The Brides
~by Blu
(photos kindly provided by DW Friend)

On a chance meeting in a dusty no-where town, I found The Brides tail-gating out of the side of a mini van between stops on one of their whirlwind mini tours. At first they pretended to be some band I didn't know but should and pointed at a cover of WIRE magazine. I would not be fooled (it worked once a long time ago but never again!) Pulling the fake nose and sunglasses off DW's face, I told them the gig was up and they would be forced to answer my questions, whether they liked it or not because I was not leaving until they did. Sensing my determination, they reluctantly yelled, "Get in the van!"

Right O Henry. As if fame had went to their heads already. I mean... rrreally!?!

But first, some back history.

Long before bands like The Hives, The White Stripes, The Whatever-Is-Cool-This-Week bands became trendy and hip with their all-too-planned "messy" hair and neo-retro sounds in the alternative scene; there were The Brides. In my opinion, The Brides embody all that those bands are praised for and more. The lyrics are sinisterly smart, controversial, angry and angsty. The music has oh so cool retro sounding keyboards backed by grinding, crunchy guitar, snappy drums, bouncing bass and addictive melodies that get stuck in your head like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth. They are soul-brothers to the Beatles gone punk. They are utterly unique. Mick Mercer has described them as "farfisa-era Blondie... whirl[ed] into a thick and sickening Cramps paste...They have merged the bubbly and the bubonic... It is a vile trick, and one which people must thank them for."

I interviewed the band when they were brand spanking new back in October 2001. Back then, the beloved Brickbats had sorta-kinda parted ways and The Brides were a side project that DW Friend and Corey Gorey decided to invest some more time in. It was only the two of them then, multi-tasking and playing all instruments. Eventually they added some new folks to the mix (Greg Jaw from The Jamesons and Julia Ghoulia from Brazil's Sleepless) and with them, The Brides matured and came into its own sound.

"She’s got the face of a terrorist and the body of a burning boy / Contorted, scarred, and crisp / You would think she would employ / Less obvious vices, and literary devices / Oh, she’s so schooled, said the critic as he drooled"  - "Headed for a Hole," The Brides
If you were at all familiar with The Brickbats or even their other side project - Rock and Roll Star Destroyer - you'd know that DW and Corey Gorey aren't your average musicians. They are, and I mean this will all kindness and admiration, a little bit uh... wacko. Knowing this, I asked them, "who are these new wackos and how did they get tricked into playing for The Brides?"

DW: I wish I knew! Sometimes I look at Greg and Julia, and actually say, "Who the fuck are you people?" They refuse to answer, but I think they're going to stick around.

Greg Jaw: I was sitting on the edge of some barstool in some dump.  These humps wanted me to play with them.  I said, sure, as long as you don’t ever talk to me.  I like my privacy.  I like feeling out situations, making sure there will be plenty of booze, making sure I feel fancy, then I can say, “It’s been a good day.”

Corey Gorey: Greg actually filled in on bass at a Brickbats show in Toronto – that was probably the defining moment for me and DW that we had to keep playing with Greg.  Julia managed to meet us at just about the exact moment that we were about to stop looking for a keyboard player.  Luckily for me and DW, we didn’t need to convince either of them too much…they liked what we had already written and recorded.

Julia Ghoulia: What band?  These jerks said they were going to get me a greencard. Polícia!!!

With this megga-line up in place they've managed to put out an amazing amount of material in a short period of time: 4 EPS -  Here Come the Brides Part One, Here Come the Brides Part Two, Baby Girls Are Much More Tender and If You Dance. I asked them how they managed to do it and if they weren't worried that they'd saturate their market with so much music at once. Would their fans be left hungering for more or would they be stuffed?

DW: Why so many songs? Because rock and roll is all we know! It's all we're really cut out for, and we do it well. We live to rock and consequently rock to live. But as far as what the fans think, your big mistake right there is assuming we have fans. We need more fans so we can take their money, money, money. The ones we do have are skinflints who refuse to by our records. They're all like, "Hey man, I'm a DJ, can I get a free copy of your disc so I can spin it in my bedroom for my stuffed animal collection?" . . .and we fall for it every time, every time.

GJ: Man that last fan ate my whole damn pizza.  They are always hungry I tell you!

CG: It’s my fault.  I keep writing songs and I keep insisting that the rest of them pick some off the demo cds I force them to listen to (at gunpoint).  Also, couple that with the fact that Greg writes songs and Julia gets some down on tape, and every once and while DW comes over bass in hand and says, “alright, make a top 40 song out of this” and it’s a stockpile worthy of a cold war standoff.  Saturate?  Market?  Is there actually a market for this?   Wait until I tell my mom!

"To Mister James, We’ve determined you’re insane / Insane. Insane? Insane. / The tests are conclusive but if you’d like some more / Come back to the office—week from Monday, half-past four"  - "To Mister James," The Brides
This past year, when they weren't  busy as bees recording and sending promos to Living-room DJs, they were touring. They took quite a few mini-tours out and about the North East so I asked them what the reception was like in other towns and what it was like on the road.

DW: I came away thinking New York Fuckin' City "Eats It!" after this last batch o' out-of-town-shows. Don't get me wrong, I love this city, but good luck getting a crowd. Everyone in NYC's spoiled by the glut of great music. They'll say, "I don't have to see the Beatles reunion today because tomorrow Bowie's going to be doing a performance in my bedroom for me and my stuffed animal." In other towns/citys/shittys people seem hungry for the rock and roll... and speaking of food, TOKYO ROSE, which is a Japanese restaurant in Charlottesville, VA, also runs a kick-fuckin'-ass club in the same building. That was great fun to play. It's also Bella Morte's home turf, and let me say those boys are so nice it's scary. I'm not sure if they're a cult or something, but they're the best humans I've every come across. We played a bunch of shows with them, and they were wonderful. Ahhhhhh

[DW looks dreamily into the air as images of Bella Morte dance about in his head].

JG: I don’t really know because I’m asleep all the time.

GJ: In other towns, we do really well.  Like DW said, people in NYC are spoiled by such a high volume of bands.  As far as funny stories go, there is always some kind of crazy jank happening, one time I ate a live pigeon by accident.

CG:  Me and Greg kicked DW and our friend Kevin’s ass in backyard baseball in Virginia.  But the sad part was that Julia got her leg attacked by fire ants while videotaping some of our sorry sporting behavior.  I can safely say that DJ Vlad in D.C. nor Kris from The Dawning in Charlottesville are not responsible.  They swear they’ve not yet learned how to program any insect minions.

Uh huh. If you think the behind-the-scenes comedy routines sound crazy, you should see their live show. For anyone who hasn't had the opportunity, I asked them to describe it as best they could.

JG: I’ve had more than one person tell me they watch me the whole show to count how many times I fuck up.  They bet on hits and misses.  It’s more popular than Bingo.

DW: High-energy, high-jinks, high-anxiety . . .and a whole lot of shakin' going on, because we've got Parkinson's Disease.

GJ: We sweat a lot, have a great time, like to see people moving and having fun, not moping about and so forth.  I personally like interacting with the audience--you know--making them feel meow meow special, feeding off of their energy.

CG: We’ve got gimmickry in the right places, extra fat in the wrong places and we like to smile and make bad jokes.  Additionally, you get to see three Americans and one Brazilian (Julia) in your home town and you won’t walk away depressed.

Tempting no? So I ask, "Any plans on hitting the West Coast or is it just too hard to do logistically ? must we suffer forever and be Bride-less?"

CG: So many DJs out there you think they’d pool their money to get us on a plane, no?  Cinema Strange, Antiworld and Penis Flytrap are slated to play out here so we’re hoping the left coast will get it together and put their hands and wallets together to get some of our sweet action.

DW: There's a West Coast now too?

CG: Actually there’s a Left Coast also.  They keep making coasts.

DW: Shit, I'd like to see that!

GJ: One day I think we will end up out there, I would love to get out there with the band and rock you all.

"The fact of the matter is dogged with catty splatter / Biting bits of backtalk served upon a platter / The fact of the matter is a pitter, no, a patter / The slightest hush-brush rustle of the digital data / The fact of the matter is the slavery of the master / Distress, unease, disease, dismemberment, disaster / They wouldn’t put it past me and they wouldn’t put it past her, now we are together in the permanence of parisian plaster" - "Wives Turned Widows," The Brides
And then I decided to get serious and dig deeper into unthinkable goo: the lyrics. If you've had the chance to listen to any of their songs in detail, you may start to pay attention to the lyrics. You may, tilt your head sideways and stare, a bit confused, and ask outloud, "did he just say what I think he said?" The answer is probably yes. One of my absolute favorites is "Amputation Celebration" from Here Come The Brides Part One. The song itself slithers with 70's era disco sleaze and sexiness. And then you hear the lyrics and it becomes something more than a catchy melody. It's bizarre divinity:

You remember that night
You were working so diligently
As a waitress
At that strip club in New Jersey
They said you couldn’t dance
No, no
Even if you paid them

And you were shouting:
"I want to see some amputation,
Then it’ll be high time for celebration"

I had taken a break
From driving back up from Florida
Pulled in to relax
Caught you by the elbow
Ordered a cider for myself
And a bourbon for my liver
You brought me tonic water
And charged me $8.50
(Pretty slick, for an idiot)

So I said:
"I want to see some amputation,
Then it’ll be high time for celebration"
So I took you home
And you asked me in
But I couldn’t touch you
When I saw the filth you lived in
It may sound terrible
But I knew from the second we met
You were a cannibal
And you wanted me to dissect
Then with your lips apart
And your inbred eyes wide
I said: "Here, do it--
Do it yourself"
Handed you the butcher knife

And we were singing:
"I want to see some amputation
Then it’ll be high time…
I want to see some amputation
Then it’ll be high time for celebration."

