Strange though it may seem at this distance, the original UK goth scene of the early 80s enjoyed broad support from the media - to the point where the name 'Goth' itself was essentially a media creation.
It's hard to imagine this now, but many of the first-wave goth bands received frequent plays on UK national radio, both of their official releases and in the form of specially-recorded sessions. Siouxsie And The Banshees, Skeletal Family, UK Decay, Specimen, Danielle Dax, Play Dead, The March Violets, Fields Of The Nephilim, even the dear old Sisters Of Mercy - all these and many more were, at one time, frequently to be heard on the evening 'alternative' shows on the UK's national pop music station, BBC Radio 1. Indeed, the first Bauhaus album largely comprises tracks originally recorded for BBC radio sessions.
But that was then, and this is now. Today, it seems that radio in general prefers to pretend that goth doesn't exist. Although BBC Radio 1 still broadcasts a range of shows which purport to cover the alternative end of the music spectrum, it's almost impossible forany of the bands from the goth zone to grab a bit of airplay. Elsewhere in the media, goth is sometimes covered in a one-off, novelty-feature manner, but nobody, it seems, is willing to take goth seriously as a genre or subculture. Virtually every other aspect of contemporary pop culture - from rap to metal, from r'n'b to techno - has its champions in the media, radio slots devoted to the music, and receives wide coverage. Goth, however, just isn't welcome at the party these days.
Against this background, the achievement of Natasha Scharf, founder and editor of the UK's biggest-selling goth magazine, Meltdown, is all the more remarkable. Working with an independent production company, Somethin' Else, Natasha researched and assembled a 30-minute radio documentary on goth. Punningly entitled Beyond The Pale, the show was aired nationally on BBC Radio 1, and internationally via the web.
If you didn't catch the broadcast - immediately after the Whitby Gothic Weekend, on Monday November 4 - the show is still current on the Radio 1 website (see links below).
So, how did the underground goth scene suddenly invade the hallowed airwaves of the BBC? It seems it was down to a combination of chance - and a lot of hard work. Natasha explains it like this:
'Purely by fluke I'd ended up freelancing with an independent production company, Somethin' Else, who had been hired to make documentaries for Radio One. I submitted a stack of synopses and none were successful so, for a laugh, I submitted one on goth. The next thing I knew, the Head of Programmes at the production company asked me for a cassette with some examples of modern goth music, and we started having meetings about adapting the synopsis to meet BBC standards. The synopsis was tweaked by a freelance producer because obviously I'd never done a doc for Radio One before so I had to be trained up - they have very fixed ideas of what can and can't be done. Then, in April, while I was travelling up to the Whitby Gothic Weekend, I got a call on my mobile from the Head of Programmes saying that my synopsis had been accepted and Radio One were prepared to commission me to make the doc. I spent that WGW in a daze, biting my tongue lest the news should leak out ahead of time!'
Bizarrely, given that Radio 1 hadn't paid the slightest attention to goth for many years, the decision makers at the station were very keen to bring Natasha's documentary to the airwaves, as she relates:
'According to the Head of Programmes at Somethin' Else, they were very enthusiastic. They thought that goth was a "sexy" topic (ie mediaspeak for something in demand) so they were keen to jump on the bandwagon. It also helped that, as I later discovered, the Head of Programmes was an old goth himself and had given everything a little helping hand!'
The documentary provided an array of bands from the UK goth 'n' related scene with their first-ever chance of airplay; and, because the show was put together from an insider's perspective, with contributions from some of the bands, DJs, and other movers and shakers from the goth underground in the UK, it was refreshingly accurate. However, because the show was intended for the general Radio 1 audience (as opposed to a *goth* audience), it had to be made in an accessible style, with references to topics, people, and music that the average Radio 1 listener would know about. To a certain extent, Natasha found herself working within parameters set by Radio 1:
'The influence Radio 1 had was in the fast-paced style and the way that we used commercially-known figures like Mortiis and Joey from Slipknot. They didn't suggest those people, I chose them and manipulated the questions to fit the angle of the doc which was to expose the real goth underground.'
'They were also fairly instrumental in getting us to use someone from the media. The producer suggested Andy Capper from Bizarre [UK schlock-horror magazine] and we agreed that he was probably the most appropriate given the target audience of teenagers. I didn't do that particular interview - the producer did - but I briefed her beforehand. She was very sympathetic to the goth cause (she went to Leeds University and had loads of goth friends) and she really gave Andy a hard time about his references to blood-drinking! That was another angle that Radio 1 got us to use - a lot of kids write into the Sunday Surgery (a kind of agony uncle thing they do on Radio 1) about self-harm and suicide so it was something that they were keen to express: that goth *doesn't* lead to that kind of behaviour. We had a huge argument about whether to include that bit - I actually got so annoyed I deleted another section of it from the edit! In the end, the Head of Programmes at Somethin' Else and the Commissioning Editor at Radio 1 were pulled in and we decided to use Andy Capper's words as an argument with [goth-academic and author] Paul Hodkinson's quote: "Goth does not lead to this kind of thing!" At the end of the day, Andy is the one who comes out looking an idiot and the goths come out looking, well, misinterpreted!'
'Radio 1 was also instrumental in keeping the whole thing UK-centric and young. I wasn't actually meant to interview anyone over the age of 30 but I cheated!'
Radio 1's insistence that Beyond The Pale should be made in a way that would be relevant to the station's core audience also explains why the documentary touches on the phenomenon of nu-metal, and features an interview clip with Joey of Slipknot and the Murderdolls. This, of course, doesn't necessarily relate to the Goth scene *we* know, but it provides an entry point, as it were, for Radio 1 listeners who might otherwise be alienated by constant references to bands and people about whom they know nothing. The need to keep the 'general' audience interested also threw up a knotty problem when the choice of narrator came to be considered. Natasha again:
'As far as the narrator was concerned, that was really hard. Because of the Radio 1 slot, we had to use someone who was well-known to The Kids. Everyone goth-appropriate was deemed too old: Bob Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, Wayne Hussey - I had a nightmare coming up with a contemporary figure. We considered Brian Molko from Placebo who we thought was fairly inoffensive to the Goth cause - but he couldn't do it because he was in the studio working on a new album. I suggested Mortiis but we ended up just interviewing him. Then the Radio 1 Commissioning Editor came up with Anthony Head, the British actor who plays Giles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I swotted up on a bit of Buffy and said: "Yeah, OK". We weren't allowed to use the Giles reference too heavily because of copyright issues so we gave him a ficticous character - Morpheus. It was a pun on Morpheus from Sandman, because Anthony was metaphorically leading the listener to the (gothic) underworld!'
