people make comparisons, but I guess as an artist you kind of grow weary of them. But to be perfectly honest, those are great people to be compared to. No matter what, everyone is going to be compared to someone else. It’s inevitable.
Matthew: In what ways are all of these artists significant to you? What do you think sets them apart and what qualities do they possess that make them legends in your opinions?
Bret: What sets all of these bands apart from everyone else, is that they have substance. There is a feeling that I can’t describe when I listen to their music. They are legends because they are brilliant artists who write incredible songs, it’s as simple as that: David Bowie, Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Rozz Williams, Gitane DeMone, Jane’s Addiction, Nico and Iggy Pop.
Matthew: Is there any new material in the works? When can we expect a new album?
Bret: Yes. We’re working on our second album for Projekt right now.It’s going fabulously! We have 10 songs recorded so far. It should be finished by the first of September, to be released right around Christmas 2001. We’ll be playing a lot of the new songs when we tour the West Coast again in July.
Matthew: Many fans relish the understated sensuality within some of your lyrics. What ideas or images inspire you pick up your pen? How would you describe the concepts or style of your lyrics? Would you say there is an overall theme to what Audra is doing?
Bret: I write about what I know, what I’ve seen, what I’ve experienced and what I don’t want to experience. Inspiration comes from everything: Childhood memories, cats, my beautiful Layla, ghosts, to name a few. One of the major themes was to present a tribute to friends that passed on from this world. That was very important for me and a lot of emotion needed to get out. Sometimes I grab the pen with no idea of what I’m going to write until it touches the paper. Other times I start with a word or a line that I can’t get out of my mind. From there I just let each word and each line lead to the next.
Each song on the album captures various fragments in time for me. There is a lot of sadness in the lyrics, but I look at each one as a healing process. I am not a negative person by any means. But sometimes it’s the sad situations that cause for some of the strongest emotional outpouring to seep through.
But yeah, there is definitely a sexy, sassy approach to the songs. Some things just have to come out that way. As a writer, I explore all sides of myself. You have to be true to yourself and write what comes natural.
Matthew: Audra is a relatively 'new' band, with one self-financed release entitled "Silver Music" and the debut CD on Projekt. A lot of artists wish to leave their past releases behind them. Do you guys feel that way about "Silver Music?" What merits does that release have for fans of the band? What can they learn about Audra's progression from seeking that EP out and would you recommend the investigation?
Actually Audra has been around since 1991, so we’re really not a new
band. Newly signed, but not new! In fact, it was 10 years ago
that Bart, Robert and I played our first show together. I’ll give
you a little bit of a history on our past releases. In 1993 we put
out our first cassette called, “Art Sex Religion.” In 1996, “Unhappy
Till the End.” 1997 – the “2 Girls
in 1 Dress” single. 1998 – “In a Dark Room…” 1999 – “Silver Music” Each one was an e.p. with no more than 6 songs on a particular release. We never believed in releasing a full-length album when you are an unsigned band. It’s giving too much away at once. So the debut album on Projekt is our very first full-length album. I’m proud of each of those releases. You can’t regret things from your past, you always have to move forward. Someday maybe Projekt will release an anthology of all of those early recordings. “Silver Music” is what got us signed to Projekt, so I think that it’s an interesting look at the recording that caused Sam to contact us and offer a contract. I haven’t listened to it in a while. Six of the songs on our Projekt debut are on there. They were either remixed or re-recorded for the Projekt release.
Matthew: Cool! Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all these questions. You guys definitely are at the center of a lot of interest right now and I hope it only improves for you! :)
Thanks, Matthew. I appreciate you doing the interview.
It was fun…
Bret Helm - vocals, bass guitar, keyboards
Bart Helm - guitar, drum programming
Robert Stacy - guitar, keyboards
– Official Page:
– Mp3 Page:
AUDRA UPCOMING CONCERTS **
Thu, July 26th – Seattle, WA – at The Vogue
Sat, July 28th – San Francisco, CA – ALL AGES show
Sun, July 29th – Long Beach, CA – at The Eternal (18 & over)
More TBA soon…
For more info: http://www.audramusic.com/shows2.htm
~Interview and photos by Kathryn
Rasputina have gone through a number of memberchanges since the release of their first CD, Thanks for the Ether, in 1996, but vocalist Melora Creagerhas always remained the heart of the band.
Shortly before the New Directions Cello Festival, I contacted Rasputina's webmistress about doing an e-mail interview with Melora. Much to my delight, the response was positive.
Kathryn: The UConn show was wonderful! Have Rasputina ever performed in that sort of non-club setting before?
Melora Creager: A long time ago, we played at weird gay birthday parties. Like behind a bed in a Victorian recreation apartment, or where everyone went off in a bus at the end to God knows where. But the cellofest show was the best sound we've ever had. It was such a joy to be able to hear and be musical.
K: Have you done many other shows since K. Cowperthwaite joined Rasputina? How long ago did you find her?
M: I think Cowperthwaite has done about 3 shows. I met her about a year ago, and she is a revelation to me. She's an excellent cellist and is very happy to be playing with us.
K: There was no drummer at the UConn show, will you be adding one for future performances or recordings, or are you happy with the drummerless sound?
I like to be able to perform w/or w/o a drummer. I really wanted one
for the cellofest, I wanted it to
be a really good show, but Perry couldn't make it. And then, it was good we didn't have one-it turned
out to be more magical that way. For recording, we are continuing to use programming, live drumming, and, of course, drummerless songs.
K: Any plans to work with other musicians in the future? Any you would like to work with?
M: I've been talking to David Eugene Edwards from 16 Horsepower, because I really want to sing with him. He's game, but we have to come up with the right song. Do you know of them? They're very good.