How do such strange things come about? What sick twists propel such things, I asked. Do they make the music first and lyrics to match or are lyrics the idea that music is set to?

DW: That's a question for the ages! Which came first the music or the egg . . .I mean which came first, the chicken or the lyrics. I don't know? Corey lays most of the eggs around here, and boy are they stinking . . .but high in protein!

CG: Of the material that we’ve released so far it’s been my lyrics.  I usually write music independent of the lyrics. I have a notebook which I try to add lyrics to daily, but I usually just edit so it fits the music I think it sits best with.  Pretty boring and clinical.  But if it helps to know that I usually write in the nude surrounded by open porno mags around me…then go with that.  Greg’s lyrics come from a different place, I think.  I don’t like sitting around naked with him in the room.

When our new record gets finished you’ll get to hear some of the tracks that Greg wrote the lyrics on.  The main difference between his and mine are that I’m more concerned with insanity in the name of pleasure and Greg’s more with insanity in the name of pain.  Julia’s all about pleasure in the name of insanity, while as everybody knows D.W.’s only concerned about where the buffet is.  What a nut!

GJ: On behalf of my stuff, I think the lyrics usually come first, but there is always a song here and there which gets written and the lyrics fill in around it.  Sometimes it’s just a spontaneous thing.  Like one of us will come to practice with some lyrics and someone will just shout something out, and it really works well.

JG: I spare The Brides most of my artistic genius, due to their apparent inability to recreate my intricate and majestic hi-fi sound.

"Black florid death / Come and carry this corpse away / This heavy heavy man / Planned to eat you and me someday / This is his revenge alright / The two-ton coffin and the twelve-mile procession / He was a baker for business / But breaking balls was his profession" - "Black Florid Death," The Brides
And just how far would The Brides go to further their own pleasures (and pains)? What would success mean to them? What would it be? Would it be an Mtv video? Would it be breaking into the mainstream and smashing bands like The White Stripes to bits? Would they ever stoop to writing - gasp - radio friendly songs completely forgetting their witty excursions into the surreal? Are they afraid of being stuck in the underground?

CG: The biggest problem facing “deathrock” or “goth” or “punk rock” or any of our sub-scenes is the lack of interest on the bands’ part in being catchy and truly concerned with their audience, or more specifically the audience-they’ve-yet-to-meet.  It’s because of this insular callousness that most bands that are considered our contemporaries aren’t friendly to most ears and aren’t headed anywhere near the mainstream.  We’re not exactly genre-friendly to deathrock or anything else, so we don’t even get the immediate fanbase of a band that comes out and says “We’re the most goth band you ever heard” or they keep their eyes and ears in the past of the one or two bands they’re ripping off.  If  you’re writing new Bauhaus songs is it any better than back when we were all subjected to endless club nights of Sisters of Mercy knock-offs?  Who listens to that willingly now?  The mainstream and major labels are all about selling and making profit.  We’re not focused on that in the least, but we are always making sure that we our songs are memorable, or catchy, or fun (if that’s the intention), but also try to be thought-provoking and intense. Of course songs shouldn’t be as long-winded as this blabbing I’m doing.  Music can’t be just some reason to whack off in the recording studio in the name of artsy pretension.  Who wants to listen to that when they’re driving or cleaning the house?

DW: I think we do what we do because it's where our hearts are. Blu, do you know where your heart is? [DW leans over and gives my chest a squeeze, though he's trying too hard to look like the all "sensitive artist" type, I'm pretty sure he just wants to cop a feel] ...If success came, I think we'd embrace it [and I bet grab it's tit too!], and if that meant doing a video, why not? Why the fuck not? As far as being successful, I already feel we "succeeded." Would I like to see it at a greater level? Of course! What do I think I'm doing this for? Because it's where my heart is? No way! I want "mo' money, mo' fame, mo' problems." I think that's what "the rapper" says.

GJ: I am just really happy that the band has such a great chemistry.  We are a family.  It is so hard to find people to create music with that you also get along with so well.  I have to agree with DW, this is where our hearts are.  We all work really hard and this is where we get to have freedom to create.  I don’t think any of us could really live a healthy lifestyle without playing and creating.

JG: You guys have said enough about this.  I don’t think I need to say anything.  I can be quieter.

Not satisfied I had to probe further: what keeps the indie crowd at bay? Why aren't fans of The Hives stampeding The Brides shows? From eating The Brides alive? Is it the lyrical content and subject matter? Maybe they should sing about beer instead of amputations?

CG: We’re only a photoshop’d photo and a $300,000 publicity investment away from any of them.  We’ve been Hives fans…we like fun.  This is what links us to both beer and amputations—no matter what documentary-type way you look at either subject, they’re going to be a good time.

JG: Making it big mostly entails sucking up to a lot of assholes.

DW: I think maybe the image keeps the more "mainstream" people away. But who knows, I see Cristina Aguilera got all "spooky" in a video, maybe we could replace Justin Timbersticks on her tour. Maybe I could be Mr. Aguilera! That'd solve all my problems!

GJ: They just can’t handle it maaaaaaan.  I tell you, tell ‘em all to fight the van and then they can be our fans [revs mini van’s engine].

"I’ll rehabilitate my picture-perfect memory / Of a young life peppered with sobriety / When the songs that I knew by rote / Were inked on the sleeves of my denim coat / The details of my failed acting career: / I wasn’t tall, strong, pretty, rich or queer / And every role I perfected and memorized / Was already packed up / Moved on /And taken to the skies" - "Drunk Dreams," The Brides
Before they became thoroughly bored with my questioning, I managed to squeek out one more before calling it a night. After examining all these songs, what song could possibly be their favorite?

DW: We haven't written it yet. That's really why we write so much, because I keep saying, "Yeah this is good, but it’s not my favorite song!"

GJ: I like the one about the guy.  That one is some good shit.

JG: I like playing “The Strange Passing of John Coal” and “Hi!” live because they get (drunk) people singing the chorus right away.

CG: Six months ago I would have said it was a song called “Blessings” from the “Here Come The Brides - Part Two” cd, but all of the new stuff we’re writing and recording blows that crap away.  Fuck The Brides, man.

And with that the mini van came to a screeching halt and they kicked me to the curb. The last thing I remember was dust in my face and distant sound of laughter and the clanking clatter of beer cans hitting asphalt.

To keep up to date on what those weirdoes are doing next, keep your eyes peeled on their website at where you can also subscribe to their mailing list if text in your In-Box is more your style.

Android Lust
~interview by Kim Mercil, introduction by Mike Ventarola
(photos from Projekt)

Android Lust has the distinction of being one of the earliest female influences in the electronic and industrial realm. At the outset, Shikhee was in a genre that was long over run by male artists and bands. To make her mark as an artist, it was essential to come to the table with enough energy and vibrancy that made the genre forerunners just as popular. Throughout the creation process, underground fans resonated with the work of Android Lust because it had the distinction of providing the feminine essence with the music without being "girly" and unapproachable to a cross section of potential fans.

Since this interview was initially conducted, Android Lust signed with Projekt Records.
With this also comes the re-release of The Dividing, which is currently available nationwide in most major music shops.

Additionally, the video shoot for the highly seductive track, "Stained,"  from The Dividing was directed by Dan Ouellette and Mark  Larranaga in anticipation for a full DVD release later this year. Dan Ouellette is infamous for his dark, erotic artwork, as well as his work on numerous films in addition to  David Bowie's "Dead Man Walking" video.

Mark Larranaga, a special effects wizard based in Los Angeles has had work featured in major music videos by artists such as Lenny Kravitz and Pink as well as major films such as Spider Man, X-Men and What Dreams May Come. More recently, Larranaga formed his own company, Neurotica Pictures.

Recently, Sam Rosenthal, owner of Projekt Records who signed Android Lust to their roster, was asked about his impressions of Android Lust.  He states:

I was really blown away by Android Lust! The music has an energy and passion that I seldom see -- in any genre. Sure, The Dividing is a bit outside of what some consider the usual Projekt orbit, but remember that Attrition and Lycia and Steve Roach were all outside, when I signed them. I think Projekt needs to keep signing interesting new music, and I really don't think it gets more interesting and exciting than Shikhee!

All of Android Lust's fans from across the globe couldn't agree more!

Kim: How old were you when you moved from your birth place of Bangladesh to England? Was it an easy transition for you?

AL: I was 13. It wasn't too hard.  The challenge was coping with the weather and the food.

Kim: You eventually came to America, what was your reason for relocating here?

AL: I had my best friend at that time living here and I thought it would be a lot of fun to live in New York.  She's now a born again Muslim, if there is such a term.

Kim: Would you agree that living in different parts of the world throughout your life has had an influence in your music?

AL: Probably to some extent, although I am not consciously aware of it.

Kim: Why do you feel that your past attempts at being a part of a conventional band failed?

AL: I have found very few people along the road that I am compatible with musically. I am also not fond of democracy when it comes to my music. If I am not going to get what I want by working with other people, then there's no point in wasting anyone's time.

Kim: When you decided to go solo in 95' thus the formation of "Android Lust", why do you think this was the right approach for you?

AL: Because of the reasons I mentioned earlier. Also, after my then band mate left to form his own project, I just didn't want to go through the process of finding people to write with. It just wasn't what I was interested in anymore. Instead, I found Colin McKay. He played guitar
synth with AL at live shows. He came from a blues/funk background, but he had no problem playing one note for a whole song if I asked him to. The first few AL shows were just the two of us, until I asked Christopher to play with us.

Kim: As a soloist, do you sometimes feel limited in the creation process of creating an album?

AL No, I think it's important to change things up so you can stay fresh creatively. I think it's easy to fall into a pattern because you get comfortable working a certain way, and that can make things stale. I set certain conditions on myself to try and avoid falling into that. It can be a little daunting at first, but it forces you to be creative in other ways, which makes things more interesting.