With the green light from Radio 1, the boundaries established, and all the basic decisions made, the hard work of gathering raw material and piecing the show together technically could begin. Natasha talks us through the process:
'My first task was deciding what I wanted to say. I started early, gathering interviews with various folk. This then developed into vox pops with Goths and even following a Goth around as he got ready for an evening out. That was a challenge to set up and I'd like to thank Marc Elston [who is featured as he crimps his hair selects an outfit for a night of clubbing] for trusting me enough not to make him look an idiot, which is what most documentary makers do to goths.'
'Once I'd gathered all the raw data, I was trained up in editing it in the Somethin' Else studios - I didn't go anywhere near Radio 1! Although I'd edited stuff digitally before, I'd never properly used the equipment that they had so I had to be trained up on it. I picked out all the useful bits and found out where the gaps in the story were so I could set up more interviews. The producer helped me plot out the structure of the programme, deciding the rough order and how long each section should be. I then pulled the edited sections into that order, keeping to the length of each section and adding appropriate music where I thought. That was a big challenge actually - deciding what bands to interview and what music to use without upsetting people! After each of the sections had been selected, the producer went through it all and tweaked it so that it sounded tight and fast-paced, like a Radio 1 documentary. The whole thing was tweaked again, so that the sound levels were consistent, by a sound engineer. Radio 1 then had to approve it afterwards - as far as I know they didn't change anything from our final mix.'
Given the need to make the documentary essentially to Radio 1's specifications, the finished result is highly informative and wonderfully entertaining. Within the 30-minute timeslot - the standard duration for all documentary shows on Radio 1 - Beyond The Pale gives us a quick lesson in goth-history - how it originally emerged from punk, via such bands as Bauhaus and the Banshees, through to the scene as it stands today. Myths are debunked (no, goths are *not* all depressed blood-drinking teens!), the style and attitude of the scene is examined - with witty and self-deprecating comments from goths themselves. Bands and DJs are interviewed, key features of the goth-scene landscape such as the Whitby Gothic Weekend are examined, and we're taken out clubbing (there's even a sequence recorded in the toilets at a goth club!!)
Perhaps most importantly, a wide range of contemporary goth-scene music - from VNV Nation to The Faces Of Sarah, from the Chaos Engine to Manuskript - is heard for the first time on national radio airwaves. (The full tracklisting is on the Radio 1 website - link below). The music is presented in 'excerpt' form, much of it as background to the speech. This, of course, is not the ideal way for the music to be heard, but it does mean that Radio 1 listeners who had probably never encountered any of the music before were able to get a comprehensive taster of the soundtrack to today's goth scene - and, given the fact that the show was a documentary, not a music programme, this was probably the only realistic way to do it. It would be nice to think that Radio 1 would now include the output of contemporary goth bands in its normal alternative programming - Beyond The Pale demonstrates clearly that there's a lot of good stuff around which would dovetail very neatly with the station's alterno-show playlists, without frightening off the indie kids. And if the bands themselves are intelligent enough to use this opportunity to hit Radio 1's DJs and producers with promotional material, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the media's door, which has been firmly shut in the face of goth for many years, will slowly swing open...
Here's Natasha, to roll the credits:
'I'd like to thank all the clubs that let me interview folk - Wendyhouse in Leeds, Resurgence in Portsmouth and Tenebrae in London. I'd also like to thank the folk at the Dark Jubilee festival in London who let me run riot there, setting up interviews. I'd like to thank everyone who took part for their time, patience and ultimately trust in me because that was very important - these people don't give interviews to anyone and I was flattered that they trusted me to tell the story accurately and not to twist their words. I guess I'd also like to thank Radio 1 for having enough faith in me to commission the show in the first place!'
main webpage for BBC Radio One's alternative programming:
for Steve Lamacq's mid-evening alternative music show, within which the
Beyond The Pale documentary was broadcast:
Beyond The Pale documentary webpage, with tracklisting, info, quotes, and
links - and an option to hear the show itself online:
Meltdown magazine: http://www.meltdownmagazine.com
Somethin' Else, the independent production company through whom the show was made: http://www.somethin-else.com
Written by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to
Photo of Natasha Scharf by Stephane Lord - http://www.darkfairies.co.uk
Of Ash: Heidi S. Tveitan
~interview by Eric Rasmussen
To take a deeper look behind Star of Ash's debut "Iter.Viator.", we opted to get our information directly from Star of Ash's founder, songwriter, and vocalist Heidi S. Tveitan. Also be sure to take a look at our review of "Iter.Viator." in this month's issue.
Eric: For starters, I'm curious about the name Star of Ash, and the album title "iter.viator." How did you go about picking a band name and CD title? Do they hold any particular significance for you, and what does "iter.viator" mean?
Heidi: The album title "Iter.Viator" is Latin for "The journey. The traveler". The phrase Star of Ash has its inspiration from French surrealism; a meeting between the meaningful and nonsense.
Eric: I found the lyrics to be vaguely disturbing... a lot of the images you use conjure up strong feelings. What was your inspiration for the lyrics? Are there any themes or ideas that listeners should be particularly attuned to?
Heidi: The lyrics also move between the meaningful and pure nonsense. It is more about impressions rather than understanding. Hence, I like to hear that they conjure up strong feelings in the reader, as it means that they communicate on some level. As for inspiration its hard to pinpoint where I've found what, but since I studied ancient history and Latin parallel with working with Star of Ash, I guess it right to say that one interest bleed into the other. Further on, "Iter.Viator" is a visual album in brutal images, and I sometimes like to think of it as a journey in the crime noir fashion. Sometimes someone just find that they ate too greedily from the trays of life. And when the strength and power the meal initially gave transforms into black gall, you find yourself perish while you run towards nothingness. An appealing thought.
Eric: Compared to your other project, Peccatum, Star of Ash isn't very heavy (in the metal sense). However, the guitar parts are entirely appropriate when used, and add some diversity to the CD. Did you set out to make an album without prominent guitars or drums? How did you decide on fitting them into the recording?