(K. ads: Since Melora was the second person within 12 hours to mention 16 Horsepower, I had to take a chance on listening, and was quite pleased with what I heard. And also wondered what rock I was hiding under that prevented me from hearing them before...)
K: Do you plan on doing more shows in the area (meaning the northeast, in general) any time soon? Any plans for a larger scale tour?
M: We will probably play CMJ in September, and I think we're talking about playing at a university in Buffalo or somewhere in the Fall. You never know when we'll go outside my house and play in the parking lot.
K: The website mentions a CD of covers to be released very soon. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
A year ago I recorded some covers to get back in the swing of music after
my daughter was born. We're
going to release them on the website because they sound pretty good, and our sweet fans need and deserve something to listen to.The songs are written by Pink Floyd, Marilyn Manson, Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin and Mother Goose.
K: Is there a CD of original material in the works?
We are recording a new album right now, and hope to finish by Autumn. It
contains 3 doll songs, 5 animal
songs, and 3 water songs. There are other subjects too, but those seem to be common themes in it.
K: You finally let us see a photo of Mr. E. Leon Rauis. I read somewhere that you found his photograph in an attic. I always find it both fascinating and sad the sheer volume of abandoned portraits that end up filling boxes and baskets at antique stores. Do you collect discarded images such as his, or was it just something about his photo that inspired you?
M: I have a lot of those old photographs, and many books of reprints. I'm very picky about which I buy; Mr. Rauis being the King. I have a hunchback midget lady that I like very much and many pictures of children. I don't own any tintypes, but wish that I did.
K: Do you do all of the artwork for the CD covers and website?
M: I do all the art for everything-that is one of my joys. However, I allowed some energetic and talented young lads to do the cover e.p. art. I don't know what came over me.
K: Much of the artwork has a very storybook look to it, and some of your songs also reflect that aesthetic. Do you have any favorite childrens' books or fairytales?
M: The original Mother Goose and Brothers Grimm are very sick, yet vague and nonsensical. I love those.
Your toungue shall be slit,
And all the little puppy dogs
Shall have a little bit.
That's genius, right?
K: And speaking of children, you have a daughter. How old is she now, and has her presence inspired your music at all?
M: My daughter turned 2 a few weeks ago. Her name is Hollis Willa. It's really hard to do creative work while raising a child. Her great existence has reconfirmed for me how much I need to do this work. I was going crazy when I wasn't doing music. And she makes me grow alot as a sensitive person, which is good for me as a growing, sensitive musician.
K: What are some of your favorite movies? Do you feel a good filmscore is an important part of enjoying a film?
M: Of course a good film score is important, but it might not be very noticeable. I like Neil Young's music for Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man". I like Wizard of Oz (and the music), The Piano. I love movies, but that's all I can think of right now.
K: What music do you listen to? Old favorites? New discoveries?
M: I don't much keep up on trends and new music. I'm more inspired by old photographs and nursery rhymes. I listen to old David Bowie, Baroque era classical, Andrews Sisters, a lot of things from the '30's, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Tom Waits, some soundtracks...
K: Oh, and my friend the Leo wants to know... do _you_believe in the signs of the zodiac?
M: There are many cockamamie things I scoff at, yet believe; the zodiac being one of them. I'm an Aries (the Best!). I've lately gotten very into the I Ching. It's uncanny and poetic.
K: well, I think that's it... if there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free.
We had a contest for mailing list members to send in their best lie, and
we would make a song out of it. We have completed the song, and it will
be up on the site soon. It was so fun! There were so many lies, and the
song sounds so nice.
thanks to Melora for taking the time to answer my questions. For the curious,
much more information can be found at their official website:
a lovely fan site called Corset Strings:
(live photos by Blu, all others courtesy of the band)
Sumerland. To some sumerland is a place of otherworldly existence, an after life, a dream realm. To people in the Pacific Northwest, Sumerland is a band that exhibits those qualities - who waiver between this reality and something much truer when they play. Having seen them perfrom live, having witnessed and felt it for myself, I can honestly say there has been no band that has touched me deeper in a "spritual" way; not religious mind you, but something deep, burning and primitive, personal and keen. They improvise much of their set, letting the mood of the night carry them. Every show they do is different; you'll hear things as they're created, to be heard only that one time. Bassist Dave relates: "The music flows through in a way that is similar to channeling. When we are playing live and everything is right, I leave my body...It's like I'm being told what to play. It's honestly easier than remembering a song."
On May 18th, their first full length CD, SIVO, will be available through Middle Pillar Presents. They'll be kicking it off with a celebration/concert in Seattle at the Catwalk and then hitting other towns on the West Coast (see concert dates below) . Its a CD fans have anxiously been waiting for and a CD that those of us who have come to love this band, are eager to share with the world.
Individually the members of Sumerland have their own persona and temperment, likes and dislikes. Some are quiet and introspective, some party as hard as any. They're an eclectric mix of friends no doubt; but together on stage they let loose of this world, the music takes over, and they become instruments of the moment. I'm not sure if even they fully understand the magic that is created when they play, or if its just become something they accept and allow to flow through them. They were kind enough to let me interview them, as I attempted to learn just what it is that makes Sumerland so special...
StarVox: I know you played live all over the Pacific Northwest for 3+ years and built up a tremendous fan base before you released your first 3-Song EP. You never released a full length CD on your own, yet last October you got signed to Middle Pillar Presents for your first full-length CD. That's pretty damn impressive, I've got to say. How'd you settle on Middle Pillar and how is the relationship with them? Is being signed what you hoped it would be?