Kim: How would you describe you've matured musically from your debut album Resolution to the latest release The Dividing?

AL:  I didn't want to write Resolution part 2. Resolution was an electro album, whereas The Dividing has no such limitations. I had shed some personal baggage and the music reflects that I think. It is an album of songs that don't follow any trends or fads. The Dividing has a lot
more depth than Resolution.

Kim:  Released in Oct 9th, 01 was the cd single "The Want", was this the first single off The Dividing? If so, why was this song chosen in particular?

AL: It's the only single I ever released. I thought it was a good song to test the waters with. It was different than my previous work, but it was still recognizably Android Lust. I didn't want to hit people with "Sex and Mutilation" or "Burn" first, the two very opposite ends of the AL

Kim:  When performing live Android Lust is joined on stage by Christopher Jon and Trevor G. How did you make their acquaintance?

AL:  I was doing a radio interview on WFDU when Chris called up the station. This was back in 96. That's how we started talking. I had known Trevor from going to clubs in New York, and he also played in a local band that I was friendly with. After Colin moved to LA, Trevor joined the live line-up.

Kim:  In late 2002 you did a mini tour in the US with Oneiroid Psychosis. How would you say this tour went for you?

AL: They only got to play one show with us because all of their gear got stolen after the first show in Columbus. They had no choice but to go back. It was horrible. I had half a mind to just turn back and come home. We decided to play the shows we booked together, even though OP couldn't make it. Lars came out to the WI shows, which was really cool. He came on stage and played one song with us in Milwaukee.

Kim: Currently, what is Android Lust been up to?

AL: Working on an upcoming DVD. We shot a video for the track "Stained" earlier this year. The editing is almost done. The DVD will have exclusive audio tracks, a documentary with behind the scenes footage and some surprises. I hooked up with Dan Ouellette for the video. He's an amazing artist. He directed as well as doing the set design. We are doing a few shows in conjunction with the re-release. We may do a few more shows in the coming months.  We are rehearsing and getting ready for that.

Official Website:

Baptism of Fire, or, My Day at Disneyland with Frank the Baptist
 ~by Lucas Lanthier*
(photos provided by Lucas)

Inclement heat bolstered by the big yellow grimace of our local star had teamed up with a sweaty, smelly throng of tourists in order to daunt this intrepid reporter and cow him from his mission, which was to ask Frank, THE Frank of Frank the Baptist, a bunch of silly questions in the middle of what turned out to be the ultimate proving ground:  Our local bastion of corporate-America-defined fun and the only place on earth where deep-fried dough sprinkled with sugar will set you back $2.75.  Disneyland.  It’s the natural choice for a not quite clutter-free, not quite distraction-free, and not quite churro-free chitchat about modern music.

So far, Frank has had two EPs on the market, plus a CD that collected them into one for those economy-minded citizens.  Recently signed to the fledgling Strobelight records, their first label release is forthcoming.  They’ve been making frequent forays out of their San Diego lair and into outlying territories since the late nineties, and every step has caused an echo of praise to resound from the various tribes of hill people and forest-dwellers that catch them in concert.  The Baptist plays gothic rock with conventional instruments, but with more hooks and catchy melodies than a fly fisherman humming themes from “the Nutcracker Suite”.  But Frank’s music swells and bends its way free of mere catchiness.  Four out of five laboratory apes have been observed humming the chorus to the Baptist’s “Echoes of Never” hours after initial exposure.  And as it turns out, even higher primates are susceptible to the uncanny tenacity of Frank’s melodies.  This music tunnels in through the ears, makes a burrow in the soft, spongy gray tissue of the brain, lays eggs with a top-hat-shaped ovipositor, and then allows the larval offspring to repeat the cries of the parent until their mandibles are silenced by the next invasion.  With that, let us turn to the mating habits of the common silkworm.  Or, even better, let’s go on the Matterhorn roller coaster and ask Frank a question.

(Questions asked while hurtling down an enormous, fake, snow-covered mountain in a bobsled, dodging an enormous, fake, snow-covered Yeti.)

Lucas:  You've been called "the King of Hooks".  Does this refer to your music, your fishing skills, or your nasty bedroom habits?

Frank:  I’ve never heard that, but cool.  I can think of a lot worse things to be called.  I’ve been a vegetarian for about 12 or 13 years but when I was a youngster I was a crabbin’ & fishin’ maniac. I had a rowboat with an outboard engine that I was out in all the time lootin’ & a-plunderin’. If it refers to nasty bedroom habits then I guess women do talk about their exploits. If it is about our music then I’m afraid I’m still perplexed. I’m not a schooled musician. I started writing my own songs because I couldn’t play anyone else’s. I’ve just always been a lover of music.

Lucas:  What's the band lineup these days?

Frank:  Rockin’ Tommy Fuhr on Guitar, Rob Sulfur on Bass, Dave Hamersma on Drums, and I sing and play guitar.

Lucas:  Have you ever considered a one-man band?

Frank:  You mean like the guy who plays the accordion while a drum set is hooked to his feet as he bites a horn while his monkey dances? Or like a Trent Reznor-type who hires studio and live musicians?

Lucas:  I mean like a horn-biting monkey who dances like Trent Reznor.  If you’re ever in that sort of market, I’d like to represent you.

(Next up, it was a hell-bent, balls-to-the-wall, brain-warping sortie on the notorious and widow-making Snow White ride, which is almost as bad as the Pinocchio ride, for those of you who are unaware.  Just ask any four-year-old.)

Lucas:  Tell me, my son, do you write all the music, or is it collaborative?

Frank:  I bring songs to the table, usually guitar melodies with vocals, and we play around with them. I usually really like what the other guys come up with when we explore. Although I may write all the songs I would say it’s collaborative because I encourage everyone to come up with their own pieces to what I write. Only from time to time do I have suggestions to what they bring up. Each member is an ingredient in the magic potion. If an ingredient is missing, no magic.

Lucas:  Do you have a consistent compositional technique or do you write songs anytime, anywhere?

Frank:  Anytime anywhere. Sometimes a melody comes into mind first, sometimes lyrics do. Sometimes it’s not in the head and comes out when sitting around playing.

Lucas:  That’s cool.  Your creativity strikes randomly.

(Our path then led us to the Pirates of the Caribbean, upon which ride a serious debate ensued, the details of which are documented hereunder.)

Lucas:  In a fight, who do you think would win: a Caribbean pirate, Indiana Jones, or Mr. Toad?

Frank:  I’m not sure who would win but I know a Pirate of the Caribbean would have the most fun doing it. Indiana Jones stresses out too much in the face of danger and just look at these guys (referring to a couple of saucy buccaneers, crossing blades on the battlements of a fort).... they’ve been having the same cutlass fight for the last 60 years or so, they’re having a blast. These guys are having a hearty laugh at everything and are most alive and in the moment when the shit hits the fan. Look at this guy (referring to a ruddy-cheeked cavalier, in the midst of a full-scale township pillage).... He’s drinking right from the barrel as this guy lights the powder keg that he’s sitting on.  They’re running around having a hell of a time while the place is going up in flames. It’s quite the atmosphere they create and call home. I think I’m puttin’ my money on the Pirate.

Lucas:  Okay, but let’s look at Mister Toad real quick.  On his ride, right off the bat you see a portrait of him in boxing gear.  Then, after joyriding through town in a model-T, he gets sent to hell and back, literally, and once he’s emerged from the ninth circle of the inferno, the only thing he needs to set him right again is a beer, served up by a smiling barkeep at the end of the ride.  That’s pretty impressive...  However, I do have the feeling that any given pirate would take a swig of rum, shrug at Mister Toad and all of his flirtations with danger, call him a landlubber and then send a cannonball through his parlor before making off with Mrs. Toad.  I guess my money’s on the pirate, too.  So, tell me about this fantabulous Strobelight record deal!  I know they’re based in Austria… what sort of chaps are they?

Frank:  The guys at Strobelight are great. We were wary of working with a label for quite a while. I used to work for one as the art guy and the fact that it basically turns an art form into a crop and ruins any vision turned my stomach and made me shy away from it. These guys are musicians, DJs, all around music junkies and supporters of the scene first and foremost, business second. I like that order of importance as well as admire their driving need to make things happen.

Lucas:  Well, good luck with that business venture!  Now, regarding your concerts.  When playing live, do you keep any good luck charms underneath your top hat?

Frank:  Just a head full of nothing but what is going on at that moment.  We do have a habit of doing a shot of whiskey together on stage before we play. Oh wait.  You’re not talking about the lamp are you?

Lucas:  The lamp you keep on the guitar amp all the time?  No, no.  I mean under your hat, under your hat.  I'm drunk as hell.  Any comment?

Frank:  “We pillage and plunder we’re really a fright, drink up me hearties Yo Ho!”

Lucas:  Think back to when you were ten years old.  If you could have had any band on the planet to play at your birthday party, who would it have been?

Frank:  Probably Men At Work or something like that.

Lucas:  Let's go on Star Tours and scream like ninnies.

Frank:  OK, we’ll be right by Space Mountain, love the intro to that song.  After that can we go back to the Haunted Mansion again? There is a Nightmare Before Christmas store we passed just outside of Pirates that we missed while jabbering.

(Okay, Star Tours out of the way, it was Haunted Mansion time again!  Somehow, in the midst of all the blood-curdling animatronics and ghostly projections, we were able to keep focused.)

Lucas:  You guys seem to be the shining stars from out of olde San Diego towne.  What's the scene like down there?

Frank:  Music Scene in general or Goth/deathrock?  Some really good Goth Dance clubs and the live thing and Deathrock thing is growing.

Lucas:  What's your preferred method of disposing of the bodies of would-be competitors?