Heidi: My initial ambition was to make a rather low key and quiet record, but that changed somewhat during the process. Writing music is a diverse and open process, so the guitars went in where I thought it appropriate at the time. The final result is oftentimes more about the way you arrange the music rather than the actual themes themselves. Still, I've been thematically focused during the songwriting process, meaning that each single theme is of great importance. I often work my way through musical landscapes by emotional impressions as well as more technical aspects of what I wish to achieve. Drums, guitars and vocals helped me to achieve the more live oriented sound picture I desired, all blended together with black synthesis.
Eric: Ok, that covers some of the more rock oriented sounds on "iter.viator." Can you give us some insight into your songwriting process for everything else? Do you tend to start crafting songs with lyrics/vocals, keyboards, or something else?
Heidi: There are probably ten thousand ways of creating music, as well as there are ten thousand ways for a house to fall. And even though I don't possess all these skills of building and tearing I work my way into musical landscapes from many directions and in many ways. I use the piano quite a lot, to build harmonies and chord progressions. Sequencing is also a handy tool, and so is a sheet of score paper. Vocals are in general the last thing to intertwine. The music normally feels more important than the lyrics though, hence the words must adapt to the music, not vice versa.
Eric: Your singing adds an emotional touch to the music, and you've got a very beautiful voice. Are you classically trained? What are some of your vocal influences?
Heidi: I have no formal education in the field of singing, but I've undertaken singing lessons for quite a few years now. The last couple of years I've been rather lazy in this field, but perhaps and hopefully the urge to improve will beat laziness one of these days :o) Among others, my recent vocal influence has been David Bowie, but I guess it is more about his way of phrasing rather than his actual singing technique.
Eric: Is Star of Ash solely a studio project or will you be performing live? How will this affect any live performances with Peccatum?
Heidi: For the time being I'm quite happy to leave it behind as a studio album, but if the right opportunity comes along I might change my mind. If I were to choose between playing with Peccatum or Star of Ash, I'd simply pick the setting I preferred at the time. We'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it I suppose.
Eric: Do you feel allegiance to any scene or movement in music? How would you categorize Star of Ash's music?
Heidi: No, I feel no allegiance to any musical scene or movement in music, nor do I feel any urge to categorize my music. Not today anyway.
Eric: What was it like to work with Trickster G. and Jester Records? Why did you decide to release "iter.viator." on Jester versus other labels?
Heidi: I guess its fair to say that he picked me rather than me deciding for Jester Records. When that is said, I'm rather pleased to be a part of the Jester family.
Eric: What can we expect from Star of Ash in the future? What else will you be working on in the near future with other projects/bands?
Heidi: At the present time we're working with a website for Star of Ash. I'm also considering making a music video for this release, but haven't made up my mind as yet. What forum Ill release my music through in the future I do not know, but were currently working on the third full-length from Peccatum and hope to release it next year.
Eric: Are there any final thoughts you'd like to share with your fans and our readers?
Heidi: "...At once Fama raced through Africa's great cities. Fama is of all pests the swiftest. In her freedom of movement lies her power, and she gathers new strength from her going. She begins as a small and timorous creature; but then she grows till she towers into the air, and though she walks on the ground, she hides her head in the clouds. Men say that Earth, Mother of All, brought her to birth when provoked to anger against the gods; she is her last child, younger sister to Coeus and Enceladus. Fama is fleet of foot, and swift are her wings; she is a vast, fearful monster, with watchful eye miraculously set under every feather which grows on her, and for every one of them a tongue in a mouth which is loud of speech, and an ear ever alert. By night she flies hissing through the dark in the space between earth and sky, and never droops her eyelids in contented sleep. In the daylight she keeps watch, sometimes perched on the roof-top of a house and sometimes on the tall towers of a palace. And she strikes dread throughout great cities, for she is as retentive of news which is false and wicked as she is ready to tell what is true..." ~ Vergil: "The Aeneid", 4th song, verse 173-189
of Ash is:
Heidi S. Tveitan - music, words, arrangements
Interview with vidnaObmana
~by Sonya Brown
(photo courtesy/property of the vidnaObmana site)
Two years ago, I sat in on a magnificent live performance provided by vidnaObmana, Steve Roach, and a fellow guest musician. Dreams in Exile (talented musicians hailing from Portland, Oregon) invited vidnaObmana, a brilliant storytelling composer, to exhibit ambient musical talents inside of The Old Church, thus bringing to the attention of Northwest music enthusiasts the acoustic and visual intimacies of The Old Church. This unforgettable three hour performance was later broadcast via Oregon Public Broadcasting television and radio stations.
vidnaObmana commands a significant influence and makes regular appearances on the PBS/OPB broadcast known as "ECHOES".
Now releasing an Opera for Four Fusion Works, vidnaObmana takes on the first act in a 4-part CD series. This "four-CD album, released one CD at a time" begins with part one "Echoes of Steel", now available at www.vidnaobmana.org Each "act" will each focus on exhibiting the beauty and resonance of a particular instrument. Echoes of Steel highlights the guitar mastery of Dreams In Exile.
Let's now turn our focus to vidnaObmana as we learn more about this new epic musical undertaking.
Sonya: First of all, why did you decide to split your Opera into four parts?
vidnaObmana : From in the beginning I always felt I needed more time and space to develop a particular concept or technique into the best detail, and this wasn't different with the Opera project I had in mind. Originally it was a six CD project, but after more than a year brainstorming, I trimmed it down to a 4 Acts work. Each Act, or part, presents a particular instrument around which the album is constructed, and since I again felt that the multi-dimensional character of each instrument was so unique, I had to avoid diminishing the quality of such tools by fusion them all on one CD.
Sonya: What is your own personal experience with the Opera, and why does it seem to fascinate you so?
vidnaObmana : You see, I always have been fascinated and drawn to various styles of classical music, and it's the structure of an Opera which brought me to the idea to play with that concept for this recycling project I was setting up. Instead of naming the project the typical poetic title, I wanted to approach this work differently, and let us say, more academical. A classic Opera is constructed around a set of overtures and songs, divided into acts. Now this is just what fascinated me so, since wherever you are in the Opera, you still get a feeling of interconnecting between the various Acts by repeating a particular lyric, a specific theme, or even a complete composition, since it belongs to the same story. And this is exactly what I had in mind with my project. The recycling technique is, of course, the ain technical approach while I hope to create (naturally with the valuable help of the guest musicians and contributors) a specific theme which would return in every part, and I believe I found that one in Act 1 - Echoes of Steel. Up till now, I did several recycling works solo or in collaboration with, for instance, Asmus Tietchens or the Dutch church organist Willem Tanke, but never were they part of one specific theme or concept, as they are quite diverse compared to each other. Those works as well are more experimental and avant-garde, and with the Opera project I really hope I could turn the wheel around in order to create a very harmonic and warm set of works based upon the recycling techniques I'm so into.
