It is all too often that the underground forgets its real stars -- forgets the people behind the scenes that push to keep this thing of ours alive - without pay, without thanks, without much acknowledgment at all. And they don't complain. They're not in it for glory or money or status. The ones that are here and have been here for the long haul are here by one strong but simple reason: they love the music and the people who create it. DJ Bob Westphal (NJ) and Paul Aleinikoff (Seattle) have voluntarily DJ'd broadcast radio shows for over a decade focusing on dark music and supporting the gothic/industrial music scene the best way anyone can - by getting the music to the ears of eager listeners. They've invested countless hours and personal expenses to keep their shows going. They depends every year on listeners to "vote" with their pledges and have, amazingly, gotten enough support to keep their shows going. Broadcasting for 16 years, Bob's "The Shape of Things to Come" is the longest running and best dark music show to air in NYC Saturday nights between 6 pm and 9 pm Eastern Time. It is hosted by Bob Westphal (TheOneBob) and broadcast to the New York City region over noncommercial 89.1 WFDU-FM "Where New Music Begins," and to the rest of the world via the Internet on http://www.wfdu.fm. Plus you can hear the past week's show repeated on http://www.TheOneBob.com Going on 12 years, Paul Aleinikoff's "On the Edge" is the longest running gothic/industrial show in the Pacific Northwest. It broadcasts every Sunday night on 89.5 FM KNHC from 6pm until midnight.
SV: When did you start DJing?
Bob: I started 16 years ago, on December 5, 1986. Before that I was a "closet DJ" making tapes for friends and myself.
Paul: I started djing in 1985. At radio station KCMU.
SV: How long have you have you been doing the show you're doing now and what's the format like? How'd you get the show?
Bob: To answer the second part first, I was an emergency fill-in for a DJ who decided not to show up one night. After doing a bunch of fill-in shows, I got a regular Friday night overnight slot about a year later. The format back then was alternative before anyone knew what that meant. In fact, our format was called "The New Music Alternative."
AS for how long have I been doing the show? That's kinda tough to pin down. I think my show more evolved into what it is now, with a revolution or two in between. My original overnight show basically followed our station's "New Music Alternative" format, with a tendency toward the dark and electronic side of things, lots of Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke and Front 242. When "alternative" became mainstream in the early 90's, I unilaterally decided to alter the thrust of my show. I looked for music that we were almost totally ignoring as a format, and these were more underground Gothic, Industrial, Techno and Ethereal. With the help of Bobby Lisi of Cafe Soundz in Montclair, I started to listen to groups and artists I never knew existed and slipped this into my show wherever I could. I stopped playing anything that smacked of the over-hyped definition of "alternative" and changed the name of my show from "Almost Saturday Night" to "The Shape of Things to Come" (because I felt this was the future of music.) This was in 1992. I lost a lot of listeners but gained a lot of new ones, too. Somewhere along the way, I dropped a lot of Techno, but I've maintained my connection with truly underground music. And then in 1995, after several successful pledge drives for the show, I was given the 6pm to 9pm slot on Saturdays. Sometime in the middle of 2000, I started repeating the show on the Internet and I can now be heard all over the world, anytime, anywhere.
Paul: I have been doing "on the edge" since December 1990. The format is mostly industrial rock and dance, gothic, ebm, and other interesting things I come across. I also have bands on the show and play there new material. I got the show when the former host anounced that he was moving out of town. I contacted the radio station the next day , sent a air check tape, a resume and a proposal for the show. Two weeks later it was my show.
SV: This isn't a paid position is it?
Bob: [laughs] Nope never got paid, I really don't think I would enjoy it as much if I did, because then I would have to play from someone else's playlist and besides I don't think I'm enough of a personality. I'm just me doing a lot of the work, with friends chipping in here and there.
Paul: No there is no pay involved. I love the music, and I enjoy doing the show, and people let me know that they like what I'm doing.
SV: What keeps you so motivated?
Bob: It's the music that keeps me motivated. I want to help bands to get heard that would otherwise be ignored by broadcast radio. I pick up on the enthusiasm many artists have for their own music. I also live for those "what's this playing right now" phone calls. I like recognition, too. When bands put my name in the "thanks to:" on their albums. It makes me feel like I've helped them. Actually, it's pretty funny, until recently very few people put Bob Westphal and TheOneBob together. It's like Clark Kent/Superman. I always introduce myself as Bob Westphal and usually get a blank stare [demonstrates blank stare] back, which I'm used to. Sometimes someone with me will say "He's TheOneBob." I'll get "OH, YOU'RE THEONEBOB!" [laughs] I'm not sure whether that's good or bad.