Marshall: Tremendous? You're too kind :) We had a lot of faith in the impact and quality of the music we were producing for SIVO, and believed we would somehow make the contacts necessary to present it to a larger audience. The EP opened up many doors for us...better shows, independent radio play and reviews from around the country. We solicited MPP, based on recommendations we got from trusted friends and the incredible "What is Eternal" comp. I had also made contact with Summer from The Machine in the Garden, who had nothing but good things to say about their relationship with MPP. They used "Morpheus Repraise" on the "Butoh" comp, and it just grew from there. I think the label's close ties with World Serpent were probably the clincher. We're still learning what it means to have a business relationship with an independent label, particularly one which is all the way on the other side of the country. I think MPP more than any other label is best suited to introduce Sumerland to the world.
Dorien: I like a great many of the artists that Middle Pillar distributes, especially the World Serpent releases. I've been a World Serpent fan for several years. The Nature and Organisation project was brilliant, and influential to me. I think that both Sumerland and the label that represents us are going to become a much stronger presence in this genre. The relationship will be mutually beneficial. It's a gut feeling at this point.
Enrique: The first time I had heard the name Middle Pillar, I immediately knew that this label had a deeper sense of magic than any of the other labels we were courting at the time. It was pretty synchronistic with some Kabalick experimentations I was involved with. "Middle Pillar" refers to the central column of Sepheroth on the TREE OF LIFE, the other columns being mercy and severity. I was impressed by the idea of transcending dualities that the term Middle Pillar implied for me. I am very pleased to be among very energetically aware people who took risk in naming their label a term that only a few might appreciate.
I checked out Middle Pillar based on advice from Nick Pagan [The Changelings],
and I chose them based on the distribution end of their company. Also,
they had a small roster of bands which meant to me that they would have
the time and energy to do good work…I got a really good vibe from them
and their web site. Spiritually I believe we are on the same page [and]
that is very important to us, because we want to be understood. The relationship
with them is good, based on integrity and respect. They did a very good
job with Butoh and I expect nothing less from Sivo.
"...there is something for everyone here - reality made beautiful in perception and imagination. This is music for the soul..." - StarVox
StarVox: Your first EP was a teaser to the full length. Those 3 songs reappear on the full length (in some form) but in context with the others, seem richer and more meaningful in my opinion. Did you plan it that way?
Marshall: Yes, we did. The EP was released in conjunction with our Sol Invictus openings, and the three songs we chose for it were nearest completion. They also seemed to work well when taken out of context. We had already developed the concept for SIVO, and we didn't want the EP to lessen the impact of the album as an entire piece of work. There is a definite flow -- particularly from "The Blessings of Morpheus" which ends in a prelude to "Exalted City," then "Bygones/Interlude"... by the time you get to "Exalted," even if you're already familiar with it, the track takes on a whole new meaning. "Morpheus Repraise" (which is an intentional play on words) brings you full circle.
Dave: the 3 song EP was aptly named. It was rushed together for the Sol Invictus shows so that we could pretend like we had our shit together. Funny thing is that it worked. We chose these three songs cause they were the closest to completion. It was also at this time that we got our web site launched. Basically, this was when we stood up.
StarVox: The new CD is called SIVO. Now I've done a search on that word and all I could come up with was a spectra scope that had the brand name of "Sivo" - which is cool in itself - an instrument that lets you see the spectrum of colors. Where did that title come from and does it mean anything in particular?
Enrique: SIVO is a channeled term whose original meaning lies deep in the subconscious of the channeler-Dorien, but as with just about everything that we do in Sumerland, It's meaning is completely valid to whomever’s ears it falls upon.
Dorien: We took the word from a song called "Elaphim". This song is unique because it is made up of syllables that don't belong to any language other than what I was making up at the time. The idea was that there would be no intention behind it, just an utterance more pure than what our given language has to offer. I didn't know about this instrument but it sounds interesting and I'd like to know where they came up with it. (editor’s note: I believe it was the surname of the inventor --)
Dave: to me, “Sivo” is a blue-green feeling. Tranquil, like when you hold the truth in deep your heart. You don't need explain, discuss or debate it. You just know it.
Marshall: To me, it is a sexual position which I'm not sure can be described in a text format.
StarVox: You guys have hinted to me that there is an overall theme/story/structure to the new CD. You had me doing a research on song titles and such. From what I've been able to figure out on my own, it seems almost like a journey through life -- starting with the creation of life and going on through death. In-between there's some pretty intense shifting between states of being, or reality, and it gives the tone an intense spiritual/psychedelic tone. There's some reference to myths and to Pagan symbolism. Am I hitting on anything? Are you going to make us all guess or will you give us hints?
Enrique: I think you heard what you wanted to hear, and you are absolutely correct. I think that, for the most part, our subjugation of the listener's subconscious happens inside the listener themself and not in the mention of any certain deities. We tend to stay away from the glorification of any godform that is separate from our immediate experience. Meaning any other divinity we ourselves cannot see as being.
Marshall: Hint, hint, hint...For me, it's like and existence, a death, a space between existences (what we like to call "Sumerland"), a re-birth and a new existence. You may look at these existences as "lives" or different phases in life.... I think it means different things to different people. It all centers around the timeless state of Sumerland. Like you're on the fence between happy and sad -- not even on the fence -- floating above it, where the smallest thing of beauty opens floodgates of heavenly light, and the slightest bit of sorrow brings you to tears. That point where you feel infinitely alive, and yet not connected to solid ground on either side.
Dave: it is whatever it means to the listener.
Dorien: The lyrics in "Glorious" play on the powerful mystery of sexuality. It's symbolic of the unification of man and nature, through the spontaneity of desire. The fruit is ripened, and its seed will be planted. It's about acknowledging the spiritual in the carnal, and vice versa. It's the symbolic marriage of heaven and earth. In "The Blessings of Morpheus", we're introduced to the Greek god of sleep and dreams. You get the feeling of flying in a lucid dreamscape. The transition that takes place in "Exalted City" is also a pivotal point. It represents the first recognition of the approaching new life in a death/rebirth cycle. This recognition comes in the form of a face, the mythological motif that is the face of god. Not any particular god, but rather a face that is veiled, or formless. The song reflects the mystical experience of receiving an imprint of rapture through suffering.