Sonya: "Echoes of Steel". Please give us insights into why you chose this title. What titles and associated themes may follow with each next cd in this set?
vidnaObmana : The 4 acts of the "Opera for Four Fusion Works" all carry a title which refers to the instrument itself which is featured on every album. To give you an example, "Echoes of Steel" refers to the acoustic and electric guitars Dreams in Exile played for this part of the Opera project. The steel snares of the guitar, the specific looping delays I've been using onto their recordings in order to set the specific themes in motion and build them up over the course of each piece. And I carefully applied the same philosophy for labeling the other albums as well. To give you another example and shed some more light onto the continuation, the 2nd Act is titled "Phrasing the Air", as reference to the soprano saxophone around which Act II is constructed. The title obviously accentuates the breathing and blowing technique you've to use for playing the saxophone properly.
Sonya: How are fans reacting to the 4 CD jewel box containing only one cd, with the spaces for the other 3 discs remaining empty? How will fans receive the other 3 CD's?
vidnaObmana : I made no secret about it that "Opera for Four Fusion Works" lives between the cracks of my major solo albums (like the current Dante trilogy on Relapse Records); but I hope to score "Act II : Phrasing the Air" somewhere at the end of this year or early 2003. For my solo albums, I've been approaching my music somehow different and less ambient. The Dante trilogy focuses onto the edgy and bold side of my philosophy as a musician and goes back to the days in the early 80' when I was recording industrial music; but with the experience collected over the almost 20 years since then, I felt it was time to create a new sonic assault and support the approach by referring to Dante's Inferno poem, which has been lingering on in my mind for years. It's just because its more raw nature, the harmonic "Opera for Four Fusion Works" project balances this out beautifully. Anyway I do hope Act II will see the daylight in the middle of 2003. It's naturally a different approach to release a 4-CD project, but since Hypnos (the label who is releasing the Opera set) and I agreed it wasn't beneficial to ask the listener to buy all 4 CD's at once (and of course I needed more time and space to develop each Act), we decided to go for 4 separate releases. This first Act "Echoes of Steel" comes in the original 4-CD jewelbox with space for the other 3 forthcoming Acts, while these will be released in a special envelope including a regular CD booklet. I've to admit, that in the beginning, the information had to be absolutely correct in order not to make the confusion bigger, but I've been amazed about how many of the listeners actually embraced this unique project.
Why did you choose to begin your journey with the acoustic and electric guitar majesty of Dreams In Exile? How does this recording process work, given that both music projects are located on different continents?
vidnaObmana : As you may know, Dreams in Exile and I have been working together for several years before I invited them to participate to my "Opera for Four Fusion Works". The combination of musical collaboration, friendship, and spiritual connection initiated when Dreams in Exile sent me one of their first ep's out of appreciation for my music several years ago. Since then, the correspondence and understanding solidified and we started to work together with myself post- and producing their music for their forthcoming releases; but it's through these projects we discovered a mutual approach to sound that it resulted in much more than just productional work. I started to recycle particular elements from their songs and incorporate them in the original song structure, and this to the enthusiasm of Dreams in Exile. During these projects, I truly started to appreciate their incredible performance talent on the guitar, and when we met in person in Portland, and seeing them perform acoustically on guitar in Corey Pressman's living room, I knew I had to bring them in on my Opera project. And since then, the mutual understanding and the projects we plan for the future will only get more profound and focused. It isn't always easy to work together when you're living on the other end of the Ocean, but in my case, and the projects we wanted to pursue, it came in handy since Dreams in Exile and I needed our time separately to get familiar and finally score the sources or music we set to compose. I especially need the solitude in the studio in order to go deep into the music and create such a detailed and introspective work, like "Echoes of Steel". For instance, for "Echoes of Steel", I explained the concept to Corey and Kirk of Dreams in Exile and asked them, with a specific artistic freedom, to record a series of repetitive guitar structures. They did onto ADAT which I took to my studio and ran in through the various recycling techniques and electronic devices to finally end up with the "Echoes of Steel" album. It's a simple way of collaborating, but one which can only succeed if you all have 200% respect and trust in each other's qualities and philosophy. We've been remaining in close contact by email and phone in order to get in sync about a new project or something I want them to contribute to or vice-versa. And I'm sure when we finally get together, the focus will be stronger and the result multi-dimensional.
Sonya: Please explain for our readers the concept and applications of "infinite recycling" as it appears on "Echoes of Steel".
vidnaObmana : The recycling techniques I'm applying for the "Opera for Four Fusion Works" in general, and of course on "Echoes of Steel", are multi-layered manipulations of a specific sound from, for instance, the acoustic and electric guitar or a complete pattern. The tools I'm using for detailing a specific interesting sound and re-creating it in a different harmonic region or even completely unrecognizable are several effect-processors, tempo and volume changes, and loop devices. So on "Echoes of Steel" for instance, along with some additional synth chords, electric guitar and other instruments played by myself, most of what you hear on the songs is derived from the original recordings Dreams in Exile made. The understanding naturally is that Corey and Kirk grant me complete artistic freedom to interact, manipulate or even process their sources beyond recognition in order to score the final compositions. It's the infinity of the recycling technique which finally makes the precise atmosphere and feeling of the pieces come alive as some of the songs on the album contain over more than 40 different layers of recycled guitar. Some very subtle and sparse, others quite intense and upfront, but combining together makes the composition complete.
Sonya: I understand you are an avid movie collector. Would you please elaborate a bit upon your interests and any titles you have chosen for your collection?
vidnaObmana : The word on this spreads really fast, it seems... but yes, I've to admit I've a weakness for collecting movies on DVD. I mean, the excellent image and sound quality increased my fascination for movies in general, and since then I got stuck with a maniacal urge to buy movies on DVD. My collection so far covers more than 400 films on DVD (I know it's a shame) and the genres I collect are quite diverse, but if I have to pick out a few I would definitely list the complete collection of David Lynch and David Cronenberg among my favorites, along with movies like 'One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest', 'Taxi Driver', 'The Pledge', 'Psycho', 'The Hustler' and many more...