Paul: I really like when people give me feedback about what they like and don't like. The listeners also let me know if they know of bands I should be playing.
SV: Who are some of the coolest people you've had in the studio?
Bob: Hmmm. Honestly, I think almost everyone who's come to the studio is cool. I really don't want to leave people out. A number of my interviews have taken place out "on the street." It's tough to get to the studios, too. But if you want to talk strictly about "in the studio," Voltaire, who did a guest DJ spot. So did Sam Rosenthal and Lisa Feuer of Projekt Records; Athan Maroulis of Spahn Ranch and his former Fahrenheit 451 bandmate Shelly Stewart; Shikhee of Android Lust; Kerry of Anathema Device. Another guest DJ, who was a lot of fun, was Spinmistress Batty from Cleveland and Gothcon, when she was touring with Attrition. Mike Hideous is also a perennial guest. Rui of the Carol Masters has always been a supporter, even back in the "dark days." I like giving exposure to the really good local bands.
I also do stuff to support the rest of the scene too. I've had local club DJs and fashion designers on the show. I spotlight poets from a local artist group called The Rift, which is run by Madame X (Alda Xavier) on a monthly basis. I've also had promoters, like Tony Fletcher and Neville Welles, of Batcave and Communion on the show.
Paul: I don't know where to begin whith this one. There have been so many bands and listeners that have been up at the station. The most famous would be KMFDM and Front Line Assembly.
SV: Any on-air embarrassments?
Bob: [Laughs] Every week is an on-air embarrassment. I am definitely not a professional in any sense of the word, but I don't try to be. I'm more like your best friend who has a big CD collection. [laughs again] I almost fell asleep once doing my overnight, I think there was about a minute or two of dead air and I didn't realize it until the phone rang.
Paul: I make mistakes every so often, press a wrong button, maybe mispronounce a name, things like that. I guess my biggest fear would to forget to turn the mic off and say something that I shouldn't.
SV: Most intimidating interview?
Bob: Interviews don't really intimidate me anymore. But in general, the better I know someone the easier it is to interview them. But when I was a little baby DJ, Mojo Nixon, a hillbilly rockabilly guy who did the song "Elvis is Everywhere" scared the shit out of me at the '88 New Music Seminar. It was one of my first interviews. I just could not get a word out. Just "Bb...bu..bblb..." He looked at me and said, "What's the matter with you, boah?" and then went on to pretty much interview himself.
Weirdest interview was Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto. I interviewed him at Communion at Limelight in NYC with my then interview partner Wednesday the Club Chick. It started out normally enough, but somehow we found out that he never had a bicycle as a child.
strange interview was Blixa Bargeld of Einsteurzende Neubauten back when
the album "Tabula Rasa" came out. Everyone was warning me about how tough
he was on interviewers. But he really seemed forthcoming and friendly.
Well anyway, somehow, in the middle of the interview, we wound up looking
at his teeth.
I interviewed Trent Reznor in 1989 before he even knew who he was. It was at a CMJ Music Marathon in NYC. Pretty Hate Machine had just come out and he was getting ready to go on his first tour. We talked about the difficulties of putting together a band, when at that time, NIN was essentially just him. Who knew that just a few years later he'd be "Top 40."
Paul: The band Numb. We were talking to him and he would just give us real short answers, and wouldn't carry a conversation. It was very awkward, and a very short interview.
SV: Do you DJ outside of the station now?
Bob: Yep, I do weddings, parties, Sweet 16 birthdays. [chuckles] No, really, I did two weddings last year and my niece's Sweet 16 party. One of the wedding playlists is on my website. I also spin regularly at this great party in New York City called Contempt. It's a monthly event, non-profit, "by the scene, for the scene." It's run by a committee of volunteers who are a group of really nice people. It's gained a lot of popularity and it's something people look forward to. I usually DJ in the "Lounge" where I get to play non-dancey stuff you don't normally hear in a club setting. It's almost like doing my radio show in a club. I also DJ'd at Convergence last year in New York City and at the Sanctum gothic lounge. I also spun at Limelight in the Chapel for the first time in my life, it was a real thrill.