"...where chasm deep vocals croon dramatic poetry from behind a liquid wall of acoustic guitar, floating synthesizer, subtle bass and milk jug percussion" - Willamette Week (PDX)StarVox: When will SIVO be available? Tell us about the artwork on it, who developed the concept for it?
Marshall: SIVO should first be available at our shows in Seattle and Portland (May 18th and 19th, respectively.) And then our California shows -- May 25th in San Francisco and the 26th in Hollywood. It will probably take a few weeks for distribution to reach stores around the US and Europe. (James or Kevin could answer that one better...) The artwork was first developed by our friend Kirk Kristlibas [of Dreams in Exile]. That original art inspired the final concept, which I photographed and sent to NY for Howard to complete. Basically, the design is fashioned after a hallucinogenic trip through the forest. Focusing on this little part of a scene and getting lost in its beauty... then realizing that scene is just a small part of this expansive universe, filled all this beauty yet to be discovered.
Dorien: I have a small forest park behind my place, property that belongs to a nearby college. The artwork is centered around a little island that has two trees arching over it. Surrounding the island is a small stream, and the whole scene has some very zen-like qualities. It's the closest thing I have to what Carlos Castaneda would call a "power spot", even though it's accessible to anyone. I've spent a great deal of time there during the summer.
Dave: Sivo should be out May 2001, it may be early June before it gets to stores. Marshall and Kirk did the art separately and Marshall pulled it all together. MPP's guy did the text. We are very happy with how it looks.
StarVox: You guys are phenomenal live. I've watched your shows completely mesmerized before and you have quite a reputation for playing live. There's an incredible energy generated between the four of you on stage - I've witnessed it several times - you guys seem to be linked subconsciously. There's an unspoken communication always flowing between you on stage. What is it like playing live for you? I'd also like to note that you ad-lib many of your songs - improvising as you go along. That's a nearly impossible feat for most bands - its incredible that you've got that kind of inner-connected communication going on.
Marshall: Well, we've been playing together live for a very long time -- four years with the same lineup -- which is rare, particularly in Portland. We're pretty lucky. We've experienced a lot together... we just keep going and it keeps getting better. For me, it's always been important to be able to loose myself in a performance. I can only expect an audience to be as moved by the music as I am. We very often have a little meditation session just before going on stage. Something to center us each personally and as a group, and to agree upon and solidify the intentions we are trying to communicate to the audience. I'm sure that helps :)
Dorien: Playing in Sumerland live is the most incredible thing I've ever experienced. It used to be that I was so overwhelmed by what was going on that I'd be too choked up to sing. The words would come out strained and raspy. I've had to employ breathing techniques that enable me to remain centered enough to sing through the entire set. And yes, there is a strong link between the four of us. I like to think of Sumerland as a living entity whose expression is more than the extensions of our egos.
Dave: We are a spiritual union of 4 unique souls. The music flows through in a way that is similar to channeling. When we are playing live and everything is right, I leave my body. It's hard to describe where I go, but, I call it my grey room and it's sorta cloud-like. With the 4 of us being like this, improvising is easy. It's like I'm being told what to play. It's honestly easier than remembering a song.
StarVox: I specifically want to ask Enrique about his drumming - which is one of the exciting live components of your shows (especially in the age of drum machines!). The percussion elements of Sumerland translate as very emotional - very inspired, primitive even. Are you a spiritual person in any sense? Secondly, you use some not-so-standard things in your kit. Tell us how that's set up and did it present any challenges when recording the CD?
Enrique: Yes, I worship possibility, which sometimes makes it harder for me to keep a consistent rhythm - it's like juggling chaos. I have improved a bit over the years. I think it has to do with shutting off your mind and turning on your no[n] mind, listening, heartbeats how they fluctuate...that sort... As for my kit, my philosophy is macrobiotic. I look what's around me, and I choose what sounds good to me at the time. My kit is an statement of various percussive interests I've explored over the years. The center piece of my kit is a cube plastic canister that I "liberated" from a cafe I worked at in Oakland. It's original purpose was to hold toxic industrial strength dishwashing liquid. I brought it home, stuck a mic in the spout, put some huge reverbs on it and fell in love with its sound. It's so incredibly versatile. I can hit eight distinctively different sounds on one piece. For example, I strike one side and it resembles a deep almost kick timbre, another side a snap or snare, another a click or rim shot feel. That was in the period of my life where everything musical was an experiment. I have also fabricated (welded) special hardware to hold an Egyptian dumbek, which was the Middle Eastern and more aboriginal point in my drumming experience. I blend these and other non-conventional pieces with the more traditional toms and cymbals to create a familiar space, but deviant enough to catalyze curiosity.
StarVox: There are some moments in the CD, and live, that Dorien goes into a trance-like state and chants. Were those ever planned or are they, I suspect, inspired moments? The CD is incredibly eerie at times with layers of whispering and chants and words -- how was that accomplished in the studio?
Dorien: In live situations, there are spaces in some of the songs where I like to blurt out whatever gibberish happens to be passing through my mind. It's an emotional catharsis, and a habit that comes from a very strange childhood. I was raised Pentecostal. I attended these huge services where hordes of people would go into erratic trances and babble in tongues. They believed they were speaking an angelic tongue, through the infilling of the "Holy Spirit", one which would transmit their most heartfelt prayers more directly. I no longer believe in their doctrine, but I do find the idea of tongues fascinating on a psychological level.
Some were inspired at the moment of the actual recording and some were
inspired before and used previously. Something I have come to understand
about the automatic tongue is that phonetics can be used to convey more
emotional/spiritual intent of the channeler beyond the intellectual contrivement of established language. Though, there in the midst of the chaos on the track "Bygones to the New Heaven" there is a hint of Barbaric.