Sonya: How will music by vidnaObmana find avenues into upcoming cinematic productions?
: Unfortunately, this has been progressing very slowly; but more recently
I've come in touch with a very talented and young American director who
has asked me to compose the soundtrack for his short movie 'Home'.
I did, and the result is really beautiful. Anthony Berrios is currently
working on a new short film as well on his debut feature film, and most
likely I'll do the music for them as well. The understanding with
Tony is quite good and we both feel it's the dialogue between his images,
storytelling and the music of vidnaObmana is a strong one. Hopefully,
many projects will follow. The short film 'Home' is currently viewable
at the vidnaObmana website.
Sonya: How is Dante's Trilogy coming along?
vidnaObmana : Perfect. The 2nd chapter "Spore" is completely finished and back from the pressing plant as well. Relapse Records already shipped off copies to me, and they look really stunning. It continues where I ended with "Tremor", but this time I increased the level of intensity and dynamics by adding more pulse and experiment to the rhythms and soundscapes I created for this album. Also the interaction between my performance on the electric guitar and playing the Fujara and overtone flutes is increased and placed much more upfront compared to the usual spatial ambience I used to have in my previous albums. Really proud of this album, and judging from the recent experiences in concert, a perfect collection to perform live.
Sonya: What plans might vidnaObmana have to tour again within the United States, and who might be joining you this time around? Will you be coming back to the caverns along the coast?
vidnaObmana : This year I've been performing extensively in Belgium and this really solidified my faith in the dynamics of a vidnaObmana live concert; and since Relapse Records is releasing "Spore" on January the 21st 2003 in the States (Europe : February 2003), Relapse and I are currently working on a US tour for April or May 2003. I truly hope this tour will bring me finally back to the West Coast (incl. California) and the plan is for the tour on the West Coast that Dreams in Exile will come along to make it a complete event. Anyway, we'll see how everything will evolve, but for those who're interested in setting up a vidnaObmana concert at the East Coast, and one with Dreams in Exile at the West Coast, feel free to get in touch with us through www.vidnaobmana.org*, www.dreamsinexile.com or www.relapse.com.
soon on January 21st 2002 :
Spore, vidnaObmana's 2nd installment in his Dante trilogy for Release/Relapse Records
20 & 21 2002
principle of silence - vidnaObmana&joris De Backer performs two nights in the intimate setting of the old Theobaldus chapel in Brecht (Belgium) - tickets are now available through our mail-order service. www.principleofsilence.be
& information :
experience the vidnaObmana anthology at mp3.com/vidnaobmana webmaster : firstname.lastname@example.org
the photography : www.martinaverhoeven.be
And the fusion : www.principleofsilence.be
*From mid-December 2002 the website at www.vidnaobmana.org will not be available until the completely re-designed and new website is launched. We expect the official opening around February 2003.
All correspondence needs to be addressed to email@example.com and from now on the vidnaObmana website is available at www.vidnaobmana.be
Our apologies for the inconvenience and look forward to welcome you at the relocated home of vidnaObmana....
~interview by Eric Rasmussen
This month we decided to brave the turbulent seas of... er... just you try coming up with an analogy that works with "Bumblefoot." How's this: We're branching out into the land of honey and striped-feet to bring you an interview with one of music's most innovative and downright wacky artists - the inimitable Bumblefoot.
Eric: We should get the basics out of the way first - what are your biggest musical influences? Have you pretty much always been into music?
Bumblefoot: Hello sir. The basics - yep, always into music. Grew up on the Beatles and old Kiss, alot of metal Manowar, Maiden, 70s prog stuff like Yes... not alot of guitar music though. Also listened to alot of punk music and was in a punk band as a kid. The closest thing to guitar music I really was into was Van Halen. Listened to early Malmsteen, but my biggest influence was George Martin, the Beatles' producer that flavored up all their stuff with cellos and sheeit...
Eric: How did you start developing your unique guitar style? Were there any particular guitarists or other musicians that inspired your guitar lunacy?
Bumblefoot: The eye-opening moment that fucked me up for life was the first time I heard the intro to "Mean Streets" from Van Halen. Didn't know what tapping was before then... but mostly, it all happened from *not* listening to what guitarists were doing, and just entertaining myself. I had an overactive brain and too much time. So I'd try and play all the parts to a song at the same time, and that pretty much did it...
Eric: What sort of music do you listen to in your spare time?
Bumblefoot: Alot of old Motown stuff - the Four Tops, Smokey, Foundations...
Eric: Alright, let's move on to your second Bumblefoot album. Uncool features a lot of your great singing and vocal harmonies - the diversity of vocal styles across songs and even within them is impressive. How do you decide what types of styles to fit into each song?
Bumblefoot: I don't set any guidelines or make any rules - art is the only place where you don't have to have rules. It's a necessary balance for how structured life can get. So I just picture something in my head and try to translate it into music, trying to capture the same feeling. I write everything in my head without touching the guitar - this way I think about the song as its own thang without getting caught up in the self-indulgence that can happen when it becomes about the physical playing of the song.
Eric: Your latest album, 9/11, was a big departure from Uncool and was a lot more guitar oriented. Songs like "Lost" and "Raygun" feature solos that make sounds that you'd expect from synthesizers, not guitars. What do you think is the most important thing when writing a solo?
Bumblefoot: Most important thing is to listen. Be a listener when you're playin'. I don't write solos - I keep em spontaneous so they stay more of a true expression. The end of "Raygun" is about as close as I get to planning a solo - even the song after it was made up on the spot as I was recording. It becomes a problem later on when people wanna hear the solo note for note and I have no idea what I did. Then I have to go back and figure it out and practice it for a month or two.
Eric: Can you give us some insight into your live performances? How much do you stick to the original music? I've only heard the free "T-Jonez" unplugged mp3 to judge your live music by - and I still don't know what to think! Where did the punk song come from?
Bumblefoot: The live shows are always more gritty and raw. It's never been about guitar to me, it's about the songs and pushing the most energy out of 'em. Alot of times we'd just bust out an old metal cover or a hardcore version of a Britney Spears song or whatever we feel at that moment. Now I'm playing with different bands in different countries - it's very cool. Each band interprets the music their own way and gives the music its own sound. In Holland I just toured with the musicians from Sun Caged, a prog metal band - drums, bass and keyboards. In France it's the musicians from the band Plug-In, an instrumental rock band with drums bass and guitar. I play sing and play guitar synth (all the horn hits, flute solos, etc.) and fretless guitar.