Frank:  Competitors of what?  I came from a punk rock/hardcore background while growing up and there was more of a community between and within the bands. I don’t get jealous when someone does well, envious maybe sometimes and I usually tell them so. I look back on those days with fondness. I remember another friend from the scene who hooked me up with my first Misfits and Samhain recordings; it was all over from there. It was the gals that introduced me to Goth after that. Notice how I skirted the body disposal subject? Dead men tell no tales and a good magician never gives up his tricks!

Lucas:  My respect.  Do the spinning teacups make you sick?

Frank:  No! I love the teacups and don’t mind spinning.  (I’ve left Bats feeling that way.) (Referring to the infamous Long Beach deathrock club Release the Bats.)

Lucas:  What about roller coasters?

Frank:  I live for roller coasters. There are some new ones at Magic Mountain that are amazing. We should go there next time and I’ll interview you.

Lucas:  It’s a deal, me hearty.  Any upcoming tours?

Frank:  We are working with the label and promoters to get over to Europe. We may try to play Pagan Love songs in the fall for our friends the Thyssen brothers.  We would like to play there first for symbolic reasons as well as the fact that it is supposed to be an all time great club.

Lucas:  Did you ever pretend you were Mary from "Little House on the Prairie", or was that just me?

Frank:  I’m sure it wasn’t just you. I pretended to be an Indian when we played cowboys and Indians. They looked cool and were into cool things. Horseback riding, tomahawks, bows and arrows. I never did get that flaming arrow thing down like in the Shirley Temple movies. I like how planetary and low to the ground they got too. They really paid attention to things I thought were important.

Lucas:  In closing, give us a few hints as to what the FTB master plan has in store for us.

Frank:  We’re going to follow our path and live till we die (who knows when that’ll be).

And from there it was all a blur of churros, child-screams of roller-coaster delight, full-scale mind-altering Disney rides à la Alice in Wonderland, and hours of inane chitchat about everything from eastern religion to the international rules of sea salvage.  Okay, bottom line: my Disneyland partner’s going to have an album out soon, and I recommend you buy it.  His brand of gothic rock adds a refreshing flavor to the west-coast scene, and unless Salome asks for his head, I think we can expect to be hearing much more from and about Frank the Baptist.

Frank the Baptist Website:
on mp3:

Friday May 23rd Frank The Baptist will be having their CD release party/show for "Different Degrees of Empty" at RELEASE THE BATS at Que Sera 1923 E. 7th Street Long Beach - California With Dj's Dave Grave, Dave Bats, Jeremy, Shane and Mark Splatter

Photos of Frank the Baptist on StarVox:

*editor's note: Much thanks to guest writer Lucas for braving the Land Of Happiness with Frank.. Make sure to check out Lucas's own brand of musical mayhem as he croons spookily here: Cinema Strange

The Fire Alarms and Air Raid Sirens of Bourg En Bresse
Hanging Out With Bloody Dead and Sexy in southern France
~by Lucas Lanthier
(photos provided by Rosa)

I’m on the scene in a saucy French hamlet, about forty minutes north of Lyon.  I was in the middle of a pretty serious game of bridge with three African dignitaries, but had to bail out and catch a Concorde here the moment I heard the news: a much-talked-about troupe of musical misfits had made it over the border from Germany and were about to strut their stuff in a very well-publicized concert in a town that very isn’t on my National Geographic world map.  They are Rosa Iahn (singer), Tim Schande (bassist), Bjoern Henningson (drummer), and d’hAmm (guitarist who looks like Jesus). They are Bloody Dead and Sexy, a deathrock explosion from Westfalia and they are here to show zee French what it means to carry such a visceral, necrocentric and thoroughly erotic banner over their makeup-coated countenances.  Our chat took place after the concert, backstage, where the wine was flowing like wine and whiny protest songs drifted in whinily from without (apparently some students were upset about something… I can’t imagine…).  At one point, just as we were nearly drunk enough to begin, the venue’s fire alarm assailed us with its enchanting threnody from an acoustically advantageous position directly over our heads.  Its aria was brought to an end, however, when Cinema Strange musician Daniel Ribiat decided to demonstrate some American ingenuity by knocking it off the ceiling.  It is important to note that earlier in the day, Bourg En Bresse, as a township, had captured our attention in a similar fashion, though on a larger scale, by activating some municipal air-raid sirens that, once engaged, assured a collective heart attack for all visiting musicians and media.  It is certain that only the foreigners were alarmed at the Very Loud Noise, because after crawling to the window and peering nervously into the sky, expecting to see bombers, UFOs, or winged dinosaur creatures ridden by death-ray-wielding lizard warriors, I noticed that no one, not one French citizen, seemed even the slightest bit phased that their city was apparently under attack.  Here's the bottom line:  The French are seemingly deaf.  Here’s the other bottom line: these two separate outbursts surly had some effect on the interview that follows, though I’m willing to forestall an analysis until the proper grant money arrives in my mailbox.  All interested parties can contact me through StarVox.

Lucas: You guys use a lot of bloody Christian imagery in your artwork and in your stage performances. Do you enjoy the sight of the suffering Christ?

Rosa: In a way, we love Jesus. He died for our sins.

Lucas: What do you think about the dark lord Satan?

Rosa: Satan is a funny old man. I’ve met him in dreams. I told him to go away several times, but he always comes back; I don’t like this guy. He’s noisome.

Lucas: Who else have you met in your dreams? And do people from that realm affect your artistic work?

Rosa: I don’t make much difference between what I dream and what seems to be real. It becomes indistinct, in any case. The dark lord seems to be the most famous one I remember to have met. Yes, my dreams have a huge influence on my artistic work.

Lucas: I noticed that all you guys are taller than I am. Did you eat a lot of broccoli growing up?

Rosa: Our mothers made us eat a lot of meat with hormones to make us big.

Lucas: Eve, is this true? (Eve is the bass-player’s sister. She signed a contract with me, the terms of which stated that she would sit in on this interview in order to verify questionable statements.)

Eve: Quite true.

Lucas: I see. My dad made me drink black coffee starting at age three. Otherwise, I think I would have been at least six feet tall. Have you guys played in France before? What did you think of the audience tonight?

Rosa: Oh my God, this was the first time we played in France. This is a great country and it was a great audience! The people were totally mad. We’ll have to come back.

Lucas: Yeah, judging from the howls and screams in between songs, I’d have to agree! So you guys are now signed to the German label Dark Dimensions. Are you pleased with this collaboration so far?

Rosa: We’ve released one CD and one 7” record. We’re very happy. Frank, at the label, makes us call him “Papa”.

Lucas: What do you have planned for your next release?

Rosa: Well, we are not sure. We are working on new songs right now and we want to release some of them in the beginning of the next year. But at the moment it’s too early to say what form it will take.

Lucas: Okay, say we all get drunk, I mean more than what we are right now, and we head off to the tattoo parlor. What are we getting and where on our bodies?

Ralf Thyssen (who is wasted out of his gourd but feels the urge to make a few ironically sober remarks): Everyone will get a picture of my face on his back. Except Bjoern will get a picture of my brother Thomas’ face.

Bjoern: No, I’ll get Dolores’ face! (Dolores, a hapless bystander, rolls her eyes.)

Rosa: I’ll get the rest of Dolores!

Lucas: So, Rosa, you’re wearing some pretty nice camouflage vestments tonight. After the interview you want to play battle?

Rosa: No, no, I hate war! This camouflage is for hiding!

Lucas: Eve?

Eve: Yes, it’s for hiding. We all hate war.

Lucas: Understood. Well, I guess it’s another night of self-battling for me! Now THAT sounds sexy! Okay, guys, what are your favourite liquors?

Rosa: I like whiskey and single malt scotch. But we drink a lot of things… it just has to taste good!

Lucas: Ah, single malt scotch! Rosa, we’ll have to chat more when this is over. Now, how long has the band been around?

Rosa: This present lineup has been around since 2001, but the band started in 1997 when some of us were sweet teenies. We went on hiatus in 2000 after Wolfgang Reetz, the original guitarist, died in a motorcycle accident.

Lucas: Es tut mir sehr leid, dass zu hoeren. There’s nothing like a death to put a damper on things. Does Wolfgang still influence the music that you write today?

Rosa: Oh Yes! Call me sentimental but every time we create something I ask myself if he would be satisfied with it. He was a great friend and he had a real cool view on artistic matters. We owe a lot to him. In a way he is still around.

Lucas: Do you guys like Thai food?

Rosa: We like anything if it has animals in it. Elephants, cats, we don’t care.

Lucas: Anybody into physics?

Eve: Ach, boring!

d’hAmm: I’m interested, but I don’t think that it leads to the final truth.

Rosa: If that is the thing that leads to the final truth I would be very disappointed. What a total idiot am I, wasting all my life with creating senseless music?! Shame on me and my children.

Lucas: What were your favourite subjects in kindergarten?

Rosa: I liked the swings.

d’hAmm: Dollhouse!

Rosa: And defending the fort!

Lucas: So nobody played Little House on the Prairie? Wow. I couldn’t have been the only one... Lyrically, what are some of your preferred topics?

Rosa: Well, the lyrics are mostly spiritual. Blood is an indirect theme.

Lucas: What sort of blood? And what does it represent for you?

Rosa: For me blood is a wonderful universal symbol for life, death, love and cruelty. But if you watch at it, it coagulates within seconds. It has life and death in it in the same proportion. And the colour is damn sexy.

Lucas: And now the question all of America has been asking. Tea or coffee?

Eve: Tea!

Band: Coffee!

Tim: With milk!

Lucas: Say, who was that toy doll you guys had on stage tonight?

Rosa: Oh, that was Madelaine. She wants to be friends with everyone. (That’s what she says when you pull her string.)

Eve: But now she’s gone! Somebody took her!

Lucas: Settle down, I’m just borrowing her for a little while. Okay, meine Freunde, any closing words?