Marshall: Dorien and I spent many hours working on vocals and such... and some of the most amazing stuff just *happened*. The vocals on "Repraise" for instance -- just happened. As far as the layering... probably the most intense stuff happens on "Bygones" and "Interlude." I could write a book just about those tracks.... There was literally a ritual that was developed to record the voices (all four of us spoke on these.) Bygones represents a death of sorts -- transport from one plane to another -- as experienced by the dying and celebrated by the living. The voices at the beginning represent selfish questions and the answers which lay within us, and when the music kicks in they turn to a chant which prays one mercifully into the next state of being. Tools for a new life. All of this is barely audible. The vocal effects in between the two tracks represent release. Falling down, ascension... however you want to look at it.
“Interlude” is the beginning of the space in between places. It combines various triptamine inspired field recordings, with additional voices and violin recorded during a jam session with Orryelle Defenestrate, who was visiting from Australia while on tour performing global chakra activations. (http://www.crossroads.wild.net.au )
StarVox: I get the sense that you'd prefer to play live than record. Is recording difficult for you? I suspect the cut and dry atmosphere of a studio handicaps your spontaneity.
Marshall: That's a difficult one for me to answer. Live shows and CDs are completely different media. Ultimately, our audience will hear the recorded versions of these songs far more often than they will see us perform them live. My challenge, as a when I'm wearing the producer hat, is to effectively and creatively relay the intention of each song to the listener via the recorded medium. Sometimes that means re-creating the way they are performed live, and at other times it means being open to possibilities that only exist in the studio. We decided from the very beginning that we wanted to do this recording ourselves -- not so much out of pride, but because we truly believed in the music, and did not believe we could hire anyone to be as excited about it as us. I would say we were more limited by the technology we could afford at the time than by the studio environment itself. SIVO was recorded on virtually no budget, with less-than-ideal microphones and often one instrument at a time. Many, many (I cannot stress Many enough) hours went into the engineering... the funny thing is that the better job you do at engineering and producing, the less people are aware that part of the process even exists. .
Dave: I hate recording. I do well in the studio only because I can't wait to be done with it.
Dorien: The studio experience has been difficult. When you sing the same thing over and over you start to feel more like a puppet and less like a human being. It's usually best to keep one of the first few takes. It sounds fresh that way. There were times when the equipment would glitch and entire songs would be lost. We have high standards, and we wanted our debut to be something exceptional, something that will be remembered. This is why it has taken so long.
StarVox: Individually, I've found you guys to be very different - but all very personable. For some reason I expected you to be more alike than you are, however, I think this diversity makes for a wonderfully eclectic vibe. Each of you describe the other members of the band in once sentence each.
Enrique: Dorien- The mad artist; the beauty in pain- brilliant. Dave- The open channel glitter love rock. Marshall-The one who's already figured it out and is outside in the playground smoking a cigarette.
Dave: Dorien "the goth", Enrique "the hippie", Marshall "the computer geek", David "the rock star."
StarVox: Last year you got to play with Sol Invictus? Tell us about that experience and any other live shows that have left an impression on you.
Enrique: Previously, we had played for more notable acts such as Black Tape For a Blue Girl but, I hadn't really followed their career until we played with them. But SOL INVICTUS, I'd been listening to them for years. I remember taking road trips years ago to power spots along the California coast with friends screaming "Against the Modern World". I mean it was truly validating both magically and musically. They were really wonderful people in person. Matt Howden even expressed interest in re-mixing some Sumerland material with his string arrangements added. Again it was a very pleasant experience. From the promoters to the band to the clubs and friends it went off very well.
Marshall: We had the opportunity to play three shows with Sol Invictus, and by the 3rd show watching them perform was utter bliss. I couldn't stop smiling. We truly enjoyed performing with The Changelings, and it was a pleasure to share the stage with Lisa & Elysabeth from Black Tape. Oh, and the opening slot for Nick Cave fell through, but we all thought his recent Seattle show was nothing short of amazing ;)
Dorien: Opening for Sol Invictus was an honor, and emotionally rewarding. I've developed a deep passion for that band. I'm trying to collect all of their recordings and the solo work of violinist Matt Howden as well.
Dave: Sol Invictus shows changed the fate of our band. You might go so far as to say that is when we became a serious band. Meeting The Changelings and sharing ideas with Nick was also a great pleasure.
StarVox: What’s in store for Sumerland for the rest of this year? I've heard you play some songs live that aren’t on the new CD, so you have a wealth of new songs already? Plans for a second CD yet? (Yes, I'm greedy -- I want MORE!)
Enrique: I'm not sure about the other guys, but I'm reluctant to give any specific dates for anything we do until it is totally solidified. We've done that before and it has been frustrating for the fans to see time and again dates go by with no product. For that I'll answer that we will live up to our contract of two albums in three years. As far as the rest of the year goes, for certain [we’ll] start recording the second album, make an appearance at Burning Man and tour again.
Marshall: A second full-length CD is already in development, and we have already begun to play some very exciting new material out at shows. There may be a surprise or two in the next year, but mainly our focus right now is on promoting SIVO and reaching as many people as possible.
Dave: Yes, we are working on our 2nd album. We are doing it with MPP. I don't want to comment too much on it. However, if you come to the shows, you will be certain to be subject to new song testing.
Dorien: I've been working on several pieces for the second album, and with a slightly different approach to songwriting. I've discovered the beauty of the simple love song, and I'm anxious to see how well they go with the rest of the band. We like to treat our Portland audience to the newer material as much as possible. Our local fans have been consistently coming to shows for the past three years
StarVox: What are some of your personal musical inspirations/ favorite bands?