Paul: On occasion I'll dj at the Catwalk. Sometimes other clubs will hire me.
SV: What's some of your current favorite bands/tracks?
Bob: Graviton by Atomic Box, No Human Words by St. Eve, Hues of Longing by Mors Syphilitcia, Want by Android Lust, I Will Save You by The Nuns, Sorrow by ATP
Paul: My current favorite is the new single from "KMFDM" it's called "these boots are made for walking". I also like new material from VNV Nation, Assemblage 23, Icon of Coil, Point 1, SMP, Girls under glass, New Mind, and there is lots more, I would have a long list.
SV: Do you get a lot of listener interaction?
Bob: Yes and no, it usually depends on the weather. I get a few phone calls, I get email from time to time, and now that we have an Internet connected computer in the studio, people IM me, too. I also started updating my playlist online in real-time, using the show's LiveJournal at tsottc.livejournal.com. As I'm playing a song, I'll type it into the Journal and it will update right away. Trouble is, since we're non-commercial, I never know how many people are listening. When I did the overnight, I used to get a lot more phone calls.
Paul: Yes I get lots of phone calls and emails, I'd like to get more. I rely on listeners to give me feedback, and to help me keep up on whats new, alot of my leads come from listeners that give me info and send me cds. without the listeners help "on the edge" wouldn't be nearly as successful as it is today.
SV: I know that anyone involved in radio is involved with listener pledge drives. How do those go ? pretty well?
Bob: Actually our pledge drive is in February and it's something I take quite seriously. Our station, historically, has not been shy about removing shows from the schedule that do not perform well during the drives. Every year is a struggle. Usually it's hard to get people to understand what it really means to be a non-commercial radio station. Much less how much it means to the scene and the artists to have this show stay on the air. Last year, my show did better than ever, thanks to my doing more to let people know about the show's existence and having the show play on the Internet. I raised $4000 last year, my goal this year is $6000. Whether that will happen or not, especially in light of the disaster on September 11, I don't know. I do know how people may feel "charitied out." Also, a lot of people I know are unemployed or underemployed. But, it's my hope that they'll pull their wallet out one more time to keep something around that adds to the quality of the scene. I also try to give my listeners a little extra during the drive, so I make these cheesy fridge magnets with my computer. I also hook up with places like Amaranthe.net and 5thelement.com to give people special gifts or discounts. The record labels and bands are really good about giving me promo CDs, stickers and t-shirts to give to listeners who pledge their support.
Paul: The pledge drives that keep "ON the Edge" on the air have been real consistent, and again it's the listeners that donate their money to keep this show on the air. If they didn't give the show would be gone. That would be my most embarrassing moment.
SV: Related to your current pledge drive Bob -- how can the station raise and expect you to reach your goal when you're being cut short by basketball games? Surely that's not fair?
Bob: yeah, I know. Their reasoning is that I will have an extra week (March 2) to get more money.
SV: still doesn't sound right to me...
Bob: I know, not much I can do about it really, I think it can be done, to tell you the truth. What really stresses me out is that it shouldn't be this hard.
SV: ... meaning getting the listeners to contribute or what the radio station is demanding?
Bob: Getting people to contribute -- other formats have such an easy time of it. People seem to fall all over themselves to give money.
SV: ah.. well, this year is tough for our scene in many aspects... many people are broke and out of work. Lots of the goths I know were in the computer industry/tech stuff and its went belly up... at least here in Seattle.
Bob: I understand totally. In general though, our scene is not as unified as others.
SV: Our scene can be pretty selfish in alot of aspects..they do not appreciate DJs enough that's for sure.
Bob: yeah, well if it wasn't for the music they'd be listening to bad heavy metal or punk rock. Music has become a disposable commodity -- background noise -- generic dance beats stuff. In the "goth" scene, the music used to be such an influence on the culture. The music came first, the "scene" followed. My point is that our scene isn't 40 - 50 years old, it's not a popular grass roots scene like folk; yuppified hippies support that kind of music -- yuppified hippies play that kind of music. They know how to organize and support themselves they've been doing it since the 60's. The kid with the synthesizer in his bedroom is antisocial, the kid with a folk guitar in the park is socially acceptable. Anyway I'm ranting a bit here, I'll stop now
SV: What do you do when you're not DJing?
Bob: I'm a mild-mannered Systems Consultant for a major global insurance company. I also watch Star Trek, play with Anime The Cat, work on my website, change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with my bare hands and yearn for true love.