Ralf Thyssen (still drunk, but with a fine idea): They need to visit California and play Release the Bats! Dave (referring to Dave Bats, who is co-helmsman of that club), these guys would drink so many “Adios Motherfuckers”! (A pint-glass drink, colored windex-blue and filled to the brim with nothing under sixty proof.)

Rosa: Adios Motherfuckers! I love you all… Does anyone want to play defending the fort? I am Colonel Kilgore! Let’s go!

Bloody Dead And Sexy

Photos and setlist from the Bourg en Bresse gig:

~by Sonya Brown
(all photos by Chad Michael Ward)

Much like a mystery leaping out from within the classic film  "Close Encounters", an obsessive focus brought on by an unseen force whirls about kaRIN, who (in a state of trance) repeatedly draws a symbol used to illustrate Some Kind of Strange, the latest release by Collide.  At least, that's how my mind envisions the creative process that has consumed three years in the making for Some Kind of Strange.

Digital Apocalypse Studios provides detailed artwork designs for the centerfuge of symbolism which vocalist kaRIN describes as a visual way to represent the "pulling apart and coming together that is collide."  kaRIN's vocals provide shimmering layers which slither to maneuver her lyrical perspectives across sonic textures as expertly administrated by Statik, a master of noise manipulation technology.

Now available for Collide fans hungry to sink teeth into, Some Kind of Strange delivers eleven new enigmatic tracks for which STARVOX seeks explication....

Sonya Brown: Please describe the symbolism used on the CD cover for Some Kind of Strange.

Statik:  It has to do with an ancient language that kaRIN deciphered while on a trip to Northern Africa last year. We also have a new "symbol".  It came from kaRIN's mind. She originally painted it on canvas. I think it has something to do with a sort of weapon that she is planning to make?

kaRIN:  I like symbols, I always have because they are bold and meaningful. The symbol used on the cover for Some Kind of Strange is something that we found. It possibly comes from ancient astrologers called the Picatrix, maybe in the year 1000 or so. As I understood it, it has to do with lining up the planets to achieve desired results. The collide symbol is meant to represent the pulling apart and coming together that is collide. I love visuals, so I wanted something that would visually represent us.

SB: How did the recording process for Some Kind of Strange differ from Chasing the Ghost?

Statik:  They probably differed only in the fact that we worked separately even more than we did before for most of the record. We'd both work out our parts in our own studios, and pass the ideas back and forth a few times until we were happy with how the song was. It wasn't until the end of most songs that we would actually be working together in the same room.

kaRIN:  We have always worked separately. On our first CD, Beneath the Skin we did not even live in the same city, I am not sure how you can get any more separate than that. I don't really see that the process has changed. The only difference is that we each get harder to satisfy.

SB: Guest musicians contributing creativity to the music appearing within Some Kind of Strange include among others, cEvin Key, and Danny Carey. How did this come about?

Statik:  I met cEvin a few years ago after he moved to L.A. He had previously done a remix for us on Beneath the Skin, and I think we just kept running into each other at various clubs here. Anyway, cEvin did drums for a song while we were tracking drums for one of the new Skinny Puppy songs, so we were all set up, and it just worked out. As far as Danny, we were actually on the tail end of the album when he finished touring with Tool. I had done some programming for them on a couple of albums, so he was nice enough to take an afternoon and do a few takes for us.

SB: kaRIN, the track, "Slither Thing", is very sultry and sexy, and must be quite fun for you to sing. Your voice has a playful ring to it. What goes on in your mind as you sing this track?

kaRIN:  "Slither Thing" vocally does have a playful feel, that's the way I heard the music. I like quirky a lot... it's good to not always be so serious. This track although it sounds playful, is actually me cursing someone who did something that was very hurtful. So it gets dedicated to anyone who has ever done anything really slimy, you know who you are.

SB: Describe your thoughts behind the track, "Tempted"?  What tempts you so?

Statik:  A really good margarita is very tempting to me.

kaRIN:  "Tempted", was written about life, more specifically about wanting life. When your primary needs like health is threatened, it changes your perspective on things.

SB: We see, once again, a beautiful joining between Collide and Chad Michael Ward of  Please describe how the artwork concepts for Some Kind of Strange developed.

Statik:  I guess the beginning was from the photo shoot that he did for us before the CD artwork was even started, so it was choosing some photos, and from that, seeing what would work around it.

kaRIN:  At first we had no idea what we wanted for this CD, we bounced ideas back and forth with Chad until it started to take shape. In the same sort of way as we work on music, we went back and forth and developed ideas until we felt it would work for the CD. Chad is a very talented guy, I was struck by his work the first time I saw it. Like ourselves, he is an obsessive artist, I like that in people.

SB: kaRIN, on the inside of the CD Jacket, there is a framed photo of a human figure with a large butterfly covering the breasts. Is this one of your paintings? If so, can you please tell us a bit about it.

kaRIN:  That is Chad's piece, similar to work I might do, but it is Chad's. I like it in the lyric panel, as I felt it represented me pouring my soul out.

SB: Statik, please tell our readers about the remix of "Relax" you did for the movie Zoolander.  What exactly did you do to this track? Do you get to attend private screenings? What opportunities develop as a result of providing your services in this way?

Statik:  I did get to go a remix of Relax. I have it up on our discography page, but it didn't actually get into the final movie soundtrack. It was really cool though just to hear the original tracks totally isolated.  There was only something like 16 tracks, if I remember correctly. They needed a particular bpm for some reason, and it was like 180 bpm, so it was kind of weird, totally fast, and not what I would have chosen to do myself, plus, I only had half a day to do it, because I was flying out of town for some other work. I think they had another remix that they ended up using instead, oh well.  I was kind of bummed out though, because I was going to be able to go to the premier, but I was out of town at the time.  I don't know what opportunities I got from that, but it was just more fun than anything.

SB: While browsing your guestbook, many TOOL fans are writing in and singing the praises of Collide! How would you explain this enormous popularity among TOOL fans?

Statik:  I guess I can't explain it. They were nice enough to put up an interview and a link to our site, and a number of people have written us and been so happy that they found us through Tool. We definitely aren't Tool-like in our sound, but maybe they are hearing something new that they just haven't found before.

kaRIN:  I see Tool's music and writing as arty, intelligent and emotional, although our sound is quite different the same elements can be found, so I think they relate to those same elements.

SB: Your website hosts amazing images and photographs. What creativity goes into any Collide photo shoot? How much control do you maintain? What level of control are you willing to relinquish in the process?

Statik:  I leave it up to kaRIN and the photographer. As long as I get to do my own hair, I'm fine with whatever they decide.

kaRIN:  I love working with different photographers. I enjoy the process both in front and behind the camera. I would like to learn myself how to be a better photographers as I think it is such a great medium. I have taken pictures for some of my friends including Faith & the Muse and Regenerator. When I am shooting, I just try to make it interesting, I would like to explore more though. As far as how much control am I willing to relinquish, quite a lot I guess. If you work with other talented people, that's the point to let them do their thing or you won't be using them to their fullest potential.

SB: In what ways does Hot Topic support a new focus upon Some Kind of Strange?

Statik:  They support it in the fact that decided to carry it, or take some copies for some of their stores. Getting CDs into stores is still one of biggest hurdles, so it was great that they did that.

kaRIN:  Yes, being on a small independent label, it is very difficult to get your music into stores and get decent distribution. We were really pleased that Hot Topic picked it up because we have always heard how hard it is to find our CD's, so we hope that between that and, CD Baby, and our own site that it makes it a little easier.

SB: While taking a tour of your website recently, I felt as if I were wandering about a castle with secret doors and hidden bookcases. Please paint a visual image of your favorite places to hang out at your website, and why these places are special to you.

Statik:  We do like to visit our guestbook a lot. It means a lot to us when fans leave us a message. Sometimes we just feel like we are in a bubble, so it really helps us when someone writes.

kaRIN:   Yes that's true, it feels inspiring to us to know that our music means something to anyone other than ourselves. Having a solid web presence is something that really helps us. Although we still feel like a relatively unknown band, if it were not for the availability of the internet we would not have been able to get nearly as far as we have. So much of what we do, and our contacts are directly related to the internet.

SB: Of course I have to ask about your Turtle Sanctuary! What other creatures have you adopted?

Statik:  It didn't start out to be a turtle sanctuary, it was just a pond where we could relax from time to time in between recording. From time to time, people hear that you have a pond, and it's amazing that turtles just find there way to you from people or kids that got tired of the turtle, or their turtle outgrew their little tank. The turtles get to live in an outdoor pond with fish and frogs in the middle of L.A, and they seem to be pretty happy. Lately I had some signs up for a turtle that had somehow escaped, and within a period of two weeks I had three people call thinking that they had found the turtle. And none of them were mine, it's like there's all these turtle running around L.A.? I don't get it. They all happened to be tortoises, and not turtles, but I agreed to take one in anyway.

kaRIN:  Statik is like the Doctor Do Little for animals, even snails.

SB: Statik, please tell us about your role in the "Love Rollercoaster" remix, produced by Sylvia Massy and Red Hot Chili Peppers, for the Beavis & Butthead soundtrack. I think that's one of my faves!

Statik:  Sylvia was the producer of that song, and I had worked with her previously on Tool, as well as a bunch of other bands. She just needed some drum programming on the song, so I came in for an afternoon and that was that. The band wasn't there unfortunately, but the song really did turn out well, it was so, fun.

SB: kaRIN, how has your vocal style has changed from Chasing The Ghost to Some Kind of Strange? You sound a bit more crisp with this latest release.

kaRIN:  I am not sure that it changed? I really don't have perspective.

SB: TV shows have picked up on your music recently.  Where might we tune in to find Collide next?