Enrique: A huge variance between but here goes...Bowie, the milky way, Diamanda Galas, Kali, Crash Worship, CHAOS Prince, birds, Swans, caves, Soriah, obsidian, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and sexy waterfalls.
Dorien: Today I listen to a lot of experimental-ambient music, like Raison D 'Etre, Voice of Eye, Steve Roach, and most recently Middle Pillar's The Unquiet Void. I also have a lot of Projekt bands in my collection. The four of us have different musical backgrounds.
Marshall: Personally: Ivo Watts, and all the old 4AD stuff, esp. Cocteau Twins, music I grew up with in the clubs... Depeche Mode, The Cure... Nick Cave, Radiohead, my mind is blank...
Dave: My dad listened to operas and darker classical music. It used to scare me (in a good way) when I was a kid. Later in life I met my guitar hero (Bob Stinson) and we became friends. He was a mentor to me, and taught me how to be and how not to be. Sometimes I play my bass like he played his guitar. That makes me happy. My current favs are...Thin Lizzy, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 70's Bowie, Hungry Mob.
StarVox: Favorite movies? books?
I'm a huge John Waters fan...Pink Famingos! I tend to read manuals and
manuscripts more than fiction. I'm currently reading a collection of doctoral
thesises of the shamanic practices of the
Californian Indians..."Californian Shamanism" duh
Dorien: "The Wicker Man" has been a favorite movie of mine, and an inspiration for our song "Circle Dance". It's perfect for this time of year, with the Beltane festivals.
Dave: I really like serial killer stories like Henry, Seven, Taxi Driver. Also tales with scary satan like Rosemary's Baby, and Legend. Tim Curry is a great scary satan guy and of course I'm a sucker for a good love story like Princess Bride or Geek Love.
StarVox: What's the Portland music scene like? What's the city in general, like?
Like any other city, our scene rises and falls. Right now it's kinda weak,
but it will be back up soon. It is a very
diverse scene, mostly it's rawk and punk rawk in Portland. The city itself sucks. Don't move here. No, Portland is a great place to live. Lots of freaky nice people. It's surrounded by the most beautiful land I have ever seen.
Marshall: Rainy and beautiful. Incredible people. One of the only places in the world a project like Sumerland could begin, be nurtured and grow. Rainy.
Dorien: This city has an excellent variety of strip bars.
StarVox: What do you do for fun if you're not doing music?
Marshall: Produce other people's music, Sleep.
Dave: I'm pretty crazy about my girlfriend and I spend most my time hanging out with her. I like to be with my other friends too. I love pinball.
Dorien: Well, Portland has the classiest strip bars I've ever seen.
StarVox: Parting words? Advice? Recommendations?
Enrique: Fast for three days in the desert or forest or any remote place, then at the end of the third day meditate on defining the thing most sacred to you personally. Make it in the form of sentence - a mantra... then exclaim it as if YOU ARE Daffy Duck!!!
Marshall: Words of wisdom I recently got from a friend who likes to go hiking while under the influence of certain unnamed substances: Sometimes it's best to take a seat and watch the colors change.
Dave: Music should flow from your heart, not your dick.
My advice? Be happy, stop and smell the flowers. Get some sunlight, and
be sure to tip your dancers.
ordering information on their new CD SIVO, visit Middle Pillar
INTERVIEW WITH TORSION
~by Sonya Brown
Torsion. The name alone makes one feel of tightening the bolts to some well-oiled machine and cranking it all up another notch. That’s exactly the feeling you get from listening to Torsion’s new cd “Hardware Sex and Misunderstanding”: a well oiled machine, running tight and smooth... humans and hardware working together to create that “sensual noise”, the term that describes the sound of Torsion so well.
Kathryn’s vocals are slithery and sexy as she pours out songs of love, lust, obsession and betrayal; and Hardware Sex and Misunderstanding takes you everywhere from the loss of innocence to carefully crafted seduction, with plenty of dynamic “Torsion Tension” along the way. I would love to some day see Torsion give these lyrics visual life with what must be a wonderfully dynamic live stage performance!
From their home in Pennsylvania, Torsion gives us some insight into that machine that forges this sensual sound...
Sonya: Who makes up the current Torsion lineup?
Our band is comprised of 4 humans and several sound modules.
Kathryn - vocals
William - bass
Jef - live guitars
George - drums, programming, keyboards
Sonya: Please give us some background on Mythdemeanor Music...
George: Hmmm... the concept of a misdemeanor is a myth. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
As far as Torsion goes, we ran across that word while reading 'The Dancing Wu-Li Masters' a book relating Physics to Eastern Philosophies. Torsion is a violent, twisting, wrenching motion. The imagery is aggressive and forceful, reflecting the character of our music.
Sonya: Please tell us how members of Torsion work together... what are the dynamics of each member in relation to Torsion?
George: In general we work well together but it's not really fun until someone loses an eye. *Ha* We each contribute what we can and build from there.
Kathryn: We are very fortunate that we all get along so well both in and out of the band situation. We are good friends and can count on one another. This attitude makes the creative process run a lot more smoothly than it could. Creating art is very personal and emotional - putting it out for other people to review is hard at any time, and it is especially hard when you are still in the early stages of realizing your 'vision'. Sure we step on each other's toes and the hackles occasionally rise, but our intrinsic friendship allows us to pass through these moments without any long-term grudges. *grin*
Sonya: You describe your sound as "sensual noise". How did this term come about?
George: You know, I don't really know! Somebody probably said what we were doing was just noise and one of us responded 'yeah, but it's sensual noise'. Either that or I wrote it down as a possible band name before we settled on Torsion.
William: Actually - the term came about right at the inception of the band. I think it was a potential name, but it has come to be a quite fitting description of how we hear our music.