Paul: I work at the family business that deals with Heating Oil, and Oil fired furnaces. I spend about 1 to 2 hours a day at the gym lifting weights and doing various cardio exercises. I'm kind of a fitness nut. I also spend lots of time working on the show.
SV: Any other comments? Anything you've always wanted to get off your chest ?
Bob: First of all I want to say thanks to everyone who's supported the show over the years, I hope I can live up to your faith in the show and the fact that you believe in the music and the scene. I want to thank the people who've asked me to DJ at their events, who've reached out and made me feel welcome.
Commercial radio sucks, support non-commercial radio.
You can listen online www.c895fm.com
the show is 6pm-mid Sunday nights PST - KNHC 89.5fm in Seattle.
On the Edge t-shirts and stickers should be out soon.
to and support
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
Station: 89.1 WFDU-FM
Every Saturday, 6PM to 9PM EST
Web broadcast at www.theonebob.com.
to and support
On The Edge
Station: 89.5 FM KNHC
Every Sunday, 6PM to Midnight PST
Web broadcast at www.c895fm.com
the beginning of a megga-band
(photo credits in order of appearance: Jack Zedman, Natasha Epperson & Pavel Dvorak)
LA's Die My Darling have made a huge splash in the underground club and music scene in just a short amount of time since their formation in 2000. Snatched up by the impressive TRISOL GmbH label out of Germany in 2001 after the release of their demo and a couple mp3's; Die My Darling has emerged from the studio with a hard hitting full length CD called Virulent. Professional, complex, slick and well-produced; its hard to believe Virulent is only their first CD. If its any hint at the potential this band has, I think we're in for quite an interesting ride following their career.
Band members Sean D. and F.G. Reiche indulged me by answering some questions about their new release.
StarVox: First and foremost, congrats on your release of VIRULENT! How did the recording process go and what was working with the Trisol label like? I imagine putting out a CD via a German label might be a bit different? (Trisol's been releasing some incredible stuff lately!)
SEAN D. - "Thanks so much Blu. While several of the songs had already been written and demo'ed, VIRULENT was tracked in a little over four months, and it was quite an enjoyable experience. We are fortunate enough to have our own studio, and because of this have the ability to instantly track moments of inspiration, which I feel keeps things true to one's muse.
As for Trisol, they have supported us 100%. We have a very healthy relationship with them, and I personally couldn't be happier. They are a great label, and really have their finger on the pulse of the entire European industrial, Gothic and 'dark rock' market."
SV: When does the CD come out exactly and how do people get ahold of it?
SEAN D. - "VIRULENT will be released in Europe on 2/15/02, and will be available in all major record chains. Stateside it can be ordered through www.diemydarling.com, or distributors such as Middle Pillar or Isotank."
SV: The opening track of Virulent, a song titled "God Has Stopped Speaking" is an incredibly dramatic song - starting out with acoustic guitars, electronic feedback and somber sing-songy vocals before crashing headlong into a more brutal, driving rhythm. Mid song it changes completely again before being all linked together by a chorus. I'm guessing there's a bit of a story behind that track - how did that intro develop and what's the song about?
F.G. REICHE - "Sean had the lyrical content and melody for the intro, I just picked up the chord structure to support it with a baritone guitar. For me the most interesting element about the intro (and the middle break/bridge) is that they are without meter. It is very liquid and ambient. It was intended to capture the feel of a lo-fi home movie accompanied by melancholy recollections of childhood."
SEAN D. - "There are many levels to that song, lyrically and metaphorically. I wrote it with a particular transcendental mindset; that of an individual whose psyche has progressed to a point of such rage, fear and loneliness that logic has disintegrated, and all that remains are admonishments of what he or she feels have orchestrated their pain; God, Government, Family. The character is pathetic, but there is a certain reality there. Humanity is anything but humane."
SV: The song "7 Days" is an instrumental that features a very nice keyboard intro followed by haunting guitars. It's a slower, more moody song - a bit different than what some might expect from you guys but very nicely done! What inspired that? Is this the softer side of DMD peeking through?
F.G. REICHE - "Each of the tracks has a personality of it's own, this one was developed initially as a soundscape for a spoken word piece but it worked as a great transition in it's instrumental form. I don't think of it as soft due to the original concept, which was, 'What if God had worked for 7 Days creating the universe and has simply walked away, never looking back at it?' Hence the title. It is very much part of 'the DMD sound' which hopefully will always leave the listener wondering 'what's next?'."