Statik:  If I had my wish, it would be on a movie soundtrack. I thought it was sad that "Mutation" didn't get used in the X-Men movie, maybe the next one??

kaRIN:  I thought that too when I saw it, it would have been perfect as "Mutation" is all about finding your own mutation and being happy with it. Our music is very visual, the way I see it, it's just begging to be used in a soundtrack. We get asked if people can use it in independent films all the time.

SB: What may both new and die-hard Collide fans look forward to now?

Statik:  I wish I knew. Maybe a remix record until we start writing new material. Maybe a live show? We don't know yet, but we're trying a few things out.

Website located at:

PO Box 565
North Hollywood, CA 91603

Interview with Elend: Part 1
~ by Joel R. Steudler

Elend's Winds Devouring Men is an album of such high quality that we here at StarVox reviewed it twice- both times garnering 'Pick Of The Month' status, first from me then from my colleague Matthew Heilman.  Naturally, then, I leapt at the chance to ask Elend a few questions when the opportunity to do an interview arose.  They were good enough to reward us all with an insightful look at how such an unconventional musical collective goes about crafting their artful and unique sound.

Joel: Winds... explores the darker side of emotion pretty thoroughly, covering maudlin gloom, frightful trepidation, wistful longing, and many other degrees of despair.  What draws you to compose music that traverses such grim territory?

Renaud: It's rather difficult to answer this question. Elend is the work of two composers who have quite diverging views regarding many matters. We concord in a small domain, which happens to result in the work we do in Elend and some related common projects. Apart from that we or I (I should speak for myself here) have musical interests that may not seem compatible with the dramatic compositions of Elend. The work done together is based on an arbitrary choice, that's all; but based on a mutual, equal comprehension of certain aspects of music.

Joel: How did you manage to find the right balance between brutality and beauty such that your music is neither totally oppressive nor devoid of power and intensity?

Renaud: I don't know... composing for Elend is always a rather natural process; the balance between these extremes is intended, and to me it doesn't appear as such a difficult thing to accomplish. Elend was founded with this aim precisely. As a matter of fact, I think that your formulation captures exactly what we would wish to achieve with our music.

Joel: You seamlessly incorporate synths with live orchestral elements in a very organic way throughout the album.  What problems did you have to overcome to merge such disparate sounds into a cohesive whole?

Renaud: Since this album was the first one we mixed without the help of professionals, we were confronted with quite some difficulties. All I can say is that one has to rely on one's own ears! We have had a life-long experience in diverse types of music so that the choices we made came about naturally. As to models in production quality, there are not many, unfortunately... considering specific elements, we have analysed the production of certain film soundtracks, but most of all, recordings of "classical" or what we prefer to call "serious" music. There are tendencies in contemporary "serious" music and soundtracks (which are but more popular approaches to original ideas coming from serious Western music or from Western or non-Western traditional music, most of the time) similar to what we are doing. But we don't know any references in either domain that merge such contrasting elements as Winds Devouring Men.

Joel: On Winds... you employ a diverse group of live instrumentalists (playing brass and strings).  Many bands these days, however, opt to use synths and samplers in place of live musicians.  What are your feelings on using synths/samplers to emulate acoustic instruments?

Renaud: Well, that depends on the quality of the synthetic component! As long as the result is aesthetically valuable, I don't have a problem with synths.

On our previous albums we had to have recourse to synthesizers because it was absolutely impossible to work with session musicians for financial reasons. If you listen to The Umbersun you will understand what I mean: the work we did there was almost entirely based on synths or sampler instruments, but still, the sound is closer to "serious" music than to anything synthetic in the music scene. It is not sufficient to use synths to replace musicians; you have to perfectly know the instrument or group of instruments you are about to reproduce artificially in order to achieve a satisfactory result. This involves lots of work; programming, even interpreting, sound editing etc.

Apart from isolated elements you will never hear a complete orchestral ensemble artificially produced but destined to sound as authentic as possible (and destined for the interpretation of elaborate pieces) because it would be a lot simpler to achieve the same result with live musicians (provided you have the money, technique and location to do that of course). Nobody would do that in today's music scene! We were probably crazy to reproduce a larger-than-life post-romantic orchestra by such means, but it was the only way to realize our ideas at that time. Music for Nations gave us the biggest budget we have ever had, but it was miles behind what would be needed for the recording of an authentic classical orchestra (we managed to collaborate with a professional choir, however). The sums we are getting now are ridiculous in comparison, but we don't need that much money anymore: since the beginning of Elend we have been building up our home studios, slowly but continuously, and only since recently are we able to work completely independently of external studios. We record, mix and master our albums on our own. This enables us to work without stress and guarantees that the result will correspond to our ideas.

We still cannot work with large ensembles of course, but this is not necessary anymore; I think that we reached a peak of orchestral density with The Umbersun - and after the symphonic approach of the Officium Tenebrarum cycle, which was completed with that very album, we are turning to other means of expression. Certain elements of the music such as this density would not have been possible with a live orchestra, so I guess that the synthetic component helped us, too. Technology has made so much possible, it would be just as stupid to ignore the many possibilities it offers as to abuse it by employing it without brains - which many people choose to do unfortunately.

Joel: With such a large group of musicians working together, songwriting and arranging could easily become quite difficult... especially given the complexity of much of the music on the album.  What kind of process do you typically follow when setting out to write new material? Also, What challenges do you face in trying to meld everybody's creative input into a unified composition?

Renaud: There are no conflicts at all due to the number of participants; there are only two composers, Iskandar Hasnawi and myself. Both of us created the project in 1993 and fixed some fundamental rules that were to govern our work. Apart from myself and two musicians who played on Winds Devouring Men, all other members live in France; we don't meet often and are used to this situation. Things are a lot easier today than when we started with this project; now there is the advantage of the internet and of our own recording studios.

We have never been a "group" in the classical sense: we don't live in the same country, so there can be no rehearsals. In fact, Elend should be thought of as a kind of collective, with a core consisting of both composers and a sound-engineer (Sébastien Roland, who worked with us on the first album, but only joined us as a full-time member in 1997), and a group of musicians who appreciate our music and participate in one or another of our projects... depending on the instrumentation or the style of music.

Each composer works on themes, sounds or structures and presents them to the other. Eventually, something appears which both find interesting. Then the composition starts according to certain principles (division of the work to be done, decision of which instrumentation to use etc.). Most of the pieces that are created like this are brushed aside when a coherent string appears in only a few of them. From this moment on, the rules have to become even stricter in order to produce a coherent group of compositions that can be put together on one album. This sort of work was even more constraining on our first albums, because the pieces had to correspond to certain norms that we had decided with the beginning of the Officium Tenebrarum cycle and that we had to follow until its end.

There is not really any need for rehearsals: the music is written and the score is given to the musicians. They rehearse on their own for a few days or weeks, and when the time is right, they come round to record their parts. There is still room for improvisation, of course, but since all of the people we work with are excellent musicians who know the pieces they are about to play, the result generally fits our ideas.

Joel: If I had to guess, I'd say that you're more influenced by composers of orchestral music than anything in today's gothic or metal scenes... perhaps because much of Winds feels like a dramatic filmscore.  Are there any particular composers that have had an impact on your band's style, or that you simply enjoy listening to?

Renaud: In fact, the aim of Elend has always been to re-evaluate musical violence. For our work, there are two sources of inspiration, both of which were responsible for the creation of the project: extreme metal on the one hand, and "serious" Western music on the other; the intention of the first, the means of expression of the latter. But we have always structured our pieces of music in a much more popular way than it is done in a "learned" kind of composition. We pursue a more ambitious kind of work, too, but not with this project.

Anyway, you are absolutely right in presuming affinities to orchestral music. I can give you a list of composers which I think are esteemed by both of us, and in whose tradition we like to see ourselves. I will try to keep it short: Mahler, Strauss, Bartók, Varèse, Scelsi, Messiaen, Xenakis, Ligeti, Nono, Henry, Górecki, Penderecki, Pärt.

Joel: What trends in the current 'dark music' scene (encompassing goth, metal, whatever) excite you?  Or perhaps you aren't too fond of whats happening in the music world at large.  If so, what's bugging you about the state of modern dark music?

Renaud: We have never been interested in gothic at all; I don't think that it has anything to do with dark music. Metal does not count as dark music either, but it is a style that is concerned with musical violence, and this is what we appreciate. I still miss this kind of barbaric, violent approach in many metal bands. But fortunately there are some people of whom I think that they have understood the essence of metal - Immolation, Morbid Angel, Cadaver Inc., Dillinger Escape Plan, Cephalic Carnage, etc.

Joel: You seem to be unafraid to ignore genre boundaries and conventions. It would seem that fans of a wide variety of styles (gothic, classical, even dark atmospheric metal)  should be able to find plenty to enjoy on Winds.  What kind of audience are you hoping to reach with the album?

Renaud: It is pleasant to know that people from diverse musical backgrounds are able to appreciate what we are doing. But we don't really mind about the reception of our music. We were first signed to a metal label in 1994, which made the metal scene the first one in touch with our work; but at that time Elend was much more easily accessible for somebody familiar with extreme metal - and there were many misunderstandings of course. The new cycle we are beginning with Winds Devouring Men might not please this audience that much, while people who approve the album without knowing the previous work might be shocked when they are confronted with its raw violence, the screams, the uninterrupted torrent of violence that pours from it.

I don't like the idea of independent scenes that don't get in touch with each other (and even when they are said to do so, they don't really get in touch; there are exceptions fortunately; take Fredrik Thordendahl's Special Defects album, for example; this is what I would call artistic achievement). Our understanding of music is completely alien to the functioning of the market.

Joel: Winds... to me feels more like a work of art than a commercial endeavour.  Additionally, it isn't presented in a typically commercial fashion (i.e. discreet songs that can be used as 'singles' for radio airplay, etc.).  What difficulties, if any, have you had in marketing the album?