Kathryn: I don't recall the origin of the phrase, sensual noise, but I think it is an apt description. It captures the intriguing combination of the aggressive sounds of the music and my vocal melodies.
Sonya: Who wrote the lyrics for your new CD, Hardware Sex and Misunderstanding?
Torsion: You Give was written by George; while the rest (Burn Me, How Can You Love Me, Nothing, Loathing, and Shiver) were written by Kathryn. After the lyrics are initially written, they are up for suggestions by everyone in the band. Usually they are tweaked here and there to better evoke a mood and to ensure the phrasing works with the music.
Sonya: Hardware Sex and Misunderstanding seems to create a story of love, lust, obsession and betrayal - from almost a submissive point of view... a loss of innocence and then the cd ends in seduction. If you were the songs on this cd... would you consider yourself a victim? a heroine? why?
Kathryn: Oh boy, what a fantastic question. I don't know if I've ever thought of myself as a victim or heroine with respect to these songs. I suppose I am a bit of both. I think I am a victim in most all of the songs, whether the status is self-imposed, or as a result of somebody else's actions. In 'How Can You Love Me' and 'Loathing', I am a victim of my own self-doubt and low self esteem. In 'You Give', 'Burn Me', and 'Shiver', I am a victim of my sexuality, caught in a destructive situation where lust defines the relationship and one's worth. And finally, in 'Nothing' and 'Only A Need' I am a victim of some one else's actions along with my weaknesses at allowing these actions. I think I am a heroine in all the songs because I recognize my dependencies, my weaknesses, what I've given up or compromised. I may not be able to do anything but express rage at these revelations, or I may embrace my situation; but regardless, I am not blind to it and I don't look to blame someone else.
Sonya: I believe I hear both live drums and a drum machine, particularly on tracks 3 & 6. How do you incorporate both a live drummer and a drum machine into your music?
George: I tend to look at the drum/percussion parts as an orchestra unto themselves. When writing a song, I'm always listening for what I feel best works within the context of a song. On track 3, 'Nothing', I was playing the tom fills during the post chorus and wanted to also hear an element of the chorus beat as another layer. The electronics are a variation of the chorus drum part creating a tie in between the two parts. Track 6 is 'Loathing' and believe it or not that's all live. Incorporating both is actually fairly simple once you have a feel for the basics. Just like string instruments working together, percussion instruments, whether they be live or programmed, can either cancel each other out or enhance what each other is doing to create a fuller sound. It's always a real disappointment for me when a band plays with just a drum machine. There's something very primal about a live drum performance. The thing is, if the drummer can't play very well I'd rather have the drum machine.
Sonya: What other gear is used to create Hardware Sex and Misunderstanding?
The Brain - laptop computer that stores and 'plays' all the sequenced
Korg X5DR - keyboard module
E-MU Audity 2000 - keyboard module
Alesis QSR - keyboard module
Alesis DM5 - electronic drum module
Alesis QS8 - keyboard
Sonya: Your website shows some wonderful live images, and it looks like a very fun live show. Tell us a bit about your live performances...
Torsion: Since our inception, Torsion has been fortunate to play consistently in and around Philadelphia and up and down the East coast, bringing new fans into the fold with each performance. From GothCon 1999 to two Dracula's Balls, from Atlanta to Baltimore to New York City, we have been fine-tuning our live performance, striving to deliver intense, highly memorable shows. What we love most about performing is the raw energy and adrenaline you feel when you are on stage. It is a rush when you connect with the audience and draw them into the music and the story of the song. It's a chance to set aside our 'ordinary' selves and become something bigger and bolder, all the while giving the audience a chance to lose touch with their 'normal' lives and enter a musical landscape filled with charged emotions and images.
Kathryn: "Personally, I lose myself onstage in the emotion of the songs that I am singing. In fact, I find that I have a hard time reciting the lyrics to a song at the drop of a hat. The words and their intensity are only a complete part of me when I initially write them and when I perform them, I love letting that part of me out during a show - I feel so much more alive."
Sonya: What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
Kathryn: "Hmmm…I like all of them for different reasons. I suppose You Give is one of my favorite live songs. It is very intense and sexually charged. The verses are very provocative and I like bringing the audience into that mood and then hitting them with a very forceful and angry chorus. The raw anger is unexpected to them I think, especially since I'm a girl; and it makes the experience all that more memorable."
William: I think it changes from night to night. It really depends on a number of things: my energy level and mood, the feeling I'm getting off the audience at the time, my interaction with my band mates. Each night these different elements can elevate a song to my favorite to perform.
Sonya: What are your current and future tour plans?
William: We'll continue to play to all our fans in Philadelphia, of course, but we'll be concentrating even more to the New York and Washington D.C. scenes.
Sonya: The credits on your new cd includes the band, Tapping the Vein. Please tell me what contributions Tapping the Vein made to Hardware Sex and Misunderstanding... and How did you come to work with Tapping the Vein?
Torsion: Heather, Eric, Mark, and Joe are all good friends of ours. Our scene is fortunate in that regard - the bands all get along fabulously and hang out even outside of shows/events. We met TTV when Torsion first formed. Heather and Eric even came out to our first show! They have always been supportive of our music and us, and we have always loved their music, and have enjoyed watching their success grow. As people we all have common interests and just enjoy each other's company, insights, and antics.
Sonya: Who would Torsion most like to tour and/or record with in the future?
George: Wow, that list could go on forever. I mean, there are a lot of great musician's out there. I'd love to be able to tour with our friends Tapping the Vein and Carfax Abbey. It's always nice when you can get along with the people you're on the road with. David Bowie would be pretty cool. He's one of my favorite artists. Unfortunately Trent Reznor already got to do that route. NIN could be a lot of fun. The crowd is really intense at a Nails show. The only problem about working with some of your idols is that you get to really meet them and what happens if they're not as cool as you thought they were.