Eric: Are there any guitar pieces you're incapable of playing? Curiosity demands that I ask this, but don't worry, I won't list any answers in the reviews. "Hey everyone, listen to Bumblefoot! He can't play any of the following songs..."
Bumblefoot: Sure, there's tons of stuff out there. But I'm not out to prove anything to anyone. I mean, anyone can do anything if they dedicate themselves. But given the choice of spending quality time with people I love or learning an Alan Holdsworth solo note-for-note, I'm not gonna work on the solo...
Eric: Have you ever considered a career in opera?
Bumblefoot: I've thought about it. But I think I look like a fat opera singer more than I sound like one.
Eric: Let's recap: the first Bumblefoot CD was Hands, and it was full of quality experimental rock music with impossible guitar solos. Then came Uncool, a largely indescribable experimental rock meets 70's lounge album; and it was focused on your singing. Lastly we've got 9/11, a mostly guitar oriented foray into strange music. I have no idea what you might come up with next. Have you started work on new material? What can you tell us about it?
Bumblefoot: Actually, there was a re-release of the Uncool CD after 9/11, in Feb 2002. The first version (released in France only, Sept 2000) was more the vision of the French label that released it - the new version is more of how I saw the CD. Now I'm working on a "crapology" cd of unreleased songs dating back to 94. I have my own studio now, in Princeton NJ and am finishing incomplete recordings of old songs - should be out by early 2003. Also doing alot of producing - hardcore bands, punk bands, folk, pop and hiphop artists. This year I got into writing for TV and film, mostly punk, metal and rap. I'm a fukkin workaholic - I'm in a race against time to get as much music into the world as I can. Not sure what new B'foot music is gonna sound like. I won't plan it - as the song says, "we make plans, God laughs" - just gotta capture the moment when it happens. Don't know what it'll sound like - all a question of what happens in life from now till then...
Eric: Is there anything else you'd like to share with your fans/critics/bemused-observers?
Bumblefoot: Yeah - visit www.msrf.org - my best friend Ralph was hit with Multiple Sclerosis in 97 - it ended his music career. Instead of giving up, he started a fundraising group run entirely by volunteers and all the money goes to research - for real - he's not looking to get rich, he's looking to walk again. Go to the site, get to know him, then email him and let him know ya care. He's my inspiration - he proves that your spirit doesn't break unless you let it.
We owe Bumblefoot a big thanks for indulging our questions. If this interview hasn't inspired you to go listen to Bumblefoot, maybe a more direct approach will: you're missing out if you don't visit www.bumblefoot.com
Questions for Descendants of Cain
~interview by Jezebel
After years of being the “resident band” of Gossips, a club in the Soho section of London, Descendants of Cain has started to branch out and realize their potential as a band in the gothic scene. Now touring throughout the UK, DoC is one of those rare bands that meld talent with down-to-earth common sense, intelligence and well, they are just damn nice.
Almost too often compared to Fields of the Nephilim, DoC have evolved their sound from their first album of ATzILUTH building upon strong guitars, bass and synthesizers and making a stronger and more focussed sound. I caught up with the band to ask them just a bit about themselves and their new album, Briah.
Q. New album and somewhat of a new sound. Tell me about the journey from your last album to this one, Briah
Darryl: In relation to ATzILUTH, Briah is not a collection of songs via chance. It is the continuation of the idea. ATzILUTH, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah. These are to be the first four albums that we will release. These titles all represent a division of the Creative process and the albums are a reflection of this process. From a picture in the mind to that idea made flesh (and all the steps in between). Thus the sound of Briah reflects a different aspect of the same atmosphere discovered in ATzILUTH.
Q. A lot of your work is spiritually influenced. Are these based on your own personal beliefs and/or lifestyle or on things that you read and have been interested enough to explore and write about?
D: I have been studying what makes life "tick" as long as I can remember. Constantly asking silly questions and prodding the universe at large. If this is what you mean by Spiritual then I guess yes it is. The images, lyrical content and atmospheres within the songs/albums themselves are just expressions of my experiments and experiences with these studies.
Q. DoC is not only a band, but a house, as all of the band members live together. What are the pros and cons of such an arrangement?
Philippa: Well one of the pro's is not having to travel to a studio to practice three times a week. The con of that is that we have to be fairly strict with ourselves about practising. It's easy to get comfortable and then just skip a night. But we are pretty dedicated so it works out well.
Iain: Things are so much simpler when a band, sound engineer and lighting engineer can all live together! The major pro is that our social interaction with each other is not solely confined to working on band related projects, but encompasses all aspects of life. This in turn makes us a much tighter unit when it comes to working together as a band. One of the reasons D.o.C has become what it is is because our personalities can integrate in this way without clashing.
Q. You seem to be very inclusive with the "team" that is DoC (including both your manager and your sound designer), this being a little different than other bands who leave those behind the scenes right there. Why the different approach from you?
D: Well that was a decision we made when we first set out on this endeavour. Everyone involved would be a part of the process that is Descendants of Cain. That meant getting our own sound engineer and lighting technician who know the music as well as we do. You may only see the three of us on stage but the band is really all six of us. The result (we hope) is a focused, professional live performance and approach.
Q. To be honest, when I first encountered the band it was during your regular gigs at Tenebrae here in London, hence my nickname of their "lounge band"?..how did that come about? And how did you break out of it to now start gigging in other venues?
I: M:alice underground and club Tenebrae are both hosted at Gossips nightclub, Soho, and are the brainchildren of one of London's most down-to-earth and visionary alternative promoters, the Batman. M:alice was our regular night out at the time we cut out first demo CD, and Ben (M:alice DJ) enthusiastically gave us our first club plays there. Our second ever gig was at M:alice's 4th anniversary night, and we started our residency at Tenebrae the following month. We were extremely flattered to be offered this opportunity at London's premier long-running monthly gothic club night, especially since resident bands at clubs don't seem to be too common these days - it gave us an unparalleled opportunity to develop our stage setup and presentation.
After a successful run of almost 2 years, the permanent residency was amicably called to an end in April of this year, so that we could make efforts to take the show further afield. We will always enjoy returning to Gossips to play - it has a feeling of 'coming home'.