Renaud: Thank you! We don't see the point in attempting to release hit singles! Although I can tell you that the pieces of music on Winds Devouring Men are objectively a lot more accessible than those of the previous albums! In contrast to the pieces that were part of a concept that had to function as a continuous flux growing more violent with every album (i.e., the albums of the Officium trilogy), we are now able to pursue a different kind of method which might only be fully understood when the next couple of Elend albums will have been released. What can be noticed now, I guess, is that we can treat each piece individually or independently, focussing only on a few aspects per piece instead of having to consider the whole album for unity. The pieces are deliberately structured in a more popular way; we rely less on musical leitmotifs strewn over the album than before; the leitmotifs are nearly exclusively on the lyrical level now. I understand that the distance to commercial releases is still enormous, but I take it as a positive aspect.

Fortunately, we have our license partners to take care of marketing. In Europe, the new album is presented like a big comeback after a silence of five years, and the press has been extremely favourable. As to the audience, I think it is still too soon to tell.

With any luck, Elend's music will find its way to appreciating ears, and they'll be making dark artistic symphonies for years to come.  If you haven't heard 'Winds Devouring Men', you're missing an epic voyage through turbulent emotional waters, packed with power and intensity.  Find out more at:

Prophecy Records:

Elend Official Website:

Elend Websites (* both were listed as is in the CDs booklet, but neither page seems to be up at present time)

The End Records:

Interview with Elend: Part 2
~by Matthew Heilman

We just can’t get enough of Elend.  Having missed the opportunity to participate in Joel’s initial round of questions to the band, I took the liberty of contacting Renaud with the hope of expounding further upon the band’s music, lyrics, and philosophies.  He humbly obliged, and building on many of Joel’s discerning queries, even more fascinating insight into the minds of these ‘tragic’ maestros has been provided.  For a project that has been making waves in the underground for years, we are proud to have been one of the first zines to give them a chance to more thoroughly illustrate many of the concepts behind their multi-faceted and intricate music.

Matthew: You mentioned other 'related common projects.'  What other musicalstudies are you involved in and what are these other music projects like incomparison to Elend?

Renaud: These projects have not yet been released; there are two collaborations of both Elend composers which have crystallized during the last years and which will maybe be issued in the near future: we have been writing experimental “avant-garde” orchestral music that goes beyond what we initiated on The Umbersun: Ensemble Orphique. This was to be our common project subsequent to the completion of the Officium Tenebrarum. In contrast to Elend this music involves a more ambitious kind of writing music. It means a lot of work and really should be seen against the background of contemporary “serious” music or sound research. We have also been working on Statues, very violent dark industrial, which allows us to deal with musical violence per se. Apart from that, we also work independently from each other, in various styles. Iskandar Hasnawi has got a trip-hop project (A Poison Tree), which I find quite original. And I am involved in various other musical activities ranging from jazz to metal.

Matthew: Your use of synthetic instruments is and always has been extremely commendable.  Especially on "Weeping Nights" and "The Umbersun" -- I have yet to hear a music project that can recreate such gigantic orchestral sounds with such authenticity.  What kind of synthesizers did you guys use? (Unless that is your big secret!)

Renaud: We started with rather basic machines, synths by Korg, Roland, E-mu, Kurzweil. Our first samplers were an Akai Sampler and the E4XT by E-mu. The Kurzweil K2000 we had bought long ago can also work as a sampler. We still use all of them, but only parsimoniously. Musical equipment has evolved incredibly during the last decade, and still has many surprises in store. We mainly work with PCs and integrated sampler instruments now; we have quite a library of sampled instrumental sounds which mainly consists of CD-ROMs available on the market, but also of recordings done on our own, such as the totality of the industrial noises you can hear on Winds Devouring Men. What I am always wondering about is the fact that with the possibilities one has nowadays, everybody should potentially be able to produce quality music on his own. And more and more people are making music at home; but apparently this hasn’t changed much in the quality of the output. The problem with this democratisation of music production (which is principally a good thing, I want to emphasize that) is that everybody thinks he can become a star overnight with self-made demos. And this is obviously not enough.

Matthew: In regard to the Officium Tenebrarum cycle: Why "Paradise Lost?" Can you explain why John Milton had such a profound affect upon you and Iskandar?  Your presentation of Lucifer corresponds with the way that 19th Century Romantics sympathized with his character, and the way in which they viewed him as the hero of "Paradise Lost."  I had always figured that you were just taking the Romantic motifs and providing a musical interpretation of them, but a lot of folks might have misunderstood Elend and assumed you were Satanists.

Renaud: Stylistically, Milton has never appealed to me. Ezra Pound qualified Milton’s verse as rhetoric, and he is absolutely right: it is one of the best examples I know for what one would call “verbosity”. Unlike Shakespeare, Milton attempted to reproduce epic Latin verses in English; some might argue that he has achieved something unique, but I don’t find this a very interesting issue. Now, as far as Paradise Lost is concerned, Iskandar Hasnawi merely chose it as one of the starting points for our cycle, as a sort of exposition. It would be wrong to see our treatment of the figure of the rebellious angel as being in accordance with 19th century Romanticism. Milton’s Satan, “majestic though in ruin”, counts among the first depictions of this originally evil figure as the heroic rebel impersonating decadent beauty; the forerunner of the ideal Romantic artist. Elend never followed this path: you will note that everything in Elend’s Officium Tenebrarum evolves around the hopelessness of rebellion and the inescapability of death. There is no Romantic glorification, neither of the fall, nor of the rebel per se. If there is any kind of fascination in Elend, then it happens on a much more abstract level, which is mainly connected to musical matters. The Miltonian position inevitably leads to Satanism, which mainly inverts the roles but achieves exactly the same results: a Manichean view of the world, with the worshipping of one single patriarchal figure. In our earliest interviews back in 1994 we emphasised that we were not concerned at all with what happens to this figure after the fall – the lyrics of the first album, which are still set in a Miltonian context, close with the building of Pandemonium, the point where the rebel is about to turn into God’s counterpart, and therefore loses all his relevance for our concept. You will notice that although we started from Paradise Lost we never once used the name “Satan”: we deliberately turned to the term “Lucifer”, the “bearer of light”. Originally, this term was applied to the planet Venus, the “Morning Star”, because it appears shortly before sunrise. In this sense Christ is described as the light-bearer of the Apocalypse (Rev: 22,16). But since the same star also appears with the setting sun this led to the following remark in Isaiah’s satire on the death of a tyrant: “How you are fallen from heaven, / O Day Star, son of Dawn!” (Is: 14,12). But the medieval biblical tradition, where “Morning Star” had been translated with “Lucifer”, understood the descent of the star Venus/Lucifer as the fall of the lord of demons. Therefore, the name “Lucifer” has been associated with the figure of Satan since the Middle Ages. In Elend, however, we kept the parallel between Christ and Lucifer, and elaborated a complex reflection, on an almost archetypal level, on the symbolic process of denomination in Christian theology and on the nature of the Christian religion, which sees itself as a religion of salvation. You could read the lyrics as Iskandar Hasnawi’s logbook of his struggles against the Christian religion; they are interwoven with many images and personal references that are alien to this tradition. Our cycle was a personal interpretation of one of the founding myths of the Western cultural imagination. We took many liberties with biblical or theological texts. You could even call it a dreamt mythology; and thus, there is not such a great distance to what we are doing on Winds Devouring Men.

The fact that the Officium dealt with themes partly based on Western philosophy and theology has led people to believe that Elend have had more than mere abstract interests in the matter. The point is that what we tried to achieve with this cycle (which can more or less be summarized as extreme violence and most oppressive darkness in music) had to be presented in a comprehensible form, and most people in our culture are familiar with the Christian religion and related topics, also regarding deviating interpretations in philosophy or literature, such as Paradise Lost. In order to produce our tripartite maelstrom toward absolute darkness we thus looked for a symbolical figure that could embody this process (Lucifer). From a Catholic ceremony designed to welcome hope and light as the symbol of Christ’s resurrection (the “leçons de ténèbres”), held on the three nights before Easter Sunday, we achieved a descent into utter hopelessness and emptiness (hence the name “Elend”). In addition to that, the Officium Tenebrarum (or “Office des Ténèbres”) cycle was structured according to the sequence of these masses; although I find many details on the past albums not perfect in retrospect, our concept was very elaborate both in form and content; and very coherent, too.

Matthew: Are you aware that the English band Paradise Lost sampled a choir part from "The Umbersun" on their latest release?  I always found that amusing -- as if they were apologizing for using the name Paradise Lost when you guys were the true Milton aficionados in the dark music world!

Renaud: Iskandar doesn’t really appreciate their music, and I haven’t bought their last few albums myself, so we were totally unaware of the fact that they had sampled us. But we have checked thanks to your remark. As you know, they used the solo soprano opening of “In the Embrasure of Heaven” as the opening of one of their songs. They didn’t mention us in the credits of the album, though. Need I say more…

Renaud: Anyway, you are absolutely right in presuming affinities to orchestral music. I can give you a list of composers which I think are esteemed by both of us, and in whose tradition we like to see ourselves. I will try to keep it short: Mahler, Strauss, Bartók, Varèse, Scelsi, Messiaen, Xenakis, Ligeti, Nono, Henry, Górecki, Penderecki, Pärt.

Matthew: Those are the very composers that I had always assumed had a deep impact upon Elend, especially Górecki and Penderecki.  Are you at all familiar with Penderecki's opera for "Paradise Lost?"  I myself have not heard it since, as far as I know, it has never been recorded. But I know that it exists!  I was curious how similar it might have been to Elend's work and if had any significant influence upon you.