Sonya: By looking at your website and promo photos, there appears to be a focus on fashion as well as music. How does fashion blend with the sounds and visions of Torsion?
Kathryn: We feel that our music captures a dichotomy of the live and the mechanical, of the harsh and the beautiful. It's angry, sensual, dark, potent, captivating... and the clothes reflect that in the textures and colors. I tend to wear vinyl, velvet, and/or sheer materials. My current preferred colors are black, red, deep maroon - rich captivating colors to draw and keep attention. My outfits portray beauty tinged with sass and attitude, and yet I have an element of innocence and naiveté because that combination is what my lyrics are, that is what I am. The boys tend towards darker colors, although red, silver and white are not exempt - and Jeff occasionally wears a skirt. Their outfits challenge the norm and also represent the dark driving intensity that permeates our music. I don't think we started out selecting clothes to enforce these themes (I just wanted something that fit and made me look okay on stage *grin*), but the response we've gotten from our visual style has made us put more effort and thought into our appearance. Although our emphasis is and will always be the music, it doesn't hurt to bring a visual element to the experience.
Sonya: Who is your costume/clothing designer?
Torsion: We had all been toying with the idea of introducing a visual style to our show, but the actual push came from a friend of ours, Heather Victoria. She helped us initially with makeup, hair, and ideas for outfits, and we have taken it from there. The clothes are not from any one designer - just what we can find in various stores around town.
Kathryn: "Strangely enough, I'm not a huge fan of shopping in general, but I have to admit that it is fun to go out and look for 'show' outfits. People will give us the weirdest looks at some of the things we buy."
Sonya: Where might fans find access to your music?
Torsion: Torsion has released two albums. The first is a self-titled EP containing 4 songs: Pain, Desperate, Clouded, and Turn Away. The most recent album (just released January 2001), is titled 'Hardware, Sex, and Misunderstanding'. It is available at the band's website, www.torsion.net, and also can be purchased at Digital Ferret, http://www.ferret.com/digital/, a great record store located off of South Street in Philadelphia. Other methods of distribution are currently being pursued. Some of the songs can be heard at our MP3 site, www.mp3.com/torsionweb where you can create a DAM CD of the songs on MP3.
Sonya: Do you (or other members of Torsion) have any other projects in the works?
Torsion: Not currently. Once we get our studio into place, we'll start working on our next album. We have many new Torsion songs that we need to start recording!
George: Eric, from Tapping the Vein, and I have been tossing around the idea of possibly doing something together involving beats and tribal rhythms. It would be ideas that aren't really right for our respective bands. We're both pretty busy with our own stuff though, so we'll see if we ever get the chance to actually work on anything.
Sonya: What can you tell readers about the music scene in Pennsylvania? Do you find support there for your music?
Torsion: We really enjoy the eclectic nature of the people in the Philadelphia scene. Playing in Torsion, and attending various events, we've been afforded the opportunity to meet some great and interesting people. This goth/dark music scene allows people to be whatever they want for an evening. However, regardless of his or her external visage, every person we've met has been incredibly friendly and sincere.
There is a good amount of support for our music in the goth/industrial scene and we are working to increase our exposure to that scene and to others, because we feel like we can be accessible to many types of listeners. The unfortunate thing about Philadelphia and the surrounding area is that live, original music doesn't bring people out like it used to. DJ's and cover bands receive more attention than original bands. We get frustrated by this trend, but are hoping that the pendulum will swing the other way.
Sonya: What do you (and other members of Torsion) do for work? For fun?
Torsion: We are all involved in the world of computer programming. Helps pay the bills.
Kathryn: I am an avid reader of all types of books, especially Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I am currently reading the Dune series. Besides that, I enjoy cooking, computergames, sleeping, and I am forcing myself to learn how to enjoy working out. *blah*
I'll speak for the boys, on this - I know William likes all kinds of outdoor activities, he recently returned from a sea-kayaking trip in Vancouver. Jeff likes to do a little bit of everything for fun; he even almost has his pilot's license. George likes to read, is an avid gamer, and a really good snow skier, but his favorite activity is writing music!
Sonya: Please tell us about your recent visit to Rome...
Kathryn: Rome was great... but we were happy to be back where everyone speaks English. *grin* Our flight there and back was long but uneventful. We flew on British Airways - it was very nice. They actually serve alcohol free of charge. I commented on this, and they responded "You're not in America anymore". Ha.
We walked all around and saw lots of neat sites - the Colosseum, The Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica. They were all wonderful, but the scary thing is that there is graffiti everywhere! It was sad to see all these ancient things marked up. The saddest thing about the Basilica was that after taking a tour of the Dome (which offered a beautiful view of Rome and the surrounding country side) you end up on the roof of the Basilica, and guess what's there? A souvenir shop! You can buy the Pope in a snow globe on the roof of St. Peter's Basilica. Kind of crazy.
The food was AMAZING. They have the best mozzarella in the world. It is made from water-buffalo milk. The pasta, meats and fishes were also very good. The interesting thing is that they rarely use garlic. That is an American thing - we only had one appetizer that had a fleeting taste of garlic, they use mostly salt and pepper and fresh herbs. Their ice cream, called gelato, is truly fantastic. The fruit ones were the best - it tasted exactly like whatever fruit you selected: melon, strawberry, kiwi, mango - you name it. We ate some every day.
So overall we had a great time!! I'm glad we had an opportunity to go!
Sonya: Are there any other comments you wish to make?
Torsion: Just a big thank you for the giving us the opportunity to talk!
Hardware sex and misunderstanding - track listing:
1) You Give
2) How Can You Love me?
4) Only a Need
5) Burn Me
- self-titled debut - track listing:
1) Turn Away
PO Box 64
Chester Springs PA 19425