SV: Your vocals are usually very emotional, spoken-word type things -- heavy emphasis placed on accentuating certain words, dramatic pauses, breath flares - its almost like theater in ways. Do you do anything in particular to get into that "mood" before performing?
SEAN D. - "Aside from warming up, there really isn't anything that I do in particular. The mood has to be right. I try to bring myself emotionally back to the moment in which I wrote the song; to connect with the emotional undercurrent of it on a base level. I do the same thing with Reiche's lyrics. Once you understand the emotional thrust, it dictates the performance."
SV: Musically you're a very complicated band. It might be easy to say you're electronic based but you do employ a lot of organic instrumentation as well (not to mention a mean guitar!). The two elements seem expertly melded together - electronic bits added in just the right places - none of this push button repetitive stuff we've been seeing lately from a lot of newer bands. Listening carefully to several tracks through headphones, I am reminded quite a bit of older NIN stuff - there are often several complicated layers. Do you have an idea of how you want songs to form when you start putting them together or do those layers just develop on their own as you go along?
F.G. REICHE - "Thanks for noticing all of the above. This is definitely a place where electronics and organics co-exist in equal parts. The layering is my forte. I perceive these types of compositions as mimicking nature. Rust and erosion are equal to fresh snowfall and bees traveling from blossom to blossom. It is kept together by a rhythm, a predictability that tomorrow something will be born and something will die. I don't think too much about what I want a song to sound like, but I do think about how it should 'feel'. What emotional color a song carries is very important to all of us. I create many of my own sounds (the old fashioned way) and because of that I am able to control every facet of each sound individually. I try to make my mixes challenge the listener's ability to absorb everything that is going on simultaneously, but without creating clutter in their mind, and I always try to support the lyrical content and vocal melody."
SV: I must say I was completely taken aback with the track "Waiting for Dawn" - it's a BEAUTIFUL song! Tell me about the female vocalist on that track - her singing combined with Sean's vocals is just outstanding.
F.G. REICHE - "Thanks again. The additional vocalist is Ilaria Cutolo, she is a singer I have worked with several times and I felt that the two extremely different voices could prove to be interesting. Actually the song had been written as a spoken word male and melodic female duet and came together exactly as I had hoped it would."
SV: The song "Our Behaviour" has to be - hands down, the sexiest song I've heard to date. It's like â€¦ porn for the ears! There are so many subtle nuances in that song that are just exhilarating (highly recommended that readers listen to that song through headphones). How you can make the phrase "no future" *that* sexy is beyond me -- hahaha. Do I dare ask what the inspiration for that song was?
D. - "You are too kind! 'Our Behaviour' was recorded in a very unconventional
way, in that I laid vocal tracks down with no
instrumentation, and Reiche, understanding the emotion of the piece, just ran with the soundscape. The lyrics are very metaphoric, but it is a love song, one of hope and clarity, regardless of how macabre it may seem. As for the inspiration? She knows who she is.
thank you for your kind words Blu. Your response to that song was exactly
what I had hoped it would elicit. 'Our Behaviour' should be used the same
way Massive Attacks' Mezzanine is… put it on repeat, light some candles
SV: So what's on the horizon for DMD now that the long awaited first CD is out? Tours? Concerts?
SEAN D. - "We have begun rehearsing for live dates, and it's going very well. It's great to be in a studio together playing, especially after so many months of recording. I think it's done a lot for DMD as a unit.
As for touring, although no dates have been confirmed as of yet, Trisol plans on bringing us to Europe for a festival and club tour. We also would very much like to do a west coast tour prior to going to Germany, so hopefully we will be able to see everyone in Seattle, as well as Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, etc. We are quite looking forward to this."
And now for some fun in the quest to gain insight into the personalities
that make up DMD -- :)
Who has pets and what are they?
SEAN D. - "The DMD family seems to have alot of cats. Personally, I have three little terrors; a monster cat by the name of Gabriel (he learned to open the refrigerator, which is a bad thing) and the ever hissing Mina and Rain."
F. G. REICHE - "I have arachnids."
SV: Favorite dessert?
SEAN D. - "Blackberries in any form. As a child I used to pick buckets of them in an exceedingly treacherous blackberry patch. My mother had trouble distinguishing between blackberry stains and blood, given how many thorns would puncture my flesh. But she always baked blackberry pies."