Renaud: No, we have never heard it either. In 1996/97 we weren’t familiar with all of his works, but those we knew certainly motivated us to pursue our own experiments with musical violence. We have developed our own methods of composing rather independently from the learned school, but in retrospect we notice that the composers we appreciate have worked along similar lines, without our knowing it. Although Penderecki’s concern with religious matters is completely alien to both Elend composers, his seventh symphony (Seven Gates of Jerusalem), which was written approximately at the same time as The Umbersun, shows some interesting similarities to The Umbersun, conceptually, but also compositionally. It was quite surprising to listen to it when it was released on CD in 2000. So maybe we will have another surprise when his Paradise Lost will be available.

Matthew: Where did you and Iskandar study music, and what specific degreesdid the two of you earn at University?

Renaud: Regarding music we are autodidacts; except for a thorough basic musical education in our teens. We learned to play a few instruments, like the violin or the piano, but we never really had the opportunity to study composition in a scholarly context.

Renaud: We have never been interested in gothic at all; I don't think that it has anything to do with dark music. Metal does not count as dark music either, but it is a style that is concerned with musical violence, and this is what we appreciate. I still miss this kind of barbaric, violent approach in many metal bands. But fortunately there are some people of whom I think that they have understood the essence of metal - Immolation, Morbid Angel, Cadaver Inc., Dillinger Escape Plan, Cephalic Carnage, etc.

Matthew: You claim that 'Gothic' really doesn't have anything to do with dark music. Are you referring more or less to the fashion and image associated with the Gothic club scene?  Because from my perspective as a 'Gothic' DJ and a literature major with an emphasis on Gothic literature, I would say that the atmosphere in most of Elend's music strongly mirrors the atmosphere of dark Romantic and Gothic literature, and unlike many current club bands, Elend could be referred to as Gothic without any aesthetic hesitation.  I would say this as well about bands like Dead Can Dance, Sopor Aeternus, and even some of the early Gothic Rock bands like Bauhaus, the Banshees, Christian Death, etc.  It seems to me that many of the purest 'Gothic' bands do not want to be associated with the term. I understand that I may have a rather unique or more academic impression of the term Gothic, but why, in the case of Elend, do you have an aversion to the term?  There needs to be more quality bands out there that 'reclaim' the word and its proper usage!

Renaud: Because Elend is as far removed from Gothic proper as from the music scene that took over the term. As a literary movement, the “Gothic” was mainly concerned with the revival of a certain historical period and what was believed to be part of it; there was a fascination with the obscure, the supernatural, the occult, etc. It is obvious why the term was applied to a particular wave of pop bands in the 80s, and we could argue whether it was deserved or not. But I don’t see any connection to Elend in either movement. There is a naïve sentimentality at the heart of the literary, or scholarly, Gothic – and the same holds for the entirety of the Romantic movement; for the English current with Shelley, Byron, Walpole, Lewis etc. as well as for its offspring that were the French Decadents, Baudelaire, Lautréamont, Lorrain or Huysmans. The Romantic approach is not ours, which has more in common with Modernism or Futurism and the Poundian re-appropriation of antiquity. The musical references to Romanticism on the past albums were linked to the Officium: I have already outlined its textual dimension above; the music was intended as a kind of survey of the complete Western musical tradition, from the Renaissance to the middle of the 20th century, growing more violent and dense on the one hand, and more modern on the other, as it advances. We have never been drawn to Romantic music, but this doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge its inventions and its role in the evolution of the Western tradition. Actually, everything that happened between the Baroque era and Richard Strauss is of little interest to us, emotionally. This is also why we are turning to other traditions with the new Elend album: we have done the most out of the Western tradition already. Among the bands you mentioned I guess you can call the Banshees or Christian Death gothic bands. Sopor Aeternus is a circus clown, and Dead Can Dance is definitely not a gothic band. What we principally don’t like about the gothic scene is a certain attitude toward life, and all that goes with it, including image and fashion of course. It is essentially a nihilistic movement; we find such tendencies repulsive. We have always kept to the human dimension, the earthly, the temporal, even in our confrontation with theological material. Our recurrent emphasis on violence and hopelessness must not be mistaken for the Gothic fascination with the morbid; this does not interest us at all. Human consciousness first of all means being conscious of the inevitable end of one’s own existence. Death is significant because it shapes human experience, but there is nothing delightful in death or disease.

I really would like to be told specifically why Elend has been associated with this scene. Melancholic atmospheres? George Clinton can also be melancholic, and no one would say that funk has anything to do with gothic (Debatable…Gang Of Four, Turn Pale, PIL, etc – ed. Matthew) The instrumentation? Density? Violence? Then Penderecki would be gothic, too; and besides, there don’t seem to be any gothic bands to which those aspects apply. The literary references to the Western tradition? That is not specific enough. Maybe these misunderstandings are connected to the theme of the fall of the angels; I hope that my remarks on the Officium concept will have shed light on this matter. Our understanding of dark music involves the element of dramatic tension; you have to know Richard Strauss to comprehend that tension is the essence of our work. There is none in what is commonly regarded as “gothic” music. We can only always point to ancient Greek tragedy (mainly Aeschylus) for a better understanding of what we mean. I should stop using the term “dark” in connection with music; with ours, and with music in general; it doesn’t mean anything. “Tragic” is the only suitable term to describe Elend.

Renaud: It is pleasant to know that people from diverse musical backgrounds are able to appreciate what we are doing. But we don't really mind about the reception of our music. We were first signed to a metal label in 1994, which made the metal scene the first one in touch with our work; but at that time Elend was much more easily accessible for somebody familiar with extreme metal - and there were many misunderstandings of course. The new cycle we are beginning with Winds Devouring Men might not please this audience that much, while people who approve the album without knowing the previous work might be shocked when they are confronted with its raw violence, the screams, the uninterrupted torrent of violence that pours from it.

Matthew: Was this one of the reasons that you decided to leave the screams and growls behind?  In an effort to further emphasize the more 'serious' aspect of your music?  You sort of tested the waters with this in the past, with the Weeping Nights disc which was material from the Les Ténèbres Du Dehors release, without the male screams.  But they were back in full forceon The Umbersun? Will they ever make a return to Elend?

Renaud: Maybe, but very likely not in the current cycle. They would be out of place here. We use screams in Ensemble Orphique, for example, but they are not male screams. Violence can be expressed in many ways, musically, and they don’t always have to be the most obvious. But once again, this is a matter of point of view. Screams will be more likely to shock the listener, because they are not common in what you could call the musical mainstream. And maybe the reason why non-metal audiences find the new album more appealing is the fact that the overall atmosphere on Winds Devouring Men is more melancholic than oppressing. But violence is still there, of course, and it is much extremer than before, notably on some tracks in the middle of the album. I personally think that some passages with layers of dissonant strings, rhythmical elements and distorted noises are the most violent ones we have ever made. But they are merely outbursts: they are unexpected and surprising, but will not trouble the average listener too long. I think this is the main change compared to the previous album: nothing on The Umbersun was really “surprising”. Once you entered the flux with the first piece it brought you to utter wretchedness like in a programmed ride; very brutal of course, but very predictable.

Matthew: The integration of 'Industrial' elements was a nice surprise, and provides a similar kind of rawness and intensity that the screams provided on the earlier albums. What inspired you guys to do this?  Are you fans of early experimental Industrial bands like Throbbing Gristle and Einsturzende Neubauten? Or are you taking your noisey cues from contemporary 'serious musicians' like Arvo Pärt and Philip Glass?

Renaud: We quite appreciate the approach of Einstürzende Neubauten. But I would rather point to the work of Pierre Henry or Iannis Xenakis than to others as far as “noises” are concerned.

Matthew:  Whereas most of today's experimental artists just create noises with their computer programs, you guys actually went out and made these noises, or at least sampled real life sounds? Where did you guys do this? What all did you sample?

Renaud: The major part of our industrial samples was recorded in a metal embossing factory here in Austria. We recorded workers on their machines and also used some of the machinery available there in unconventional ways; some of the sounds thus recorded were later re-designed on the computer. Apart from that, we record whatever we believe to be interesting; ambience sounds we happen to come across or unconventional noises we produce on our own with devices we construct for this specific purpose. Most bands that use “industrial” elements in an extraneous context have recourse to sample CD-ROMs that are used everywhere else (in films, television series, computer games etc. ). There are not as many as you would think, and we know most of them. Just listen closely to the sounds used in the X-Files. You will find them in many other places. These samples are extremely well done of course, and they have an excellent sound quality, but you will always be limited in your scope. Using them is just like using instant food instead of preparing a meal with choice ingredients. In recording and treating our own sounds we can be sure to achieve a result that has not been heard before. There is no real innovation in this domain, except in industrial music proper, in electronic music and in contemporary serious music – anyway, all these ideas reach back to the Musique Concrète of the 50s and 60s. Or even to the Futurists in the early 20th century. We do not pretend to be innovative in having recourse to this principle! We merely believe that there are still some interesting things to be done with “noises” and with programming. It is possible to produce music outside of the norms of a conventional instrumentation; and working with one’s own sounds is a much more interesting process than admiring and using the work of others.

Matthew: There has always been such a remarkable similarity between the clean male vocals in Elend and the vocals of Brendan Perry (DCD).  In many ways I always felt that Elend picked up the neo-classical strains that Dead Can Dance abandoned, in order to pursue their more ethnic influences.  Elend really fills that void quite well.  Was this at all intentional?  (I wouldn't ask if the similarities weren't so strong...)

Renaud: Not at all! We have always appreciated Dead Can Dance of course, but I wouldn’t subscribe to the idea that we are continuing what they began; it would neither do justice to them nor to us. Their way of writing music is fundamentally different from ours, their sound too. Our music has always been dramatic and complex, both harmonically and structurally; theirs was primarily concerned with readability, even when they integrated exotic or unconventional elements. In addition to that, we have always attempted to achieve an overall acoustic sound, i.e., a sound closer to recordings of serious than of popular music (we have only