Q. Now that you have really broken into the gothic scene in and around London, what is your take on the scene as a whole and your place within it?
D: To be honest we really don't care much for "scenes". We're just playing our stuff to those who will listen. And the Goth sound fits our style the closest. People refer to us as old school Gothic but I think what they are really saying is that we are doing pretty much what bands like Bauhaus and Fields did. Follow our own path. We do not write songs to fill a dancefloor or to fit in. We write songs because we have to. It is the mode of expression that we enjoy most. But Thanks to the existing Goth scene its been much easier to find gigs and perform for many like minded people.
Q. A pet question of mine?.what do you feel the role of computers are in the music scene?
P: As far as I'm concerned they're just another tool - like any art form the value of the work shouldn't be judged by what medium it's produced with. At the same time computers potentially provide access for composing, recording and producing for people who might not have access to the training or facilities that would otherwise be required without them - to be able to reproduce the sound in your head without years of music training or the expense of a traditional recording studio is a powerful thing. But one should also not confuse technical proficiency with talent.
I: I think computers can make a huge impact in the music scene, especially for small independent bands & people who don't want or can't afford the backing of large industry institutions. Because huge computer processing power is now cheap and freely available to all, it's possible to
a) do professional-quality digital multitrack recording, sound processing, post-production and CD production IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, completely negating the need for a recording studio, entirely using computer software & inexpensive sound input/output cards.
b) carry out all aspects of graphic design, artwork & desktop publishing at home using software, putting your finished product on a disc or CD to submit directly to a print shop.
c) distribute music and promotional material FROM HOME all over the world, using email & the internet. The internet provides a free global communication platform for the music-loving community so that bands can be seen & heard without needing to curry the favour of money men.
Q. How do you feel about the continual references to Nephilim in regards to your music and sound?
D: I find it a great compliment considering the are one of my favourite bands. Regardless of what people might say that is where I first encountered the "atmosphere" that I had always felt. Their sound enabled me to unlock that same atmosphere in myself and thus express it.
P: It's always good to be compared to musicians who we admire and have found inspiration in, and even better when it's recognised as just that - inspiration and not imitation.
I: Very flattered. FotN emerged with a distinctive, fresh & powerful atmosphere within their music which profoundly inspired me. The comparisons that have been made seem to indicate that people today think that our music & performances have a similarly powerful impact & sense of unity, which is brilliant to hear.
Q. What was deal with the bare feet????
D: Er? it's an Africa thing? Iain caught it when we took him to see some lions.
I: Isn't it weird how that freaks people out? I guess it's not something you see a lot of in this country.
Q. What is it with Iain and Haribo?
I: I've always had a taste for cola bottles and 'penny sweets'. Recently all the shops have been saturated with ready-bagged assortments of them from 'Haribo' - much to my delight. And this week it was pointed out to me that Haribo is an anagram of'O Briah'....
of Cain: http://www.descendantsofcain.co.uk
An Interview with Tamara Kent
~by Sonya Brown
It's not every day that an artist can make you stop what you are doing and say "who is this?!" That was exactly my reaction the first time I heard the voice of Tamara Kent wafting lovingly through the CD player. "Ahhhhh... that would be Minefield", I was told.
Don't let the name throw you. Minefield is not metal nor aggro-industrial, but it IS explosive. Explosive in passion and intensity, an emotional joy-ride through shades of grey melodies evoking distant recollections that stir the soul. This is music that makes you feel.
Back in June, 2002, Mike Ventarola wrote a cd review for Starvox praising the Minefield EP, "After The Ball". I think we have all been anxiously awaiting MORE from Tamara Kent since this release! And now, with Minefield set to release their full-length CD "War Machine" this Fall, Starvox catches up to Tamara Kent to talk about "After The Ball", "War Machine", and a few other topics of interest.
Sonya: Tamara, your sound is so beautiful and sweet, yet with very dark undertones. Where do you find such inspiration for your music?
There's a lot of mystery involved in the writing process. It still
surprises me how I'll be boiling eggs one minute and have a song complete
with orchestrations ready to scribble down the next. It's a very X-files
Sonya: Tell us about your Toronto, Ontario surroundings... what do you see as you look out your window?
Bleak...concrete...brick buildings...too much noise...too much pollution.
It makes you want to create something better. Get outside your surroundings
and into another space.
Sonya: According to your website (www.minefieldmusic.com), Minefield is an open concept band designed to showcase your writing. What other musicians are involved in bringing your newest work, War Machine, to life?
This album will feature some more good friends helping out. People
I respect, musicians I admire. We have Nick-e and Joy Galiatsos backing
me with their sultry, lush vocal stylings. Nick-e is a soulful singer/songwriter
whose debut we are anxiously awaiting. Joy has a brilliant voice with a
tremendous amount of depth. We're anxious to share her talents with
the world. Veronica the 'Goddess of Stringed Things' does her cello thang
all over this album. She's played in many bands and is also a great
electric bass player! Nathan Handy, who I credited with work on 'After
The Ball' is actually the featured Acoustic guitarist on 'What We've Become'.
He's currently on tour with Ani Difranco's drummer: Andy Stochansky. Last
but certainly not least we have Phil Davies. A Songwriter/Musician of serious
repute who plays electric guitar on the track 'Waiting'. He's been
in a number of bands over the years and is now working on his solo project.
It's a complete honour to work with these people. We are all very
excited about the work they've done.
Sonya: Why did you decide to name your project Minefield, a name that makes me think of a more industrial sound?
When I was trying to pick a name for the band I wanted something that was
indicative of the music. I poked around on that random bandname generator
on the web, but decided I didn't want us to be called 'The Buttsurf Crunch
Monkeys' or anything like that. I'm not sure how Minefield came to me.
There was definitely the notion of having something volatile buried in
the earth that appealed very much. Live, I try to express the unnerving
sensation that comes from an energy that's been pent up and then suddenly
released. I think it sometimes startles people into awareness... which
Sonya: And in that same respect, why did you choose to name your full length "War Machine"?
That's no coincidence. The theme of War runs through a lot of what
I do. It exists for me not on a political level... as we're lucky enough
to be somewhat removed from that living in Canada. So then, it's
more of a personal theme. The constant struggle against the status
quo. The constant internal struggle to be myself and accept myself
as a whole person. The 'Machine' in the title refers to the automatic
response to those oppositions. Also how it is to be something that
never stops and is relentless in that sense.