F. G. REICHE - "I like pudding. Mmmm, pudding."
SV: Place you'd most like to visit?
SEAN D. - "There are simply too many. Although I would love to visit Bucharest."
F. G. REICHE - "Prague."
SV: Sesame Street or the Muppets?
SEAN D. - "Neither. The creations of Jim Hensen frighten me. They are too much like clowns… and I hate clowns. I hate that Snuggle Fabric Softener bear with the button eyes as well. It's evil. The Easter Bunny is terrifying, and is undoubtedly an instrument of Satan. I could go on if you would like."
SV: A favorite movie?
SEAN D. - "Too many to mention, although Queen Margot, To Have or Have Not, The Crow, Legends of the Fall, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Halloween all certainly rank."
SV: Favorite piece of clothing?
SEAN D. - "Any pair of Terri King black leather pants. Oh, my black leather corset from Terri. Or my blood velvet coat from Terri.. Basically, anything from Terri. She is an amazing designer."
SV: Any last comments?
D. - "I'd like to thank Starvox for supporting us from the beginning,
as well as all our fans. You are like family."
Die My Darling Official Site: www.diemydarling.com
On mp3: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/171/die_my_darling.html
the US Virulent can be purchased at the Die
My Darling Website or from Middle
In Germany visit the Trisol site to obtain a copy.
~interviewed by Michael Otley
surprised to discover that Palace of Worms Records' newest release, a CD
from the Chile band Luna in Caelo, is actually a re-release. But
on listening, the reasons are obvious. Luna in Caelo's Aquellos
Desgarradores Gritos LLamados Silencio (originally 1998) is an intense,
diverse, and beautiful release. The album utilizes guitar, female
voice, percussion, and bass in a flurry of dark emotion. One moment
the band is in a full throttle as intense and loud as the Swans, and next
follows a piece with interesting percussion and treated electric guitar
work remnant of Cocteau Twins or even early Cure. Some soundscape
guitar works also work their way into the album. The Palace of Worms
Records re-release of this CD includes three earlier (1996) songs not on
the original album as well as two mpeg videos.
Luna in Caelo's work Miedo a Morir (2000) is much more consistent and a bit more quiet with a greater concentration on voice and guitar, like lighter Cocteau Twins works. The album is very passionate, but not as confrontational a Aquellos.... The guitars are beautiful and voice very sweet. "Vigilia" moves slowly with quiet percussion in the background and wind chimes fading in and out, perhaps sometimes backwards. The track resolves with a sort of quiet distortion fading in and finally out.
in Caelo is a band that must be appreciated first and foremost for the
very interesting and well used guitar and guitar effects. It seems
to come naturally to Daniel Devila, Luna in Caelo guitarist and visionary
in cooperation with Alejandra Araya, the beautiful voice of the band.
It is evident that this is a band to seek out if you appreciate the moods
of such bands as Cocteau Twins and earlier Siouxsie. And don't be
fooled when Daniel says this is a rock band; I believe he means there is
structure and guitar, but beyond that this is very different music indeed.
StarVox: On your new release on Palace of Worms Records Aquellos Desgarradores Gritos LLamados Silencio, which is actually a re-release, you have two videos. The first is a live a capella piece; the second is very dark and ambient. Would you tell us about including those on the CD?
DANIEL: Including the videos and three extra songs was an idea of Guido's, from POW, he wanted to make the release different and more appealing than the original release of Aquellos.... That gave us a chance to put out some unreleased material that complements that era of LIC.
StarVox: How did you get involved with Palace of Worms Records?
DANIEL: One and half years ago I put up a web site for LIC and POW contacted us. I sent some promo stuff, including Miedo a Morir, that was just released. We first wanted to make a compilation of the two CD's but Guido wanted to make the full release of Aquellos... which I think is great, because the original edition didn't have any promotion.
StarVox: The live footage from the Aquellos... CD was very dark, would you tell us about the atmosphere of your live shows?
DANIEL: That live footage was from our first concert in Mexico City, and we were very angry that night because we had some technical problems. But the face of Alejandra is that way in most concerts. The standard LIC concert, with the full line-up, is a very powerful yet intimate experience, we also like to play in places that are not big night clubs, like abandoned places or small venues. Here in Mexico we had to play with others groups, which we don't like much, because we take a lot of time preparing the stage, and use minimal or no light, things you can't do in a festival or something like that. At least we played here once with the full line up in an very nice colonial church that is now a cultural center. When all of us can't play, we play with just guitar and voice, which is beautiful too.
StarVox: Some of your music sounded particularly influenced by Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie. How do you feel about being compared to these artists?
DANIEL: We like those artists a lot, and all the other classics of that period. What we try to achieve is to use some musical background from those groups and build our own style, make a compliment, not a copy. Anyway, it is great to be compared with such great artists.
StarVox: Aquellos... contains some very interesting soundscape pieces like "Locus" and "Tormento". They sound like mostly processed guitar, and are very beautiful yet dark. Any comments on those?
DANIEL: Yes, those two songs are processed guitar, a kind of pause in the CD, that is basically a rock album. I think all the songs we make are a bit like soundscapes, more in Miedo a Morir, but even "Locus" and "Tormento" couldn't be called ambient music, they have a kind of sinister feeling and ambient music is more relaxing. They are more influenced by Lustmord, Non, etc.
StarVox: Another track from Aquellos... which grabbed my attention was "Pena", with it's almost Swans-like smashing guitar and drums. Coming off the very beautiful a capella "Duda", it's quite a contrast and blows me away every time I hear it. Where did this piece come from?
DANIEL: "Pena" is another kind of LIC song, a kind of big, epic tragedy. It was the opening song for our Chile's concerts for many years because it makes a great impact on the audience, and it keeps some tension, because you're always waiting for the drums to come back. The lyrics are about losing control of your life, when there's nothing to hold on to, just sorrow, pena. It even has our only external line of lyric: "dame el caliz de amargura, si, que acabe esta tortura" (give me the bitter chalice, yes, let's make this torture end) from "Jesus Christ Superstar"! Alejandra used to hear the Spanish version LP when child.
StarVox: Would you please tell us a little about getting started in Chile and moving to Mexico City?
DANIEL: Chile is a very small country and to make a group can be a very difficult and frustrating task if you are not going to make pop music. When we started back in 1993, there was no dark movement so we were called an 'alternative' band. I think those first years that included the first release of Aquellos... were very, very low profile. We wanted to be an almost 'secret' group, but that was the period we played live most. When we left Chile to move to Mexico in 1999, just Alejandra and me, we started to be very popular in the growing dark community of Chile, some kind of ghost band abroad. Here in Mexico we needed some time to decide to promote our music, because we came here for other reasons, but at last we decided to release Miedo a Morir and make some special concerts. We also started to make some abroad promotion, which ended, or just started, with the POW release.
StarVox: I've been listening to Miedo A Morir lately, it's very beautiful. And I just love the gray color on the CD itself.
DANIEL: Thanks, I think Miedo a Morir is less extreme than Aquellos..., I like it's mood. The grey color was a printer mistake, but it's nice anyway.
StarVox: It was a mistake? That's funny. I love the color, it's really creamy. Aquellos... is very good too, very extreme and even harsh at times. You probably need to be in a more serious mood to listen to it. Come to think of it, the are very different, and it's hard to have a favorite. Would you tell us what changed the approach between these two albums?
DANIEL: The main difference between them is that Aquellos... was a kind of compilation of our live set, we just picked songs to build a coherent yet diverse album, and its made in a professional studio by a rock band. It was also made in a full year period, that's why it has many different sounds. For Miedo a Morir, it was very different, the songs were never played live, all made almost when we were recording. And we recorded in a home studio we built, with big limitations like the drums couldn't be fully recorded, we had to make it in steps. We also had to work quietly, as to not disturb the neighborhood. And we needed to work fast because we had a date to leave Chile, so, it all influenced the music, it made a quiet, continuous, and solemn album.
StarVox: Right now you are recording new material, will you tell us anything about that?
DANIEL: When we moved to Mexico, the big question was the future of LIC, because we were just the half of the line-up, and we weren't sure about playing in Mexico. Anyway, we never stopped writing music. After a year here, we decided to make a duo recording, just to leave a testimony of our Mexican visit, that it's about to end to return to Chile. It's not Mexican music influenced, but it's about being just the two of us again, as the beginning of LIC. So I made-up another home studio, and here we are, recording hurried again, before we leave Mexico!
in Caelo is:
Alejandra Araya – voice
Daniel Davila – guitars
Enrique Stindt – drums
Philippe Boissier – bass