Sonya: Which, if any, of the tracks from the After The Ball EP will appear on War Machine?
Initially I thought that maybe we would include a track or two from 'After
The Ball' on the new album. It hasn't worked out that way though.
Sonya: What sort of insight can you give us into War Machine? What is the inspiration motivating War Machine into action?
War Machine is a pretty large project (15 songs). I tend to love
thematic albums and with this one a few themes have surfaced. Many
of the songs focus on a certain preoccupation with being close to the ground
or even underground. They're about the hierarchy of personal relationships.
They're filled with covert little messages of being dominated or suffocated.
These songs are little living breathing things that tell stories that are
about how people feel about living with themselves and others.
Sonya: You mention at your Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MinefieldMusic/) that War Machine will also feature an interpretation of PJ Harvey's "Teclo". Why did you decide to include this particular piece, and how does it differ from the original interpretation?
It's a very different version actually. Or so... I think it is.
I started it with the recollection of how the song went. I pretty
much carried out all the pre-production without listening to the original
once. Of course, I knew the song from years ago when I'd bought PJ's
album 'To Bring You My Love'. I don't know what it is about that
track. Maybe... the longing. You know, she's singing about Teclo's
death sending her to her grave. This is just the sort of thing that
a well adjusted person like myself would get off on! I remember loving
the way her voice in the chorus sounded like a cry from the bowels of hell
'Let me Ride.. let me Ride'. The vocal in Minefield's version is
a little more bluesy and urgent. The backdrop for the song is electronic
piano, nested in a bed of electronics. Yum, yum!
Sonya: What are some of the other track titles that will be included in War Machine?
Tamara: Oh... this is cheating! Ok.... ok... just this once:
a nice angry little ballad called 'Sinking Under'....a harpsichord driven
track that sounds like the 'carriage-ride up to the castle' in the first
Dracula movie 'Nosferatu' called 'Darkness Becomes You'... a tense and
extremely ambient piece called 'Waiting'.
Sonya: Please tell us a bit about the recording process for War Machine. Where did you record War Machine, and what special equipment was used? Any special techniques you would like to talk about?
Well... about 8 months ago Neil (our keyboard player/engineer) set me up
with a sweet little computer based system that I've been fondly referring
to as 'the beast'. I call her that cause she'll crap out on you at
a moments notice... but... I digress. As I was saying... I did the
production/arranging and synth programming at home on a Logic Audio/Software
Synth based system. I even tried my hand at some drum programming,
but when I brought the tunes in to Neil & Victor, they just replaced
the work I'd done. I suppose that meant my drum programming sucked
:) Just kidding! Neil is a great producer. He's been
recording my vocals along with Russell Soares another extremely talented
music type... and we lay them back to my arrangements. Then... we
pass off the tracks to Victor at his studio and he does some super amazing
drum wizzardry and everyone's happy. I like the working arrangement we
have, but we're really never playing off the floor... or even working in
the same room together. It happens less frequently than people might
Sonya: In a recent interview with In Music We Trust (www.inmusicwetrust.com) you mentioned writing for computer games and film. How is that coming along?
It's coming I guess. I mean... we've been lucky enough to land an
administration contract with a company in New York that will shop our stuff
to Film. I had the pleasure of helping a couple of friends put a
Playstation II game together a few months back. I did voice work
for that one... a game called 'Pryzm'. I'd like to do more soundtrack work.
I think a lot of our stuff is pretty cinematic. Film interests Neil
and I particularly, though he's done a fair bit more writing for picture
than I have.
Sonya: How often do you take the music of Minefield on the road? Where are you planning to travel next?
Tamara: We don't do the road much. I have a 9-5 that I can't live without at the moment. Studio work has kept us really busy as of late. Now that the recording is wrapping up we'll be playing live more. It's funny though... as much as I love to perform live... it's really not the end all and be all of doing this. I think local bands can sometimes play too much. So and so has a show here one night and there the next. It's good to play, but I like the idea of playing in doses. You know, there should be some anticipation of a show. Not that notion of, 'they're playing again?'
of the next bookings we have is our CD release. It will be held here in
Toronto at a club called C'est What on November 22nd.
Sonya: What is your favorite song to perform live... and why?!
By Your Side is nice. It's got this nursery rhyme lilting melody...
very pretty and then the chorus comes in 'While you were sleeping I was
plotting your destruction darling, While you closed your eyes, I planned
your whole demise right By Your Side.' I enjoy the dichotomy of things
like this... catching people off guard. I don't necessarily enjoy
shock value, but it's good to engage people.
Sonya: I would like to ask you about the title track on After The Ball. This song has a very sexy "bump and grind" flavour to it, and it's the type of song that, once heard, really sticks in your brain! What was going on in your life when you wrote this track, and what does this track mean to you?
It was actually written very specifically for a friend of mine. She
was going through this period after a break-up where she was out to all
hours with all sorts of strange men. I was concerned for her.
She had this feeling of, 'I don't care what becomes of me'. I could
relate on some level. Of course, I do care what becomes of me and
I think she cares more about herself now too....at least, last I heard.
Sonya: Rumour has it that Minefield might feature some remixes contributed by various artists... what details can you give us at this time regarding remixes?
Yes... this project really interests me because it brings us into contact
with other talented people that we may not have met otherwise. Many
of the artists contributing have their own established projects and
are pursuing their own sound, which mostly falls under the goth, electronic,
underground umbrella. It's my hope that the merger of our sound with
theirs will produce some provocative material. Just to further the
rumor mill then... last I heard Marshall of Sumerland completed his re-interpretation
of 'Control' and it looks like we may have contributions from Dead Poets
Society, SD-6, Mlada Fronta and The Synthetic Dream Foundation, to name
a few. A disc featuring these re-mixes will be available next year
sometime in the Spring when love is in bloom and the birds are singing
Sonya: What does the future hold for Tamara Kent... and Minefield?
Tamara: Hopefully lots of music. If I'm lucky enough, more time to spend making music. We're looking forward to the release of 'War Machine' and the remix disc. We're looking forward to meeting and working with new people. We will perform more... live more and laugh more. I will get a better job that will afford me the luxury of spending more on the band. The band will get signed and I will quite my job - haha! We will travel the world playing our music. We will find true love, discover a solution to world strife and finally learn the exact ratio of water to rice when making minute rice! It will be a fantastic future! We hope to see you all there :)